Statement on the current Burundi conflict
Mark Simmons, Cord CEO

The speed with which violence has erupted shows how tensions have been simmering below the surface. At times of crisis, particularly in ‘post-conflict’ societies like Burundi where there has been a very active civil society for over a decade now, it is easy for people to descend into street violence

Street violence happens when people’s group identity supersedes their individual identity. They start to dehumanise the other. Everything must be done to help people maintain individual relationships with family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Group identities, whether political, ethnic or faith-based, should be vehicles for peace and not for violence.

Everything must be done to help people maintain individual relationships with family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Lasting progress needs to be made by creating opportunities for all members of society to thrive; address the trauma of the past, deal with the root causes of conflict and enable a collaborative and respectful civil society.

I understand the reasons for anger at this time in Burundi, but violence is in no one’s interest. The social and economic costs are high and take years to repay/rebuild.  There are ultimately only losers, and children and women often pay the highest cost.

Cord’s focus is ensuring our team is safe and can continue our vital peacebuilding work during this unsettling time. We are doing all we can to support them and our partners. Cord will continue to work with local partners restoring individual dignity, create opportunities for dialogue and support local partners to carry out our projects, so all Burundians can flourish in a peaceful and inclusive society.

I thank any of our supporters and volunteers who are helping in our fundraising efforts and sending messages of support to our team. 

Cord's Urgent Fundraising Appeal for Burundi is here