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Calling Burkina Faso to effectively implement laws that protect defenders

At the 55th session of the Human Rights Council, during the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Burkina Faso, ISHR delivered a statement calling on Burkina Faso to strengthen the protection of civic space and effectively implement the law that guarantees a secure working environment for defenders.

Burkina Faso accepted 206 recommendations out of the 265 recommendations received during its 4th cycle of the UPR. During the session, the delegation noted that 59 recommendations were not supported, including the decree fighting against terrorism, because they were not in line with the legal framework and the national socio-economic context.   

In a statement, ISHR welcomed the acceptance of recommendations relating to the strengthening of the protection of civic space and the implementation of the law of 17 June 2017, on the protection of human rights defenders. Nevertheless, there remains concerns on effectively implementing the law to ensure a safe working environment for human rights defenders.

 Ahead of the review, in April 2023, ISHR, and the Burkinabe Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CBDDH) submitted a UPR briefing paper that highlighted issues that defenders face. Following the decree of the adoption of the April 2023 decree, human rights defenders have found themselves enlisted for inscription. Despite there being a law to protect defenders, the civic space continues to shrink, and freedom of expression remains repressed.

Therefore, ISHR called on Burkina Faso to:  

  • Effectively implement Law n°039 of 17 June 2017 on human rights defenders and provide its protection mechanism with adequate means to enable effective protection and guarantee a secure working environment for defenders nationally.
  • Release all human rights defenders arrested and abducted for their human rights activities and stop using abduction to silence dissenting voices.

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