On 25 April 2015, Burundi’s ruling party, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would be seeking a third term in office, defying pressure to adhere to the requirements of the Arusha Agreement and step down at the end of his second term. The following day, the first of numerous protests against the regime began in the capital Bujumbura, bringing thousands to the streets in defiance of the government’s ban on such protest. Since the protests began hundreds of civilians, military and security personnel have died, not to mention close to 250,000 displaced. In the context of a global refugee crisis and increasing incidences of violent conflict, the situation in Burundi stands out for the minimal international engagement the crisis has triggered. Burundi, it seems, has been left to its own devices.
This paper examines the trajectory of the crisis closely, including highlighting some of the actions that have been undertaken by the international community, why they may have failed, and highlighting some of the missed opportunities that might be revisited in order to resolve the escalating situation in Burundi.