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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL DISCUSSES HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN UKRAINE AND IN BURUNDI

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Address the Council
29 June 2016

The Human Rights Council this morning heard an oral update by the Assistant Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, followed by an interactive dialogue, and the presentation of a report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Burundi, followed by an interactive dialogue.

Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, in his oral update warned of the high risk of the re-escalation of wide scale hostilities in Ukraine if urgent action was not taken to separate sides and remove heavy weaponry.  He stressed that cooperation between the Government and armed groups was crucial in establishing the fate of persons that had gone missing in this conflict.  The human rights situation in Crimea had deteriorated considerably since Russia extended its control over the territory, with anti-extremism and anti-terrorism laws used to criminalize non-violent behaviour and stifle dissenting opinion.  At the same time, limits to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association cast doubt on the prospects of holding free and fair elections in areas controlled by armed groups in eastern Ukraine.  Mr. Šimonović recalled that this crisis started with demands for human rights and freedoms, and that these demands remained today on either side of the contact line.

Ukraine, speaking as the concerned country, said that the situation in the occupied Crimea was further deteriorating after the ban of the Mejlis and a rising wave of persecution that had followed.  Russia must cease acts of aggression against Ukraine, withdraw its Armed Forces from the Ukrainian territory, suspend the supply of arms and military equipment to illegal armed groups, abolish any acts aimed at legitimization of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and ensure its de-occupation.

In the ensuing interactive dialogue, delegations recalled that the root cause of the crisis was Russia’s aggression and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which had begun with the unlawful occupation of Crimea two and a half years ago.  This crisis must remain the focus of attention of the international community, which had the responsibility to stand for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and speakers stressed the crucial role of the monitoring mission in keeping the attention on the situation of human rights.  The consequences of the crisis were deadly, particularly for the civilian population that had suffered immensely, with difficult humanitarian access and the reports of the use of sexual violence as methods of torture and ill-treatment.  Of particular concern was the systematic undermining of the human rights of three million people in eastern Ukraine by separatists, and the situation in the occupied Crimean peninsula, in particular the abuses of human rights of Crimean Tatars.  Russia and the separatists must end the fighting in eastern Ukraine and implement the Minsk agreements, and Russia must immediately end its illegal occupation of Crimea.

Speaking were Lithuania, European Union, Germany, Russia, Poland, United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Romania, Australia, Netherlands, Council of Europe, Latvia, Georgia, Ireland, Finland, Albania, Japan, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey, China, France, and Iceland.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Minority Rights Group, Human Rights House Foundation, United Nations Watch, World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations and International Federation of Journalists. 

The Council also heard the presentation of the report on the human rights situation in Burundi by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, which detailed the tragic and comprehensive deterioration of human rights of the people of Burundi during the year following the political crisis of April 2015.  The perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, including extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and torture, were members of the security and intelligence forces, members of an armed element connected to the Imbonerakure, which itself was associated with the governing party, as well as other armed groups and individuals.  Almost 270,000 people fled the country and a further 100,000 were internally displaced.  The economy was in free-fall, squandering the development gains made during eight years of sustained growth.  There was a very real prospect of an escalation in ethnic violence.

Speakers in the interactive discussion echoed grave concern about the deteriorating human rights and security situation in Burundi, and about continuing acts of torture, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions.  Of particular concern were the hate speech against Tutsis and incidents of ethnically-based violence.  The worsening situation put severe limitations on the activities of civil society and human rights defenders, they said and warned that this grave situation could escalate into a conflict with great consequences.  Delegations expressed appreciation for the efforts of African States to end this crisis and, while welcoming the continued attention of the international community, asked what more they could do to effectively contribute to establishing accountability for human rights violations.  If the human rights situation did not improve by September, the Council should consider employing its other mechanisms in addressing the crisis, they said.

Taking part in the interactive dialogue were the European Union, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Senegal, Albania, Croatia, Angola, Cuba, Japan, and Belgium.

