Joint motion for a resolution - RC-B8-0465/2017Joint motion for a resolution

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Burundi

5.7.2017 - (2017/2756(RSP))

pursuant to Rules 135(5) and 123(4), of the Rules of Procedure
replacing the motions by the following groups:
Verts/ALE (B8‑0465/2017)
ECR (B8‑0468/2017)
S&D (B8‑0469/2017)
ALDE (B8‑0471/2017)
EFDD (B8‑0474/2017)
GUE/NGL (B8‑0475/2017)
PPE (B8‑0476/2017)

Cristian Dan Preda, Joachim Zeller, Sandra Kalniete, Mairead McGuinness, David McAllister, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Elmar Brok, Patricija Šulin, Jarosław Wałęsa, Ivan Štefanec, Tomáš Zdechovský, Jaromír Štětina, Pavel Svoboda, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Michaela Šojdrová, Milan Zver, Dubravka Šuica, Sven Schulze, Krzysztof Hetman, Elisabetta Gardini, Claude Rolin, Brian Hayes, Maurice Ponga, Eduard Kukan, Lefteris Christoforou, Adam Szejnfeld, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Romana Tomc, Roberta Metsola, Jiří Pospíšil, Csaba Sógor, Marijana Petir, Tunne Kelam, Seán Kelly, Stanislav Polčák, Željana Zovko, Ivana Maletić, Andrey Kovatchev, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, László Tőkés, Anna Záborská, Lars Adaktusson, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Inese Vaidere on behalf of the PPE Group
Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru on behalf of the S&D Group
Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Ryszard Czarnecki, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Notis Marias, Ruža Tomašić, Branislav Škripek on behalf of the ECR Group
Louis Michel, Nedzhmi Ali, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Nathalie Griesbeck, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Marietje Schaake, Hannu Takkula, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Cecilia Wikström, Valentinas Mazuronis, Filiz Hyusmenova on behalf of the ALDE Group
Marie-Christine Vergiat, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Tania González Peñas, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Stelios Kouloglou, Kostas Chrysogonos, Barbara Spinelli on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
Judith Sargentini, Maria Heubuch, Heidi Hautala, Florent Marcellesi, Michèle Rivasi, Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Bart Staes, Ernest Urtasun, Igor Šoltes, Davor Škrlec, Bronis Ropė, Jordi Solé on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao, Isabella Adinolfi, Rolandas Paksas, Laura Ferrara on behalf of the EFDD Group
Barbara Kappel

Procedure : 2017/2756(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Burundi


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement, in particular Article 96 thereof,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

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

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

–  having regard to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2248 (2015) of 12 November 2015 and 2303 (2016) of 29 July 2016 on the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the international commission of inquiry report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 15 June 2017,

–  having regard to the first UN Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Burundi, published on 23 February 2017,

–  having regard to the Security Council press release of 9 March 2017 regarding the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB), published on 20 September 2016,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 30 September 2016 on the human rights situation in Burundi,

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

–  having regard to the declaration on Burundi by the African Union summit of 13 June 2015,

–  having regard to the Decision on the Activities of the Peace and Security Council and the State of Peace and Security in Africa (Assembly/AU/Dec.598(XXVI)), adopted at the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union held on 30 and 31 January 2016 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia),

–  having regard to the Decisions and Declarations of the Assembly of the African Union (Assembly/AU/Dec.605-620 (XXVII)), adopted at the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union held on 17 and 18 July 2016 in Kigali (Rwanda),

–  having regard to the resolution of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 4 November 2016 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Burundi,

–  having regard to the declaration on Burundi by the East African Community (EAC) summit of 31 May 2015,

–  having regard to the European Parliament resolutions on Burundi, notably those of 9 July 2016, 17 December 2016 and 18 January 2017,

–  having regard to Council Decision (EU) 2016/394 of 14 March 2016 concerning the conclusion of consultations with the Republic of Burundi under Article 96 of the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1755 of 1 October 2015 and Council Decisions (CFSP) 2015/1763 and 2016/1745 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 March, 18 May, 22 June and 16 November 2015 and 15 February 2016 on Burundi,

–  having regard to the statements of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 28 May 2015, 19 December 2015 and 21 October 2016,

–  having regard to the statement of 6 January 2017 by the VP/HR spokesperson on the banning of Iteka League in Burundi,

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

–  having regard to Rules 122(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Burundi was plunged into grave political crisis and civil unrest after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April 2015 that he would run for a third term, regardless of the Burundian Constitution limiting the presidential mandate to two terms; whereas his re-election has faced strong opposition and has resulted in a massive crackdown by the government and an alarming deterioration of the human rights situation in the country;

