The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 40 other civil society organizations in calling on member and observer states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to extend for a year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.
In a letter to the council, CPJ and the other signatories note that the human rights situation in Burundi has deteriorated markedly since 2015, and that the government has been “responsible for gross, widespread, and systematic human rights violations.”
The country has become particularly hostile for journalists, as authorities use intimidation tactics to muzzle the press, according to CPJ research. At least one journalist, Jean Bigirimana, has been missing since 2016. The government has indefinitely suspended the U.S.-Congress funded Voice of America and revoked the operating license of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), CPJ has documented.
The signatories argue that the work of the Commission of Inquiry, “the only mechanism to monitor and publicly report on the situation in Burundi,” is particularly crucial in the run-up to elections in 2020, when political tensions will be heightened and may be matched by a “rise in human rights violations.”