UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

UNHCR/Kate Holt (资料) Thousands of people fleeing fear of violence in Burundi have arrived in Mahama Refugee Camp, Rwanda. Photo: UNHCR/Kate Holt (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


In a statement released on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced her regret at the closure of the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi – which was set up more than two decades ago – at the insistence of the country’s government.

The Burundian authorities suspended all cooperation with the Office in October 2016, in reaction to an independent UN investigation that held the government and its supporters responsible for crimes against humanity.

“Since the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was established in 1995, we worked with the Government on peacebuilding, security sector reform, justice sector reform, and helped build institutional and civil society capacity on a whole host of human rights issues,” said Ms. Bachelet.

Two years after the investigation, in December last year, the Government claimed that the existence of the UN office was no longer justified, because Burundi had made sufficient progress in putting in place national mechanisms for the protection of human rights. However, Ms. Bachelet said that the Office continued to receive allegations of human rights violations and abuses, but was severely hampered in its ability to investigate them.

The Human Rights chief insisted that the reports produced by her Office were always developed in a constructive spirit, and expressed her disappointment at Burundi’s lack of cooperation with the UN in recent years.

This extended to threats to prosecute members of an independent international Commission of Inquiry, and Burundi’s Ambassador to the UN comparing the Commission Chair, Doudou Diène, to a participant in the slave trade.

The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in the context of massive human rights violations that took place following the assassination of then President Melchior Ndadaye, and helped to ensure that a human rights dimension formed part of the peace accords that ended civil war in the country, in 2000.

The Office also played a leading role in the establishment of the independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in legislative reforms, and in the emergence of strong civil society organizations. “Unfortunately,” said Ms. Bachelet, “many of these human rights gains have been seriously jeopardized since 2015.”

This was the year in which President Pierre Nkunrunziza announced that he would seek a third term, reportedly seen by many Burundians as a breach of the constitution, and which lead to an upsurge of violence in the country, leaving hundreds dead and prompting around half a million people to flee the country.

In the statement, the UN rights chief paid tribute to the many human rights defenders and civil society in Burundi, many of whom have been detained or forced into exile, and called on the Government of Burundi to “cooperate with all relevant UN human rights mechanisms, including UN independent experts and human rights treaty bodies.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

The EU heads of State and Government about the result of the European Elections 2019

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Our food system is pushing nature to the brink. Here’s what we need to do

European Commission and World Bank Group renew agreement to strengthen development cooperation

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

Let’s Learn

3 ways to accelerate the energy transition

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

EU migration deal welcomed by UN agencies

To my Chinese friend

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Trump’s blasting win causes uncertainty and turbulence to the global financial markets

The punishment gap: how workplace mistakes hurt women and minorities most

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions

How banks should prepare for robots going rogue

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

Estonia is making public transport free

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

UN-led Yemen ceasefire monitoring team gets ready to begin operations

Europe on the Move: Commission completes its agenda for safe, clean and connected mobility

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

4 views on the shape of global cooperation in the time of COVID-19

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

The EU to fight cross-border tax evasion with a toothless directive

EU report: Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together

Global Report on Food Crises reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries

Scotland “shows the way” to separatist movements as Catalonia calls a vote on independence

To be fair or to be sustainable? That is the (retirement) question

Trust and support of Iraqis essential for success of UN’s Da’esh terror investigation

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

UN launches new fund to advance sustainable development in Aral Sea region

Here are three key ways that data analytics can improve the workplace

The European Brain Drain: hard facts and harder truths

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

EU Parliament shows its teeth in view of 2014 elections

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

From memes to mourning, how Europe is dealing with its darkest hour since World War II

Senior UN official strongly condemns Southern California synagogue attack

EU’s core members are eyeing larger parts of arms trade and of world map

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

The Greta effect? Why businesses are more committed to climate action in 2020

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

A health of all and for all based on the Ecuadorian reality

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s