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Burkina Faso

Adopted in 2017, the law contains several rights in the Model Law, albeit in a simpler form. There are obligations on the State, but not all in the Model Law. It includes criminal sanctions for crimes committed against human rights defenders. While the law itself doesn’t create a protection mechanism, one was established through the law establishing the NHRI.

Law N° 039-2017/AN, on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Complemented by:
Content of the National Mechanism for the Protection of human rights defenders (MNPDDH) Order

Type of instrument: Law
Status: (as of 1 January 2022)
Adopted on 27 June 2017.

Comments on the instrument:

The Law contains several of the rights enshrined in the Model Law, albeit in a simpler way, without going into detail as to what each right entails. While certain rights are not explicitly enunciated, some of their elements are referenced (e.g. there is no explicit mention of the rights to privacy or freedom of movement, but the law contemplates sanctions for harassing or arbitrarily detaining a human rights defender). There are obligations on the State, however, no explicit mention is made of obligations to facilitate the work of human rights defenders or to protect their rights. The Law includes sanctions for crimes committed against human rights defenders, which is a pioneering aspect that is in line with Section 30 of the Model Law. 

While the law did not create a protection mechanism, it was created by the NHRI through one of its Orders. The mechanism includes human rights defenders in its work, and it has a broad set of functions to protect them. However, some powers of the mechanism are expressed broadly, as compared to the specificities in the Model Law, this could operate to the detriment of human rights defenders. In addition, the Order does not contemplate independent reviews of the mechanism’s functioning, and the fact that the mechanism was created by an NHRI Order, and not a law or presidential decree, could make it more susceptible to restriction.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict human rights defenders’ rights?
No.

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on Burkina Faso, click here.

A selection of fundamental rights for human rights defenders incorporated in the instrument (as compared to the Model Law):

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

4, 5

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

3, 6

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

6

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

FULL

6

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

6, 9

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations

PART

5, 6

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

5, 8

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

6

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

5, 6

Right to freedom of movement

PART

21, 22

Right to Privacy

PART

13, 18, 20

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

7, 23

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

12, 19, 20

State obligations regarding human rights defenders in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders

PART

10, 12

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 

PART

17, 20

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

12, 15, 16, 17

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

14, 19-28

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
The mechanism is developed in the NHRI’s ‘MNPDDH Order’. This built on article 15 of the implementation decree of the NHRI law which confers the responsibility to protect human rights defenders through the establishment of sub-committees, with the permanent sub-committee on civil and political rights having a specific mandate to ensure the protection of human rights defenders.

Provision

Covered?

Articles

Cooperation with human rights defenders, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

3, 11, 14

Training of mechanism’s personnel on human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

8, 9

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSOs on the functioning of the Mechanism

NONE

 

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

5, 14, 18-26

Public acknowledgement of human rights defenders’ work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

PART

11

Disseminate information on protection programmes for human rights defenders, Mechanism’s work

PART

11

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practices to protect human rights defenders

PART

11

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against human rights defenders

PART

11

Granting of protective measures based off a specific risk assessment

NONE

 

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

NONE

 

Confidentiality and personal data protection

NONE

 

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of human rights defenders, advising government on laws and policies related to human rights defenders) 

FULL

8, 11

Quick access

Law N° 039-2017/AN Content of the National Mechanism