New York

13 March 2014

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Burundi

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about recent developments in Burundi, in particular the violent confrontations between the police and members of opposition parties last week.  Both the government and political parties must exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that could exacerbate tensions.

The Secretary-General deplores the growing restrictions on the freedom of expression, association and assembly, especially the prohibition and disruption of opposition meetings by the police and the youth wing of the ruling party.  Respecting these freedoms and other human rights is a precondition for free and fair elections in 2015 Burundi cannot afford to miss this opportunity to consolidate its democratic gains.

The Secretary-General encourages the Burundian authorities, political leaders and civil society representatives to work together to de-escalate tension.  The United Nations is ready to provide its good offices in this regard.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the Government of Burundi and political parties to launch a campaign against political violence ahead of the elections and resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue, in line with the political roadmap adopted in March last year and the consensus enshrined in the Arusha Accords.