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Interactive Dialogue on Burundi- Statement by Ireland

Human Rights Council 33rd Session (13-30 September 2016)

Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Burundi

27 September 2016

Mr. President,

Ireland aligns itself with the remarks made on our behalf by the European Union.

Ireland thanks the independent experts for their report on the situation in Burundi, and expresses our deep concern at the ongoing violations of human rights in the country.

Ireland condemns the continued pattern of killings, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence and silencing of civil society and the media. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians have been forced to flee, placing huge pressure on neighbouring countries. We note that while there has been a decrease in overt violence, this is largely due to systematic repression. Such repression creates an inherently unstable situation that could very quickly deteriorate.

The Burundian government is failing in its obligation to protect the human rights of its citizens. This failure is compounded by the government’s refusal to acknowledge the extent of the problem. It is particularly striking given Burundi’s current membership of the Human Rights Council.

Ireland supports the independent experts’ call for a Commission of Inquiry. Currently, an unacceptable culture of impunity prevails. A Commission of Inquiry, along with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court, sends a message that those responsible for such violations will not escape justice.

The current crisis can only be resolved through the engagement of all sides in an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue. In this regard, Ireland welcomes the important role played by the East African Community mediation team. Ireland urges the Burundian government and opposition groups to avoid any further delays in finding a politically-negotiated solution, and stresses that any such solution must fully respect the Arusha Accords and the constitution of Burundi.

Thank you.