Procedure : 2015/2723(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0658/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 09/07/2015 - 12.11
CRE 09/07/2015 - 12.11
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0657/2015

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 (2015/2723(RSP))

Louis Michel, Gérard Deprez, Pavel Telička on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Burundi (2015/2723(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Burundi,

–       having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

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

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

–       having regard to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 2000,

–       having regard to the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi,

–       having regard to the European Council conclusions of 16 March 2015 on the pre‑electoral political situation in Burundi,

–       having regard to the statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of 15 April 2015,

–       having regard to the statement by the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Burundi of 17 April 2015 and to its call of 4 June 2015,

–       having regard to the statement of the emergency summit of heads of state of the East African Community on the situation in Burundi of 31 May 2015,

–       having regard to the urgent call from former Burundian Chiefs of State, political parties and civil society organisations made on 28 May 2015 in Bujumbura,

–       having regard to the statement made on 9 June 2015 by the VP/HR,

–       having regard to the Resolutions of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 13 June 2015 and to the Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Johannesburg on 14 and 15 June 2015,

–       having regard to the statement of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the EU Member States on 22 June 2015 in Luxembourg,

–       having regard to the decision of the Bureau of the ACP-EU JPA on 14 June 2015 to suspend the election observation mission of the Assembly to Burundi due to the situation in the country,

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

A.     whereas on 26 April 2015 protests began against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election bid for a third term; whereas police have used excessive force in a crackdown on demonstrations, while the protesters were peaceful and posed no apparent threat; whereas protesters were shot dead by police during demonstrations; whereas police figures indicate that 892 people were arrested in connection with the protests between 26 April and 12 May and then 568 were released; whereas 280 detainees have been transferred to the public prosecutor’s office;

B.     whereas the protests grew more violent and repression continued, with as many as 78 people killed during the demonstrations or from wounds inflicted in their course; whereas the Imbonerakure militia, attached to the youth league of the ruling party, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), has been implicated in beating up demonstrators and intimidating opposition members;

C.     whereas continuous unrest and incessant clashes between protesters and police provoked a failed military coup on 13 May 2015 while President Nkurunziza was attending an extraordinary Summit of Heads of States of the East African Community (EAC) in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on the Burundian crisis;

D.     whereas the opposition leader Zedi Feruzi and his bodyguard were shot dead in a drive‑by attack on 23 May 2015; whereas the circumstances surrounding this murder have not yet been elucidated; whereas this specific murder has forced other opposition leaders, activists and journalists critical of the regime into hiding; whereas more than 100 000 Burundians have fled across the border for fear of violence spreading outside the capital (Bujumbura); whereas this stream of Burundian refugees is creating a worrying humanitarian emergency in neighbouring countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania);

E.     whereas four independent radio or television stations (Radio PA, Isanganiro, Bonesha and Radio-Télévision Renaissance) have been attacked with grenades and at least one radio station has been completely burned down, leaving the state-owned media as the only source of information for many Burundians not living in Bujumbura; whereas journalists who witnessed the attacks say that the perpetrators were government intelligence officials and police;

F.     whereas the political upheaval has impelled Burundi’s Catholic Church to withdraw the priests it had appointed to help organise the elections, saying that it ‘cannot support elections that are full of shortcomings’; whereas two top election officials out of five members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), namely the commission’s vice-president Spes Caritas Ndironkeye and the member responsible for management and finance, Illuminata Ndabahagamye, have resigned and fled the country; whereas Aimé Nkurunziza, member of parliament and chair of the parliament’s Committee on Political and Foreign Affairs and Governance, has also fled the country, saying that he does not support the government’s election-rigging; whereas Burundi’s second Vice-President, Gervais Rufyikiri, himself left for exile in Belgium on 17 June 2015;

G.     whereas a new facilitator, Abdoulaye Bathily, was appointed by the UN Secretary‑General as a replacement for Said Djinnit, the UN special envoy to the Great Lakes region, who has stepped down from his role as facilitator of the political dialogue between the ruling party and those who do not want Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for a third term; whereas the ruling party is refusing to take part in the political dialogue which has resumed under the aegis of the new facilitator and the ‘facilitation’ group consisting of representatives of the UN, the African Union (AU), the EAC and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR);