The Council will next meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to conclude its interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Burundi.  The Council will then hear the reports on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, and the oral update on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner, followed by a general debate on the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General.

Opening Statement

CHOI KYONG-LIM, President of the Human Rights Council, condemned the terrorist attacks that had taken place the day before in Istanbul, Turkey.  He extended his condolences to the families of the victims, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. 

Oral Presentation on Findings of Periodic Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine

IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said that the conflict in Ukraine had killed 9,449 persons, including up to 2,000 civilians.  Since mid-April, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe had observed an increase in heavy weaponry near the contact line, where the sides were getting closer.  There was a high risk of the re-escalation of wide-scale hostilities if urgent action was not taken to separate sides and remove heavy weaponry.  Mines, booby traps, and unexploded remnants of war continued to represent a major threat to civilians, and systemic coordination of mine action activities by all sides was strongly needed.  Many people were missing as a result of the conflict.  He called on the Government to establish an independent authority for tracing missing persons and identifying human remains, and insisted that cooperation between the Government and armed groups in establishing the fate of missing persons was critical. 

Continuing, Mr. Šimonović said that the human rights situation in Crimea had considerably deteriorated since the Russian Federation had extended its control over the territory.  Anti-extremism and anti-terrorism laws had been used to criminalize non-violent behaviour and stifle dissenting opinion, while the judicial and law enforcement systems had been instrumentalized to clamp down on opposition voices.  Worst affected were Crimean Tatars, whose main representatives body had been banned.  Mr. Šimonović urged the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to overturn this decision. 

The Assistant Secretary-General noted that this crisis had started with demands for human rights and freedoms, and that these demands remained today on either side of the contact line.  Limits to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association cast doubt on the prospects of holding free and fair elections in armed group-controlled areas.  In Government-controlled areas, there were also complaints about the curbing of civil and political rights, especially in the conflict zone.  Concerning the rule of law, Ukraine needed justice reform to strengthen the resolution of disputes, fight against corruption and address conflict related violations.  Without an independent judiciary, there could be no effective system of governance, public trust, justice and accountability.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had credible information of torture and ill-treatment both by armed groups and by the Security Services of Ukraine, Mr. Šimonović said, noting that independent international visits to all detention facilities were a precondition for a successful ‘all for all’ release, envisaged by the Minsk agreements.  He was also very concerned with the overall decrease of the standard of living and quality of social services in Ukraine, which particularly affected internally displaced persons and people in the conflict-affected areas, and about the deprivation of the population from humanitarian assistance.  The Government should investigate and provide remedies in relation to all incidents of damage, confiscation and looting of property, including by the Ukrainian armed forces, and establish a mechanism for restitution. 

Statement by the Concerned Country

Ukraine, speaking as the concerned country, expressed gratitude to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and its monitoring mission in Ukraine for assisting the country in improving the human rights situation.  Ukraine shared the view that the main prerequisite for the local elections in Donetsk and Luhansk regions was the restoration of the political and civil rights of local residents, and also agreed on the relevance of the Minsk agreements and their importance in stopping massive human rights violations.  The situation in the occupied Crimea was further deteriorating after the ban of the Mejlis and a rising wave of persecution that had followed, with abductions, illegal detentions, and limitation of freedom of expression and assembly becoming commonplace on the peninsula.  Ukraine stressed that all human rights violations, regardless of who had committed them and where, must not go unpunished and had already scrutinised possible abuses and violations committed by its Armed Forces.  Russia must cease acts of aggression against Ukraine, withdraw its Armed Forces from the Ukrainian territory, suspend the supply of arms and military equipment to illegal armed groups, abolish any acts aimed at legitimization of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and ensure its de-occupation.

