Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following reports that Burundi is considering postponing elections after more than a month of protests:

“To hold free and fair elections you need freedom of press, an active civil society, and a basic sense of security. Unfortunately, none of those are currently present in Burundi. Burundi’s neighbors, led by the East African Community, were right to call for an election postponement. Forcing a flawed election on the Burundian people may only further destabilize the situation, leading to more deaths. Burundi suffered enough during the civil-wars of the late 1990’s. President Nkurunziza must respect the principles outlined in the Arusha Accord which helped bring an end to the decade long internal conflict.  We can’t afford to go back to those dark days.

“Burundi is not the only country on the continent that’s facing the test of respecting term limits. Africans, and the United States government, must stand firmly behind the principle of good governance and rule of law.”

Note: Last month, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel sent a letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors to express their concern over proposed cuts to the Central African service.  The letter can be found HERE.