Taking note of the “broadly peaceful” conduct of polling in the Burundian presidential elections on 21 July, the top United Nations official today called on all parties to continue to remain calm and immediately resume an inclusive political dialogue.
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on the Burundian parties to engage in good faith in the political dialogue putting Burundi’s national interests first and fully determined to implement the relevant outstanding provisions of the 6 July East African Community (EAC) summit outcome document,” reads a statement issued by the UN Spokesperson.
Among other things, the said document stipulates that “whoever wins the presidential elections in Burundi should form a government of national unity involving those who participated in elections and those who did not.”
The Secretary-General, adds the UN Spokesperson, reminds the Burundian authorities of their responsibility to guarantee and protect the safety and security of the civilian population and ensure an end to further acts of violence, as well as accountability for any human rights violations committed.
“In this regard, the Secretary-General welcomes the deployment of AU human rights observers and military experts aimed at helping prevent an escalation of violence and facilitating a peaceful resolution of the serious political crisis affecting Burundi.”
Civil unrest erupted on 26 April in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, after the ruling Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party elected President Pierre Nkurunziza on 25 April as its candidate for the then-scheduled 26 June presidential election. It was postponed to July 15, then July 21.
Mr. Nkurunziza has been in office for two terms since 2005, and a broad array of actors warned that an attempt to seek a third term was unconstitutional and contrary to the spirit of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi that ended a decade of civil war in the country.
The mounting violence across Burundi has also provoked a widespread humanitarian crisis as refugees have spilled across the country's borders and fanned throughout the region. Indeed, by mid-July, more than 145,000 people had already fled to neighbouring countries.