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Humanitarian Emergency in Burundi

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has released information about Burundi potentially being at risk from the current ruling party’s youth wing, Imbonerakure.

Reports from some of the 100,000 refugees who have fled Burundi in the month since protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office worries Human Rights experts around the world. Imbonerakure is reported to be armed thanks to the government and has been acting like a pro-government militia in an effort to support Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term which violates Burundi’s constitution.

Having just emerged from an ethnically charged civil war in 2005 and having a history of ethnic conflict, most notably the involvement in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the increase in clashes between protesters and police has many within Burundi and in neighboring countries quite concerned about what could happen following the attempted coup d’etat on May 13th.

Although opposition parties are trying to resolve the problem in as peaceful a way as possible, there are still efforts to ensure that Nkurunziza not continue his presidency. Even the involvement of the United Nations, Western donors and African nations have failed to find a compromise between Nkurunziza and his opponents.

This situation has also brought up issues of United Nations involvement in African affairs. Members of the opposition and civil society groups are accusing the United Nations envoy Said Djinnit, overseeing the talks, as being bias. The United Nations dismisses this accusation.

Currently, the fleeing of 100,000 people over fear of the violence in Burundi has caused a humanitarian emergency that must be watched carefully.

About Emily Hersey

Emily Hersey
Emily is an African Studies and History student who loves reading, the gym, hip hop and horses. If she's not working on her latest research project, she's definitely working towards her next trip to South Africa and doing her Master's degree there. Contact Emily: emily.hersey@youthindependent.com