U.S. Places Electoral Assistance to Burundi on Hold (June 26, 2015)

June 26, 2015

In light of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s continued efforts to violate the Arusha Agreement, seek a third term and press ahead with electoral dates absent the conditions necessary for credible elections, the United States is placing on hold technical assistance to Burundi’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), as well as voter education activities that were to be implemented in cooperation with the CENI.

The U.S. Government will consider reinstating these measures if President Nkurunziza’s government takes concrete steps to improve the electoral environment and process.

The United States supports the African Union’s call for the Burundian government, opposition groups, and other stakeholders to restart a dialogue to reach consensus on the timetable and necessary conditions for peaceful and credible elections, and to reach agreement on other matters on which the parties disagree. We welcome the dispatch of Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, to work with representatives of the African Union, the East African Community and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region to facilitate the political dialogue and help the parties reach a political solution. And we call on the government as a matter of urgent priority to implement its stated commitment to grant unfettered access to AU human rights monitors and observers throughout the country.

Finally, the United States strongly opposes any actions by regional states that could further destabilize Burundi and worsen humanitarian suffering there. We have expressed our concerns directly with leaders in the region and will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are prepared to take additional measures against those individuals responsible for— or complicit in— undermining democracy and the rule of law and promoting instability in Burundi, including through politically-motivated violence and other human rights abuses.