Human rights office urges Burundi to revise new law that infringes on press freedom

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UN Human Rights Office

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed regret over the promulgation on June 4 of a press law which could infringe on the freedom of press in Burundi.

And it has called upon the Burundian authorities to revise the new law in order to bringing it into conformity with human rights standards and, in the meantime, to implement the law in a way that protects freedom of expression, in accordance with international law.

In a statement Friday, the human rights office noted that back in April, its office in Burundi urged that the draft law be revised to ensure its conformity with international human rights standards.

But Spokesperson Rupert Colville says unfortunately their suggestions do not appear to have been taken fully into account.

“We are particularly concerned that the new legislation defines far too broadly both the circumstances under which journalists can be obliged to reveal their sources and the grounds for restricting freedom of expression, which go beyond those foreseen in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed concern that journalists are required to have certain qualifications such as a diploma, professional experience and a press card to exercise their profession, noting that those requirements do not comply with international standards.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’12″

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