Developing Countries reject EU sanctions on Burundi

Flags ACP-EUEurope failed to convince members of the African Caribbean Pacific bloc. The resolution condemned the situation and proposed sending observers in Burundi to protect civilians, disarm the ruling party youth and press the Burundian government to engage in inclusive dialogue. The failed EU resolution also asked the ICC to start investigating crimes committed in Burundi. During the plenary assembly scheduled from 19 to 21 June, the resolution failed to pass when African leaders voted against it.

Armel Niyongere, a human rights activist and lawyer of victims of the 2015 crisis, says that African countries refuse any criticism from Europe regarding policy. “It is really a negative solidarity on behalf of some African leaders and sovereignty does not say impunity”, he says.

Niyongere also says that these members of the ACP-EU have not thought about protecting Burundians who have suffered human rights violations since April 2015 until now. “This has blocked the immediate protection of Burundians, but I am hopeful that criminals in Burundi will never be punished”, says Niyongere.

François Xavier Ndaruzaniye, chairperson of a human rights association “Ligue Izere Ntiwihebure” says that the rejection of the EU resolution shows the depth of misunderstanding around the situation. “The reports conducted on Burundi have political goals which do not match the reality on the ground”, says Ndaruzaniye. If, he says, there are crimes committed in Burundi, the perpetrators are detained and will be punished according to the law. Ndaruzaniye calls the International community to cooperate with the Burundi government instead of proposing resolutions on Burundi.

In May 2017, Burundian MPs urged the ACP–EU, a joint development corporation between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific states, to propose a draft resolution requesting the lifting of sanctions on Burundi. According to the MPs, the political and security situation has improved significantly. The MPs said that the sanctions imposed on Burundi have greatly affected the population in all areas of life, especially in the domains of economy, education and health.

The European Union has already imposed sanctions on the government, accusing it of violating Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. The latter stipulates that any country appealing for aid must meet basic principles of democracy and human rights.