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Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

Statement of Ireland

13 March 2017

Ireland aligns with the statement made by the European Union and adds the following.

Mr. President,

Ireland thanks the members of the Commission of Inquiry for their presentation.

We strongly condemn the ongoing violations of human rights in Burundi. 

While overt violence has become less apparent, the pattern of forced disappearances, detention and extra-judicial killings continue.  A climate of fear and impunity pervades Burundi today, with a consequent increase in the influx of refugees to neighboring countries in recent months.  We further express concern at restrictions on civil society and human rights defenders.

Ireland is deeply concerned at reports that revisions to the Constitution are being considered, particularly those affecting Presidential term limits. This is a core element of the Arusha Accords, and if it is undermined, we risk a slide back into the protracted and tragic conflict that preceded the Accords. We urge the Government of Burundi to step back from any such moves, which would have a long-term negative impact on the peace and stability of Burundi and the region.

Ireland reiterates our view that a truly inclusive dialogue and a negotiated solution to the political crisis is essential.  We urge the Government, opposition groups and neighboring countries to reinvigorate the ongoing East African Community mediation process. 

Justice is essential for a lasting peace. Ireland deeply regrets the withdrawal of Burundi from the ICC and is concerned at the apparent refusal to tackle impunity. We call on the Government to cooperate with OHCHR and the Commission of Inquiry as an important step in restoring peace and security to Burundi - and in keeping with its obligations as a member of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. President

The mandate of the Commission includes, in pertinent part, a role to identify alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, with a view to ensuring full accountability. We would be grateful for the Commission’s views on how the work of the Commission may relate to or be affected by the outcome of the ICC preliminary examination, which is expected to continue to October 2017.

Thank you