Lord Boateng – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Boateng on 2016-01-28.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of recent civil disturbances in Burundi on livelihoods and resilience and the role of the African Union and the East African Community in providing peace, reconciliation and economic growth in Burundi.

Earl of Courtown

The UK is deeply concerned by the situation in Burundi. The recent civil disturbances have led to the flight of over 234,000 refugees to neighbouring countries. There are an additional 15,000 internally displaced people. The UN reports that 36 per cent of houses are now food insecure, with 7 per cent severely food insecure. This has a devastating impact on the livelihoods of those individuals and the resilience of those left behind to further confrontation and economic hardship.

The East African Community (EAC) has mandated Uganda to facilitate a dialogue between the various parties in Burundi. Leadership from the EAC is important in securing peace and reconciliation. The UK strongly supports the EAC-led dialogue but insufficient progress has been made so far. The parties met for the first time on 28 December, but the Government of Burundi is refusing to engage with the opposition so no date can be set for a second round of talks. We continue to press the Government of Burundi to engage fully in talks.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), visited Burundi in mid-December 2015 where he pressed the government to engage in inclusive dialogue to end the violence. He again pressed the Foreign Minister for action when they met at the recent African Union (AU) Summit. The summit also provided an opportunity to lobby a range of AU members on the importance of regional leadership in resolving the situation in Burundi. Until there is peace and reconciliation, there will be limited opportunity to successfully support economic growth in Burundi, which has collapsed since the start of the crisis.