24: Resolution on Burundi

The African Commission at its 19th Ordinary Session held from 26th March to 4th April at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso:

Extremely concerned with the serious human rights violations and abuses occurring in Burundi, especially extra-judicial executions by some members of the security forces, armed gangs and militias,

Considering that impunity is one of the main causes of the worsening human rights situation in Burundi,

Considering that the independence of the judiciary is the corner stone of the effective struggle against human rights violations in general and impunity in particular,

Concerned with the plight of refugees and displaced persons and their vulnerability to human rights violations and abuses,

Considering that the Burundi crisis is made worse by the hate media and that the high point of the massage of hatred was reached with the launching of “Radio Démocratie la voix du peuple”,

1. Urges the government of Burundi to:

a) conduct transparent and impartial investigations into all human rights violations and abuses;

b) take the necessary steps to guarantee the independence of the judiciary by ensuring, inter alia, that there is no interference in its functioning by the executive and that judges and magistrates are protected in the carrying out of their duty;

c) ensure that persons accused of human rights violations and abuses are tried in compliance with international fair trial standards;

d) improve the living conditions of refugees and displaced persons, ensure their safety and security and create conditions to enable them to return to their homes in collaboration with International Governmental and Non- Governmental Organisations;

e) allow the Mission International d’Observation au Burundi (MIOB), human rights monitors and Special Rapporteurs from the United Nations, African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and other international bodies freedom of movement throughout the country and take adequate and effective steps to guarantee their safety and security without compromising their independence;

2. Further urges the government of Burundi and the concerned political parties to respect the spirit and letter of the Government Agreement which they signed in 1994 in the supreme national interest of Burundi;

3. Calls upon the OAU to strengthen MIOB and include human rights monitoring in its mandate;

4. Requests the UN to provide adequate resources to enable its Commission of inquiry sent to Burundi to function efficiently and to complete its task as soon as possible;

5. Calls upon the international community to assist the government of Burundi and neighbouring countries to rid the region of media which propagate hatred and fuel communal conflict in Burundi especially the Radio Station “Radio Démocratie la voix du Peuple” or “RUTOMORANGINGO”;

6. Decides to involve itself more in efforts to resolve the crisis affecting Burundi by, among other things, sending a mission to Burundi and participating actively in the process of national reconciliation.