December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
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AFRICA

Burundi

Expected Council Action

In December, the Council is expecting a briefing on Burundi and will consider the report of the Secretary-General on BINUB. BINUB’s mandate expires on 31 December.

Council members are likely to discuss the future role of the UN in Burundi. A smaller-sized political mission is expected to replace BINUB to reflect a more forward-looking relationship between the UN and Burundi, especially after the elections.

Key Recent Developments
On 10 May, the head of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), Charles Petrie, briefed the Council and expressed optimism about preparations for the elections in Burundi. He said that BINUB was working with partners to support the orderly and non-partisan management of any disputes. After the meeting, the Council issued a press statement that commended the National Independent Electoral Commission, the Burundian authorities, political parties and civil society on their efforts to ensure a successful process for the elections.

On 23 June, the Council issued a press statement that called on all political stakeholders to participate fully in the elections and to respect the results of the polls.

On 28 June, President Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected unopposed after opposition candidates boycotted the presidential elections because of allegations of fraud in local elections; EU observers have reportedly said that the elections met international norms. Agathon Rwasa, a former rebel and opposition leader who boycotted the elections, then went into hiding and is now apparently rearming his rebel group, the National Liberation Forces, in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On 3 November, Burundi’s foreign minister, Augustin Nsanze, briefed the informal meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) country-specific configuration on Burundi. He said the new government assessed the security situation to be good and was “confident” that remaining security problems would be resolved in a “short time.” Nsanze also said that the government prefers that BINUB not continue and that it was looking towards a new relationship with the UN, shifting from “monitoring and reporting” to “consultation and cooperation.” Nsanze said that Burundi was no longer in a “continuing transition.” It was now ready for a “normal development partnership” with the UN. The government hoped that BINUB would be replaced by a light structure of 55 to 80 UN staff, including locally recruited staff. Nsanze said that Burundi continues to see a role for the PBC.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission

On 6 October, Swiss Ambassador Paul Seger, as PBC chair of the Burundi configuration, met with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to establish contact with Burundi-related officials and to discuss peacebuilding issues. They focused on:

  • the assessment of the situation, current challenges and prospects;
  • the peacebuilding agenda as a priority; and,
  • the new poverty-reduction strategy paper, which could be used as the basis for a possible joint donor conference.

In its latest work plan, the PBC-Burundi configuration is expected to focus on three tasks until February 2011:

  • discussions with Burundi on the role of the UN after December 2010;
  • a review of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding; and
  • the national planning process for the new poverty-reduction strategy paper.

Seger is expected to visit Burundi in January 2011 to participate in the final round of discussions on the Fifth Review of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding.


Human Rights-Related Developments
On 1 October, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted its final observations and recommendations on Burundi’s report presented under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The committee welcomed Burundi’s adoption in 2009 of a new penal code that raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 13 to 15 years and increased penalties for cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of children. The committee was concerned, however, at the large number of child refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as child labour, which it found was widely practiced in Burundi. The committee strongly recommended that high priority be given to enabling the new Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender to adopt a national policy for children.

Fatsah Ouguergouz, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi, conducted his first visit to Burundi from 8 to 17 November. 

Key Issues
A key issue is designing a new role for the UN in Burundi in light of the evolving situation in the country.

A related issue is the mandate of the political mission that will succeed BINUB.

Council Dynamics
There is a general consensus among Council members about the need to listen to the views of Burundi and review the mandate of BINUB accordingly.

Some Council members have highlighted the fact that BINUB’s approved strength of 450 personnel is several times more than other peacebuilding missions and have suggested a need to reduce the number in the new mandate. A likely figure is a headcount of fewer than 100.

Some Council members have suggested that while reviewing the mandate, some consideration should be given to avoid duplication with the new UN Office for Central Africa, which will be established in Gabon in January 2011.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1902 (17 December 2009) extended the mandate of BINUB until 31 December 2010.
  • S/RES/1719 (25 October 2006) established BINUB.

Latest Security Council Presidential Statement

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Other

  • SC/9959 (23 June 2010) was a press statement on Burundi.
  • SC/9921 (10 May 2010) was a press statement on Burundi.
  • S/2009/445 (3 September 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General to the president of the Council on the findings of the electoral needs assessment mission that visited Burundi.

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