A Security Council meeting on the situation in Burundi took place this Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, where council members expressed their views on how they see the situation.
Introducing his speech the Burundi Ambassador at the UN, Amb. Albert Nshingiro regrets that some Council members remain “imprisoned in their rhetoric,” as it is no longer 2015 nor is the situation in Burundi static. He said that the constitutional referendum was a resounding success, noting that Burundians has shown their political maturity.
For him the referendum process, reminds the Council that voters have restated their bravery, independence, patriotism. He assured the Council members that the new constitution reaffirms and reinforces Arusha substance.
He reminded the broad media coverage of the referendum in real time and in the major Burundi languages. and he alleged major breaches of ethics by journalists associated with the BBC and Voice of America. Where he said that BBC has already apologized and VOA has not.
For Ambassador Shingiro regularization within the country should now be recognized by external agencies. and Sanctions should be lifted. He encouraged all the council members to turn the 2015 page. Voluntary repatriation ongoing, mostly from Tanzania.
He reiterated the urgent request to removed Burundi from the Council’s agenda in keeping with the UN Charter. He reminded that Burundi contributes to peacekeeping and it is not a threat to international peace and security.
The inclusive dialogue remains the only way
For the Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, the government must be encouraged to continue its efforts to restore security throughout the country. He welcomed the measures taken against certain forms of violence that were observed before and during the election campaign.
For him, the inclusive dialogue remains the only way for the sustainable political settlement of the political, socio-economic and humanitarian challenges that Burundi faces since 2015. Among these challenges, he prominently included the preparation and the success of inclusive, credible and transparent elections in 2020.
Some views of Council Members on the situation in Burundi
Ambassador Lauber highlighted his sixth visit to Burundi, cited meetings with a variety of officials and other stakeholders in part to discuss what was then the upcoming referendum. He notes agreement to repatriate many of the refugees currently residing in Tanzania. He announced plans to organize another round of socio-economic dialogue in Burundi but warned the council not ignore more immediate needs for security and humanitarian assistance.
For France referendum was characterized by both intimidation and relative calm. And finds that the results of the Referendum may shrinking political space and can easily lead to more people taking up arms. France notes an ongoing national fragility and pointed to Arusha as the best pathway to stability and reconciliation.
For Equatorial Guinea, constitutional revision is a matter of national sovereignty, expresses assurance that support for revisions is widespread in Burundi and democracy and human rights must be maintained.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of The Netherlands calls for an opening of the political space in the post-referendum period. And regret electoral impediments including intimidation of voters, blocking of polling access, scattered arrests of opposition officials.
Spirit & key provisions of the #ArushaAccords remain central to finding a mediated, inclusive resolution of the current political conflict.
Fully support the region & the EAC-led mediation efforts under Pres. Museveni & former Pres. Mkapa pic.twitter.com/3qZJUYDJEb
— SwedenUN 🇸🇪 (@SwedenUN) May 24, 2018
Bolivia noted the respect for Arusha as the only way forward for Burundi. And emphasizes that internal matters such as constitutional reform should be respected by other states. Bolivia Urges lifting of unilateral sanctions that undermine the Burundi vulnerable populations.
United States of America
The USA finds that Burundi’s referendum indicates a slide into “one-party rule.” They Allege harassment and oppression, as well as media suppression, that have jeopardized confidence in the referendum results.
"The risks in Burundi are huge. The case for preventative diplomacy is overwhelming."@sblhickey urges for international community & Burundian government to encourage inclusive dialogue & observance of Arusha Accords to preserve peace in #Burundi. pic.twitter.com/K5hmRCFSg3
— UK at the UN 🇬🇧 (@UKUN_NewYork) May 24, 2018
The UK notes that there are a serious “conflict risks” in Burundi necessitating a commitment to robust conflict prevention measures, through a reaffirmation of Arusha.
Russia notes that Burundi “issues” do not now rise to the level of threats to international peace and security, thus it urges the Council to turn the Burundi file over to other UN agencies.
For China Council members should review objectively the Burundi referendum results. And urges members to allow the country to make its own decisions on governance.
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