"The situation in Burundi is very concerning."
Remarks to the Press by François Delattre
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
9 March 2017
Can the Security Council fix Burundi ?
We cannot look away. In our view, the situation in Burundi is very concerning. First of all, serious violations of human rights are committed literally every day in this country.
Number two, the Arusha agreement, that we consider more than ever as the compass of the international community, and which has given 10 years of peace and stability to this country, is more and more put into question. This is very, very worrying.
Today, the only peaceful way out of this political crisis is the dialogue process led by Mr MKAPA, whom we are about to hear this morning. So it’s a very important thing. It’s critically important that all parties engage fully and sincerely into this dialogue. That is a necessity for the stability of the country but also the stability of the whole region.
In this spirit, we continue to push for the full implementation of Resolution 2303. This resolution aims at bringing stability to Burundi. It is in the interest of all the parties to implement it.
So we spare no effort to unlock the stalemate, because the situation, let’s face it, could easily get out of control. We simply cannot look away. Our efforts - I speak for France here - is to try to make sure that the Security Council remains committed to finding a solution in Burundi based on a few pillars: number one, a true inclusive dialogue, this is not the case today; number two, a respect for human rights, this is not the case today; number three, a respect of the Arusha agreement, which again is more than ever the pillar, the backbone, the compass that we have for peace in that country - and that is not the case today. So yes, the situation is risky. Yes it could easily get out of control. And yes, we must remain mobilized to find a solution.
Ambassador, it’s been more than a year since the Council visited and we still haven’t got that police force in. What is going on with that? Why aren’t you pushing harder, and what can the Council…?
This is exactly what I was saying about the stalemate we are in. Resolution 2303 is calling for a police component in order to have an increased presence of the international community to see, to watch, to control and at the end of the day as a leverage to promote the key objectives I was referring to. We don’t give up and we are working hard in this direction.
There are human rights groups that are asking for sanctions over human rights. What are your views on this?
This is something that we listen very carefully to.
Any possibility for sanctions?
Is it time for sanctions?
We will discuss various options with our colleagues at the table of the Security Council and see which options are best to encouragea true political process and inclusive dialogue.
Do you think that DPKO should continue paying for Burundi peacekeepers in CAR? There is going to be a press conference at 12.30 today about not paying abusive peacekeepers, and in the CAR 25 Burundians were accused of sexual abuse. There is also the issue of human rights, even at home. Do you think this is one of the leverage tools that the Security Council and DPKO have to encourage better behavior inside Burundi?
There will be a report by the Secretary General on this broader issue of SEA and we look forward to seeing the recommendations of this report. As you know our position is crystal clear, we support 200% the zero tolerance policy. We are completely in line with the position of the SG. We much appreciate his efforts and we look very carefully at his report of course.
Could you do one sound bite in French on what you just said on the Burundi issue, what you were talking about things not being the case about human rights and the stalemate?
La réunion du Conseil de sécurité que nous sommes sur le point d’avoir est une réunion importante pour écouter plusieurs des acteurs clés sur la situation au Burundi, notamment M. MKAPA et M. BENOMAR, dont nous soutenons pleinement les efforts.
La situation dans ce pays est une source de profonde inquiétude à la fois par les violations des droits de l’Homme qui s’y produisent, par les mots et les actes qui visent à remettre en cause l’accord d’Arusha, et par une situation qui de manière générale peut facilement devenir hors de contrôle et conduire vers des territoires inconnus.
Pour cette raison nous sommes mobilisés plus que jamais, avec le Conseil de sécurité, pour le meilleur respect des droits de l’Homme, le plein respect des accords d’Arusha et l’engagement d’un dialogue véritablement inclusif. Nous ne baisserons jamais les bras.