Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands - Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

43rd Human Rights Council – Palais des Nations Geneva

Madam President,

We align ourselves with the EU statement.

We welcome President Nkurunziza’s decision not to participate in the 2020 elections and the fact that some members of the opposition in exile have been able to return to Burundi.

However, the overall human rights situation in Burundi remains of deep concern. The level of arbitrary arrests and killings of political opposition members, the general climate of intimidation and the persistent impunity is increasingly worrisome.

We call on the authorities to guarantee press freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, and to take the measures necessary to ensure that foreign and domestic NGOs can operate freely. We call on the government to revoke its decision to declare members of the CoI Personae Non Gratae.

Concrete steps by the Burundian authorities to credibly address these and other human rights issues would help the Netherlands to gain the necessary trust in the viability of the normalisation of our relation with Burundi. In this context, we are in favor of having a dialogue between the Burundian authorities and the EU heads of delegation in Bujumbura.

Peaceful and credible elections, monitored by the international community, have the potential to reshape the relations of Burundi with the rest of the world.

Chair, Mr Diène,

Do you see see significant developments regarding the risk factors you identified in September?