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Human Rights Council 32nd Session (13 June – 1 July 2016) Interactive Dialogue on the situation of human rights in Burundi

29 June 2016

Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and adds the following.

Mr President

Ireland thanks the High Commissioner and the Office both for this report and for their tireless efforts in promoting human rights in Burundi.

We welcome the engagement by the Government of Burundi, opposition members and civil society with the OHCHR and the UN Independent Investigation on Burundi.

However Ireland is deeply disturbed at the extensive human rights violations and abuses documented by the OHCHR office in Burundi. The continuing trend of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and sexual violence is unacceptable.

Ireland condemns the actions of members of the police and intelligence services who continue to execute, disappear and detain civilians with impunity. We recall that it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens. The inadequate response of the judicial system and the National Commission on Human Rights to the violations and abuses being committed further compounds the suffering of the victims.

Ireland particularly deplores attacks on hospitals and medical centres, including the intimidation of staff treating those injured, and the removal of injured patients to detention centres. We also call for an immediate end to the recent practice of mass expulsion of school children, and the detention of some children, apparently as the result of scribbling on images of the President in school textbooks.

Ireland also condemns attacks by armed groups, which have targeted police officers, government party members, soldiers, and the Imbonerakure. These attacks further destabilise the country, threaten the welfare of its citizens, undermine peace efforts and often trigger counter-attacks by the security forces on unarmed civilians. We urge armed opposition groups to cease such attacks immediately, and the Government to ensure that the security forces do not respond with violent reprisals against civilians.

Ireland welcomes the mediation efforts of the East African Community, and particularly consultations held recently in Arusha and Brussels under the stewardship of former Tanzania President, Benjamin Mkapa. We welcome the participation of the Government and opposition members in these talks, and urge all sides to continue to unconditionally engage in the process. A negotiated solution is essential to the stability of Burundi, the wellbeing of its people, and to the country’s future social and economic development.

Thank you.