On 9th August 2017 the lower chamber of Parliament in Burundi, the National Assembly, adopted the bill on the setting up of the National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.
The observatory is responsible for monitoring the development of Burundian society from the perspectives of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity. Its tasks will be to propose legislation that will prevent these crimes from being repeated, policies that will help rehabilitate victims, implement a program of awareness raising and education for peace and national reconciliation. It will also suggest measures for combating impunity.
However, nearly two weeks after this bill was passed, an independent panel from the United Nations revealed that the human rights situation in Burundi has not improved since June 2016.
Fatsah Ouguergouz, head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, has stated that according to over 470 testimonies with people inside Burundi and in exile, alleged human rights abuses in the Great Lakes state are continuing to take place.
Mr. Ouguergouz has stated that “Since last June, where the Commission made its oral declaration at the Human Rights Council, we received no sign of a positive evolution of the situation in Burundi, in particular as far as the restriction to certain freedoms are concerned.”
The Commission is following up on reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and sexual violence. The findings will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next month.
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www.iwacu-burundi.org – 8th August 2017
www.un.org – 21st August 2017
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