The Peace and Security Council of the African Union, at its 631st meeting, held in Addis Ababa on 6 October 2016, adopted the following decision on the situation in Burundi:

The Council,

1. Takes note of the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for the Great Lakes region, Ibrahima Fall, as well as the statements by the representatives of the Republic of Angola, as the African member of the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations, the European Union and the permanent members of the Security Council, namely, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America;

2. Recalls its previous communiqués and press statements on the situation in Burundi, in particular, communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLXXXI) adopted at its 581st meeting, held on 9 March 2016;

3. Acknowledges that the security situation in the country has improved, especially in the capital city Bujumbura and its surrounding areas, and in this respect, the Council urges the Government of Burundi to continue to enhance security and safety, ensuring fundamental freedoms and civil liberties for all Burundians, including by reopening the space for the media;

4. Strongly condemns all incidents of violation of human rights, arbitrary arrests and targeted killings by whomsoever in the country, and urges the Government to take further stern and urgent measures to put these actions to a definite end;

5. Reiterates the imperative of urgent resumption of the inter-Burundian dialogue under the aegis of the East African Community as the only practical way forward to resolve the crisis in the country. In this regard, the Council reaffirms the need for a consensual approach among all the Burundian stakeholders to address and resolve contentious issues relating to the situation in the country, and in so doing, to uphold the Constitution and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of August 2000;

6. Underscores the need for the deployment of additional African Union human rights observers and military experts, in line with the relevant decisions of the Council, to monitor and report on the human rights and security situation in Burundi. In this respect, the Council calls for the full cooperation of the Burundian authorities and other concerned stakeholders in the country;

7. Urges the Government of Burundi to expedite the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the African Union Commission for the smooth deployment of African Union human rights observers and military experts in Burundi, as well as to start discussion with the United Nations on the modalities for deployment of the 228 United Nations police officers as authorized by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 2303 (2016) of 29 July 2016;

8. Further urges the Government of Burundi, in consultation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the countries hosting Burundian refugees, to promote and ensure safe conditions for the return of refugees into the country and their resumption of normal life;

9. Requests the African Union Commission to continue to closely monitor the situation in Burundi and to brief the Council on a regular basis, in order for it to take appropriate decisions;

10. Requests the Commission to take the necessary measures to invite the East African Community facilitator of the inter-Burundian dialogue, former President Benjamin Mkapa, to brief the Council on the status of the dialogue;

11. Further requests the Chairperson of the Commission to transmit this communiqué to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for it to be circulated as a document to members of the United Nations Security Council;

12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.