BURUNDI: Sanctions a "blunt instrument" - UNDP 1998.12.16

BURUNDI: Sanctions a "blunt instrument" - UNDP 1998.12.16

15 December 1998


The sanctions imposed on Burundi were a blunt instrument that had had a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable segments of that country's population, Kathleen Cravero, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator in Burundi said at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon. While it could be argued that the sanctions had helped push the disputing parties to the bargaining table, she said there must now be more effective ways to promote the peace process.

Speaking on the eve of a major donor appeal in Geneva for the plight of the Burundi people, Ms. Cravero announced the release of a report, entitled Choosing Hope: The Case for Constructive Engagement in Burundi. She said the UNDP hoped to raise $80 million for humanitarian assistance for the African country that would not only help it to get back on its feet, but would also encourage the population to have a stake in their future and help communities move towards peaceful co-existence.

The report, issued in close cooperation with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, detailed the deteriorating humanitarian, social and economic situation, including population displacements and the widespread breakdown of basic services, such as access to water, sanitation and health care, experienced by the Burundi people, she said. In its final section, the report issued an appeal to the international community to respond to the needs of that country's most vulnerable sectors.

What facts on the ground had occurred to convince potential donors that their money would now encourage progress and development in Burundi? a correspondent asked.

The mood in both the country and region was changing, Ms. Cravero said. The security situation had improved in most of Burundi's 16 provinces, allowing community development to take root. Also, there had been a nationwide effort, spearheaded by the National Assembly, to work towards peace. While it was true that long-term improvements would only come with peace, it was important to note that the kinds of community actions suggested in the report, along with significant encouragement from the international community, were absolutely critical for the internal development now under way in Burundi. Those actions were interdependent and intimately linked to the prospects for peace.

Had her office officially called for the sanctions to be lifted? another correspondent asked.

It was not the UNDP's role within the United Nations system to ask for the sanctions to be lifted, she said. However, her office had issued reports to clearly document as well as highlight to policy makers, how the sanctions had negatively impacted upon Burundi's poor. In principle, humanitarian goods were exempted from such sanctions, but in reality those vital materials had been held up for weeks, sometimes months, before being allowed to enter Burundi. * *** *

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 16:23:39 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: BURUNDI: Sanctions a "blunt instrument" - UNDP 1998.12.16

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