OHCHR expresses concern about fate of human rights defenders in Burundi

May 16, 2015

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued the following statement after the failed coup d’etat in Burundi:

“We are very concerned by developments in Burundi over the past two days, and call on all armed forces and non-state actors to refrain from taking actions which may endanger the lives of civilians and to ensure their protection from the effects of conflict. There is a clear risk that the instability may be prolonged, or even made worse, if there are violent reprisals.

We have received reports of numerous attacks on both private and state media with radio and television stations destroyed, endangering the lives of the journalists who were still inside them at the time. We call for a re-opening of all media outlets and the respect of the independence of journalists. There is also an urgent need to ensure the safety of human rights defenders and journalists. To give just one example, one of Burundi’s most prominent human rights defenders, Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa [Laureate of the MEA in 2007 – ed], has had to go into hiding after receiving death threats.

Those who incite or engage in acts of mass violence are liable to be prosecuted by competent judicial bodies, as reflected in the recent statement by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

We are also very concerned that political instability and reports of intimidation of civilians could result in an even greater humanitarian crisis. There is a significant increase of refugees fleeing Burundi to neighbouring countries, with reports of rapidly deteriorating sanitary conditions in some locations where large numbers of refugees have gathered, such as Kagunga in Tanzania.”

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/high-commissioner-leaves-burundi-and-the-repression-goes-up/

via OHCHR PRESS BRIEFING NOTE – (1) South East Asia / migrants boats (2) Burundi (3) International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia » Press releases » News – StarAfrica.com – News – StarAfrica.com.

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