Issue 7: REVITALIZING RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT (R2P) IN BURUNDI

In mid-2015, Burundi descended into a political crisis. As the humanitarian situation escalated, African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), and the East African Community (EAC) sought to intervene under Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The AU, however, aborted the plan to send 5000 peacekeeping troops to Burundi in 2015. The UN also failed to send 228 monitoring police personnel in 2016 (sanctioned by UN Security Council –UNSC – Resolution 2303). Inter-Burundian dialogue led by the East African Community (EAC) is also taking place in fits and starts risking the utility of R2P. In fact, the country had a violence-marred referendum on 17 May 2018 revising presidential term limits and ethnic power distribution matrix (among other elements) which might be another source of conflict. This policy brief highlights the R2P impasse in Burundi since 2015, partly pointing at the inherent limitations of R2P. It also calls for a greater role for the Burundian government in exercising responsibility to protect; more by the UN and AU; EAC’s increased support for the inter-Burundian dialogue; suspension of aid-related sanctions; and International Criminal Court’s (ICC) intervention.

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