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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 557th meeting held on 13 November 2015, adopted the following decision on the situation in Burundi:

 

Council,

 

  1. Takes note of the briefing made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security on the evolution of the situation in Burundi. Council also takes note  of the statements made by the representative of Burundi, as well as by those of the East African Community (EAC), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR),  the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and of the following members of the UN Security Council: China, France, New Zealand, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America;

2. Reaffirms its previous  pronouncements on the situation in Burundi, including communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DLI) adopted at its 551th meeting held on 17 October 2015, as well as the AU’s commitment to the scrupulous observance of the letter and spirit of the August 2000 Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi, which is the cornerstone of peace, security and stability in Burundi;

3. Notes with satisfaction the growing involvement of the international community towards the search for a peaceful solution to the crisis facing Burundi and the support extended to the African-led efforts, including those being undertaken by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, the Mediator appointed by the EAC to facilitate dialogue among the Burundian stakeholders. In this regard, Council expresses satisfaction at the adoption by the UN Security Council, on 12 November 2015, of resolution 2248 (2015) in which that organ welcomed communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLI) and the proposed next steps adopted on that occasion, looking forward to their full implementation, and noted the decision of the AU to impose targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against all the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation of violence and impede the search for a solution. Council also welcomes  the joint statement issued, on 12 November 2015, by the Chairperson of the Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, and the EU  High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini;

4.  Reiterates the AU’s deep concern at the continuing political impasse in Burundi, as well as at the prevailing insecurity and violence in that country and the resulting humanitarian consequences. Council reaffirms the strong condemnation by the AU of all acts of violence, committed by whomsoever, as well as of human rights abuses, including killings, extra-judicial executions, violations of the physical integrity of persons, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, violations of the freedom of the press and freedom of expression and the prevalence of impunity. Council also strongly condemns the inflammatory statements made by Burundian political leaders, which have the potential of aggravating the current tension and creating conditions conducive to violence of untold consequences for Burundi and the region; 

5. Reiterates the AU’s determination  to ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence and abuses and all those who aggravate the situation by making inflammatory statements, regardless of their affiliations, are held accountable for their acts;

6. Reaffirms the AU’s conviction that only a genuine and truly all-inclusive dialogue, based on the respect of the Arusha Agreement, can enable the Burundian stakeholders to overcome the serious difficulties facing their country, as well as to strengthen social cohesion, democracy and the rule of law, and rejects any recourse to force in pursuit of political objectives. In this regard, Council stresses the centrality of the regional dialogue facilitated by the EAC Mediator, and to be convened outside Burundi, in a location to be determined by the Mediation, in order to enable all Burundian stakeholders, both those within and outside Burundi, to participate in the said dialogue in the required security conditions;  

7. Notes with satisfaction the efforts being made by the Mediation, including the recent visits undertaken to Bujumbura, Burundi, by the Minister of Defence of Uganda, Honorable Crispus Kiyonga, in his capacity as emissary of the EAC Mediator, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, in order to accelerate the resumption of the dialogue. Council urges the concened international organizations and other relevant international actors to extend full support to the Mediation, as required. In this regard, Council requests the Chairperson of the Commission to urgently liaise with the Ugandan authorities to determine how best the AU can assist the mediation efforts;

8. Demands that the Government of Burundi and all other concerned stakeholders extend full cooperation to the Mediation and recalls that all those who hinder, in one way or the other, the holding of the inter-Burundian dialogue and, more generally, the efforts to put an end to the violence and to find a peaceful solution to the crisis will be targeted by the sanctions agreed upon by Council in paragraph 12 of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLI). In this regard, Council reaffirms its decision, in support of the peace efforts, to impose sanctions against the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the persistence of violence and impede the search for a solution. Council welcomes the intention expressed by the UN Security Council to consider additional measures against all the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation  of violence and impede the search for a solution ;

9. Welcomes the steps taken by the Commission as a follow-up to the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLI), including: 

(i) the ongoing compilation by the Commission, for Council’s attention, of a list of individuals and entities to be targeted by the sanctions decided by Council. Council requests the Commission to continue this work and to regularly update the list, which should include individuals who are impeding the negotiation process, committing acts of violence and violations of human rights and making inflammatory statements. Council shall, whenever it deems it appropriate,  authorize the Chairperson of the Commission to communicate to Member States and international partners, for implementation and cooperation, the names of individuals and entities to be sanctioned;

(ii) the generation of additional civilian, military and police personnel to reach the newly authorized strength of 100 human rights observers and military experts to be deployed in Burundi, under the authority of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for the Great Lakes Region and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Burundi. Council requests the Commission to do everything possible to ensure that all these personnel are deployed in Burundi by 15 December 2015. Council, recalling the commitment of Member States, as provided for in article 7 (3) of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council, to accept and implement the decisions of Council, requests the Government of Burundi to promptly extend its full cooperation to the Commission, in order to facilitate the planned deployment. Council also reiterates the need for the urgent finalization of the discussions on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will govern the activities of the AU human rights observers and military experts in Burundi, on the understanding that the MoU must respect the following principles:  conduct, by the human rights observers and the military experts, of their respective mandates in an independent, neutral and impartial fashion; free movement throughout the territory of Burundi; and respect of the privileges and immunities necessary for the effective discharge of their mandates, as provided for in the relevant AU and international instruments. Council requests the Commission to develop a model agreement for the deployment of military and civilian personnel, for Council’s expeditious consideration and approval, and should no agreement be reached with Burundi on the draft MoU within 15 days of the adoption of the present communiqué, decides that the model agreement shall apply provisionally; and

(iii) the request sent to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights regarding the launching of a thorough investigation on the violations of human rights and other abuses against the civilian populations in Burundi, in order to enable Council to take additional measures. In this regard, Council requests the Commission, on the basis of the AU Constitutive Act and the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council, as well as relevant AU’s experience, to identify the additional measures that could be taken on the basis of the report expected to be submitted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights;

10. Looks forward to the submission by the Commission, on the basis of the reports of human rights observers and the military experts, of the first monthly report on the situation of human rights and acts of violence in Burundi, as requested in paragraph 12 (iii) of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLI);

11. Takes note of the steps being taken by the Commission to expedite and finalize the contingency planning requested by Council in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DVII), adopted at its 507th meeting held on 14 May 2015, as reiterated in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DLI).  Council, noting the affirmation by the UN Security Council, in resolution 2248 (2015) , of the importance of contingency planning by the UN and the AU, to enable the international community to respond to any further deterioration of the situation, requests the Commission to coordinate its efforts with those of the UN;

12. Reiterates its call for the mobilization of the necessary assistance in favor of the Burundian refugees in the neighboring countries, and, once again, urges the Chairperson of the Commission to take the necessary initiatives to this effect. Council renews  its appreciation to the neighboring countries and other African countries hosting refugees from Burundi, including Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda;

13. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to forward the present communiqué to all AU Member States, as well as to the UN Secretary-General and, through him, to the UN Security Council, and urges the UN Security Council and its members to fully support the African-led efforts and all the measures provided for in this communiqué. Council also requests the Chairperson of the Commission to forward the present communiqué to the other AU bilateral and multilateral partners and to seek their full support towards the effective implementation of the decisions contained therein; 

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

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