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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Burundi, in particular the case of Mr Bob Rugurika

10.2.2015 - (2015/2561(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Mark Demesmaeker, Jan Zahradil, Ryszard Czarnecki, Ruža Tomašić on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0144/2015

Procedura : 2015/2561(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Burundi, in particular the case of Mr Bob Rugurika


The European Parliament,

–    having regard to its previous resolutions on Burundi


- having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,


- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,


- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,


- having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,


–   having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas Bob Rugurika, the director of the popular privately owned Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), was arrested on January 20, days after RPA aired reports into the September 2014 murder of three Italian nuns;


B. whereas one of the broadcasts included an interview with an unidentified man who claimed to have participated in the murder and who implicated former and current senior intelligence and police officers;


C. whereas Bob Rugurika is facing a possible 20 year jail sentence on charges of complicity in murder, breach of public solidarity, harbouring a criminal and violating the confidentiality of a judicial investigation;


D. whereas the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Mrs. Reine Alapini-Gansou, condemned this arrest and demanded the immediate release of Bob Rugurika and recalled the responsibilities of the Burundian authorities resulting from the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa and from the Declarations of Kigali and Grand-Bay;


E. whereas Burundi's journalist union took the repressive Burundian media law of 2013, that criminalizes certain kinds of reporting and makes it possible to force journalists to name their sources, to the East African Court of Justice;


F. whereas these events come at a crucial time as Burundi is due to hold parliamentary and local elections in May 2015 and presidential elections the following month;


G. whereas Burundi is one of the world's poorest nations- fragile states- and is struggling to emerge from a 12 years ethnic based civil war which killed more than 300 000 persons;


H. whereas Burundi is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index;


1.  Condemns the jailing of Bob Rugurika, that can be considered as a blatant attempt to silence the media in the run-up to elections in Burundi in May, and asks for his immediate and unconditional release on the grounds that the Burundian authorities have produced no evidence to justify the detention of Bob Rugurika and that he is thus being held arbitrarily;


2. Is deeply concerned that Rugurika's arrest forms part of a pattern of government attacks on freedom of expression, particularly targeting journalists, activists, and members of political parties and that Burundi's precious democratic gains are at risk with these assaults;


3. Reiterates in this context the importance of respecting the Code of Conduct in electoral matters and the UN-brokered election roadmap which was signed by political actors in 2013;


4. Recalls that Burundi is bound by the human rights clause of the Cotonou Agreement, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and therefore has an obligation to respect universal human rights, including freedom of expression;


5. Calls on the EU High Representative and the Member States to ensure that there is a clear and principled EU policy vis-à-vis Burundi that addresses the ongoing serious human rights violations, in line with the EU strategic Framework on Human Rights; calls on the Commission to consider launching consultations with Burundi under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement with a view to possible suspension from the Agreement and to take any appropriate measures while they are conducted;


6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Government of Burundi, the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament.