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Statement on the situation of human rights in Burundi in the upcoming Presidential Elections

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi since the announcement of the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza, for the upcoming Presidential Elections.

 

The Commission strongly condemns all forms of violence, intimidation or harassment perpetrated against its citizens; in particular, the disproportionate use of lethal force by state security forces, the loss of lives, restrictions on media freedom and the freedom of assembly, expression and association;

 The Commission is further concerned that, as a result of the violence, thousands of Burundians, mostly women and children have fled to Rwanda during the run-up to the election period due to intimidation and threats of violence;

 The Commission welcomes the Government of Burundi’s efforts to restore calm, law and order within Burundi; and specifically, urges it to investigate and hold accountable all those who are responsible for perpetrating human rights violations and to urgently take measures to put a stop to the violence and the use of inflammatory language which could increase tensions and spark inter-communal conflict;

 The Commission reiterates the contents of its Resolution ACHPR/Res.293 (EXT.OS/XVII) 2015: Resolution on 2015 Elections in Africa, and calls on the Government of Burundi to safeguard the human rights of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression during this electoral period, as well as equal access to media during campaign for all stakeholders in conformity with its international and regional obligations;

 The Commission also calls on the Government of Burundi to take all necessary measures to guarantee the credibility of the electoral process in accordance with international and regional rules and standards and to collaborate with all stakeholders towards ensuring respect for human rights throughout the country.

 The Commission further calls on the African Union and the international community to continue to lend their support to the Government of Burundi to ensure a peaceful outcome of the current electoral process in Burundi.