Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Monday, 22 April 2013 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record. The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed. An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Burkina Faso
Represented by 17-member delegation headed by Mrs. Julie Souma/Nigna, Minister of Human Rights and Civic Promotion.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Burkina Faso page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Benin, Indonesia, Ireland.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Burkina Faso page on the UPR Extranet)

  • Since 2008 several measures were adopted in an effort to bring domestic legislation in line with international human rights standards and an inter-ministerial consultation to bring that to fruition; 
  • Significant steps have been taken in in view of harmonizing domestic law with international standards including a review of the Penal Code, and programmes to combat child prostitution and pornography;
  • Among recent steps take in the area of human rights, the Government created the National Council to Combat Female Circumcision, the National Council for gender empowerment and the setting up of a national institution on human rights in line with the Paris Principles; in 2012, the Government also set up the Ministry of Human Rights and Civic Promotion;
  • A series of measures have also been put in place to improve the socio-economic life for marginalized groups; several initiatives were also undertaken on human rights education and to institute human rights in the school system;
  • The head of delegation noted that in recent years, the Government ratified a number of international conventions; advancements have also been made in terms of access to justice;
  • Despite efforts made, difficulties remains, including in the areas of illiteracy, traditional harmful practices, limited knowledge about human rights among the public, and the fight against poverty;
  • Among recent visits by Special Procedures were those from those dealing with migrant workers, foreign debt, and counter-terrorism;
  • The Government set up a national committee to eradicate child labour and to uphold the rights of the child; corporal punishment was prohibited by law; 
  • A law was being promulgated to prohibit all laws punishing women accused of witchcraft;
  • The Government adopted a decree in 2012 to uphold the rights of person with disabilities, which, among other things, earmarked 10% of jobs in the workforce for people with disabilities; efforts were also underway to improve access to education for children with disabilities;
  • The Government was also committed to reduce maternal and child mortality rates in the country and had programmes in place to achieve that;
  • Efforts have also been undertaken to mitigate the adverse effects of the food crisis to benefit the most vulnerable groups – women, the elderly, minorities, widows and orphans, the youth and migrants.


In total 85 States participated in the dialogue:  33 HRC members and 52 observers  (Statements available on Burkina Faso page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Hosting nearly 50,000 refugees from northern Mali and acting as peace negotiator in the region;
  • The ratification of several international human rights instruments;
  • Increased enrolment rates in schools and education reform overall;
  • Progress made in the realization of the right to health;
  • The setting up of the national human rights bodies including the Ministry of Human Rights and Civic Promotion; 
  • Steps taken to promote gender equality.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Measures to combat all forms of discrimination against women;
  • Efforts to prohibit female genital mutilation and other harmful practices; 
  • Steps taken to put an end to human trafficking; 
  • Measures to eradicate the worst forms of child labour; 
  • Action taken to formally abolish the death penalty;
  • Cooperation extended to UN Special Procedures.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Burkina Faso.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To eliminate practices discriminating against women, including forced marriages, and to set the minimum age of marriage at 18;
  • To take measures to protect women accused of witchcraft; to redouble efforts to sensitize the public about female genital mutilation;
  • To extend and expand comprehensive programmes to deliver sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls, particularly those who are more vulnerable such as rural women;
  • To take measures to adopt legislation to prohibit violence and discrimination against women in accordance with CEDAW and to set up a national action plan to combat violence against women and children;
  • To take further measures to prevent the trafficking an exploitation of women and children;
  • To enact legal penalties for violations of the law prohibiting the worst forms of child labour, particularly in the mining sector and to bring the Penal Code in line with the African Charter on the rights and well-being of the child;
  • To formally abolish the death penalty;
  • To undertake a reform of the juvenile justice system; To take necessary steps to establish an effective national preventive mechanism to improve prisoners’ conditions and to investigate all allegations of torture and ill treatment committed by law enforcement;
  • To prioritize policies and programmes aimed at eradicating poverty and unemployment and make every effort to eliminate regional disparities in access to safe drinking water;
  • For the international community to provide the necessary technical assistance to enable Burkina Faso to realize its human rights commitments;
  • To extend a standing invitation to Special Procedures; 
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, ILO Convention 138 (Minimum Age), the OP to the ICESCR, the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute, the 1954 and 1961 Conventions pertaining to statelessness.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Burkina Faso is scheduled to take place on Friday, 26 April 2013.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org