Swiss, Burundi foreign ministers discuss human rights

During his visit to the Swiss capital, Shingiro met with senior officials from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Switzerland’s foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, has called on Burundi to implement concrete human rights reforms during a meeting with his counterpart from the small African nation, Albert Shingiro, in Bern.

This content was published on May 3, 2021 - 17:56

Cassis noted the good cooperation between the two countries while also reaffirming Switzerland’s willingness to support Burundi in the area of human rights.

During his visit to the Swiss capital on Monday , Shingiro also met senior officials from the foreign ministry responsible for the Africa and human rights divisions as well as the director-general of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Council, elections in Burundi in 2020 were marred by “serious human rights violations […] including summary executions, torture and sexual violence.” The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi reports that, amid systemic economic mismanagement including widespread corruption, some 74% of the population lives in poverty.

Switzerland has a long-standing commitment to peace and sustainable development in Burundi, the ministry said, with ongoing support for projects that promote vocational training, improvements in health and governance, conflict prevention and fighting violence against women.

The Alpine country has chaired the Burundi Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission since 2009 and advocates for support for the country from the international community. Sub-Saharan Africa is a priority region for the government’s current International Cooperation Strategy.

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