Burundi: CNIDH loses its grade A independence status

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On 26 January 2018, the United Nations’ decision to downgrade the status of Burundi’s Independent National Human Rights Commission (CNIDH) became effective.

In May 2016, the UN had undertaken a special review of the accreditation status of the CNIDH, at the request of the FIDH and its member organisation in Burundi, the ITEKA League. Since April 2015 and the beginning of the crisis in Burundi, the CNIDH has sought to minimise or even ignore the crimes committed by the regime in power, and its president has led a campaign against the independent civil society, particularly to prevent the work of human rights defenders.

The CNIDH, which is supposed to defend and promote human rights in Burundi independently, has hitherto enjoyed A status, that is, the highest label of independence vis-à-vis the authorities in power conferred by the UN. It was downgraded to B status because the United Nations found that it no longer fully respected its mandate as an independent institution for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Our organisations welcome this decision by the SCA to downgrade the CNIDH and call on this institution to commit itself resolutely to protect and promote human rights in Burundi, in particular by documenting, reporting and taking an independent stand against serious violations committed in the country.

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