Statement by Ambassador Tichenor on Burundi Human Rights Report

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor

Interim Report of the Independent Expert on Burundi

Human Rights Council

Geneva, March 23, 2007

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States welcomes the report by Mr. Okola on human rights developments in Burundi. This report notes many of the challenges facing the people of Burundi during a critical period of transition. The United States commends the government of Burundi for its cooperation with the Independent Expert, and we pledge our continued support to Burundi in its effort to establish a stable and peaceful environment for its citizens.

Mr. Okola’s interim report presents a sobering look at the human rights situation in Burundi. While we welcome the comprehensive ceasefire agreement between the government and the FNL, we, as member and observer states of the Human Rights Council, must focus more of our attention on ways to further assist the government of Burundi to build on the progress already made.

Our question to Mr. Okola: In the report’s “Conclusions and Recommendations,” nothing is mentioned about how the Human Rights Council, specifically, can play a meaningful role in supporting the government of Burundi in human rights protection and promotion. What are a few priority areas where the Council’s assistance can be most effective?

Thank you.