Locals go about their work in Kirundo town, northern Burundi. Picture: Lyu Tianran/Xinhua

Johannesburg – Despite Burundi making some progress Michel Kafando, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Burundi, states the environment in the East African country is not suitable for holding credible elections planned for 2020.

Urgent efforts were needed to keep the “hard-won” gains in the country from eroding, Kafando told the UN Security Council on Monday. He also noted that while the security situation was calm, there was still the potential for volatility as political tensions persist.

Kafando said human rights violations were still being reported and the overall humanitarian situation remained of concern.

The government’s decision to revise the constitution, in addition to the overall political situation, had also hampered economic development, Kafando said as he presented UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ latest report on the situation in the country to the Security Council.

“Dialogue remains indispensable, as the process sought to bring Burundians closer together with a view to building a strong nation,” said Kafando.

Jürg Lauber the Chair of the Burundi Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, added that efforts at the sub-regional, regional and international levels, focusing on the East African Community’s mediation initiative, would be made to establish a path to peaceful elections, socioeconomic dialogue with the government and partners, as well as the implementation of humanitarian and national reconciliation initiatives.

The Peacebuilding Fund has approved three new projects for Burundi worth $6.5 million.

African News Agency/ANA