Interactive Discussion on the Situation of Human Rights in Ukraine

Lithuania remained concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the affected areas, adding that the only solution toward sustainable peace was the cessation of hostilities and the implementation of the Minsk agreements.   European Union expressed concern about the human rights situation in Crimea following its illegal annexation and stressed that it was important that all parties implemented their obligations under the Minsk agreements, asking what was the major long-term impact for the human rights situation for people on the ground.  Germany expressed deep concern at ongoing human rights violations in eastern Ukraine, where civilians faced ill-treatment and civil society organizations suffered violations of freedom of expression.  All sides were urged to take concrete steps that would lead to a complete ceasefire under the Minsk agreements. 

Russian Federation expressed alarm at information about systematic violations of human rights by the Security Service of Ukraine “SBU” and other law enforcement bodies of Ukraine, adding that the “SBU” was arbitrarily detaining people it had abducted and subjecting them to torture, and that mercenary battalions remained un-investigated.  Estonia expressed deep concern about human rights abuses in separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine and continued to urge that full access be granted to monitoring missions, also noting that among the more worrisome violations was conflict-related sexual violence.  All violations should be investigated and prosecutors punished.  Poland said that for two years, the international community had followed a fragile situation after the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation.  The full implementation of the Minsk agreements was key to assuring respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

United States said that it was important to recall that Russia’s aggression and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which had begun with the occupation of Crimea more than two years ago, were the root cause of this crisis.  Which further steps would the monitoring mission take to document human rights violations against the Crimean Tartar population?  United Kingdom expressed concern about the ongoing deadly consequences of the crisis in Ukraine, lack of improvement in the humanitarian situation, incidents of sexual violence and the systematic undermining of the human rights of three million people in eastern Ukraine by separatists.  Short of implementing the Minsk agreements, what could be done to improve the human rights situation of the population in the occupied territories?  Norway called on Russia and the rebels to allow full and unobstructed access for humanitarian actors to occupied areas, and welcomed the recent judicial reforms in Ukraine.  Norway was concerned about information on illegal places of detention in the occupied areas. 

Austria continued to be concerned about the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine under the control of separatist groups, which blatantly violated human rights and fundamental freedoms, and asked for clarification about the laws applicable in the illegally annexed Crimea.  The impact of gender and sexual violence was devastating, noted Spain and asked how the victims could be encouraged to come forward and report the violations.  Sweden spoke about the immense suffering of the civilian population caught in this crisis and stressed that the international community had to keep its attention on this crisis and had the responsibility to stand for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  Attention must remain on the human rights situation in Ukraine and that was why the role of the monitoring mission was crucial.

Romania strongly denounced the violations of human rights and humanitarian law, in particular against women, girls and the elderly, and urged the parties to ensure the protection of civilians.  Romania said that international monitors should be allowed to visit Crimea, which was an integral part of Ukraine.  Australia remained concerned about ongoing violations of the ceasefire, and expressed concerns about the use of indiscriminate weaponry.  Australia reiterated its support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, in line with General Assembly resolution 68/262.  Netherlands particularly regretted that the conflict continued to have a high level impact on civilians, and called on all parties to ensure full access to humanitarian agencies, and to engage in a comprehensive de-mining effort.  Netherlands was concerned about the situation of minorities in Ukraine’s Crimea, and about the situation of political prisoners held in Russia.

Council of Europe underlined the importance of a constitutional reform in Ukraine, and recognized that the ongoing conflict in the east and the illegal annexation of Crimea had created challenges in addressing the needs of internally displaced persons.  Latvia remained concerned that the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission continued to be refused access to certain armed group-controlled areas, and particularly regretted harassment and discrimination against minorities in Crimea by the de facto authorities.  Georgia underlined Russia’s responsibility and called on Moscow to comply with the Minsk agreements, and reiterated the need for full and unhindered access to international monitors to all the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea. 

Ireland said that the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Government of Ukraine was an important contribution toward reform, adding that arbitrary detention and other human rights violations undermined the Minsk agreements. Finland said that without a sustainable ceasefire, it was difficult to implement the Minsk agreements, and expressed concern that anti-terrorism laws had been used to criminalise non-violent behaviour and stifle dissident voices.  Albania expressed regret that the continuation of the conflict had led to widely-felt restrictions on a number of rights, including the freedom of movement, as well as concern at the deterioration of the human rights situation throughout the conflict area. 

