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Ambassador Harper’s Statement at HRC Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Burundi
March 22, 2016

Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Burundi

Statement by the United States of America, as delivered by Keith Harper, US Ambassador to the Human Rights Council

31st Session of the Human Rights Council
March 22, 2016

The United States thanks the High Commissioner and the investigation team of independent experts.  We welcome Burundi’s decision to accept the first visit of the independent experts in March and promptly urge approve the remaining visits and establishment of a Secretariat for the Mission.

We remind Burundi that members of the Council must uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and must fully cooperate with the Council.

We strongly urge the Government of Burundi to allow AU observers complete and free access to investigate allegations of gross human rights violations, including mass graves.  We urge the Government to implement President Nkurunziza’s promise to release at least 2,000 detainees, including political prisoners.  Burundi should lift all undue restrictions on media and create conditions for citizens to safely express dissenting views.

The United States looks forward to the East African Community immediately announcing a date for the resumption of dialogue with all stakeholders, both those inside and outside the country.  We also urge all stakeholders to commit publicly to participating in the regionally-mediated dialogue without preconditions or red lines.

We continue to urge all sides to refrain from daily grenade attacks, unlawful killings, sexual violence, and other acts that have reportedly claimed at least 469 lives since April, and continue to destabilize Burundi.  We call on the government to hold accountable all those responsible.

Question:  What are options for holding perpetrators of human rights abuses responsible?