UN Independent Investigation to visit Burundi to assess human rights situation

By Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Three United Nations independent experts appointed to investigate human rights violations in Burundi are scheduled to conduct their first country visit from 1 to 8 March.

The three experts are members of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) established by the Human Rights Council on 17 December 2015 (resolution A/HRC/S-24/L.1) to undertake “an investigation into violations and abuses of human rights with a view to preventing further deterioration of the human rights situation.” “During this visit, and in line with our mandate, we will engage with the authorities and all other relevant stakeholders,” said Christof Heyns one of the experts. “Our aim is to help the State fulfil its human rights obligations, ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, including by identifying alleged perpetrators.” Mr. Heyns (South Africa), the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, is working with Ms. Maya Sahli-Fadel (Algeria), the African Union Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, and Mr. Pablo de Greiff (Colombia), the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence. During their mission, the experts will meet with national authorities, the Human Rights National Commission, as well as other stakeholders, including the United Nations Country Team and NGOs. “We have a clear mandate from the Human Rights Council to help prevent Burundi from falling into the abyss,” said Ms. Sahli-Fadel. “Our investigation is also designed to assist the people of Burundi as they work to adopt appropriate transitional justice measures and to maintain the spirit of the Arusha Accord,” said Mr. De Greiff. On 21 March 2016, one of the three experts will update the Human Rights Council on its initial findings and conclusions. In September 2016, the experts will issue their final report to the Council.