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Statement on the Crisis in Burundi
 
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
 
13 May 2015
 
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect is deeply concerned about the situation in Burundi following an attempted coup by Major General Godefroid Niyombare and elements of the Army against the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Today’s attempted coup is a response to ongoing protests since the 25 April announcement by President Nkurunziza that he would seek a third term, potentially violating the constitution and the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement. As a result of this crisis, over 70,000 people have already fled into neighboring countries since mid-April.

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The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council should urgently convene and respond to the situation. Sanctions should be swiftly imposed against any individuals found to be facilitating or committing gross violations of human rights, inciting violent conflict or breaching the Arusha Peace Agreement. The East African Community, AU and UN should coordinate their response to this rapidly evolving situation, placing the need to avoid recurring conflict and prevent the commission of mass atrocity crimes at the center of their engagement.


Regardless of the outcome of today’s attempted coup, the Army, the Police and the government all have a shared responsibility to protect the people of Burundi. All major political parties within Burundi should call for maximum restraint by the Army and Police, and should refrain from using inflammatory language or inciting violence. All paramilitary groups and militias, including the Imbonerakure - the youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party - should be immediately demobilized and disbanded as an important confidence-building measure. Burundi need not be a prisoner to its past history of conflict, but will require sustained assistance to get back on the path of national reconciliation and create conditions conducive for the holding of free and fair elections.
 

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