News Focus: Burundi

Key Resources
Michel Kafando, Special Envoy of Secretary-General

The United Nations has been present in Burundi under mandate by the Security Council since 2004, in support of national reconciliation efforts following the Arusha Peace Accords of 2000. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso as his Special Envoy on 5 May 2017. Mr. Kafando’s role will include leading and coordinating the UN political efforts to promote peace and sustainable development in Burundi. Additionally, he will provide assistance to the efforts of the East African Community for political dialogue among Burundi stakeholders.

The UN humanitarian response

Children fill their cups at a water point built by UNICEF at Kanyosha III primary school in Bujumbura, Burundi. Photo: UNICEF/Rosalie Colfs

Already one of the world’s poorest countries, the political crisis and ongoing violence in Burundi have seen the country plummet to the nation with the lowest GDP per inhabitant, according to figures released by the International Monetary Fund in May 2016. Mass migration, widespread insecurity, chronic food shortages, a breakdown of social services, as well as the reduction and suspension of external aid, are expected to result in a further deterioration of the main socioeconomic indicators.

UN agencies and partners
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

A boat carrying Burundian refugees arrives in Baraka, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Photo: UNHCR/F. Scoppa

Burundi is emerging from a long and painful ethnic conflict between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis which, between 1972 and 2000, cost the lives of approximately 300,000 Burundians and left hundreds of thousands displaced. In line with the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accords of August 2000, a new Constitution was elaborated and adopted by referendum in 2005, establishing the terms by which the two ethnic groups would share power and recognizing fundamental human rights for all Burundians. The Arusha Accords also provided for the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms. more »

United Nations Peacebuilding Fund

Burundians get their voter's cards for communal councillors elections in Cancuzo in Burundi (June 2005). UN Photo/Martine Perret

The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has been engaged in Burundi since early 2007, following the holding of peaceful democratic elections in 2005, the country’s placement on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2006, and the transition from a peacekeeping mission, ONUB, to an integrated mission, BINUB. The current phase of PBF support to Burundi was approved in early 2014 with a view to sustaining UN political accompaniment following the withdrawal of the UN political mission, BNUB and with a specific focus on supporting dialogue and stability in the pre-electoral period, electoral and post-electoral periods. more »

Multimedia Resources
Tanzania: Burundi Refugees Tell of New Horrors | UNHCR
Nobody Left Outside- Emmanuel's story fleeing Burundi | UNHCR