Burundi's National Assembly opens rights extraordinary session

09:39, May 18, 2011      

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Under the call of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, the east African nation's Parliament' s Lower Chamber -- the National Assembly -- on Monday began an extraordinary session to approve members of the National Independent Commission on Human Rights.

During the opening of the extraordinary session, National Assembly Speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma said the session will notably analyze and amend the draft law on the creation and the management of protected areas and the draft law on the code of companies.

"This session will also elect members and the bureau of the National Independent Commission on Human Rights in Burundi," Speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma said.

On Friday, the Burundian president signed a decree summoning MPs to start an extraordinary session on Monday.

The election of members comprising the Burundi's National Independent Commission on Human Rights coincided with the visit of United Nations (UN) independent expert on the human rights situation in Burundi Fatsah Ouguergouz.

The Algerian national began his visit to the east African nation from May 16 and his visit will last up to May 20.

A statement from Geneva, Switzerland said Ouguergouz's second visit to Burundi is aimed to "gather information from all parties on the human rights situation and in particular on the alleged violations of the right to life, physical integrity, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as measures taken by authorities to fight against impunity."

The statement also said Independent Expert Ouguergouz will assess the government's efforts at establishing a National Independent Human Rights Commission, created by law on Jan. 5, 2011.

In addition to his meetings in the capital Bujumbura, the independent expert is expected to visit prison facilities in Burundi's northern province of Ngozi, and hold talks with local authorities and representatives of the civil society in the province.

Fatsah Ouguergouz will report on the latest developments on the human rights situation in Burundi at the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

The National Assembly's February ordinary session extending up to April failed to elect members of the country's National Independent Human Rights Commission awaited by the international community and the Burundian civil society organizations.

A list of 21 candidates is at the table of the National Assembly.

From that list, the National Assembly is expected to elect seven officials who will make up the National Independent Human Rights Commission before the Parliament begins its June ordinary session.

Source: Xinhua
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