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Thursday, 20 October 2022 - Strasbourg
The situation in Burkina Faso following the coup d’état

European Parliament resolution of 20 October 2022 on the situation in Burkina Faso following the coup d’état (2022/2865(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular those of 19 December 2019 on violations of human rights including religious freedoms in Burkina Faso(1), of 16 September 2020 on EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa(2), and of 17 February 2022 on the political crisis in Burkina Faso(3),

–  having regard to the statement by the Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 4 October 2022 in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, and the ensuing debate,

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 1 and 5 October 2022 on the coup d’état in Burkina Faso and the situation in the country,

–  having regard to the statements by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of 30 September, 1 October and 2 October 2022 on the situation in Burkina Faso, and the ECOWAS mission to Burkina Faso of 4 October 2022,

–  having regard to the statement by the chairperson of the African Union Commission of 30 September 2022 condemning the second takeover of power by force in Burkina Faso,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General of 1 October 2022 on the situation in Burkina Faso,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council statement of 7 October 2022 on the situation in Burkina Faso,

–  having regard to the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 9 March 2020 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ (JOIN(2020)0004),

–  having regard to the resolution of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the EU of 11 March 2021 on democracy and the respect for constitutions in EU and ACP countries,

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG 16 on the promotion of just, peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

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

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Republic of Burkina Faso,

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(4) (the Cotonou Agreement),

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

–  having regard to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979,

–  having regard to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and the 1967 Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to Rule 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 30 September 2022, members of the Burkina Faso military, led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, carried out a coup d’état, overthrowing President Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba; whereas former President Damiba had seized power in a coup on 24 January 2022 that overthrew President Roch Kaboré, who had been democratically elected in November 2020; whereas like former President Damiba before him, the current President Ibrahim Traoré justified the coup by citing the authorities’ inability to curb the deterioration of the security situation;

B.  whereas after the January 2022 coup, under the mediation of ECOWAS, the military agreed to a transition period until July 2024, when democratic elections are to be held; whereas the EU strongly supported ECOWAS in its mediation efforts and made considerable efforts to boost cooperation, including on defence and security; whereas ECOWAS has condemned the September 2022 coup in Burkina Faso and deems it inappropriate in the light of the progress that had been made in efforts to ensure an orderly return to constitutional order by 1 July 2024; whereas the September 2022 coup has also been denounced by the African Union, the EU and the UN;

C.  whereas according to a disinformation campaign, former President Damiba had taken shelter under French protection, which was immediately and strongly denied by the French authorities, as well as by both former President Damiba himself and the current President Ibrahim Traoré; whereas in the wake of the coup, demonstrations broke out against France and in favour of increased military cooperation with Russia; whereas the French embassy and consulate in Ouagadougou have been vandalised, alongside the Institut Français offices in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso; whereas several other attacks have been witnessed in the country against European institutions and symbols;

D.  whereas on 2 October 2022, former President Damiba tendered his resignation as president after mediation with traditional chieftains; whereas he made his resignation subject to seven conditions, among them the need to uphold the agreement with ECOWAS during a transition period of 24 months; whereas the current President Ibrahim Traoré accepted all of these conditions;

E.  whereas on 4 October 2022, ECOWAS deployed a fact-finding mission into the September 2022 coup and held talks with the new leadership; whereas after a meeting with the ECOWAS delegation, President Traoré stated his intention to respect the transition timeline agreed between his predecessor and ECOWAS; whereas President Traoré also undertook to honour Burkina Faso’s international commitments, particularly regarding the protection of human rights;

F.  whereas on 15 October 2022, Captain Ibrahim Traoré was unanimously appointed as president by the ‘National Assises’ and the transitional charter was adopted;

G.  whereas the constitution, first suspended after 30 September 2022, was reinstated by the Fundamental Act adopted by the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR) on 5 October 2022, which ensures respect for international agreements to which Burkina Faso is a party and guaranteed the continuity of the state pending the subsequent adoption of the transitional charter;

