The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) released a report on the oversight activity to assess the status, privileges and immunities of the organs and institutions of the community earlier this Thursday February 17th 2022.
The report indicated that there are double standards when it comes to the community members working at East African Health and Research Commission (EAHRC) whose Headquarters is locted in Bujumbura.
According to the report members of EAHRC enjoy all the privileges and immunities provided in the Agreement except Burundi Nationals who only enjoy some of the privileges, “the Commission is proposing for the review of the Agreement to provide for equal treatment of all its staff regardless of their origin,” a report reads.
Burundian nationals who work at the EAHRC do not enjoy the same privileges and immunities as their counterparts with different nationalities.
“Some partner states doesn’t accord full privileges …others say no one can be a diplomat in his country others privileges are accorded to diplomatic passport holders and yet the treaty is clear on this,” said Victor Burikukiye a law maker from Burundi.
Burundi hosts the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC) in Bujumbura, The Committee in Burundi was also required to follow up on the status of ratification of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities.
The EALA Committee visited the Ministry responsible for EAC Affairs, the ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs, the ministry responsible for Defense and the ministry responsible for Justice.
“The Committee held an interactive engagement with stakeholders to discuss the privileges and immunities accorded to the EAHRC and other persons in the service of the EAC,” part of the report reads.
The Protocol on Privileges and Immunities was adopted by the Burundi Cabinet Meeting on 12th December, 2015 and the process of ratification is at an advanced stage because as the responsible ministries expressed their consent to its ratification.
“Burundi was the only country yet to ratify during the activity and recommendations were formulated to stake holders and responsible ministries have been engaged for ratification so I want to congratulate the government of Burundi as the ratified the protocol on February 4th, 2022,” said a Burundian law maker Karerwa Mo-Mamo.
The Headquarters’ Agreement between the Burundi government and the East African Community for the hosting of the EAHRC was signed on 27th of June 2015 and entered into force the same day.