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UN council passes rough resolution on Burundi

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By Robert Mugabe (UN- HQ’s, Geneva)

UN Human Rights council today passed the resolution calling upon the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and take action on human rights abuses and fight impunity for crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court.

The council decides to create for a period of one year a commission of inquiry.

The resolution also calls on the government to end extrajudicial killings, and show the steps taken by the Burundi to withdraw some bans on media and civil society organizations, to cancel some arrest warrants and to release a number of detainees, calls for the immediate end to all extrajudicial killings and all other human rights violations and abuses, and urges the Government to authorize all media outlets to resume freely their activities, and to release all political prisoners.

Resolution also calls on members of the Human Rights Council to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, reiterates its urgent call to the Government of Burundi to be mindful of these standards; and notes the importance of cooperation with international human rights mechanisms as part of those efforts.

The resolution also warns the government of Burundi that  inflammatory statements by public officials that it could constitute an incitement to violence.

Also calls upon Government of Burundi to cooperate with the regionally led mediation to enable it to immediately convene an inclusive and genuine inter-Burundian dialogue involving all concerned and peaceful stakeholders, both those who are in Burundi and those outside the country, including the meaningful participation of women, in order to reach a consensual and nationally owned solution that would aim to preserve peace, strengthen democracy and ensure the enjoyment of human rights for all in Burundi.

Invites the Government of Burundi to respect its commitment, expressed in its letter to the President of the Security Council on 15 July 2016, to facilitate without delay the deployment of a United Nations police component, including 228 United Nations police officers, as foreseen by the Security Council in its resolution 2303 (2016), and urges the Government to guarantee unhindered access by United Nations staff to detention centres and detainees;

Calls upon the Burundian authorities to ensure equitable political processes and to enable the holding of free, fair and transparent democratic elections;

Welcomes and supports the ongoing efforts made at the regional and subregional levels, including by the East African Community and the Peace and Security Commission of the African Union, to monitor the situation of human rights in Burundi and to contribute to its improvement;

Welcomes the work of the African Union human rights observers deployed in Burundi, and encourages a full deployment of all observers as soon as possible;

Expresses its deep concern about the difficult situation of the more than 295,000 Burundians who have fled to neighbouring countries and of some 100,000 internally displaced persons, and welcomes the efforts of host countries;

To conduct a thorough investigation into human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015, including on their extent and whether they may constitute international crimes, with a view to contributing to the fight against impunity;

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