United Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Thomas Perriello

October 16, 2015

The United States reaffirms its commitment to the people of Burundi in creating a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis. The United States calls upon Burundi to commit to inclusive dialogue in good faith to represent all citizens of Burundi in order to return to the 15-year path of economic development and democracy.

Dialogue must be accompanied by the cessation of all forms of violence. The United States abhors the ongoing killings and abuses that have become too common in Burundi, and the resulting insecurity they cause. It urges all parties to forsake violence and supports accountability for all those who have resorted to violence including government officials, coup plotters and those who conduct targeted or arbitrary killings. The United States remains seized with the perpetration of human rights abuses, including limits of freedom of speech and assembly, trafficking in persons in Burundi and to foreign countries. In light of the ongoing political and security situation in Burundi as well as its designation as a Tier 3 country in the 2014 annual Trafficking in Persons report, the United States is reviewing its assistance programs. We are committed to providing support for Burundians facing a humanitarian crisis but will tailor our security and government cooperation to ensure our support aids those truly in need.

Additionally the United States remains deeply disturbed by the state of the media in Burundi and the safety of journalists. Independent radio media has been muzzled since mid-May and there continue to be alarming reports of journalists harassed, threatened, abused and killed. A robust and independent media is an essential pillar of any democracy and the United States urges the immediate reopening of all independent media and assurance of protection of journalists.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to the Burundian people throughout a meaningful, inclusive and immediate dialogue about peace, human rights and security. We strongly believe Burundi’s best hope is an internationally mediated dialogue, inclusive of all non-violent stakeholders in a location considered safe and fair.