Concern for Burundi: Letter

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Sir: Since 1993, up to 150,000 people have been killed in Burundi in what has been referred to as "slow motion genocide". Now the situation in the central African state has sunk deeper into crisis.

The UN is appealing to member states to contribute to the setting up of a regional force, but experiences in Somalia and even recently in Rwanda have shown that military intervention presents neither a clear nor easy solution.

Military intervention is needed and must be supported, but on its own it is not enough - it has to be combined with continued and renewed international pressure on all sides to bring parties to the negotiating table. The international community must continue to demonstrate the strongest support for the mediation efforts entrusted to the former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere. We must renew efforts to achieve a settlement not only in Burundi, but also in the surrounding region.

Continued funding, pressure on political parties on both sides, military intervention to stop the killings, initiatives from high-level officials, continued dialogue, continued pressure and above all continued interest are all necessary. If we allow ourselves to think there is nothing we can do, then we have accepted that every day, many more people will be killed.


Concern Worldwide, London SW1