The African Union has decided not to deploy peacekeepers in Burundi—for now. According to the Financial Times, AU members are concerned about setting a precedent and entering a country without permission from the sovereign government. The AU had discussed sending 5000 troops, but backed down after objections from Burundi’s president. The AU charter gives it authority to step in to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. So far, it hasn’t deemed conditions serious enough to justify an intervention. A turning point may be coming, however, as the FT reports that “more than 230,000 have fled the country during the past nine months, with some of the violence taking on increasingly ethnic overtones.”
International NGOs have been taking the Voldemort approach here: speak the Dark Lord’s name, and you’ll make him stronger. Yet even though they haven’t been using the words “ethnic conflict” or “genocide,” that doesn’t seem to be making any of Burundi’s problems go away. Instead, they only seem to be getting worse.