Procedure : 2015/2973(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1356/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 17/12/2015 - 9.13
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1348/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Burundi (2015/2973(RSP))

Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Eleonora Forenza, Barbara Spinelli, Patrick Le Hyaric, Matt Carthy, Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Liadh Ní Riada, Malin Björk, Jiří Maštálka, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Tania González Peñas, Kateřina Konečná on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Burundi (2015/2973(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement and the democracy and human rights clause thereof,

–  having regard to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi of 28 August 2000,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Burundi, and in particular Article 96 thereof,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG),

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 12 November 2015 by the Deputy Secretary‑General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, the Chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, on Burundi,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the Additional Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the mission reports and priority areas of action of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Burundi, in particular with regard to combating hunger and malnutrition,

–  having regard to Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing(1),

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the principle of Policy Coherence for Development,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Burundi is one of the least developed countries in the world; whereas nearly half (45 %) of its 10.6 million inhabitants are aged 15 or under (with children aged below 5 making up 19.9 % of the population); whereas between 2013 and 2014 Burundi fell two places, from 178th to 180th, in the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’ Human Development Index; whereas four out of five people in Burundi live on less than USD 1.25 per day, and whereas 66.9 % of the population live below the poverty line;

B.  whereas the 2006 peace accord ended a conflict which lasted 13 years and left at least 300 000 people dead;

C.  whereas the key political development during the period from 2013 to 2015 was the presidential election held on 21 July 2015, in which President Pierre Nkurunziza secured a third term of office; whereas this constitutes a breach of the Arusha Accords, which state that the President of the Republic ‘shall be elected for a five-year term, renewable once’ and that ‘no person may serve more than two terms as President’ (Article 7(3)); whereas the crackdown on opposition parties is being stepped up; whereas for that reason the African Union (AU) refused to send observers to follow the elections, the EU suspended its electoral mission to Burundi, and the Burundian opposition decided to boycott the elections;

D.  whereas President Nkurunziza’s candidacy for a third term and his subsequent re‑election following the elections of 21 July 2015 have plunged the country into its deepest political crisis since the end of the civil war; whereas according to the UN at least 250 people have been killed, thousands injured and more than 200 000 displaced since April 2015;

E.   whereas, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other human rights organisations, politically motivated human rights violations, human rights abuses and acts of violence were carried out in the country during both the pre-election and the post-election periods, targeting opposition activists, NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists in particular; whereas there is a widespread perception that these acts are mostly, but not exclusively, linked to state institutions; whereas the primary responsibility for ensuring stability in Burundi and protecting the Burundian population, on the basis of respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law, lies with the Burundian Government;

F.  whereas the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, on behalf of the East African Community (EAC), is undertaking mediation efforts, with full support from the AU, the EU and the UN, in order to promote inter-Burundian dialogue so as to find a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis in Burundi;

1.  Declares itself extremely concerned at the situation in Burundi, and emphasises that it may have disastrous consequences for the region as a whole; calls for the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence in the Great Lakes Region to be observed;

2.  Condemns the recent violent attacks and the increased cases of human rights violations and abuses, including assassinations, extrajudicial killings, violations of people’s physical integrity, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, and violations of the freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the prevalence of impunity;

3.  Calls for an immediate end to violence, human rights violations and political intimidation of civil society and opponents, and for the immediate disarmament of all armed groups allied to political parties, in strict accordance with international law and human rights;

4.  Regrets in particular the presence of many young people within the armed groups operating in Burundi, and calls, therefore, for the international community to pay specific attention to supporting their reintegration and promoting their participation in a peaceful political process;

5.  Demands that all sides in Burundi refrain from any action that would threaten peace and security in the country; strongly condemns all public statements aimed at inciting violence or hatred towards different groups in Burundian society, which have the potential to aggravate the current tension, and calls on all actors to refrain from making such statements;

