Burundi calls on refugees to return home


The Burundian government is calling upon the country’s refugees to return home, claiming that peace is being restored in the country.

The government this week started a regional campaign in Uganda – home to more than 45,000 Burundian refugees – and its team will also visit Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who host more than 327,000 Burundi refugees between them.


Calls to return home

Burundi’s government insists it is making every effort to restore peace in the country and get development back on track in the troubled African nation. Deadly clashes broke out in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in power. The conflict has left the country on the edge of economic collapse, pushing the pause button on national development.

However, the government is now calling on people who fled the violence in their country to return home and contribute to getting Burundi back on track.

“The government has made efforts to restore peace and deal with development now. We want the refugees to return home to contribute to our country’s development,” Burundian Home Affairs Minister Pascal Barandagiye told the press after a meeting with Uganda officials earlier this week.


Has the situation in Burundi really improved?

Despite the government’s claims that peace is being restored in Burundi, not everyone is convinced enough is being done to resolve the nation’s security crisis.

Dismas Nkunda, chief executive officer of Atrocities Watch Africa, fears Burundi is simply trying to convince the international community that progress is being made in the country’s peace process.

“They are saying the country is peaceful when it’s not. We are receiving 400 refugees [in Uganda] from Burundi every day,” he told DW. “The idea that the Burundi government wants to show the world that it is safe when people are fleeing is disturbing.”


Featured image: By MONUSCO Photos – Burundian refugees with water pipe., CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46293923

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.