Rights Groups: Burundi ‘Risks Genocide Amid ‘Forgotten Conflict’

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Rights groups are again warning that Burundi risks slipping into civil war and genocide, urging the international community to intervene in the “forgotten conflict”.

A report published by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Burundian Human Rights League (ITEKA) on Tuesday called for peacekeeper troops to be deployed in the country.

 

‘A forgotten conflict’

“We are talking about a forgotten conflict here,” FIDH president Dimitris Christopoulos told Al Jazeera.

“We are constantly talking about Iraq, we are constantly talking about Syria, but nobody bothers about what is happening in this country,” he added. “There is an extreme, systematic violation of human rights here on a daily basis, which may lead to dynamics of genocide.”

Burundi’s bitter conflict runs back to April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term as the country’s president. The early stages of Burundi’s security crisis captured the attention of global media but the coverage of events in Burundi has gone eerily quiet in 2016.

 

The risk of civil war, genocide remains

Both the FIDH and ITEKA warn that Burundi is still at risk of slipping into civil war and genocide. The ethnic nature of Burundi’s conflict has been prominent throughout but the country’s government is increasingly isolating itself – and its people – from the outside world.

“Burundi’s government is losing all contact with the outside world,” Christopoulos warns. “These are bad symptoms. This is not African politics as usual.”

Meanwhile, Burundi rejects the report and comments from rights groups, claiming they are an attempt to provoke regime change in the country.

“We are not surprised by what they say. There is nothing new,” deputy spokesman for President Nkurunziza, Jean Claude Karerwa Ndenzako, told The Associated Press.

 

Featured image: By US Army Africa from Vicenza, Italy – Burundi peacekeepers prepare for next rotation to Somalia, Bjumbura, Burundi 012210Uploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY 2.0, Link

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.