H.  whereas on 7 October 2022, President Traoré met all of the diplomatic corps in Ouagadougou to reaffirm his willingness to cooperate with all of Burkina Faso’s partners; whereas President Traoré has made statements that Burkina Faso considers the EU just ‘one of many’ partners;

I.  whereas Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private military company the Wagner Group, welcomed the September coup; whereas the Wagner Group continues to expand its activities in the Sahel region and Western Africa and is known to have perpetrated numerous war crimes in the region;

J.  whereas since 2015, Burkina Faso has been caught up in an escalating wave of violence attributed to fighters of groups such as the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which is aligned with al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), killing thousands of people; whereas on 26 September 2022, 37 people were killed in an attack on a supply convoy near Gaskindé; whereas a group affiliated with al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, which is considered one of the triggers of the recent coup, and in which 70 truck drivers went missing according to their trade union; whereas approximately 40 % of Burkina Faso’s territory is currently exposed to violence committed by armed rebel groups and a lack of food, water, electricity and basic healthcare as a result of the blockade imposed by such groups; whereas Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region has been called into question by parts of the population and some political leaders;

K.  whereas 1,9 million people have been displaced as a consequence of the worsening security situation in the country, more than half of whom are children; whereas among internally displaced people, threats to women and young people are particularly severe, including sexual and labour exploitation, gender-based violence, forced recruitment and trafficking; whereas the presence of internally displaced people and refugees may lead to conflict with the local population over scarce natural resources if no adequate measures are taken to provide housing, employment and food;

L.  whereas training of Burkinabe personnel was being carried out in the context of the EU Training Mission in Mali and EU Capacity-Building Mission in the Sahel, but was suspended after the September 2022 coup and has not achieved its primary objective;

M.  whereas as of October 2022, 4,9 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in Burkina Faso, including 3,4 million people who face severe food insecurity;

N.  whereas discontent and criticism had been growing over previous governments’ lack of capacity to tackle the enormous security, social and economic challenges in Burkina Faso caused by the spread of terrorist attacks;

O.  whereas more than EUR 1 billion was allocated to Burkina Faso for the period 2014‑2020 through all of the EU’s funding instruments; whereas under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), EU support is scheduled to amount to EUR 384 million for the period 2021-2024;

P.  whereas what happens in the Sahel region matters to and has consequences for both the rest of Africa and Europe; whereas Burkina Faso is of key regional importance, as it is strategically located as a bridge between the Sahel and the coastal states of Western Africa;

1.  Condemns the military coup of 30 September 2022 in Burkina Faso; regrets that this action undermines the recent progress made towards an orderly return to constitutional order;

2.  Calls on the next government to meet its undertaking to honour the country’s international commitments, including those related to the promotion and protection of human rights; urges the next government to allow people, including all minority groups, to exercise their civil and political rights, including their right to freedom of assembly, association and expression; is extremely concerned that allegations of human rights violations continue to be reported;

3.  Demands an urgent return to constitutional order, including an immediate return to civilian government; calls on the next government to meet its commitment to respect the timetable agreed upon for a rapid return to constitutional order and inclusive and transparent elections by 1 July 2024; expresses its full support to ECOWAS and the African Union for their mediation efforts and declares its readiness to support these efforts wherever possible; calls on the international community, including the EU, to back these efforts and to offer their support to ensure a safe transition; expresses its support for election observers in Burkina Faso and an EU electoral observation mission;

4.  Urges the next government to advance a true, honest, transparent and inclusive national dialogue, with the active and effective participation of all sectors of civil society, aimed at outlining a clear future vision for Burkinabe democracy and fostering a more inclusive and cohesive society; calls for the increased inclusion and active participation of women in decision-making and in peace-building and reconciliation efforts;

5.  Urges the next government to redefine its security response, in full partnership with the international community, in a manner that respects the rule of law, protects human rights and rebuilds public trust; underlines, in this regard, that the ongoing national consultation is an opportunity to implement substantial security sector reforms;

6.  Expresses its sympathy and condolences to the people of Burkina Faso, who have suffered too many violent attacks often committed by jihadist groups; underlines that the EU stands with Burkina Faso and its people and is ready to intensify its engagement; stresses that the Burkinabe leadership must create the conditions to allow for such an enhanced partnership;

