Council conclusions on Burundi

Council of the EU
  • 22/06/2015
  • 10:40
  • Press release
  • 489/15
  • Foreign affairs & international relations
22/06/2015
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1. The political deadlock in Burundi and the deteriorating security and economic situation have serious consequences for the population and pose risks for the region as a whole. Faced with this critical situation, the EU welcomes the fact that the region has mobilised to find a solution. The decisions on the situation in Burundi adopted at the African Union (AU) summit of 13 June, as well as the conclusions of the East African Community (EAC) summit of 31 May 2015, establish an indispensable framework for enabling Burundi to overcome the crisis.

2. Recalling the Council conclusions of 16 March and 18 May 2015, the EU shares the view expressed by the AU, the EAC and the United Nations (UN) that only through dialogue and consensus, in compliance with the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian Constitution, can a lasting political solution be found in the interests of security and democracy for all Burundi's people. It calls on all Burundian stakeholders to resume dialogue on all areas of disagreement between the parties, and undertakes to support them in this.

3. The European Union calls for full compliance with the conditions identified by the AU and the EAC, which are vital for the credibility and smooth running of the electoral process in a way that is peaceful, inclusive and transparent, and does not infringe political freedoms, including freedom of expression. The EU calls for greater coordination, supports the mediation efforts made by the AU, the EAC and the UN, and is ready to support the implementation of the specific measures recently announced by the AU. Both the EAC and the AU have clearly declared that conditions conducive to the holding of elections are not currently in place. There is a strong likelihood that it will not be possible to put such conditions in place within the time frames provided for in the Burundian Constitution. The EU urges the Burundian Government to accept that this is an accurate reflection of the situation, and to respond to the decisions taken by the Peace and Security Council of the AU by taking specific steps as soon as possible. 

4. Echoing the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU expresses its deep concern at the numbers of victims and cases of serious human rights violations reported since the beginning of the crisis, particularly those abuses attributed to the security forces and to members of the Imbonerakure. It asks that leaders bring to a halt to the actions that are at the root of this violence, and urges the Burundian authorities to ensure that these events are fully investigated, and that those responsible are brought to justice. The EU reiterates that there can be no impunity for those responsible for serious human rights violations, and that they must be held individually responsible and brought to account in a court of law. In this context, the EU considers that it is of particular importance that the human rights observers and military experts announced by the AU be deployed immediately. 

5. The EU is determined to adopt, if necessary, targeted restrictive measures against those whose actions might have led or might lead to acts of violence and repression and serious human rights violations, and/or might hamper the search for a political solution within the framework proposed by the AU and the EAC. As a preventive measure, the Council requests that the High Representative initiate preparatory work to that end.

6. The EU recalls the obligations under the Cotonou Agreement in terms of respect for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law, and the possibility of instituting the consultation procedures provided for in the Agreement, including Article 96.

Depending on the reaction of the Burundian Government to the decisions taken by the Peace and Security Council of the AU and on future developments, the EU is prepared to institute those procedures, including in the area of cooperation, in order to ensure that Burundi respects those commitments. 

The EU underlines that the obligations under the Cotonou Agreement also apply to all States which are party to it.

7. The EU is also deeply concerned about the continued outflow of refugees to neighbouring countries. It reiterates its support for the humanitarian organisations present in the region which are addressing the refugees' immediate needs. It congratulates the authorities of the host countries for their open and welcoming attitude towards those seeking refuge beyond their borders.