European Union Election Observation Mission Jordan, 2016

Burkina Faso: remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the European Parliament Plenary session debate on violations of human rights including religious freedoms

Strasbourg, 19/12/2019 - 13:14, UNIQUE ID: 191219_9
Remarks

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Mr President, Honourable Members,

 

All of you are right. In recent months we have seen continued and dramatic deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso.

 

I was reading more figures like the ones you have been mentioning. 700 victims this year, 500 just since the summer. Multiple attacks of various kind against armed forces, security forces, civilians, villages, schools. It makes 600 [000], almost 700 000 people displaced. The situations puts the level of food crisis very high. These people need assistance and basic social services. More than 1 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. This summer, the country recorded more than 2000 schools closed. It means more than 300 000 children outside of school. Almost 10 000 teachers affected, several of them have been killed during this year.

 

The situation is weakening the central authorities while the next presidential election is already approaching and considering that the authorities started to be criticized, by you for instance, [on] their crisis management.

 

Burkina Faso is a strong partner for us. And despite the fact that some difficulties appeared recently concerning the crisis assessment, I think we have to be more present and more engaged in this area.

 

In fact, the Christians represent about 25 per cent of the population. It is often seen as an example of peaceful religious coexistence but it is clear that the terrorist groups want to undermine this interfaith coexistence, as part of a broader strategy to foment interethnic and religious conflicts and generate continuous displacement of the population. They attack communities that they consider as enemies, but also those Muslims that are considered by jihadists groups too moderate, as shown by the attack of a mosque last October.

 

This situation does not call for a retweet but for urgent and strong action. As signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Burkina Faso and the international community share the obligation to save lives, to protect the dignity of the populations, and to defend effective freedom of belief.

 

That is why we are following this situation and acting in the areas where security is under strain. We are indeed strongly committed to reinforce our support to the fight against radicalisation. The set-up of humanitarian and human rights law compliance frameworks requires resources. We are funding the G5 Sahel force with €10 million, and pacific coexistence with communities with almost the same money, and supporting the civil society in the field of democracy with another €7 million. This is an example, some illustration of what we do in this specific purpose.

 

Preserving social cohesion and religious coexistence is key for the stabilisation of the country. I would like to reassure you that the EU will continue supporting Burkina Faso in facing this critical challenge. Because the situation in Burkina Faso and in general in the Sahel affects very much the security and peaceful prospects also for us Europeans.

 

Thank you for this debate and for bringing the attention of the European Parliament to this sad situation.

 

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-182373