Secretary-General Ban reaffirms UN support for Burundi as new office takes over

Secretary-General Ban reaffirms UN support for Burundi as new office takes over

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Burundi on the successful completion of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the country, as he pledged the world body’s continuing commitment to help the impoverished nation shake off the ravages of civil war and political instability.

The UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) ended its mission on Sunday, when it was replaced by the UN Integrated Office (BINUB) and Mr. Ban said he looked forward to the new office working closely with the Government “to overcome the many remaining challenges.”

In a statement released by his spokesman, the Secretary-General congratulated Burundi on the successful implementation of ONUB and reaffirmed the UN’s continued commitment to assisting the country, “together with other partners, in efforts to overcome the many remaining challenges to the consolidation of peace.”

He also voiced hope that the Government of Burundi “will extend its full cooperation in ensuring the successful implementation of BINUB’s mandate.”

Late last month, a report to the Security Council warned that human rights abuses, political tensions and other “troubling developments” in Burundi could cause the hard-won peace process there to unravel. It added that despite the progress that has been made during the ONUB mandate, “the situation in Burundi is still fragile and major peace consolidation challenges remain.”

Like neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi has also been ravaged by an ethnic conflict between its Hutu and Tutsi populations. Since gaining independence in 1962, the small Central African country has been the victim of violent coups and political instability. The death of some 300,000 people after the first free elections took place in 1993 led to increased international involvement and the establishment of the first UN mission in Burundi three years later.