The international community is concerned that reported attempts by President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a fourth term in office could further destabilise Burundi.
The concern comes as the political crisis in the East African country continues to deepen amid serious human rights violations, torture, mass displacements of people, and economic degradation.
Jamal Benomar, special adviser, for conflict prevention to the United Nations’ secretary-general, noted Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a disputed third term had triggered the most severe crisis since Burundi’s emergence from civil war, more than a decade ago.
However, Albert Shingiro, Burundi’s representative in the UN, denied that Nkurunziza was aiming for another term. “The mention of a fourth mandate is typical of the double standards used against Burundi since 2015.”
No progress had been made in implementation of UN resolution 2303 (2016), and Burundi’s relations with the international community had deteriorated since its adoption, Benomar said, citing Burundi’s refusal to allow deployment of United Nations police for enhanced human rights monitoring.
Almost 390 000 Burundians have fled the country since the start of the crisis.
“We have tried our utmost to constructively engage with the government, yet authorities have largely shut the doors to cooperation,” Benomar said.