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Support to the African Union Human Rights Observers and Military Experts Mission in Burundi

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Facilitating African Union efforts to find a durable solution to the Burundian crisis by supporting a mission of AU human rights observers (HROs) and military experts (MEs), and strengthening justice for victims of human rights violations in the country.

Fast facts

European Commission Contribution: 
€ 7 847 365
Duration: 
1/11/2016 – 31/03/2018

In 2015 political violence in Burundi saw a sharp rise linked to President Pierre Nkurunziza's third mandate and a failed coup attempt.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council concluded on 12 February 2016 that Burundi was the scene of recurrent violence and human rights abuse, and condemned any use of force. In May 2015, the AU authorised the HROs and MEs mission, with the first deployment of personnel taking place in August 2015. The African Peace Facility (APF) Early Response Mechanism (ERM) provided initial support to this initiative until 31 October 2016.

In 2016, the AUC requested longer term funding covering the period November 2016 to October 2017 for an increased mission mandated as a peace support organisation. The EU peace and security committee agreed to the political appropriateness of the request in January 2017. In October 2017, the AUC requested for a no-cost extension of the action until the 31 March 2018, which has been accepted.

  • To facilitate AU efforts to find a durable solution to the Burundian crisis by supporting the mission of AU HROs and MEs;
  • To contribute to the deployment of HROs and MEs in providing the AU with regular reports on the human rights and security situation in Burundi, as well as calling on the government to provide concrete responses on the situation, and to work in close coordination with the international community.

The total cost of the Action is estimated at EUR 7.9 million. It covers salaries and allowances of HROs, MEs and support staff as well as travel, running costs for the offices and equipment. A pre-financing of 90% of the total budget was paid in August 2017.

Activities and achievements:

  • 35 HROs (12 women/23 men) and 7 Military Experts (all men) have been deployed in Burundi;
  • Within the human rights unit of the mission, different teams have constantly monitored the situation with respect to: gender; freedom of information and association; legal follow-up; economic, social and cultural rights; transitional justice; refugees and internally displaced persons;
  • Regular and fruitful contact with the provincial and local authorities, as well as with national and international partners, has made it possible to ensure the release of human rights defenders from prison, and ongoing support for those who may be at risk or be victims of HR violations;
  • Within the mission, a capacity building team has been put in place to offer HR training to observers.

The main challenge faced by the mission is limited access throughout the Burundian territory, due to political and security reasons.