Office of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Burundi
The scaling down of UN presence in Burundi over the years, from an ONUB workforce of more than 6,500 (military and civilian combined) in 2004 to a 72-strong MENUB election team in 2015 was an indicator of progress in the country, and of growing confidence within the international community in the institutions emerging from the Arusha Agreement. However, peace in Burundi remained fragile, mainly due to conflicting interpretations of the Arusha Agreement by the country’s political actors. In April 2015, just four months after the departure of BNUB, Burundi plunged into a deep crisis largely from discordant views on the provisions of the Arusha Agreement concerning presidential terms. This was in view of the 2015 presidential election. Thousands of Burundians fled the violence and other human rights violations perpetrated before, during and after the election, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In the face of the situation in the country, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2248 (2015) which, among other provisions endorsed a decision by the Secretary-General to appoint a special advisor on conflict prevention. The advisor was mandated to support an inter-Burundi dialogue holding under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC). The advisor was also to support all other efforts to restore and maintain peace in the country and, to that end, collaborate with the Government and other stakeholders.
Going forward, the Security Council in 2016 adopted resolutions 2279 (2016) and 2303 (2016), which respectively called on the Office of the Special Adviser on Conflict Prevention to provide technical and functional support to the Inter-Burundi Dialogue in coordination with an Ombudsman and a Facilitator appointed by the EAC and endorsed by the African Union (AU). Both resolutions laid stress on the inclusive nature of the dialogue and directed the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General (OSESG) to provide technical and logistical support to the process.
Resolution 2303 (2016) went a step further to recommend the deployment of a 238-strong UN police force to monitor the security situation in Burundi and to provide support to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
As part of its mandate, OSESG-B collaborates with all stakeholders including the government, the opposition, political parties, the civil society, religious leaders and other stakeholders towards confidence-building measures to improve human rights and security in Burundi, and to create an environment that is conducive to political dialogue.