6.  Urges all parties to the conflict to establish the necessary conditions for rebuilding trust and fostering national unity, and calls for the immediate resumption of an inclusive and transparent national dialogue that includes the government, opposition parties and civil society representatives;

7.  Stresses that such dialogue, aimed at achieving lasting peace, security and stability and at restoring democracy and the rule of law, in the interests of the citizens of Burundi, should be based on the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian Constitution;

8.  Expresses its grave concern at the number of victims and cases of serious human rights violations reported since the beginning of the crisis; urges the Burundian authorities to undertake a rigorous and prompt investigation into the circumstances and motives behind these crimes and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice; reiterates that there can be no impunity for those responsible for violations or serious abuses of human rights;

9.  Is deeply concerned at the economic and social situation faced by the population of Burundi as a whole, and in particular by refugees and displaced persons, whose numbers will continue to rise, given the security problems in the country itself and the tensions in neighbouring countries; reiterates its support for all humanitarian organisations operating on the ground and for the neighbouring host countries; appeals to the international community and humanitarian agencies to continue to provide assistance to all those who are now refugees and displaced persons as a result of the conflict; welcomes the EU’s commitment to increasing financial support and humanitarian aid to address the urgent needs of these populations;

10.  Calls for the draft law on NGOs to be revised to bring it into line with international standards and Burundi’s obligations, and for guarantees to be provided that the right to demonstrate peacefully will be upheld and that the country’s security and defence forces will make proportionate use of force; calls for the repeal of Decree 530/1597 providing for the provisional suspension of the activities of 10 human rights organisations and the immediate lifting of the freeze on their bank accounts, so that these organisations can freely exercise their activities; denounces the situation of Pierre Claver Mbonimpa (a human rights activist arrested in 2014 for having criticised the fact that young Burundians were being armed and sent for military training in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), who was shot and severely wounded in Bujumbura on 3 August 2015 and whose son and son-in-law were killed in October 2015;

11.  Takes the view that the current crisis can be resolved only by means of national and regional political dialogue and must not, under any circumstances, serve as a pretext for further military intervention in the region; notes that the EU has requested the opening of consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement to investigate the non‑respect of essential elements of the Agreement, in particular human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and that those consultations will start on 8 December 2015;

12.  Urges the International Criminal Court (ICC) and international human rights organisations to continue to monitor the situation closely in order to gather testimony and the relevant evidence;

13.  Is particularly concerned at the dramatic levels of discrimination against, and criminalisation, of LGBTI people in Burundi; points out once again that sexual orientation and gender identity form part of freedom of expression and of people’s right to a private life, as enshrined in international human rights law, under which the principles of equality and non-discrimination must be upheld and freedom of expression guaranteed; calls, therefore, on the National Assembly and on the Government of Burundi to repeal the articles of the penal code which discriminate against LGBTI people;

14.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to release the funds needed to address the humanitarian crisis in the Great Lakes Region, to work closely with UN bodies and to increase official development assistance (ODA), following internationally agreed development effectiveness principles, in order to tackle the root problems of inequality, poverty and chronic malnutrition and achieve the recently approved Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

15.  Takes the view that Burundi’s problems can be resolved only by giving all citizens equal rights, sorting out disputes linked to control over fertile farmland and to unemployment and poverty, fighting corruption, poverty, economic inequality and discrimination, ensuring business accountability and compliance with environmental and social standards and human rights, and promoting social, political and economic reforms in order to create a free, democratic and stable state in which people’s dignity can be enhanced;

16.  Considers that people’s lack of access to the country’s natural resources, increasing income inequality, rising unemployment, worsening social conditions and impoverishment are obstacles to stability and should be absolute priorities in the immediate future;

17.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to follow effectively the principle of Policy Coherence for Development in all their actions vis-à-vis Burundi, in order to ensure that they are correctly aligned and do not undermine the objectives of reducing poverty and achieving the SDGs;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the ACP-EU Council, the East African Community and the governments of its member states, the institutions of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 15.

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