In April 2015, protests erupted in Burundi when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s sought a third term in office. Protestors claimed this was contrary to the country’s constitution, but the constitutional court sided with Nkurunziza. After an attempted coup in May 2015, the government started arresting those it thought responsible. The political conflict that followed has spiralled into a protracted crisis marked by allegations of numerous human rights violations including killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests, disappearances and abductions. Since 2015, more than 325,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries.
On 21 March 2017, the Rift Valley Forum and Atrocities Watch Africa hosted a panel discussion, which examined the role of the international community—the African Union and the United Nations in particular—in the EAC-led mediation process and explored what the crisis means to Burundians and the region as a whole.