7.  Condemns the attacks against the French embassy and consulate, the Institut Français and other European institutions and symbols across Burkina Faso during and after the coup; urges the next government to respect the country’s international legal obligations to protect diplomatic staff and premises, and to ensure the safety of foreign nationals living in the country; expresses its concern about the rise in Russian disinformation campaigns against EU missions and operations in Africa;

8.  Urges all the relevant parties to respect freedom of the press and the media and to allow journalists and media organisations to carry out their work freely and in safety, including documenting the situation of internally displaced people and security force operations;

9.  Urges the authorities to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and civil society organisations in the exercise of their mandate; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their protection and support for human rights defenders in Burkina Faso; condemns the use of sexual violence and all forms of intimidation in conflict situations;

10.  Urges the next government to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all deaths and injuries related to the coup, including those that occurred during looting and demonstrations, and to ensure independent and impartial justice and accountability for victims and survivors;

11.  Is deeply concerned about the activities of the Wagner Group in the region; strongly advises the next government against pursuing any kind of partnership with the Wagner Group; firmly believes that the involvement of private security companies accused of gross human rights violations would run counter to the objective of bringing peace, security and stability to Burkina Faso; points to the very negative track record of Russian engagement in Mali where, as a result of impunity and failed military tactics, the population is now suffering from increased terrorist threats as well as human rights violations by mercenaries; urges the EU and African countries to ensure judicial actions, including criminal sanctions, for human rights violations resulting from the activities of private military and security companies;

12.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their financial support and humanitarian aid in order to meet the urgent needs of the people of Burkina Faso, and in particular the needs of displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring countries; calls on the next government to support and facilitate the work of humanitarian organisations in Burkina Faso by ensuring unhindered humanitarian access; expresses concern over the impact of security threats on the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation;

13.  Asks the EU and its Member States, when formulating their policies on the Sahel, to take account of the essential need to support good governance, civil society, development and investments for a more positive future for Sahelian communities, and to conduct an impact assessment into the G5 Sahel; calls for the EU and its Member States to work with ECOWAS, the transitional authorities and all stakeholders in Burkina Faso to strengthen security cooperation, development, education and climate change adaptation efforts in order to tackle poverty and prevent further radicalisation;

14.  Calls on the international community, including the EU, to urgently evaluate, in coordination with their international partners and the relevant international institutions, all the means available to avoid any default on debt payments by Burkina Faso;

15.  Observes a decrease in support for EU peace-building and development cooperation activities in the region; calls on the Commission to step up its engagement in support of human rights and humanitarian and development cooperation, and to increase the visibility of these activities;

16.  Calls on the Member States to comply with their international obligations and implement a thorough check and tracing system for their arms exports in order to avoid their misuse and the fuelling of human rights violations;

17.  Urges the EU to promote Burkina Faso’s right to food sovereignty as a means of achieving nutritional security and poverty reduction, devoting particular attention to women and family farming, with the aim of securing the supply of affordable and accessible food;

18.  Expresses its concern that the increasing political and security instability and the dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso has provided an opportunity for terrorist groups to wreak havoc and has profound international consequences; underlines that terrorism and instability across the Sahel region are challenging and undermining democratic consolidation and the rule of law; recalls that tackling the structural dynamics behind the current challenges is essential to reinforce the popular legitimacy of democratically elected governments; calls for the international community, including the EU, to increase cooperation and support in addressing all of these challenges;

19.  Acknowledges and pays tribute to the religious and traditional leaders in Burkina Faso, who have played a key mediating role and have been active players in denying violence and hatred during the various crises in the country; calls on the Burkinabe leadership to increase protection for minorities, including religious minorities;

20.  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 authorities of the Republic of Burkina Faso, the Secretariat of the G5 Sahel, the Co-Chairs of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament, the Economic Community of West African States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN General Assembly, and the African Union and its institutions.

(1) OJ C 255, 29.6.2021, p. 45.
(2) OJ C 385, 22.9.2021, p. 24.
(3) OJ C 342, 6.9.2022, p. 290.
(4) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.

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