Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Universal Periodic Review of Burundi – 15th Session
Statement by Australia
24 January 2013

The Government of Australia commends Burundi’s engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process and its progress since the last review in 2008, including establishment of the National Independent Human Rights Commission (CNIDH) and improvements to the Criminal Code.

 Australia welcomes reports that the number of political killings has decreased in the last year. However, we remain concerned about continuing reports of torture and extrajudicial executions, including by intelligence and security services. Australia recommends that Burundi conduct prompt and full investigations into extrajudicial executions and political killings and ensure that those responsible are prosecuted and afforded a fair trial free of political interference.

Australia recommends that Burundi extend invitations and provide access to UN Special Procedures mandate-holders, including the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on the Use of Torture, in order to help Burundi identify and address human rights challenges.

Australia also recommends that Burundi implement the recommendations of the Committee Against Torture in its 2006 Concluding Observations for Burundi, and ratify the CAT's Optional Protocol.

Australia welcomes Burundi’s efforts to address overcrowding in prisons and detention centres. We recommend that Burundi take further steps to ensure the conditions of detention centres and prisons meet domestic and international standards, and implement measures to reduce prolonged pre-trial detention.

Australia acknowledges the important part played by civil society, journalists and opposition parties in Burundi, including their role in enlarging the space for democratic debate and governance. We recommend that Burundi strengthen and improve press freedom and freedom of speech, including in its consideration of draft laws currently before the National Assembly, noteably the revised press law and law on public gatherings.