The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding developments in Burundi:
“Canada is troubled by recent comments from President Pierre Nkurunziza indicating his intention to seek a fourth presidential term in 2020 and to proceed with constitutional amendments while Burundi is in a state of crisis. The Arusha Agreement and the constitution limit the president to two five-year terms.
“Canada is deeply concerned with the legitimacy of President Nkurunziza’s third term in office following the widely disputed 2015 election, which has led to the current political crisis and violence in the country. Comments regarding a fourth term can only contribute to further instability and prevent a lasting political solution to the current crisis.
“Canada is also very concerned with recent action by Burundian authorities to further limit civil society space in the country, following recent human-rights reporting critical of the government and its response to reports on human rights abuses. A free and vibrant civil society is a key component of inclusive, prosperous and democratic societies.
“Canada calls on Burundi to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, to implement UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from taking further steps to isolate itself from the international community, such as its October 2016 decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.”
Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.