After over a decade (1993-2006) of violence that left 300,000 people dead, and a long peace process, Burundi has gradually been restored to a certain political equilibrium through a constitution based on the sharing of power (Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi signed in 2000) and the holding of elections recognized by the international community.
France maintains a long-standing relationship of friendship and cooperation with Burundi which began from the very start of its independence. It was expressed in recent years through France’s active support for the transition process, peacebuilding and reconstruction of the country.
The principal challenges faced by post-transition Burundi are national reconciliation, peacebuilding, consolidation of the rule of law, and economic and social development.
The 2000 Arusha Agreement enabled the establishment of a multiparty republic with a presidential regime in which the President holds the offices of head of state and head of government. Political parties and institutions are required to respect quotas among communities. The First Vice President must come from a community and political party other than those of the President of the Republic. In accordance with the Constitution, the National Assembly is composed of 60% of Hutus and 40% of Tutsis, including a minimum of 30% of women.
The 2010 elections were conducted satisfactorily despite some shortcomings and the boycott by a large part of the opposition. The National Council for the Defence of Democracy–Forces for the Defence of Democracy party (CNDD-FDD) won a wide majority in the National Assembly, the Senate and communal councils. The party’s candidate, Pierre Nkurunziza, was re-elected President of the Republic on 28 June 2010 with 91.6% of the vote.
Legislative, presidential, collines (hills) and communal elections will be held in Burundi from May to August 2015. The situation remains fragile in Burundi in the run-up to the elections. Following a decision issued on 5 May 2015 by the Constitutional Court, President Nkurunziza will seek a third term of office.
The United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) was replaced on 1 January 2015 by the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) which is responsible for monitoring the election process.
Burundi joined the United Nations on 18 September 1962 and has sat only once as a non-permanent member of the Security Council (1970-71).
The situation in Burundi has been on the Security Council’s agenda since the early 2000s with, in particular, the deployment under resolution 1545 of 21 May 2004 of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) "in order to support and help to implement the efforts undertaken by Burundians to restore lasting peace and bring about national reconciliation" in their country as provided under the Arusha Agreement of August 2000.
At the end of 2006, this peacekeeping operation gave way to the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) whose mandate ended in December 2014. An Electoral Observation Mission (MENUB) took over in January 2015 with a view to the elections.
A Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi was established in 2007 (Peacebuilding Commission chaired by Switzerland). It defines seven priority areas : promotion of good governance, implementation of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement, promotion of human rights and the rule of law, socio-economic recovery, regional integration and coordination of international assistance.
Since Spring 2015, the United Nations has been following closely the ongoing situation in Burundi. The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2248 on Burundi on 12 November 2015, at the request of France.
The Security Council traveled to Burundi on 21 and 22 January 2016 to monitor the situation in the country. Security Council Members underlined to their counterparts the urgent need to give up on any form of violence, to consolidate the political dialogue launched in Kampala on 28 December 2015, to protect populations by ensuring the respect of human rights and, finally, the importance of reinforcing relations with the international community, through the African Eastern Community, the African Union, and the United Nations.
On 22 April 2016, the Security Council adopted resolution 2279 to support the African efforts to end the crisis in Burundi, to increase the United Nations presence in Burundi, and to launch an inclusive dialogue between the Burundian government and all parties working towards a peaceful solution. (EAC, CIRGL, UA).
On 29 July 2016, the Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of a UN police in Burundi to monitor the security situation and the respect of human rights.
France has actively supported the implementation of the Arusha Agreement and mobilizes the international community in support of Burundi. In view of the close ties between Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the success of transition in Burundi is a key objective, all the more so in this election year, in terms of the stabilization of the Great Lakes region, to which France is highly committed.