20 December 2011 – The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations political mission in Burundi, stressing that the country must continue to make progress on protecting human rights, fighting corruption, reforming its security sector and boosting economic development.
In a resolution adopted unanimously, the 15-member Council authorized the mandate of the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) – which succeeded a prior UN mission at the start of this year – to be extended through 15 February 2013.
The resolution stressed that the Government of the small African Great Lakes country must continue its efforts to consolidate peace, noting the progress that has been made after years of war or unrest.
The text cited “democratic governance, the fight against corruption, security sector reform, civilian protection, justice and the promotion and protection of human rights, with a special focus on the rights of women and children as well as marginalized and vulnerable minorities,” as among the most pressing challenges facing Burundi.
It called on both the Government and the international community to focus on improving the country’s socio-economic development, especially regarding the segments of the population affected by previous conflict.
Council members also emphasized that more action is needed on human rights, with violations continuing, including politically-motivated extrajudicial killings and acts of torture, as well as restrictions on the media, civil society and opposition political parties.
The resolution calls for a “thorough, credible, impartial and transparent investigation of serious crimes” and urges authorities to support the newly established National Independent Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.
Earlier this month, Karin Landgren, the head of BNUB and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Burundi, told the Council in a briefing that the trial of 21 people over the massacre in September of 39 people in a bar in the capital, Bujumbura, “will be a litmus test for the independence and impartiality of the court system in Burundi.”
But she added that the killings were an isolated incident and that the country had made headway in easing domestic political tensions, such as by moving to normalize relations between the Government and extra-parliamentary political parties.