Japan said it was regrettable that there had been civilian casualties from land mines, and added that it was important that the international community continued to pay attention to the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula and that those areas continued to be held to international human rights standards.  Czech Republic expressed alarm at human rights abuses taking place in detention facilities and deplored systematic human rights abuses targeting Tatars, adding that the de facto authorities should grant unhindered access to international observers to the peninsula.  Denmark said the conflict was severely impacting the daily life of civilians, and called for the right to freedom of assembly to be respected, also joining the European Union in calling on Russia to respect its commitments and obligations and release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

Switzerland stressed the importance of a proper assessment of violations and abuses of human rights in Ukraine and called upon all parties to provide access to the monitoring mission to all areas, including occupied ones.  Switzerland was alarmed by the impunity that perpetrators of human rights violations enjoyed, and by reports on the existence of places of illegal detention and of torture and ill-treatment.  Canada urged the de facto authorities in occupied Crimea to ensure respect for religious rights and freedoms and asked how international mechanisms could be used to provide an objective view of the human rights situation on the ground in Crimea.  New Zealand was troubled by reports of enforced disappearances, illegal detention and torture and that the calls for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry were not yet been heeded.  The international community had not lost sight of the unlawful annexation of Crimea two and a half years ago. 

Turkey remained deeply concerned by human rights violations and abuses in eastern Ukraine and in the occupied Crimea, in particular the violation of religious rights and freedoms of Crimean Tartars, and about violence against and harassment of human rights defenders, including enforced disappearances.  China supported efforts to promote peace and sincerely hoped that the parties would cherish the progress achieved and honour their responsibilities from the Minsk agreements.  Even though the intensity of hostilities had been reduced, the human rights violations and abuses by armed groups in eastern Ukraine remained of concern, said France and called for prompt investigations in all cases of torture and ill-treatment.  France was also concerned about the suppression of human rights in the occupied Crimea, particularly the human rights violations against Crimean Tatars.  Iceland was deeply concerned about grave human rights violations that continued in eastern Ukraine and the conflict-related sexual violence as methods of torture and ill-treatment.  Russia and the separatists must end the fighting in eastern Ukraine and implement the Minsk agreements, and Russia must immediately end its illegal occupation of Crimea.

International Association of Democratic Lawyers regretted the lack of impartiality and the selectivity of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in assessing the situation in Ukraine, and specifically the fact that the report did not mention far-right extremism and intimidation against politicians and journalists in the country.  Minority Rights Group was concerned about violations of the collective right to representation of the Crimean Tatars, as well as cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances against prominent Tatar leaders by the de facto authorities.  The international community should call on the Russian Federation to drop all politically-motivated charges against Tatars.  Human Rights House Foundation said that the de facto authorities in Crimea continued to curtail freedom of expression and assembly, and misused the judicial system to harass minority leaders and activists.  It also expressed concern about the lack of accountability for abuses perpetrated in Odessa.

United Nations Watch remained concerned about the deterioration of the human rights situation in Russian-occupied Crimea and in the eastern part of Ukraine, and called upon the Council to take steps to address restrictions on freedom of expression and discriminatory measures against Tatars in Crimea.  World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations called for further efforts to ensure that serious human rights violations and war crimes were being punished, and demanded that armed groups supported by Russia opened the territories they controlled to international monitors and humanitarian agencies.  International Federation of Journalists was concerned about media freedom in Ukraine, particularly in armed group-occupied areas and in Crimea, where journalists had been arbitrarily detained.  In Ukraine, the authorities had also restricted access to Russian journalists.  Restrictions on media freedom should be addressed by the Council.  

