The Security Council today voiced its deep concerns about the growing insecurity, the continued rise in violence, and the persisting political impasse in Burundi, marked by a lack of dialogue among Burundian stakeholders.
In a statement issued by Council President for October, Román Oyarzun Marchesi (Spain), the 15-nation body also expressed its deep concerns about an increase in human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions.
Other concerns cited in the statement included the prevalence of impunity, the daily assassinations, the restricted freedom of expression, and the worsening of the humanitarian situation, as illustrated by the more than 200,000 Burundian citizens seeking refuge.
Further, the Council strongly condemned all human rights violations and acts of unlawful violence committed both by security forces, militias and other illegal armed groups. It expressed its determination to bring perpetrators of such acts to justice and welcomed the African Union’s decision to launch investigations into those cases.
Recalling the importance of respecting the nation’s Constitution as well as the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of August 2000, the Council urged all stakeholders to reject armed rebellion, and engage in dialogue. It also emphasized the importance of the mediation efforts led by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on behalf of the East African Community and as endorsed by the African Union, as well as the importance of urgently resuming that process.
The Council welcomed the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to increase the number of its human rights observers and military experts in Burundi, and noted the Union’s decision to impose sanctions against the stakeholders perpetuating violence and impeding the search for a solution.
The meeting began at 1:00 p.m. and ended at 1:03 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/18 reads as follows:
“The Security Council expresses its deep concern about the growing insecurity and the continued rise in violence in Burundi, as well as the persisting political impasse in the country, marked by a lack of dialogue among Burundian stakeholders.
“The Security Council takes note of the meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) of 17 October 2015 on the situation in Burundi and the statement, including its proposed next steps, adopted on that occasion.
“The Security Council is deeply concerned by the increased cases of human rights violations and abuses, including those involving extra-judicial killings, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions. The Security Council expresses also its deep concerns on the prevalence of impunity, on the daily assassinations, on the restrictions on enjoyment of the freedom of expression, including for members of the press, and on the continued worsening of the humanitarian situation, marked by the more than 200,000 Burundian citizens seeking refuge in neighboring countries. The Security Council commends efforts by those in the region to respond to the humanitarian crisis and provide necessary resources to Burundian refugees.
“The Security Council strongly condemns all violations and abuses of human rights and acts of unlawful violence committed in Burundi both by security forces and by militias and other illegal armed groups, and expresses its determination to seek accountability for perpetrators of such acts. The Security Council welcomes the decision of the African Union to launch an in-depth investigation on the violations and abuses of human rights against individuals in Burundi.
“The Security Council recalls the importance of respecting the Constitution of Burundi as well as the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of August 2000 and stresses that the situation prevailing in Burundi has the potential to seriously undermine the significant gains achieved through the Arusha Agreement, with devastating consequences for Burundi and the region as a whole.
“The Security Council urges all those involved to reject armed rebellion to resolve the current crisis and once again, urgently appeals to the Burundian stakeholders to engage in dialogue and to spare their country and its people further suffering. The Security Council reiterates its conviction that genuine and inclusive dialogue, based on respect for the Constitution and Arusha Agreement, would best enable the Burundian stakeholders to find a consensual solution to the crisis facing their country, preserve peace and consolidate democracy and the rule of law. The Security Council notes of the establishment of the National Commission for the inter-Burundian Dialogue.
“The Security Council reemphasizes the importance of the mediation efforts led by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on behalf of the East African Community (EAC) and as endorsed by the African Union, underlines the importance of the urgent resumption of the mediation process, and urges the Burundian Government and other concerned stakeholders to extend full cooperation to the Mediator. The Security Council stresses the importance of convening an inter-Burundian dialogue in coordination with the government of Burundi and all concerned and peaceful stakeholders, both who are in Burundi and those outside the country, in order to find a consensual and nationally owned solution to the current crisis.
“The Security Council welcomes the decision by the AU PSC to increase the number of AU human rights observers and military experts deployed by the African Union in Burundi and reiterates its call to the Burundian Government and others stakeholders to provide full cooperation to facilitate their effective and immediate deployment and implementation of their mandate. The Security Council notes the decision of the African Union to impose targeted sanctions, including travel ban and asset freeze, against all the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation of violence and impede the search for a solution, and expresses its intention to follow closely and respond to any actions that threaten the peace, security and stability of Burundi.”