Burundi "cannot afford" to miss opportunity for fair elections in 2015: Ban

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The UN Secretary-General has warned Burundi's authorities that the country "cannot afford" to miss an opportunity to consolidate its democratic gains.

Burundi is recovering from decades of ethnic war and is scheduled to hold elections in 2015.

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Mr. Ban Ki-moon deplored the growing restrictions on the freedom of expression, association and assembly.

He singled out the prohibition and disruption of opposition meetings by the police and the youth wing of the ruling party.

He said that respecting these freedoms and other human rights is a precondition for free and fair elections in 2015.

The Secretary-General expressed deep concern over recent developments in Burundi, in particular the violent confrontations between the police and members of opposition parties last week.

He encouraged the Burundian authorities, political leaders and civil society representatives to work together to de-escalate tension.

The United Nations is ready to provide its good offices in this regard, he offered.

The Security Council has renewed the mandate of the United Nations mission in Burundi until the end of 2014 despite the country’s request to end it earlier.

Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call for the Government of Burundi and political parties to launch a campaign against political violence ahead of the elections and resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue, in line with the political road map adopted in March last year and the consensus enshrined in the Arusha Accords.

Stephanie Coutrix , United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

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