Burundi: The NRC concerned for the safety of the internally displaced

The Norwegian Refugee Council is concerned for the safety of the internally displaced in Burundi after recent attacks have forced 60 000 people to flee, and encourages all parties in the conflict to respect the rights of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
- The NRC is encouraging the Burundi government and other parties involved with the conflict to respect the rights of the IDPs, as described in the UN guidelines for IDPs, says NRC resident representative in Burundi, Tormod Ravneberg.

- We are also encouraging humanitarian contributors to make the UN guidelines the basis of the assistance provided for the IDPs in the Gitega province and the rest of Burundi, Ravneberg adds.

During the last week more than 60 000 people have been forced to flee due to violent clashes between government forces and rebel groups with connections to the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD). The conflict in Burundi has escalated considerably the last few weeks in spite of the cease-fire that was agreed upon in December last year.

It is planned that President Buyoya will delegate the power to vice president Ndayizeye in May, however many fear that the unstable situation in the country will make a peaceful transition impossible.

The civil war in Burundi has cost the lives of over 300 000 people over the last ten years. More than 800 000 people are presently internally displaced and 350 000 has fled across the border to Tanzania.

The Norwegian Refugee council has worked in Burundi since 1996, and has programs for educating children and adolescents that have not received schooling due to war and flight, as well as programs for rehabilitation and construction of schools and houses. The NRC also provides education on the juridical rights of IDPs and on how these rights can be maintained and fortified. The target group is refugees and internally displaced persons, the government and their collaborators, as well as the Burundi army and police.

For further information:

  • Tormod Ravneberg, Resident Representative, NRC Burundi: +257 21 64 62 / 257 92 04 21
  • Eirik Cristophersen, Information Officer, NRC Oslo: (47) 23 10 98 26

Information can also be found at our website: www.nrc.no