Burkina Faso: UN Human Rights Chief troubled by further curbs on media and civic space

Geneva, 6 April, 2023.- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Thursday said he was deeply troubled by restrictions on media and civic space in Burkina Faso after the suspension of media outlets and expulsion of two foreign correspondents from the country, amid wider curbs against freedom of expression in the country.

“In this period of transition, protection of independent voices is more necessary than ever – to enable scrutiny, to facilitate accountability, and to allow the space for the Burkinabé people to build a resilient, stable and inclusive society together,” the High Commissioner said.

Since the issuance of Communique No.3 of 30 September 2022, the activities of all civil society organisations and political parties have been suspended in the country. Following this, there have been a number of steps taken to restrict the work of the media. In December, the Government suspended transmission of Radio France International. On 27 March, France24 broadcasts were switched off in Burkina Faso. And just last week, two journalists from the newspapers Le Monde and Libération were expelled, following interrogation by intelligence services.

“I am particularly concerned that a journalist was expelled following the reporting on a video that appears to show extrajudicial executions of children in the northern town of Ouahigouya,” Türk said. “When such grave allegations come to light, it is the duty of the authorities to promptly hold thorough, impartial and transparent investigations to establish the facts and, if applicable, ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

The High Commissioner stressed that the UN Human Rights Office in Burkina Faso would continue to work with the authorities, civil society and other partners towards strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

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