Peacebuilding Field Responds to Burundi’s Escalating Violence
“There is ample opportunity for Burundian citizens and the international community to come together to de-escalate tensions,” said Melanie Greenberg, President & CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. “We have learned a tremendous amount since 1994. The situation is serious, but not cause for despair—and should instead inspire support and cooperation from all actors.”
In the statement below—released today to US and international government officials and network leaders—experts in peacebuilding recommend four concrete steps for immediate action in Burundi:
STATEMENT ON THE ESCALATION OF TENSION IN BURUNDI
The Alliance for Peacebuilding — on behalf of our members — wants to respond to the reports of serious escalation of tensions in Burundi. As a community dedicated to promoting peace, the Alliance for Peacebuilding urges all parties in Burundi to work nonviolently to address their differences. We want to stress the importance of parties committing to the dialogue process, and to recognize the heroic peacebuilding work that the people of Burundi have accomplished since the Arusha accord.
AfP would like to highlight several ways in which the international community could play a positive role in the midst of rising tensions:
- The international community should focus on encouraging all actors to publicly denounce and refrain from all forms of violence. This includes the principle of peaceful disarmament of all non-state armed actors on all sides. Further, we encourage all those in the region to refrain from further inflaming the situation and to support a renewed dialogue process.
- We encourage full deployment and support for African Union and United Nations human rights monitors and military observers, as outlined in the Oct. 17th AU communiqué. We also encourage all parties to work with the monitors to ensure a peaceful process of disarmament and accountability for any violations of human rights that take place.
- We encourage all parties, as well as regional and international actors, to fully commit to a process of inclusive dialogue in a location that allows participation from all parties.
- We recognize the strong need for long-term support and engagement once this crisis is over. While there is certainly a need for short-term diplomatic activity and emergency funding, this must bridge into long-term support focused on addressing underlying issues that lead to chronic poverty and fragility in Burundi. Areas needing long-term international cooperation include support to: democratic governance, conflict mitigation and reconciliation, regional economic integration and growth, land and agricultural reform, and education.
We sincerely hope that the above four points will serve to remind all stakeholders to this crisis that the possibility still exists for de-escalating the crisis, re-engaging a political process, and supporting the long-term work of peacebuilding. We wish to express our deep gratitude for all of the individuals and organizations who have dedicated so much to this effort and please know that we are in solidarity with your efforts.
Read a Joint NGO Statement Urging Coordinated Global Response to the Escalating Human Rights Crisis in Burundi signed by Amnesty International, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).