Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in Burundi
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Burundi, 24 May 2018, New York.
Thank you very much to Special Envoy Kafando and to Ambassador Lauber for very useful briefings and remarks this morning. I want to say at the outset that we fully support both of you in the pursuit of durable peace and sustainable development in Burundi. The briefings underline the precarious nature of the current political, economic and humanitarian situation in the country, and the continued reported grave human rights violations and abuses. The attack on 11 May, referred to by many, which killed 26 people in Ruhagarika, further demonstrates that the security situation also remains frail.
The referendum on 17 May was held against this background. We note that the government did allow some campaigning during the campaign period. However, a reported overall climate of intimidation, including the closure of certain media outlets, in the lead up to the referendum demonstrates that conditions for reconciliation and long lasting political peace and stability are still largely absent.
The spirit and key provisions of the Arusha Accords thus remain relevant and central. The Accords constitute a pillar for peace and stability in Burundi and in the entire region. An inclusive political resolution of the current conflict, through dialogue, must be found. A lack thereof will negatively affect the upcoming elections in 2020 and the socioeconomic and humanitarian situation. We fully support an enhanced engagement by the EAC-led mediation efforts under president Museveni and former president Mkapa. And we do expect the government to commit fully to the inter-Burundian dialog.
The efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission's Burundi configuration are equally important. The PBC remains a unique platform for discussing the situation in the country with Burundi. We strongly support Ambassador Lauber's approach and efforts and we hope that the dialog on socio-economic issues will continue to contribute to confidence between Burundi and its partners.
In the short term, addressing the humanitarian situation in Burundi is of paramount importance. Urgent action is needed to alleviate immediate suffering, stemming from issues such as food insecurity and protection issues.
Finally Madame President,
The continued reports of grave human rights violations and abuses in Burundi remain deeply worrisome. Sweden calls on Burundian authorities to ensure that the three Human Rights experts mandated by the Human Rights Council can carry out their work in the country unhindered. In addition, we urge Burundi to swiftly agree on a Memorandum of Understanding with OHCHR as well as with the African Union regarding its human rights and military observers. Upholding and respecting human rights and ensuring accountability is critical. It nurtures trust, strengthens dialogue and reconciliation, and ultimately contribute to durable peace.
I thank you.