Remarks at a UN Third Committee Dialogue with Doudou Diene, Chair, Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

Jason Mack
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 24, 2019


The United States thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its work, and regrets the Government of Burundi’s continued refusal to acknowledge the Commission’s mandate.

For the third year in a row, the COI has documented credible reports of violations and abuses of human rights and reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity continue to be committed in Burundi. Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, and sexual violence are reported as taking place in a climate of impunity.

The Government’s continued refusal to acknowledge these issues or engage constructively with international and regional human rights mechanisms, and its efforts to obstruct human rights observers’ ability to obtain accurate information, is particularly troubling. We urge the Government to allow human rights observers unhindered access, so they may document the situation on the ground accurately.

The Government of Burundi must ensure that the upcoming elections are genuinely free and fair. It is the Government’s responsibility to see that elections proceed without violence against civilians, and are free from extortion, threats, and harassment. Only credible elections will allow Burundi to break from its history of cyclical violence and move forward on the path to peace, security, and development.

We urge the Government to ensure all those in Burundi, including civil society organizations and the press, regardless of political affiliation, can make their voices heard and participate in determining the future of their country without undue government interference or harassment.

How can the international community strengthen engagement with Burundi in advance of the elections?