Human Rights Council Special Session on Burundi
Statement by the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Geneva – December 17, 2015
The United States is pleased to cosponsor this resolution on Burundi today, which builds on the consensus resolution passed at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council. We think this is an appropriate and strong outcome of the work we have done during this Special Session. We want to extend our thanks to key partners in the Africa Group, the African Union for their leadership here, in New York, and Addis. We also want to thank the EU for bringing this issue to the Council in September and for their continued engagement and partnership on this initiative.
The resolution condemns ongoing violations and abuses of human rights in Burundi. It urges all actors in Burundi to create a climate conducive to the promotion of a genuine and inclusive dialogue based on respect of the Arusha Agreement in order to reach a consensual political solution.
We are pleased that the resolution calls on the High Commissioner to urgently deploy a team of independent experts on a mission to Burundi to investigate alleged violations and abuses of human rights. These experts should be deployed as soon as possible. Subsequently, the experts and the Office can work together to provide an oral update and engage in an interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Burundi at the Council’s 31st session and a more fulsome report at the Council’s 33rd session.
We welcome actions taken by the broader international community to keep pressure on Burundi to pursue a credible dialogue. Coming a month after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2248 on the political situation in Burundi, this resolution seeks to keep international attention on the dire human rights situation in Burundi. It also keeps international pressure on Burundi and the opposition to pursue a credible dialogue to end this crisis. The mandate called for in this resolution will supplement the African Union’s plans to deploy additional human right monitors. The international community must keep eyes on Burundi to prevent further deterioration of the situation in a country that has seen the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the past. Reportedly more than 100 people were killed last weekend alone.
We appreciate the work that African Union and the UN Security Council have done to promote peace and reconciliation in Burundi. We hope that the Human Rights Council’s efforts in this special session will also help to shine a spotlight on the dire situation in Burundi as part of our collective efforts to promote universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. This is the mandate of the Council and at this critical moment, all of the UN bodies and mechanisms must be engaged.