Concluding Remarks on Ukraine

IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said that access to some parts of eastern Ukraine continued to be denied, but assured that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would continue distant monitoring nonetheless.  Responding to the European Union, he said that many violations, including attacks against civilians, torture and curtailing of fundamental freedoms, as well as the deprivation of social benefits, had far-reaching and long-term effects.  These violations were deepening the gap between populations living in conflict-affected areas and populations living elsewhere, and the point of no-return would be reached at some point.  Turning to questions raised by the United States and the United Kingdom, he said that it would be crucial to go forward with the implementation of the Minsk agreements and to resume dialogue.  The Minsk package provided directions, and what was needed was a clear timeline with benchmarks relating to the respect of human rights.  With regard to elections in local areas, he said that security for people to express their opinions was a prerequisite. 

With regard to the issue of compensation for damage to properties, he said that he was encouraged that the Government had announced legal changes that would enable individuals to apply for compensation, including for damage caused by Ukrainian forces.  Internally displaced persons with disabilities faced different challenges depending on whether they were in Government-controlled or armed group-controlled areas.  In the latter, the gravest problem they faced was the lack of accessible humanitarian aid.  In Government-controlled areas, persons with disabilities faced a variety of accessibility issues.  The United Nations regularly communicated on threats in eastern Ukraine.  Everyone feeling threatened could reach local United Nations staff, and the United Nations would contact relevant stakeholders.  Special Procedures mechanisms could provide important insight on the situation on the ground, but full and unhindered access was still needed.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, when confronted with human rights challenges, remained impartial.  It sided with the victims regardless of which side they were on. 

Documentation

The Council has before it Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 30/27 - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Burundi (A/HRC/32/30).

Presentation of Report of the High Commissioner on Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building for Burundi in the Field of Human Rights

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that his Office’s report was based on the work of the staff based in Bujumbura, Bujumbura Rural, Gitega, Makamba and Ngozi, as well as on the information provided by other human rights actors and by the authorities.  The report detailed the tragic and comprehensive deterioration of human rights of the people of Burundi during the year following the political crisis of April 2015.  The violations included extrajudicial killings, murder, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and other forms of ill treatment, including sexual violence.  The perpetrators of those human rights violations and abuses reportedly were members of the security and intelligence forces, members of an armed element connected to the Imbonerakure, which itself was associated with the governing party, as well as other armed groups and individuals. 

The latest figures from 20 June 2016 indicated that almost 270,000 people had been forced to flee Burundi.  A further 100,000 people had been displaced within the country.  Checkpoints and the fear of violence severely curtailed movement throughout Burundi, particularly in neighbourhoods in Bujumbura which were perceived as supportive of the opposition, and which had been repeatedly locked down for security sweeps.  Since June 2015 persons traveling to and from neighbouring countries were at a high risk of arrest and detention under suspicion of attempting to join a rebel group.  The economy was in free-fall, squandering the development gains made during eight years of sustained growth.  Violence severely impeded access to employment, education, health services and other fundamental rights. 

Since February 2016, the Government had taken some positive steps to resolve a limited number of issues.  International arrest warrants had been suspended for 15 members of civil society, members of the opposition, and media workers.  Two radio stations had been able to reopen, and the suspension of the activities of one non-governmental had been lifted.  Following the visit of the Secretary-General, a number of detainees had been released, and 47 people arrested in the context of demonstrations against the third mandate of President Nkurunziza had been provisionally released following their trial. However, hundreds of people remained in jail because of their real or perceived opposition to the Government.  Cases of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture continued unabated.  Furthermore, there was a very real prospect of an escalation in ethnic violence.  In the past six weeks a number of members of the defunct Armed Forces of Burundi had been murdered, possibly because of their Tutsi ethnicity.  The High Commissioner urged for an end to the violations of human rights that were devastating the lives, hopes and future of the people of the country, and for the resolution of the crisis through a truly inclusive national dialogue.


