35th Burundi Meeting: Conditions for Peace

“Prerequisites for peace: coming to terms with the past and looking into the future!” was the theme of the 35th Burundi meeting of the Burundi Competence Center of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ).

The meeting was opened by State Secretary Dr. Gisela Splett, Ministry of Finance, was concluded by the Burundian Ambassador Else Nizigama Ntamagiro. She signaled that the speakers' words were being listened to, welcomed the efforts within the partnership and thanked those involved.

Guests at this second Burundi meeting of 2019 were people who are involved in peace work, who live and understand it in different ways. Father Dr. Deogratias Maruhukiro, who has been involved in the partnership for a long time, presented parts of his doctoral thesis, which scientifically deals with the topic of peace building and the church's opportunities to contribute to peace. He also presented the peace work for Burundi that is taking place in Baden-Württemberg and also within the framework of the partnership. Dr. Maruhukiro the following theses:

  1. Without good governance or democratization, without the fight against poverty and without a commitment to justice through a well-functioning legal system, all efforts towards peace and reconciliation are doomed to failure.
  2. Due to the various violations and crimes committed in the past, promoting peace and reconciliation requires therapy from society.
  3. Through education, a cultural change can be created and a culture of peace and reconciliation can be sustainably promoted.

The organization RAPRED Girubuntu not only implements projects in the field of peace, but also strives to support and evaluate them scientifically.

At the 35th Burundi meeting we were also able to welcome Aline Ndenzako, who is the human rights officer in the opposition alliance and who is committed to peace and reconciliation work with her organization “memoires communes, avenir commun”. Aline Ndenzako is the granddaughter of the last Burundian king Mwambutsa - Burundi was a monarchy for about 500 years - and the niece of independence hero Prince Louis Rwagasor. She firmly believes that a peaceful future is only possible when peace can be made with the past. Allowing the memories and perceptions of different communities and groups plays a central role. On the podium discussed Dr. Déogratias Maruhukiro and Aline Ndenzako with Prof. Rainer Bendel from the University of Tübingen, who conducts research on displaced people in the post-war period. The question of what is necessary for a return or re-encounter was the focus of the discussion. It was emphasized that 'forgive' does not mean 'forget' but rather 'remember'. In addition, every single person can make a preventative contribution to peace by not tolerating injustice, even or especially if they themselves are not affected.

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