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Burundi Elections History of Fragile Peace

Many Hutu and Tutsi Burundians are refugees in neighboring countries due to Burundi's Presidential elections protests and demonstrations, coups and fear of another civil war.

Hundreds of Burundi are internally displaced

Burundi Elections History of Fragile Peace

Burundi is located in Central Africa east of Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lake Tanganyika, south of Rwanda, and west and south of Tanzania. In 1959 Tutsi refugees from Rwanda migrate into Ruanda-Urundi however in 1962 Urundi is separated from Ruanda-Urundi and becomes independent kingdom of Burundi.  

From 1963 to 1994 Tutsis to fled to Burundi due to some of the worst atrocities and lingering resentments leading to massacres of Tutsis throughout Rwanda. By the end of the 1980's some 480,000 Rwandans had become refugees, primarily in Burundi, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.  

On April 6, 1994, the deaths of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in a plane crash caused by a rocket attack, ignited 100 days of extreme and systematic massacres. The Rwandan genocides, led by the Hutu majority left in its wake at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead during a 100-day period between April and June 1994. The Rwandan government began the genocide trials at the end of 1996 and continues to this day.

Traveling in Gitega, Burundi

Burundi's first democratically elected president Melchior Ndadaye Frodebu was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than a million Hutu, Tutsi and Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned over 30 years in Burundi.  

Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. In 2000 the Burundian Government and three Tutsi groups signed a ceasefire agreement, but two main Hutu groups refuse to acknowledge the agreement. In 2004, United Nations forces take over peacekeeping duties from African Union troops.

In 2005 the 12 year civil war officially ended and a new Burundi constitution was instated electing a majority Hutu government. President Pierre Nkurunziza, who was re-elected in 2010 and is running for a controversial third term on June 26, 2015 stands firm on his decision amid protests, demonstrations, coups and thousands of people fleeing  Burundi for fear of a second civil war.

The ethnic groups in Burundi are Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, and Twa and other 1%.

Burundi's parliamentary election was not free, fair, transparent or credible and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms were committed, the United Nations said on Thursday July 2, 2015. 

The United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) officially started its operations in Burundi on January 1, 2015, as mandated in Security Council resolution 2137 of 2014.  The Mission was set up at the request of the Government of Burundi and will report on the electoral process in the country which will organize five polls in a four-month period between May and September. 

The first MENUB observation of Burundi was found to be “not free, fair, transparent or credible and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms were committed”, on Thursday July 2, 2015. The majority of Burundi’s 10.5 million people are Hutu, who are traditionally farmers. 

The Tutsi historically controlled the army and the economy. The ethnic groups in Burundi are Hutu 85 percent, Tutsi 14 percent, and Twa and other 1 percent. Over 45 percent of the population is under the age of 14, the median age is 17; Burundi is the 2nd poorest country in the world and around 81 percent live below the poverty line. 

The main cash crop of Burundi is coffee, which accounts for over 80 percent of exports. At about 206 persons per sq. km, Burundi has the 2nd largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 70 percent of Burundi’s population lives in its capital city Bujumbura, Tutsis generally occupied the higher strata in the social system and the Hutus the lower. Thousands of Burundian refugees at various times have crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

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