BUJUMBURA September 20th (ABP) – Members of the Lower House of Parliament met on Friday 17 September 2021, in plenary session to analyze and adopt the bill organization of the diplomatic department of the Republic of Burundi.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Albert Shingiro, indicated in the presentation of the reasons that the constitution of the Republic of Burundi provides in Article 164 that the diplomatic and consular organization is of the field of the law. He added that Burundi is part of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.
It has been found that the diplomatic service is governed by decrees, orders and notes of scattered and gap service. That situation hardly promotes clear and responsible management of the diplomatic and career service for men and women in the service of our diplomacy.
The bill comes to fill all those gaps. Mr. Shingiro also reported that the draft law on the Organization of the Diplomatic Service is proposed for analysis at the time the Burundi Foreign Policy Document was adopted in the Council of Ministers of 24 December 2020.
According to Shingiro, that bill ensures the development of a diplomatic career in line with the principles of efficiency, stability, transparency, continuity and mobility.
He explained that once promulgated, the Burundian diplomacy will have the end diplomats who acquired their grades according to their experience, there will be more equity in the allocation to the external service given the principle of rotation and the ‘experience.
He also pointed out that the stability and emulation of the service staff will contribute to the improvement of the performance of the fact that defections for other public or private services due to a lack of prospects in the diplomatic career will be limited, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation will have the opportunity to participate in the recruitment of young executives who will make a career in the diplomatic service.
Mr. Shingiro finally clarified that the government will have set up for the very first time in the history of Burundian diplomacy, a law organizing the career in the area of high importance in the life of the nation.
MEPs have requested clarification on some articles for more understanding. They wanted to know why a diplomatic agent or a consular officer appointed by decree must have a Burundian nationality under Article 33 while there are consular agents of foreign nationality who represent Burundi.
On this Mr. Shingiro said that it is a bill that governs the diplomats aspiring a professional career.
Diplomatic and consular agents referred to in this bill are professional diplomats and career consuls. If not the consular agents referred to in the matter belong to the class of honorary consuls which may be foreign nationality and they are not managed by that bill.
The MPs also requested clarification on the establishment of the Disciplinary Board within the Department while the Labor Code and the general status of civil servants define conflict regulations between employees and employers.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that the general status of civil servants is a permanent reference for all that concerns the management of executives of the Ministry in charge of foreign affairs. But it exists in the diplomatic sector, sanctions that are not provided for in the general status of the officials, in particular the interruption before the mission of a diplomatic or consular agent. He added that he is at the same time deterrent and educational. That is essential for a sector as sensitive, a kind of mirror for the country because, it is said that the behavior of diplomats in a country informs about the life of this country from which it is necessary to heal the image of the country upstream.
With regard to the contribution of the bill under the fight against human trafficking, Mr. Shingiro pointed out that the Government has put in place a Directorate in charge of promoting the employment of migrants to the Ministry having Foreign affairs with its assignments with the mission of defending and protecting the interests of Burundian migrant workers, the same department is negotiating with the countries of destination for the signing of the bilateral agreements aimed at protecting the interests of Burundian migrants and the Ministry. Ensures the monitoring and evaluation of officially approved Burundian migrant recruitment agencies in collaboration with the technical services concerned.
Note that after the exchanges and debates, parliamentarians unanimously adopted the draft law on the Organization of the Diplomatic Service of the Republic of Burundi subject to a few substantive and form proposed amendments.