Peacebuilding Commission: Statement by Ambassador Herman Schaper concerning Burundi
H.E. Mr. Herman Schaper
Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations
On the occasion of an exchange of views with Second Vice President of Burundi, Dr. Gervais Rufyikiri
Country Specific Configuration for Burundi Peacebuilding Commission
New York, 12 April 2012
Thank for you for organizing this important meeting to exchange views with the Second Vice President of Burundi, Dr. Gervais Rufyikiri.
Mr. Vice President,
let me welcome you to New York and thank you for providing us with this opportunity to discuss recent developments in Burundi. In particular, the second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and a possible donor event later in 2012. We sincerely appreciate your visit to the Peacebuilding commission and look forward to a fruitful and open exchange today.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement that will be made on behalf of European Union and I will like to add a few remarks.
First, Burundi remains an important partner for the Netherlands. It is one of the 15 countries with whom the Netherlands continues to have a bilateral development cooperation program. We aim to increase peace and security, enhance stability and reduce poverty in Burundi through our programs. Our embassy office in Bujumbura is focusing on security & justice, food security and sexual and reproductive health and rights. These programs are all prominent aspects in the PRSP-II and will support the implementation of this poverty reduction strategy.
Second, we are pleased with recent progress in Burundi. The government has been open to dialogue on sensitive security and human rights related topics, both with bilateral donors in the security sector as well as with the EU. This exchange today is also a similar positive example of dialogue which we highly appreciated.
We also welcome the release of some NGO and opposition representatives from prison, the willingness to address corruption in the judicial sector by dismissing 20 judges. And we hope that the Burundian government will continue its fight against corruption, as this is an important aspect of the PRSP-II.
Corruption and impunity fuel the dissatisfaction of the population, and have a negative impact economic progress and stability. Impunity, in particular, undermines the credibility of government institutions and the judicial system. We, therefore, urge the government to tackle impunity and to expedite investigations and prosecutions in some prominent cases. For example, the Netherlands is concerned about the lack of progress in the investigation of the murder of Mr. Ernest Manirumva in 2009.
We welcome the installation of the Independent National Human Rights Commission and urge Burundi to maintain its open media climate that gives voice to the Burundian population.
Thirdly, I would like to commend Burundi for the improved role of the Burundian army and police in society. A recent study that the Netherlands has financed shows that over the last year the perception by the Burundian population of the army and police has improved. Also there seems to be a sharp decline in human rights abuses by state security providers, and we trust that this trend will be continued.
Fourth, we have learned that the government intends to organize a census of its population and we understood that questions on ethnicity might be included in this census. We are interested to learn more about this census and we would like to caution for the usage of ethnicity in these types of exercises given the history of Burundi and the risks of misuse of this information.
Finally, we wish you success with the preparations of the upcoming donor event to fund the PRSP-II. The Netherlands will be pleased to participate and amplify its program in Burundi. We are ready to help engage new donors and inform them about your country.
Let me conclude by thanking the 2nd Vice President, again for his participation in this meeting. And I would like to wish him success in his endeavors to secure the implementation of the PRSP-II.