We remain concerned about the political impasse and the security situation in Burundi [fr]
Burundi - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 24 May 2018
I would like to thank Mr. Michel Kafando, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Burundi, for his informative briefing and for his commitment. I am also grateful to my Swiss colleague, Mr. Jürg Lauber, in his capacity as Chair of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, for his very useful briefing.
1/ France takes note of the results of the referendum. Although the elections were held in relative calm, as has been said, we deplore the fact that the campaign took place in a climate clouded by intimidation and various threats of violence against those opposed to constitutional reform. The revision of the Constitution introduces amendments that run counter to the Arusha Accords. Indeed, if care is not taken, it may begin to unravel the Accords, which have been the backbone of a decade of peace in Burundi. The institutionalized system of power-sharing between the various elements of the Burundian community has been put in doubt, and the mechanisms for protecting the Tutsi minority have either been weakened or are disappearing. In our view, this reform will not help to resolve the crisis that the country has been mired in since 2015.
2/ We therefore remain very concerned about the political impasse and the security situation in Burundi. Faced with the impossibility of dialogue and a total shutdown of the political arena, the most radical opposition factions have been tempted to resort to armed struggle. In the ruling party, the Imbonerakure militias are playing an increasingly significant part in intimidating and repressing any dissenting voices and are difficult to control. The situation is therefore at risk of deteriorating and the status quo is not sustainable in the long term. The Ruhagarika massacre of 11 May, in which 27 civilians were murdered, is yet another new and tragic illustration of that.
3/ We must break out of the current vicious circle. The dialogue facilitated by the East African Community has so far failed, mainly due to obstruction by the Burundian authorities. However, the priority must remain to launch a genuine inclusive national dialogue, without conditions or exclusions, that gives voice to the aspirations of every element of Burundian society. That priority is inseparable from the issue of respect for human rights, which is also worrying. An inclusive dialogue can be possible only if the Government makes the right moves, including enabling the opposition, the media and civil society to play their part without being undermined. We also expect robust demonstrations of regional support to ensure that this dialogue can truly take place.
4/ In this difficult context, we call on all Burundian parties to return to the spirit of consensus that led to the conclusion of the Arusha Accords and on their guarantors to mobilize in the quest for a political solution to the crisis. The necessary regional leadership for the situation in Burundi must accompanied by close monitoring on the part of the Council. In Burundi’s very volatile situation, the Arusha Accords are now more than ever the compass that must guide the efforts of the Burundian parties and the international community in the service of Burundi and its stability.