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CPJ, rights groups call on EU to uphold Burundi human rights commitments, including press freedom

By Committee to Protect Journalists
Burundi In this February 3, 2016 photo, policemen and soldiers patrol the streets after a grenade attack of Burundi's capital Bujumbura. CPJ and human rights groups are calling on the EU to uphold human rights benchmarks set in 2016 when the EU suspended direct financial support to the country in the wake of the 2015 political crisis. (Reuters/Jean Pierre Aime Harerimama)
JUN 21, 2021 LISTEN
In this February 3, 2016 photo, policemen and soldiers patrol the streets after a grenade attack of Burundi's capital Bujumbura. CPJ and human rights groups are calling on the EU to uphold human rights benchmarks set in 2016 when the EU suspended direct financial support to the country in the wake of the 2015 political crisis. (Reuters/Jean Pierre Aime Harerimama)

The Committee to Protect Journalists and other human rights groups today called on European Union High Representative Josep Borrell and EU foreign ministers in a letter to uphold benchmarks set in 2016 when the EU suspended direct financial support to the Burundian government over its failure to protect human rights, democratic principles, and the rule of law in the wake of the country’s 2015 political crisis.

These benchmarks, according to the Council of the European Union’s 2016 decision, included an end to the intimidation of journalists, the prosecution of perpetrators of violence against journalists, and the assurance that journalists are able to work in complete safety in the country.

The EU must now use its leverage to seek guarantees from the authorities that all journalists can operate freely and safely in Burundi, and call for effective investigations into the 2016 disappearance of Iwacu journalist Jean Bigirimana as well as other serious abuses of press freedom, the letter said.

Read the full letter here.

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