Burundi rejects deployment of UN police, monitors

Saturday April 09 2016

Anti-riot police in the Cibitoke neighbourhood of Bujumbura, on May 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO

The Burundian government is resisting the United Nations Security Council resolutions to deploy police and military monitors in the country.

The government said it will not compromise the mandate of its police force to maintain law and order after the France-sponsored motion was passed by the UN Security Council to monitor the security situation in the country.

“We don’t want deployment of hundreds of police officers. The United Nations has to remember that there are AU observers who are on the ground so we just need a few to help stabilise the situation in the country,” said Burundi’s Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Nyamitwe.

The UNSC resolution requested Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in consultation with the Burundian government and AU to present as soon as possible and not later than 15 days of the adoption of the resolution options for deployment of a United Nations police contingent in Burundi.

The UNSC expressed the need to increase the United Nations capacity to monitor the security situation to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The Burundian government welcomed the resolution but warned that the government will not tolerate external authority that will dictate to the government how to conduct its affairs.


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“We really welcome the resolution that indicated our concerns and condemned Rwanda’s involvement in military training of Burundian refugees,” said Mr Nyamitwe.

The UNSC resolution reaffirmed its commitment to respecting the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Burundi. The resolution comes after the US Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights Tom Malinowski visited Bujumbura and he met the government officials in efforts to defuse the current political crisis.

“We are not focusing on what they say but on what they do. It is good that the Burundian government makes promises. Action sometimes begins with promises but the important thing is that they should take the actions,” said Mr Malinowski.

The US official said Burundi promised to allow 200 African Union monitors into the country but has not yet signed a memorandum of understanding with the Addis Ababa-based continental body. The UNSC resolution condemned hate-speech made by both opposition and some government officials, saying it would not defuse the current crisis but rather escalate the tensions.

“Denouncing everybody from the Catholic Church, to civil society, to the media, to the opposition, to foreign countries as enemies of the people of Burundi is not going to get us to a successful dialogue. This kind of hate speech should stop,” said Mr Malinowski.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2279 (2016), the Council urged the government of Burundi and all other parties concerned to reject any kind of violence and condemn any public statement inciting hatred, demanding that they refrain from actions that threatened the country’s peace and stability. 

It further urged the government to guarantee fundamental freedoms for all and adhere to the rule of law, condemning all violations and abuses of human rights.

While welcoming the government’s steps to withdraw media bans, cancel arrest warrants and release detainees, the Council urged it to fulfil its remaining commitments. 

It also urged the government, and all other stakeholders committed to a peaceful solution, to co-operate fully with the East African Community-led, African Union-endorsed mediator and facilitator for an inclusive and genuine intra Burundian dialogue.