B.  whereas, according to international observers, those opposing his re-election have faced a massive government crackdown since July 2015; whereas, according to the United Nations, 500 people have died since the violence erupted; whereas, according to human rights organisations, more than 1 200 people have been killed, between 400 and 900 have been victims of enforced disappearances, hundreds or possibly thousands have been tortured, and more than 10 000 are still being arbitrarily detained;

C.  whereas President Pierre Nkurunziza is not ruling out the possibility of amending the Constitution, enabling him to stand for a fourth term as of 2020; whereas internal procedures have been initiated seeking to remove restrictions on terms of office; whereas this appears to run counter to previous declarations by President Pierre Nkurunziza, undermining the collective efforts to find a viable long-term solution to the crisis;

D.  whereas the report of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) points to ‘abundant evidence of serious human rights violations and abuses’ in the country, perpetrated mainly by the security forces and the authorities; whereas there has been an increase in cases of incitement to violence and hatred since April, in particular at rallies of the Imbonerakure, the youth militia of the CNDD-FDD party in power; whereas opposition figures and civil society activists, notably human rights defenders and journalists, have been the primary targets of these abuses; whereas the final report of the commission of inquiry set up by the Human Rights Council is expected in September;

E.  whereas the reported acts of violence include murder, abduction, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; whereas corruption and the failure of the public authorities to take action is perpetuating a culture of impunity that is preventing many of those perpetrating acts of deadly violence, including members of the security forces and intelligence services, from being brought to justice;

F.  whereas, in October 2016, the Burundian authorities banned five human rights organisations; whereas, in January 2017, the oldest of those organisations in the country, the League Iteka, was also outlawed; whereas, in December 2016, Parliament passed a law imposing strict controls on international NGOs;

G.  whereas the clampdown on independent media and newspapers has been stepped up; whereas independent media are still being censored, suspended, blocked and/or shut down; whereas journalists have been subjected to forced disappearance, threats, physical attacks and judicial harassment; whereas all independent radio stations have been suspended; whereas ‘Reporters Sans Frontières’ ranks Burundi 160th out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index;

H.  whereas UN officials are reporting a tendency for government officials to sow the seeds of discord, raising fears of spiralling violence and a possible escalation of the crisis along ethnic lines; whereas there have been reports of widespread violence and intimidation by the CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy) and its Imbonerakure youth militia;

I.  whereas Burundi took formal steps in October 2016 to withdraw from the Rome Statute, thereby indicating its intention to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), following the court’s decision to open a preliminary investigation into acts of violence and human rights abuses in the country;

J.  whereas, in August 2016, the Burundian Government rejected the deployment of UN police officers to monitor the situation in Burundi; whereas the Burundian Government decided to suspend cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and refused to cooperate with the commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council;

K.  whereas, on 21 December 2015, the Burundian Parliament rejected the proposed African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, stating that any military intervention by AU troops would constitute an invasion by an occupation force;

L.  whereas, on 8 December 2015, the EU began consultations with the Government of Burundi under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, in the presence of representatives of the ACP Group of States, the AU, the East African Community (EAC) and the UN; whereas, in March 2016, the EU closed consultations, having concluded that the commitments proposed by the Burundian Government in terms of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law are unsatisfactory;

M.  whereas, at the close of those proceedings, the EU set out specific measures to be taken by the Government of Burundi in order to resume full cooperation;

N.  whereas the EU suspended direct financial support to the Burundian administration, including budget support; whereas the EU has undertaken to maintain financial support for the population and humanitarian assistance, including projects to ensure access to basic services;

O.  whereas the EU has adopted targeted sanctions in respect of persons, entities or bodies undermining democracy or obstructing the search for a political solution in Burundi; whereas the AU is also currently planning to adopt sanctions;

P.  whereas the inter-Burundian dialogue, led by the EAC and endorsed by the AU and EU, is regarded by the UN Security Council as the only viable process for a sustainable political settlement in Burundi; whereas the dialogue must be open to all, including opposition parties, civil society and members of the diaspora;

Q.  whereas the political deadlock in Burundi and the deteriorating economic situation are having serious consequences for the population; whereas the UN Agency for Refugees estimates that over 420 000 people have fled Burundi to seek refuge in neighbouring countries; whereas, according to the UN Under-Secretary-General, there are at present 209 000 internally displaced persons; whereas three million people are in need of humanitarian aid and 2.6 million are facing acute food insecurity; whereas 700 000 are dependent on emergency food aid in spite of the fact that the Government has lifted certain restrictions; whereas the situation is seriously jeopardising the region’s stability;

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the political and security situation in Burundi; strongly condemns the acts of violence, killings and other human rights abuses that have taken place in Burundi since 2015; appeals for effective and proportionate action to prevent further violence;

