Joint Statement on Civilian Massacres and Media Suspensions in Burkina Faso – United States Department of State

The following joint statement was issued by the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States.

The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States are gravely concerned by reports of a massacre of civilians by Burkinabé military forces in late February. A recent Human Rights Watch report provided first-hand accounts of the killing of at least 223 civilians, including 56 children, in the villages of Nondin and Soro in Burkina Faso’s Yatenga province. We call on transition authorities to thoroughly investigate these massacres and hold those responsible accountable.

We express our deepest condolences to the loved ones of all the victims of the violence that has occurred in Burkina Faso in recent months, including Christians and Muslims murdered in their places of worship by terrorist groups and members of the armed forces killed. We call on all parties in Burkina Faso to respect human rights and comply with applicable international humanitarian law. The only long-term solution to the crisis of terrorism is to expand good governance based on the rule of law, respect for human rights and promotion of social cohesion.

We strongly protest the suspension of media outlets including VOA and BBC, the blocking of Human Rights Watch’s website, and the restrictions placed on all media reporting on their articles. The decision coincides with World Press Freedom Day on May 3, reminding us that well-informed publics and the expression of opinion strengthen, not threaten, societies. Free and independent media must be allowed to investigate and conduct good-faith reporting without fear of reprisal. We strongly urge Burkina Faso’s Superior Council of Communication (CSC) to reconsider the suspension of the media outlets.