April 27, 2015
The United States is greatly concerned about the events that took place in Bujumbura on April 26, 2015. Violent suppression of dissent and intimidation of citizens who have a right to protest peacefully is unacceptable in a nation that wishes to strengthen its democratic transition from a post conflict society. Burundians have worked hard to achieve peace, prosperity and freedom of expression since the signing of the Arusha Agreement, and their efforts must not be in vain.
News concerning the situation with African Public Radio (RPA) and other independent radio stations is particularly worrisome to the United States. The hallmark of a democracy is the right of an independent media to report freely without harassment, intimidation or censorship. Freedom of expression is a proven keystone of reconciliation and stability in Burundi and it must not be restricted during this crucial juncture in Burundi’s history.
The United States will continue to closely monitor events in Burundi and will take targeted measures, where appropriate, to hold accountable those responsible for violence against the civilian population. We call for the government to begin an open dialogue with the opposition, media and civil society to avert further violence and ensure peace and stability. We again urge all parties to participate in the legislative and national elections and ensure that these processes are inclusive, transparent, credible, fair and free, and conducted in an environment without threats, intimidation or violence.