On 2nd November 2020 the Bishop of Durham received answers to three written questions on Burundi, human rights, refugees and relations with Rwanda:
Burundi: Human Rights
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking in response to the report by the UN Human Rights Council Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, published on 16 September. [HL9364]
Baroness Sugg: The UK remains extremely concerned by the ongoing human rights situation in Burundi, and its humanitarian consequences. The findings of the report of the Commission of Inquiry that Burundi remains at risk of atrocities, is deeply troubling. We welcome the Government of Burundi’s commitment to deliver real change and break from the past. The UK will be ready to engage in more substantive dialogue with Burundi once it has taken demonstrable steps to improve human rights, and made progress towards peace and stability. However, we believe an inclusive dialogue, led by the region, remains one of the only viable options to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Burundi. In this context, we continue to urge Burundi to engage both with the region and with the wider international community on human rights, sustainable peace and development issues in the country.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the return of Burundian refugees from Rwanda; and what steps they have taken to support any such resettlement. [HL9363]
Baroness Sugg: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working with the Governments of Rwanda and Burundi to facilitate the voluntary return of refugees to Burundi. Since 26 July 2020, a large number of refugees have been repatriated from Rwanda. The UK continues to support the work of UNHCR including reintegration support for repatriated refugees, in addition to wider food security, malnutrition and emergency management interventions. The UK has provided a total of £15 million in humanitarian support to Burundi between July 2017 and December 2020.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current intergovernmental relations between the governments of Rwanda and Burundi. [HL9362]
Baroness Sugg: The UK notes positive developments in the Rwanda-Burundi relationship, including the meeting of foreign ministers at their shared border on 20 October. We support continued dialogue and increased cooperation between the two governments. Good relations between Rwanda and Burundi are important for continued development and sustainable peace