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African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on the attack on a refugee camp by Burkinabé security forces in Burkina Faso

The Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) and Commissioner Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burkina Faso, Honourable Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel, is deeply dismayed by the recent attack perpetrated by Burkinabé security forces on 2 May 2020 on the Mentao refugee camp housing Malian refugees in Burkina Faso.

The Special Rapporteur is greatly concerned about the violence against Malian refugees following a search operation conducted by the security forces.She deplores, in particular, the use of truncheons against men and children and the ultimatum for refugees to leave the camp within 72 hours. As a result of this violence, 32 people were injured, some of whom are in serious condition.

The Special Rapporteur takes note of the Government of Burkina Faso’s decision to take responsibility and the denial of the allegation that an ultimatum was given for the refugees to leave the camp. She however reiterates the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ call to move the refugees to another camp for greater security.

The Special Rapporteur would also like to underscore that the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa recognizes the need for an essentially humanitarian approach towards solving the problems of refugees.

She therefore emphasizes the need to respect the civilian nature of refugee camps, as well as the urgent need to open an investigation into the unfortunate incident in order to determine responsibilities.

Banjul, 15 May 2020


Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel

Commissioner for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Republic of Burkina Faso and Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa