Procedure : 2015/2973(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1352/2015

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))

Maria Heubuch, Heidi Hautala, Bodil Valero, Judith Sargentini on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

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

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement,

–  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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2248 (2015) of 12 November 2015 on the situation in Burundi,

–  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 decisions of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) of 13 June, 17 October and 13 November 2015 on the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the statements issued by the East African Community on 31 May and 6 July 2015 on the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the statement by the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 17 June 2015 on the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1755 of 1 October 2015 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Burundi(1),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 March, 18 May, 22 June and 16 November 2015 on Burundi,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Burundi(2),

–  having regard to the letter approved by the Council on 26 October 2015 requesting the opening of consultations with the Burundian authorities under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement,

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

A.  whereas Burundi has a recent history of civil war, widespread political violence, underdevelopment and poverty;

B.  whereas President Pierre Nkurunziza has started a third presidential term, which is widely judged to be contrary to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and the Burundian Constitution;

C.  whereas the announcement of his candidacy and the run-up to the elections went hand in hand with severe oppression of the Burundian opposition, human rights activists, civil society actors and the media, including the killing of opposition leader Zedi Feruzi;

D.  whereas presidential, legislative and local elections took place in Burundi in June and July 2015, both boycotted by the opposition; whereas these elections were considered not to be free and fair by the African Union (AU) and other international organisations owing to numerous cases of oppression of the opposition;

E.  whereas the Burundian Government disregarded the decisions and recommendations adopted by the AU and the East African Community (EAC) on 13 June 2015 and 6 July 2015 respectively, whose full implementation would have paved the way for credible and inclusive elections;

F.  whereas clashes between police forces and opposition activists and between armed groups have claimed at least 200 lives since 26 April 2015, with a third of those in October alone, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);

G.  whereas armed youth groups linked to the ruling party systematically terrorise and threaten people believed to support the opposition or to be critical towards the government;

H.  whereas targeted killings take place on a regular basis; whereas an assassination attempt took place against the Chief of Staff of Burundi’s army; whereas a leading Burundian general and close aide to President Nkurunziza was killed in a rocket attack on his car in the capital, Bujumbura; whereas police forces have been targeted and killed; whereas at least nine civilians were reportedly summarily executed by the API police unit on 13 October 2015;

I.  whereas, according to the UN, more than 200 000 Burundians have been internally displaced as a result of the ongoing violence or have fled to neighbouring countries;

J.  whereas in the Great Lakes region there is a considerable risk of domestic conflicts spilling over into neighbouring countries;

K.  whereas many prominent critical voices have gone into exile, all of whom received threats after speaking out against President Nkurunziza’s third term;

L.  whereas leading politicians have resorted to ethnic hate speech, in a region still marked by the Rwandan genocide of 1994;

M.  whereas United Nations’ officials have mentioned a risk of genocide in Burundi;

N.  whereas the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has called for the earliest possible resumption of the mediation process under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and for the full cooperation of the Burundian Government and all other concerned stakeholders with the mediator; whereas the AUPSC has imposed targeted sanctions against all those contributing to the violence and impeding the resolution of this crisis and has decided to launch an in-depth investigation into the violations of human rights and other abuses against civilians in Burundi and to deploy additional human rights observers and military experts; whereas the AUPSC has urged the AU to accelerate and finalise contingency planning for a possible deployment of an African-led mission to prevent violence;

O.  whereas on 30 November 2015 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, made three proposals to the Security Council recommending a revision of the mandate of the UN presence in Burundi on the basis of the evolution of the situation, with the aim of opening the door to a peacekeeping mission should the crisis worsen;

P.  whereas the EU called for consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement in response to Burundi’s non-compliance with essential elements of the agreement, namely human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law; whereas these consultations started on 8 December 2015;

Q.  whereas the AU, the EU and the US have imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on government and opposition leaders whose actions and statements contribute to the persistence of violence and impede the search for a political solution to the crisis in Burundi;

R.  whereas, by means of Decree 530/1597, the Burundian authorities suspended the activities of 10 human rights organisations, namely ACAT-Burundi, APRODH, AMINA, FOCODE, FORSC, Fontaine-ISOKO, Maison Shalom, PARCEM, RCP and SPPDF, and blocked their bank accounts;

1.  Is deeply concerned by the situation in Burundi, which yet again risks leading to a civil war and further destabilisation of the already strained Great Lakes region; calls on the Burundian Government, security forces and opposition forces to exert utmost restraint;

2.  Considers President Nkurunziza to be primarily responsible for the serious deterioration in the political situation in Burundi and invites him to engage immediately in a serious dialogue with opposition forces in Burundi in order to find a solution to the current crisis; such a solution must be based on the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and comply with the Burundian Constitution;

3.  Considers that the parliamentary and presidential elections which took place in June and July 2015 were not free and fair, and that the Burundian authorities systematically hampered the campaigns of opposition forces by preventing public demonstrations and threatening opposition politicians and civil society actors, which led to numerous departures into exile;

4.  Condemns the severe oppression against opposition forces in Burundi, the terror spread by the ruling party’s Imbonerakure youth militia and the clampdown on the independent media;

5.  Urges the Burundian authorities to ensure that these events are fully investigated, and that those responsible are brought to justice; welcomes the establishment, by the Attorney General of Burundi, of a commission of enquiry to investigate the API killings of 13 October 2015;

6.  Condemns the assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, the attempted assassination of General Prime Niyongabo and the attacks and killings perpetrated on Burundian security forces;

7.  Calls for the immediate disarmament of the Imbonerakure militia;

8.  Recalls Burundi’s obligations under the Cotonou Agreement to respect human rights, democratic values and the rule of law; recalls that such rights are also enshrined in the Burundian Constitution;

9.  Calls on the Burundian authorities to respect and protect the fundamental rights of all Burundians, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly of opposition supporters, to open up the media without delay, to allow opposition leaders in exile to return to the country, to free all political prisoners unconditionally and to end the harassment of civil society organisations and human rights defenders;

10.  Welcomes the AUPSC’s decision to launch an investigation into violations of human rights in Burundi and to impose targeted sanctions against those contributing to the rising violence in the country; welcomes its call for contingency planning of a possible African-led peacekeeping mission to prevent violence and calls on the EEAS to analyse how it could support such a mission;

11.  Welcomes the deployment by the AU of human rights observers and military experts to monitor the human rights situation, and stresses the importance of cooperating with them in order to facilitate the implementation of their mandate; calls, moreover, on the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged human rights violations, within its jurisdiction, committed during the recent crisis;

12.  Welcomes the start of consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and the adoption of travel restrictions and asset freezes for Burundian citizens by the AU, the EU and the US;

13.  Welcomes and supports the mediation efforts by the UN, the AU and the East African Community and calls for their intensification;

14.  Is deeply concerned about the continued exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries, and reiterates its support for the humanitarian organisations present in the region;

15.  Is concerned by the re-emergence of hate speech in Burundi and calls on all actors to exert restraint;

16.  Calls for the repeal of Decree 530/1597 providing for the provisional suspension of the activities of 10 human rights organisations, and calls for the immediate lifting of the freeze on their bank accounts, so that these organisations can freely exercise their activities;

17.  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 governments of the East African Community, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, 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.


OJ L 257, 2.10.2015, p. 1.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0275.

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