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Human rights in Burundi: UN Independent Investigation completes on-the-ground deployment

By Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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The United Nations Independent Investigation in Burundi, which was set up to investigate human rights violations in the country since April 2015, has completed the deployment of a team of human rights monitors on the ground.

The UN Human Rights Council established the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) in December 2015 to investigate violations and abuses of human rights in Burundi, make recommendations on the improvement of the human rights situation, and to engage in a dialogue with the authorities and other relevant actors in the ongoing crisis. UNIIB consists of three independent human rights experts with a supporting team of four experienced human rights officials.

“Following our first visit to Burundi in early March, the deployment of human rights monitors is a new and important step forward in our investigations, and will help us collect meaningful information on human rights violations and abuses which have been committed in Burundi since April 2015. The team will not only collect information in Burundi but will also visit neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Christof Heyns, Chair of the Independent Investigation. The visits to neighbouring countries will allow the human rights investigators to meet with Burundian refugees and collect testimonies from those who have fled the violence.

“Now that the team is fully in place and operational, I hope that we will receive information and documentation* from many individuals, groups and organisations on the human rights violations and abuses which have been taking place in Burundi since the crisis started, a year ago,” said Mr. Heyns. The three human rights experts will undertake a second visit to Burundi in June 2016 and present their final report to the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, in September 2016.