Burundi reacts as EU lifts aid, financial sanctions

Burundi has expressed relief at the easing of financial sanctions imposed by the European Union. 

After a political crisis sparked by former President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempt for a third term, the EU suspended aid in 2016. 

The lifting of sanctions is a significant step forward for Jean Dieu Mutabazi, president of the National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity.

“We welcomed this news with great satisfaction because we have seen that the process of resuming cooperation between the EU and Burundi is progressing very well. We hope that this process will lead to an effective resumption of cooperation. Since the 2020 elections, we can see that Burundi has entered a new era of openness, warming relations and resuming cooperation” Mutabazu said.

The head of the EU delegation in Burundi indicated that a process to lift the sanctions placed on Burundi in 2016 is already underway during an audience with President Évariste Ndayishimiye. 

However, a collection of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has urged against the relaxation of sanctions, claiming that the country’s human rights situation is dire.

”Those who say this, like HRW, are confusing the criminality that can be observed in Burundi, Paris, New York, Lagos, or South Africa or Kenya with identity-based violence. There is no risk of violation in this sense”, Mutabazu explained.

The restoration of European aid could enable the reconstruction of Bujumbura’s port, which would be done in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

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