PAN-AFRICAN PARLIAMENT REPORTS ON THE STATE OF SECURITY IN BURUNDI
6 MAY 2016, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – The political situation in Burundi remains fragile and requires continuous and objective examination in the interest of the Burundian people.
This was one of the findings of the Committee of Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution presented to Members of the Pan-African Parliament during the fourth parliament’s second sitting in Midrand.
The Committee presented a report on a comprehensive fact-finding mission that took place in November 2015 in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The report presented first-hand and independent information following interviews with 18 individuals from various spheres of government, civil society and the media. The mission to the capital comprised a delegation of six members of parliament and PAP support staff.
The purpose of the mission was two-fold: to ascertain whether international media’s reflection of the situation on the ground is accurate and, more importantly, from a parliamentary perspective, to establish and express the will of the people of Burundi.
The Speaker of the National Assembly lauded the efforts of the Pan-African Parliament in taking the step to visit Burundi and witness the on-the-ground activities in the country. He also encouraged objectivity in the analysis of the findings.
The report finds that the peace and security situation in the country, although mainly centred in Bujumbura, is volatile. The number of arms that remains freely available to civilians is concerning. While the police has started disarming efforts, they lack expertise and equipment to carry out the task, fully.
The PAP called on the Burundi Government and the AU to, as a matter of urgency, finalise the Memorandum of Understanding that will see the AU providing support to Burundi, specifically with the disarming of civilians.
The report requested that the international community, particularly the African Union and the United Nations promote actions towards reconciliation to create an atmosphere for dialogue and peace, with a view to putting an end to the conflict. The humanitarian situation, such as the loss of lives of both civilians and armed forces call for intervention.
The PAP also calls on the Burundian Head of State to subscribe to a logic of inclusive national consultation to immediately stop any violence and consequently enhance the return of refugees. It further requested that the international community respect and support the key structures that the Government of Burundi has put in place to address historical injustices.
An attempted coup took place against the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza on 13 May 2015, while he attended an East African Community meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. As a result, the period before and after Burundi’s national elections in August 2015, was plagued with various acts of civil unrest – remaining a red flag for the international community and the media.
In the interviews, the Senate of Burundi HE Révérin Ndikuriyo reinforced the message that Burundi is a safe country, and not on the brink of anarchy as reported in the media. He acknowledged the incidents of violence, but said that it was on the decrease, following the measures put in place by the government.