“The only enemy that remains a threat to the citizens, besides covid-19 pandemic, which is common to all of us, is poverty, ”explained Evariste Ndayishimiye.
The head of state spoke at the UN headquarters on the third day high level in the General Assembly. After being held largely last year, this year’s gathering has “hybrid” activities that include leaders in person along with virtual participants.
The Burundian leader noted that in 2021 his country will celebrate six decades of independence and UN membership.
“It is therefore a moment to remember that the UN played a major role as Burundi since the end of the First World War was managed under the mandate of the League of Nations and then the UN,” he said.
A moment of hope
Points to the theme of this year’s debate, A presidency of hope, he said it has a special significance for Burundians.
Not only in the face of the devastating effects of covid-19 pandemic, but also the consequences of these repeated crises that have been committed in the country without punishment, “he explained.
To overcome these difficulties, he said that his government identified a number of priorities in Burundi’s national development plan, PND 2018-2027. He called the initiative “an ambitious and transformative program that can accelerate the process of socio-economic development.”
On the issue of good governance and social justice, he said “the fight against corruption, economic embezzlement and the fight against impunity is one of the government’s priorities.”
With regard to peace and security, he said it was “indisputable” that the international community has had any success in fighting terrorism, but it must acknowledge that it “has far from developed a common, adequate and effective strategy to eradicate this scourge”. . ”
“In addition to the necessary military action, the effective fight against terrorism includes a fight against radicalization, which is rooted in ignorance, poverty, youth unemployment and illiteracy,” he said.
He added that his government was concerned about the spread of terrorism in the region, including in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where extremist groups “recruit unemployed young people who blindly kill peaceful and innocent citizens.”
“I am still convinced that these groups pose a threat not only to our region but to all of humanity,” he said.
It is in this context that Burundi has since 2007 made military and police contingents available to the UN and the African Union, he informed. These officers continue to serve in countries such as Somalia and the Central African Republic.
Mr Ndayishimiye also made a note of UN Human Rights Counciland says of that body’s work that “any tendency to point out Burundi by attaching special human rights mechanisms to it is simply counterproductive.”
“In practice, the government has focused on the protection of human rights, respect for democratic principles, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression and the press,” he assured. “A lot of effort has been made thanks to the establishment of an almost permanent dialogue between political parties, the media and public authorities.”
He also noted that his country welcomes refugees and Burundians who return to their country. He explained that since July 2020, more than 75,000 refugees had returned voluntarily, bringing in more than 50,000 who returned without going through specialized UN agencies.
“With peace and security restored, Burundian refugees, including political actors, return overwhelmingly and are greeted with love and dignity,” he assured.
Finally, he welcomed the “historic decision” from Safety advice and the African Union Peace and Security Council to remove Burundi from their political agendas in recognition of the return of peace.
The whole statement in French here.