Statement by the Concerned Country

Burundi, speaking as the concerned country, began by offering condolences to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Turkey.  The Government of Burundi deplored that the report had kept silent on some events which had occurred prior to the period under review.  It was underlined that in order to have the same reading of the Burundi problem and not just that conveyed by certain international actors through a vast campaign of calumny, it should be noted that a terrorist-supported group had tried toppling the Government in Burundi.  Rwanda had trained killing machines.  Belgium’s role, Burundi’s former colonisers, should not be ignored either.  Belgium had sown division in Burundi and sparked conflict between Hutus and Tutsis.  

The Burundian Government found the report unbalanced and not credible because it was only based on confidential information which could be manipulated.  It tried to attribute all the country’s problems to the “Imbonerakure” youth, which was a wing of the ruling party.  The scandalous and surprising report did not mention young people who had tried to sow chaos in the country after being trained and armed. 

Interactive Dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights in Burundi

European Union remained concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi, where arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment by the army, police and national security service were on the rise.  What specific measures could be taken to bring the national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles?  The political crisis in Burundi was very deep, said Republic of Korea and echoed concern about ethnically-based hate speech against Tutsis and about persecution, harassment and violence against civil society.  This grave situation could escalate into a conflict of great consequences.  United Kingdom welcomed the continued international attention on Burundi, and expressed concern about the grave human cost of this crisis, including 500 deaths, 1,700 arbitrary arrests and 20 enforced disappearances, as well as tens of thousands internally displaced and 260,000 refugees.  The United Kingdom asked for an update on the deployment of nine human rights monitors which had been scheduled in April 2016.

Canada asked which specific actions should Burundi undertake to demonstrate its commitment to ending the human rights violations.  Estonia remained concerned by the deteriorating security situation and the escalation of violence, and in particular about the arrests of school children, the use of torture, extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances, and sexual and gender-based violence.  Germany expressed appreciation for the efforts of African States to end this crisis, and also expressed concern about the limitations on the activities of civil society and human rights defenders.  If the human rights situation did not improve by September, the Council should consider employing other mechanisms at its disposal.

Norway expressed concern over continued violence in Burundi and credible reports about human rights violations committed by State and non-State actors.  Violence could only be stopped through an inclusive dialogue.  Portugal voiced extreme concern over the escalation of violence in Burundi.  The fact that some of those violations were ethnically motivated was even more worrying.  It urged all parties to stop all forms of violence.  Switzerland reiterated its strong concern over continued violence in Burundi, most of which was committed by the security and defence forces.  How could the international community contribute effectively to establish accountability for human rights violations in Burundi? 

Spain expressed serious concern over some 10,000 documented cases of sexual violence in Burundi, as well as torture committed by security forces.  It urged the authorities to protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.  Greece remained deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi, and it commended the Council’s decision to establish the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi in December 2015 tasked to investigate human rights violations and abuses in the country and to engage in a dialogue with the authorities and other relevant actors.  Senegal noted the substantial improvement of the situation in Burundi.  However, the situation remained fragile and required the commitment of all involved parties.  It called on all parties to prioritize dialogue and cooperation. 


Albania expressed strong support for the creation of prerequisites and legal mechanisms to protect and improve the human rights situation in Burundi.  Croatia condemned violence used as a political tool by any group to achieve certain ends, and recommended that the Burundian Government fight impunity and bring all perpetrators to justice.  Angola urged the international community to grant humanitarian assistance to Burundian refugees and noted that remarkable progress had been achieved.  Cuba noted the report of the High Commissioner and its assessment of the situation in Burundi, and added that it was vital that the international community’s support continued to be underpinned by constructive dialogue.  Japan sought the Burundian Government’s constructive cooperation for the dispatch of the United Nations police contribution currently under discussion in the Security Council.  Belgium said the cycle of violence described in the report was of great concern, and noted that there was an increasing role of the “Imbonerakure”.  The question was asked which measures were necessary to reduce ethnic tensions, which seemed to be on the rise, especially within the army.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC16/100E