H.E. Mr. Gabriel Ntisezerana, Second Vice-President
26 September 2008
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GABRIEL NTISEZERANA, Second Vice-President of Burundi, speaking on behalf of the President Pierre Nkurunziza, said the Assembly’s current session took place at a time when his people were at last enjoying the end of war. Delegates of both political parties wished to establish ways to implement the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and he thanked the United Nations, the African Union and the Regional Initiative for Peace, for their participation in the return of the Palipehutu movement to the process.
Reasserting that the Government would spare no efforts to ensure progress in the peace process, he said it had been three years since the establishment of democratically elected institutions -- the first time that the election results had held longer than three years. The Government and people of Burundi welcomed that development. Thanks to the Peacebuilding Commission, the Government had launched dialogue frameworks among social and political partners, Parliament and the media, among others.
Burundi was determined to respect human rights in all their forms, he said, but explained that that was not an easy task for a nation emerging from war. A national human rights commission and a national children’s forum would be launched, while a new Criminal Code, which covered gender-based violence, among others, was now before the Parliament. Human rights focal points had also been established, and were being trained in peace education.
He said security in his country was generally good, but there had been killings due to armed robberies and land disputes. The Government had begun disarming the civilian population, and unless those weapons were taken out of circulation and destroyed, peace would be threatened.
On the economic front, Burundi’s gross domestic product (GDP) was among the world’s lowest, and inflation had grown considerably, particularly with increased food and commodity. A national census had been organized, and the results would allow for improving school and health policies. Macroeconomic and structural reforms had been created to privatize State enterprises, and manage both banks and the military. A law on counteracting corruption had been issued, and public oversight bodies were playing their role.
Peacekeeping and security was a multidimensional task, he said, noting the combat of terrorism, hunger, disease and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The United Nations was mobilizing resources, but the way forward remained long, and “bloody conflict” remained in Somalia, Iraq and the wider Middle East, among other areas. The United Nations must demonstrate the means to combat such conflict, and Burundi would provide military observers in Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire, and military contingents for peacekeeping in Somalia.