Burundi

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 10 December 2015.

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Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 5:00, 10 December 2015

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is a great honour to raise the subject of the political situation in Burundi under your chairmanship, particularly on international human rights day.

Last week we spent 10 and a half hours discussing Syria, the subject of United Nations resolution 2249, but I shall refer to United Nations resolution 2248, which relates to Burundi. Perhaps we in this House ought to pay more attention to resolutions of the Security Council, of which the United Kingdom is a permanent member, because they often highlight crises around the world.

Everyone I have met who has been to Burundi has returned with a love for the country and its people. I had the privilege of going there for the first time in 2011 with the International Development Committee and have returned several times since. I declare an interest in that I help to lead the Conservative party’s social action project Umubano in Burundi with my hon. Friend Fiona Bruce, whom I am glad to see in her place. We worked in Burundi in 2013 and 2014. We had planned to go this year, but unfortunately the political situation there made that impossible.

All those who care deeply about Burundi have been greatly concerned by the violence of the past few months, which started before the presidential and parliamentary elections. We all long for it to come to an end and for stability to prevail. We also wish to see a return to the greater freedom of expression for which Burundi has rightly been commended in recent years, following the turbulent first 40 years after independence.