This time around, it is an expected turn of events as following weeks of coercion, the African Union (AU) has abandoned its plans to send 5000 peacekeepers to help restore peace in the violence torn region of Burundi. It has instead decided to focus its energies on encouraging political dialogue between the opposing sides in the nation.
The question of peacekeepers in Burundi has been a long drawn out struggle with President Pierre Nkurunziza refusing to budge on his stance in the matter of allowing for outside help. Late last year, the African Union was shot down by The United Nations Security Council when it suggested its inclination to use force to bring the warring parties in Burundi to order. The government also showing its displeasure for the idea, reminded AU that it had a right to fight any attack on its country’s sovereignty and their use of force would be treated as such.
The United Nations Security Council which visited the country on the 21st of January, 2016 seeking an audience with the government to discuss means of intervention; and was met by massive unrest as the people decried their need to solve the issues in-house; seem not to have made any head way in convincing the President.
On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the African Union (AU) summit opened, that troops are needed to handle the violence, showing that the concession of the AU is based simply on the country’s refusal to allow for the troops. UN has warned constantly that a repeat of the 1993-2006 civil war looms over head if the country does not take action. The African Union (AU) will continue dialogue with the government on the matter and have already determined to dispatch a high level delegation following the Summit talks.
In accordance with the AU charter’s Article 4 (h) the African Union could have deployed troops without the consent of Burundi as the clause gives it the right to intervene in a fellow nation-state for reasons of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The African Union has however never taken that route in the settling of disputes, only coming close this once and has clearly decided against that line of action. Both the people and the government of Burundi may have gotten their way for now but it is hoped that fruitful dialogue will progress and we will be able to close this chapter of violence in the region.
See Also: Burundi; Current State Of Affairs