34th session of the Human Rights Council  

CIVICUS expresses serious concerns that the human rights situation has not improved since the last time we presented a statement here in response to the report of the Independent Experts about human rights in Burundi on 27 September 2016.

As we learn from the CoI today, Burundi remains in an extremely precarious situation as security forces including police, army and intelligence services continue to arrest, torture, arbitrarily detain and kill Burundians on a daily basis.

The Imbonerakure are trained by the Burundian government and deployed in different parts of the country to unleash violence against those who criticise the actions of the regime.  

Crimes against humanity continue and the Burundian authorities and security forces threaten human rights defenders and representatives of civil society indiscriminately.  The viciousness of the attacks, on the population mass arrests and the very volatile security situation has forced an estimated 387000 Burundians to flee to neighbouring countries.  

Mr. President, Burundi’s disregard for the international community and its decision to withdraw from international human rights mechanisms including its disengagement from the Human Rights Council is a major blow to its citizens and victims of human rights violations.  It demonstrates that the government does not want to be held accountable for its actions and its determined to continue committing crimes against humanity. 

In addition, the absence of an independent judiciary, human rights institutions and restrictions on independent media means victims of human rights violations are at the mercy of a relentless regime and have no recourse to justice.  It is for this reason that the security forces and Imbonerakure continue to commit grave crimes with impunity. 

Freedom of assembly is virtually non-existent and we are very worried about the new NGO law.  We call on the government of Burundi to re-engage with the international community, stop the onslaught against its own citizens and fully engage with the Commission of Inquiriy.

Thank you, Mr. President

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