H.     whereas the government is refusing a further postponement of the election dates in spite of the insistent requests of the international community; whereas a final proposal was made on 24 June 2015 by the ‘facilitation’ group to delay all elections until 31 July 2015;

I.      whereas the proliferation of grenade attacks and intensifying tensions could reach a level that would pose a risk of atrocities being committed, considering Burundi’s history of ethnic violence;

1.      Expresses its deep concern at the situation in Burundi, where the escalating violence could deteriorate, given the country’s recent history and the high risks of a revival of ethnic divisions within Burundi, thus endangering the Arusha Agreement of Peace and Reconciliation of 2000 with possible disastrous consequences for the security of the whole region;

2.      Expresses its deep concern over the decision of the Burundian Government to go ahead with the elections despite the critical prevailing political and security environment;

3.      Condemns the ongoing elections, which have no participation by the opposition;

4.      Regrets very deeply the non-transparent, undemocratic and unfair character of these elections and their outcome;

5.      Calls for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, the opening-up of media space, the return to Burundi of all exiled opposition leaders, the unconditional release of all political prisoners, and an immediate end to harassment against civil society;

6.      Condemns the attempted coup, recalling that changing governments through violence and military force is unconstitutional and undemocratic, firmly denounces the behaviour of the ‘Imbonerakure’ militia, who are terrorising civilians, and strongly condemns the use of firearms and live ammunition against demonstrators; condemns all forms of violent actions, wherever they come from and whoever is the instigator; reiterates that there should be no impunity for any of those responsible for serious human rights violations, and calls for national and international criminal prosecutions against the latter;

7.      Welcomes the statements of the emergency summit of the Heads of State of the East African Community and the African Union Summit, and fully supports the efforts of the UN, the AU, the EAC and the ICGLR;

8.      Supports the statements of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; urges the Government of Burundi to ensure the safety of UN observers;

9.      Urges the Burundian Government to guarantee respect for human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression; notes that the absence of independent voices in non-state media contributes to tensions; recalls that it is a government’s primary responsibility to protect populations from atrocities;

10.    Calls on the Burundian Government, party leaders, religious dignitaries and all key actors in civil society, as well as media owners and journalists, to use their influence to prevent any action that could increase the risks of violence against individuals or groups on the basis of their ethnic or religious identity or political affiliation; calls on all parties to engage in open dialogue in order to resolve the crisis and reduce tensions;

11.    Emphasises the need to respect the Arusha agreements as the only way to ensure lasting peace and national unity; recalls the supremacy of the Constitution, which provides that no-one shall be President more than twice;

12.    Calls on the Burundian Government to comply with the point concerning the disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties, with particular reference to the ‘Imbonerakure’ militia, as a key factor for restoring an environment conducive to the peaceful resumption of the dialogue, and to examine all contentious topics, including the problematic third term issue;

13.    Fully agrees with the European Council conclusions on Burundi of 18 May 2015, and calls on the VP/HR to ensure, in line with the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights, that there will be a clear policy in respect of the critical situation in Burundi, based on principles and addressing the violations of human rights observed since President Nkurunziza’s announcement (sparking demonstrations and unrest) that he will stand for a third term;

14.    Fully agrees with the European Council conclusions on Burundi of 22 June 2015 and recalls the obligations existing under the Cotonou Agreement as regards respect for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law, and the possibility of instituting consultation procedures as provided for in the Agreement, including its Article 96;

15.    Expresses its appreciation of the neighbouring countries who are hosting refugees from Burundi and the humanitarian agencies for their support; calls on the Commission to consider assisting the displaced populations and refugees in the neighbouring countries;

16.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Government of Burundi and the governments of the countries of the Great Lakes region, the African Union, the East African Community, the United Nations Secretary-General, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).


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