Burundi: The African Union decides to open an investigation into the human rights violations

Press release
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(Bujumbura, Paris) FIDH, ITEKA and LDGL welcome the decision of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union to open an investigation into human rights violations in Burundi and the other measures envisaged by the PSC to ensure the protection of civilians. Our organizations, which had underlined the emergency of such measures, are calling upon their their immediate implementation.

.“The extent and the severity of violence that continue to be perpetrated in Burundi needed an emergency and major action, especially from the African Union. We welcome this takeover,AU by the of the management of this political and security crisis in Burundi and urge the need for the quickest investigation possible and for the rapid deployment of observers. " declared FIDH,

League Iteka, LDGL.

FIDH, ITEKA and LDGL who recently denounced the extent of violence in Burundi, urged the international community, including the African Union, to take emergency measures to boost the recovery of political dialogue, to investigate on the crimes committed during the recent weeks and to make sure that the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, and enable targeted sanctions mechanisms. Decisions taken by the AU PSC are in line with the recommendations given by our organizations.

While, denouncing the "growing insecurity and the continued rise in violence in Burundi, as well as the increased cases of human rights abuses", the PSC has decided to open a " agrees an in‐depth investigation on the violations of human rights and other abuses against civilian populations in Burundi". The Council also decided "to increase the number of human rights observers and military experts deployed by the AU in Burundi [and to] bring it rapidly to a total of one hundred [...] including a police component" and requested the "monthly reports on the human rights situation and acts of violence."

Regarding the investigation of violations committed in the country, FIDH, ITEKA and LDGL call upon the PSC to ensure that investigators have enough material and human resources for their action. The subject-matter jurisdiction of this investigation survey should be extended to the whole territory and pay particular attention to cases of summary and extra-judicial executions, targeted assassinations, arbitrary arrests and detentions, allegations of torture and attacks against human rights defenders and journalists, as well as barriers to their action. In this context, the protection of witnesses and victims must be guaranteed. ask that the investigation Concerning its temporal jurisdiction, our organizations covers the events that occurred even during the pre-election period, during which the FIDH and ITEKA had been able to document and expose a large number of political abuses. The CPS will also have to ensure to make public the outcome of the investigation and to require that perpetrators are prosecuted and tried before the competent, independent and impartial courts. In the meanwhile, our organizations reiterate their call for the deployment of human rights observers throughout the territory, theirfor access to the material and human resources necessary for their action and for the regular publication of the results of their investigations.

The PSC also decided to impose sanctions consistent with the recommendations of our organizations. Indeed, it expected to "impose impose targeted sanctions, including travel ban and asset freeze, against all the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation of violence and impede the search for a solution” and requested to the AU Commission to " take the necessary measures to ensure that members of the defense and security forces involved in human rights violations and other acts of violence do not take part in AU-led peace support operations. " For our organizations, in the absence of any rapid improvement of the security situation, the AU will have to consider adding to its sanctions the suspension of Burundi from its decision-making bodies in accordance with the texts of the AU.

Politically, while stating the current political dead end, the PSC provides for the convening of an inter-Burundian dialogue "to find a consensual solution to the current crisis." Our organizations welcome this commitment of the AU to encourage a resumption of political dialogue and call for the establishment of an inclusive dialogue, that ensure the effective participation of independent human rights organization and compliance with the Arusha Accords. Independent media, especially the radio-stations banned, should be allowed to operate again to take part in this dialogue.


By forcing his way into a third term of office, President Nkurunziza has deeply divided Burundi just when the country was trying to build a democracy after the bloody civil war that killed close to 300,000 people between 1993 and 2005. In their fact-finding report “Avoiding an explosion in Burundi” from May 2015, FIDH and ITEKA referred to the current political violence and the risk of escalated violence if no political solution was found very quickly to the crisis.

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