On 21 May 2004, the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, decided to authorize the deployment of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) for an initial period of six months.
According to the resolution, the mission was to be deployed from 1 June 2004 in order to support and help to implement the efforts undertaken by Burundians to restore lasting peace and bring about national reconciliation, as provided under the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi, signed at Arusha on 28 August 2000.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1545 (2004), the Council also decided that ONUB would be headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, who was also to chair the Implementation Monitoring Committee for the Arusha Agreement, and would initially be composed of existing African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) forces. It requested the Secretary-General, acting in liaison with the African Union, to ensure the transfer of authority over AMIB to his Special Representative.
The Council decided further that ONUB would consist of a maximum of 5,650 military personnel, including 200 observers and 125 staff officers, up to 120 UN police personnel, as well as the appropriate civilian personnel. It authorized ONUB to use all necessary means to ensure respect for ceasefire agreements through monitoring their implementation and investigating their violations; carry out the disarmament and demobilization portions of the national programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants; and monitor the illegal flow of arms across the national borders.
The Operation’s mandate also included contributing to the creation of the necessary security conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance, and facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as contributing to the successful completion of the electoral process stipulated in the Arusha Agreement, by ensuring a secure environment for free, transparent and peaceful elections.
Expressing its deep concern over the illicit flow of arms to armed groups and movements, in particular those that were not parties to the peace process, the Council called on all States to halt such flow without prejudice to the Burundian national army and police forces whose integration was in progress. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to conclude agreements with States neighbouring Burundi to enable ONUB forces to cross their respective borders in pursuit of armed combatants, as may be necessary while carrying out their mandate.
In addition, the Council requested the Secretary-General to ensure that his Special Representatives for Burundi and for the Democratic Republic of the Congo coordinated the activities of their respective missions, shared military information at their disposal, in particular concerning cross-border movements of armed elements and arms trafficking, and pooled their logistic and administrative resources to maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The Council stressed the importance of the full and unconditional implementation of the Arusha Agreement, and demanded that all parties fulfil their obligations under that agreement, to allow the electoral process, in particular the legislative elections, to take place before 31 October 2004.
The Council reaffirmed also the continued need to promote peace and national reconciliation and to foster accountability and respect for human rights, and urged the Government, specialized agencies, other multilateral organizations, civil society and Member States to accelerate their efforts to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as provided in the Arusha Agreement.
In a statement issued by his Spokesman, the United Nations Secretary-General welcomed the decision taken by the Council to establish ONUB and said that this decision opened a new chapter in the Burundi peace process. The Secretary-General commended the people of Burundi for making decisive efforts to advance the Arusha peace process, and called on all of them and their leaders to take advantage of this unique opportunity to further pursue national reconciliation and facilitate the preparation of national elections.
For more background information on the developments in Burundi preceding the establishment of ONUB and the United Nations role in the peace process, please see the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council dated 16 March 2004.
During the period from March 2004 through June 2006, the Secretary-General has submitted to the Council nine progress reports and one special report on the activities of the Mission and the developments in Burundi.
In his report dated 21 June 2006, the Secretary-General described the results of collaborative planning with the Government regarding future UN presence in Burundi, including plans for a drawdown of the mission's military and civilian components. It also discussed the Secretary-General's ideas for a United Nations integrated office in Burundi, following the termination of ONUB's mandate. A final extension of ONUB's mandate, to 31 December 2006, was put forward as a recommendation.
The Secretary-General recommended that the integrated office, to be known as BINUB (Bureau Intégré des Nations Unies au Burundi), be set up for an initial period of 12 months, commencing on 1 January 2007. It was proposed that the integrated office be headed by an Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, who would also serve as the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and Designated Official for Security. Humanitarian and development activities of the United Nations Country Team would be consolidated under the integrated office.
The proposed mandate of the integrated office would include support to the Government in 10 areas, including strengthening the capacity of national institutions to address the root causes of conflict; developing a comprehensive plan for security sector reform (involving the Burundi National Police, the national army, and combating the proliferation of small and light weapons); completing the programme for the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; facilitating the reintegration of returnees and internally displaced persons into their communities; establishing a national human rights commission and establishing transitional justice mechanisms; and promoting freedom of the press. Others included promoting economic growth and poverty reduction; ensuring environmental protection and the prevention and management of natural catastrophes, including food security; helping to mobilize resources for both emergency and priority programmes; and longer-term activities within the framework of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
By its resolution 1692 of 30 June 2006, the Security Council extended the mandate of ONUB until 31 December 2006 and welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to establish at the end of ONUB's mandate an integrated office of the United Nations in Burundi, and looked forward to his proposals on structure, tasking and requisite resources in that connection.