2.  Is concerned about widespread impunity, in particular for the perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses; points out that the Burundian authorities have an obligation under international and regional human rights legislation to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, including citizens’ civil and political rights; calls, in this context, for a thorough and independent inquiry into the killings and abuses that have occurred in recent years in Burundi, and for measures to ensure that those responsible are held to account;

3.  Deplores the fact that the Government of Burundi has initiated proceedings for withdrawal from the Rome Statute establishing the ICC; calls on the Government of Burundi to reverse the withdrawal procedure and ensure that the country continues to participate fully in the ICC;

4.  Urges the Burundian Government to respect in full UN Security Council Resolution 2303 (2016) and authorise the deployment of a UN police unit to monitor the security situation in the country;

5.  Welcomes the establishment of the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Burundi in November 2016 to investigate human rights violations and abuses committed in Burundi since April 2015; calls on the Burundian authorities to cooperate fully with the members of the commission of inquiry;

6.  Welcomes the recent appointment of a new Special Envoy to Burundi, Michel Kafando, by UN Secretary-General António Guterres with a view to facilitating understanding of the ongoing political process;

7.  Reiterates its commitment to freedom of expression and reaffirms the key role played by civil society, lawyers, human rights organisations and the media in a democratic society; calls on the Burundian authorities, in this context, to lift the bans and restrictions imposed on those entities, reconsider the new legislation regarding foreign NGOs and ensure that journalists and human rights defenders can operate freely and safely in the country;

8.  Is concerned that the present state of affairs very much risks creating deeper divisions between different ethnic groups; condemns the ‘ethnicisation’ of the crisis by means of recourse to propaganda based on an ethnic ideology; urges all sides in Burundi to refrain from any behaviour or language that might further aggravate violence, deepen the crisis or affect regional stability in the long term and to abide by the Arusha Agreement in full;

9.  Condemns the acts of incitement to hatred and violence by the leaders of the Imbonerakure youth militia against refugees and opposition members, especially public incitement to rape the wives of opposition members, and calls for the immediate disarmament of militias; is extremely concerned at the adoption of a new law on the creation of a national volunteer corps that would legalise the activities of such militias;

10.  Urges all parties to establish the necessary conditions for rebuilding trust and fostering national unity through an open, transparent and inclusive national dialogue between government, opposition parties and civil society in accordance with the Burundian Constitution, the Arusha Agreement and the country’s international commitments;

11.  Notes that the situation in Burundi is having an extremely damaging impact throughout the region; welcomes, in this regard, the negotiations being carried out under the auspices of the EAC with the support of the AU, and calls for the commitment and cooperation of the Burundian authorities for an immediate, long-term, sustainable solution to this conflict; expresses great concern, however, about the slow progress of this dialogue;

12.  Calls on the EU to back the efforts of regional actors to resolve the crisis; calls for implementation of the roadmap produced by the facilitator appointed by the ECA, former Tanzanian President Mkapa;

13.  Welcomes the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council authorising the deployment of an African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi in order to promote a political solution; urges the Burundian Government to honour in full the commitment to facilitating the swift deployment of observers and experts on human rights, in particular through immediate issuing of visas and very prompt completion of other requisite formalities;

14.  Takes the view that a greater presence of international observers in Burundi might very much help to improve the situation as regards human rights and security; calls for a further 200 AU military and human rights observers to be deployed in support of the 30 observers already present;

15.  Considers that there needs to be clarification, in coordination with the AU, of the traceability of the funds provided for Burundian soldiers deployed within AMISOM;

16.  Takes the view that, for there to be any normalisation of relations with the EU, including the Member States, the Burundian authorities must implement all provisions, in the schedule of commitments, on the consultations provided for by Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement;

17.  Takes note of the EU’s decision, following consultation with the Burundian authorities under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, to suspend direct financial support to the administration of Burundi and welcomes the adoption of the travel restrictions and asset freeze measures by the EU against those seeking to undermine peace efforts or human rights; emphasises that the EU is maintaining full financial support for the people of Burundi, including refugees, in the key areas of health, nutrition and education, and humanitarian support provided through direct channels; supports the renewed targeted sanctions by the EU, and the EU Council decision to suspend funding for Burundi following the consultations under Article 96;

18.  Is deeply concerned by the influx of Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries and by the alarming humanitarian situation of displaced persons in Burundi, and reiterates its support for the humanitarian organisations present in the region and in neighbouring countries that are hosting refugees; urges the EU and other donors to step up funding and humanitarian aid for Burundians who are internally displaced or refugees; reminds the Member States of their commitment to respect the Geneva Convention;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Burundi, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the Council of Ministers of the European Union, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the member countries and institutions of the African Union, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.