This Council must bring to an end the abuses of the Government of Burundi

Statement by UN Watch

Item 10 General Debate

UNHRC 32nd Session, 30 June 2016

Delivered by Mr. David Lando

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch strongly condemns the Government of Burundi for its gross and systematic violations of human rights.

The President of the Burundi Senate, speaking last November about how police break up protests, said: “Today, the police shoot in the legs. But when the day comes that we tell them to go to work, don’t come crying to us.” And to work they went, Mr. President.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed by government forces; the number of unlawful detentions is in the thousands; over quarter of a million people have been displaced.

Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns, in his March oral report, said the following:

• “Evidence points towards extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, torture and disappearances that have taken place during the crisis.”
• “Freedom of expression and the space for civil society is under sustained and often violent pressure.”
• “Covert violence, for example in the form of disappearances, seems to have increased. There is cause for serious concern about the human rights situation in Burundi. The crisis is by no means over though it may be less visible.”

And it is this Council’s task, its obligation, to make this crisis visible.

And so we ask: Mr. President, distinguished delegates, is the proper response to these grave human rights violations a discussion about “technical assistance” and “capacity building” for Burundi?

Do we not owe the people of Burundi a more substantial response?

Mr. President,

We urge the Council not to downplay the suffering of Burundi’s people. Instead, the United Nations should shine a light on this grave situation and bring to an end the abuses of the Government of Burundi.

Finally, we ask: Does the recent election of Burundi as a member of this Council not make a mockery of its work? Does it not pour salt on the wounds of the victims?

Thank you, Mr. President.


UN Watch