Explanation of Vote on Burundi Resolution (Item 2)

Burundi Resolution (Item 2) – A/HRC/36/L.33

Explanation of Vote by the United States of America
As delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council, 36th Session
Geneva, September 28, 2017

The United States is extremely disappointed by the failure of this draft to adequately address the grave human rights situation in Burundi.  Due to severe restrictions on space for civil society and independent media, the Commission of Inquiry serves as a critical and credible source of information and must be able to continue its work.  We remind the Council that after conducting more than 500 interviews, the Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Burundi and that the Government of Burundi continues to engage in extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and sexual violence.  Under these circumstances, the Human Rights Council should not support any mechanism short of a Commission of Inquiry, or this Council risks further diminishing its credibility as the primary UN mechanism for protecting and promoting human rights.  We are also deeply disappointed by the process of creating this draft resolution – shared with delegations after tabling, and first discussed a mere three days before voting – and by the failure of Burundi to engage in a timely manner with the draft resolution that had been previously tabled by the European Union under Item 4.  We are therefore voting no on this draft and urge all HRC members to support the item 4 resolution on “The Situation of Human Rights in Burundi.”

Thank you.