The President Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term of presidential elections in May 2015 has ultimately reinvigorate deep political and ethnical tensions in Burundi, furthering jeopardizing an already complicated political and humanitarian situation. Twelve years of a bloody civil war had left the country on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, undermining the efforts of the international community to find a viable a long-lasting political solution. Nkurunziza’s announcement, then, which is deemed to challenge the country’s constitutional provisions about the length of presidential terms, has ultimately sparked violent political unrests, provoking the internal displacement of over 100,000 civilians and, as of March 2017, forcing 393,861 Burundians to flee to neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), since April 2015.
For this reason, the visit of the PBC Chair in Burundi, on which the 13 March Ambassadorial-level meeting was focused, is crucial in order to monitor and sustain the current political and humanitarian dialogue in which the international community is engaged. By following up the developments of the UN peace mission in the region, monitoring the agricultural and food sectors, as well as health-care and educational systems, the PBC’s envoy is committed to undertake a constructive and proactive dialogue with all the stakeholders towards successfully end the crisis. He also will make sure that the needs of the Burundian population will be not underestimated, providing timely and effective assistance to those whose lives are put at risk by internal and external threats.
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This update was written by Francesca Cocomera