Burundi: Preventing a Predictable Civil War

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“Burundi has passed an important milestones on the path to peace, but the page of the conflict has not yet been definitively turned. Loyal support from external partners remains necessary,” says the European Network for Central Africa (EURAC) in its October report entitled Burundi: Withdrawal by International Partners Would be Disastrous for the Peace Process and for Future Development.

Political assassinations, extrajudicial executions and increased violence throughout the country, like the recent attack in Gatumba on September 18th which claimed 36 lives, demonstrate the need for more aggressive mediation between the opposition and the party in power.  Such effort is necessary to maintain the current progress  and prevent Burundi from sliding back into a civil war.

On one hand, “[T]he civil and political freedoms – which were not easily achieved – have been undermined by untimely intimidation, arrests, interrogation and even imprisonment of members of civil society, journalists, lawyers, human rights and anti-corruption activists etc.,” says the EURAC report.

On the other hand, it is important to support projects such as the establishment of  transitional justice mechanisms and a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Independent National Human Rights Commission – led by members of civil society- and the Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory (Observatoire de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Malversations Economiques), an independent non-governmental watchdog group which reported 856 cases of corruption and a variety of malpractices in the first half of 2011 throughout Burundi.

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