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UN Human Rights Committee Regrets Burundi’s Withdrawal From Public Dialogue

GENEVA (3 July 2023) – The UN Human Rights Committee has expressed deep regret that the dialogue with Burundi to examine the implementation of civil and political rights in the country could not take place as planned. The Committee decided to continue its review in the absence of the delegation from Burundi.

The public dialogue was scheduled for today and tomorrow to discuss a range of issues concerning Burundi’s 3rd periodic country report. Moments before the dialogue with the Committee was due to begin, the delegation indicated that it would not participate in the meeting in the presence of certain human rights activists. These activists, according to the State party’s communiqué delivered to the Committee today, were convicted criminals posing as civil society members.

The Committee informed the delegation that individuals who had been duly accredited by the UN Human Rights Office cannot be excluded from a public meeting. The delegation decided to withdraw.

“We were looking forward to continuing the constructive dialogue. The last time Burundi appeared before us was in 2014, and we are aware that many important developments have occurred since then,” said Tania Maria Abdo Rocholl, Chair of the Committee.

“We deeply regret that the delegation decided to withdraw, rather than present the State’s position on the improvements, challenges and critical issues that we are mandated to discuss with them. By doing so, the Government of Burundi has deprived itself of the opportunity to engage with the Committee and provide further information on the issues raised,” she added.

Following Rule 68 of its Rules of Procedure, the Committee proceeded to conduct the report in the absence of the delegation. The Committee stressed that the delegation of Burundi retains the possibility to submit responses to the questions posed by Committee members within 48 hours.

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