Democracy, peace and the protection of human rights are fundamental to human survival. Violent and destructive conflict can lead to gross human rights violations, but can also result from a sustained denial of rights over a period of time. Sustainable peace depends on the assurance of human rights. To this end, the African Union Commission (AUC) has deployed Human Rights observers to Burundi since 22 July 2015. The AU Human Right Observers provide regular reports to the AUC for information, decision making and guidance to the mission and through this process the AUC seeks to reinforce its presence and its credibility on the ground including maintaining contacts and effective working relations with Burundian authorities and other local, regional and international stakeholders. The reports also seek to provide key recommendation for decision makers in strengthening the quest for peace in Burundi.
The observers are tasked with participating in activities of conflict prevention and peace building efforts at the local level, encourage peaceful dialogue and support local actors in building and implementing strategies for long term violence reduction. The mission provides an opportunity for the observers to undertake a preventive approach on human rights issues and it is a platform for supporting conflict prevention. As part of ACCORD’s long standing engagement with the AU on building capacities for sustainable peace in Africa, the Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD (ACCORD/TfP), the Peacemaking Unit at ACCORD and ACCORD’s Burundi office delivered a training on Conflict Resolution and Transitional Justice for AU Human Rights Observers Mission to Burundi. The training took place in Bujumbura, Burundi from 14-15 September 2016.
Sessions covered during the training include: Conflict and Peace Processes in Burundi: implications for Human Rights; Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Peacebuilding: Exploring the Tensions, challenges and complexities; Mediation and Human Rights: challenges and opportunities for sustainable peace; Implementing mediated peace agreements: the space for human rights; A preventive approach on Human Rights: Enhancing communication and conflict resolution skills; Overview: Transitional Justice in Burundi; Accountability and Justice: Implication for Human Rights; Dilemmas of Transitional Justice: Challenges and local perspectives/perceptions; and Addressing Gender issues in Mediation, conflict Resolution and transitional justice.
The training strengthened the capacities of the AU Human Rights Observers to better support the peace processes in Burundi, contributing to sustainable peace and respect for human rights. ACCORD remains committed to supporting the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and to contributing to strengthening AU’s capacities for sustainable peace, and more particularly to realising sustainable peace in Burundi.