GENEVA, January 18, 2018 – Burundi and its allies attempted to whitewash the government’s terrible human rights record during a mandatory U.N. Human Rights Council review that all countries undergo once every five years at the world body.
Delegates of the regime denied using torture or persecuting human rights defenders, and blamed “Belgian colonizers” for flaws in Burundi’s justice system.
While Burundi’s record includes police killings of peaceful protesters, summary executions, targeted assassinations, enforced disappearances, and even warnings of possible genocide, Burundi was elected a little over a year ago as a member of the UNHRC, and was heavily praised today by numerous states who took the floor.
Following are some of the statements delivered today at the UNHRC:
Iran: “We commend significant initiatives taken by the government… my delegation acknowledges that in spite of challenges and obstacles that the government faces, several acts on the protection of human rights have been promulgated by the government.”
Syria: “We are pleased to see Burundi’s perseverance following its first two reviews. This reflects the government’s determination to implement recommendations accepted despite challenges and difficulties faced.’’
Venezuela: “We recognize the country’s efforts to follow up on recommendations from the UPR.’’
Russia: “We appreciate the work of the government in the areas of ensuring social and economic rights of people in the country.’’
State of Palestine: “We welcome the efforts taken by Burundi to improve the human rights situation since its last UPR session, despite difficulties the country has faced.’’
Indonesia: “Appreciates the progress that Burundi has made since its last review, namely the additional ratification of human rights conventions and their protocols… also commends Burundi’s close co-operation with the existing treaty bodies.’’
China: “Welcomes Burundi’s progress on human rights.’’
Malaysia: “Commends the government of Burundi for its commitment to improve the socio-economic development in the country demonstrated by government policies that focuses on people-centered development.’’’
Sudan: “Commends efforts made on implementing recommendations of the previous Universal Periodic Review.’’
Nevertheless, a number of nations did deliver serious statements to hold the regime accountable, including Canada, Britain, France, Denmark and the United States. Several noted that the human rights situation in Burundi has deteriorated since the country’s last UNHRC review, and that the government has shown no willingness to improve the situation.