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Ouagadougou, 10 April 2019 — Humanitarian NGOs are extremely concerned about the escalating violence among local communities in Burkina Faso. The situation has been fuelled largely by the stigmatisation of certain communities, leading to disastrous effects on the humanitarian situation, which was already in a precarious state.
The violence that erupted in Yirgou from 1-3 January 2019 is still a vivid memory for many, and yet Burkina Faso is now experiencing a new outbreak of violence among local communities in Arbinda. Assaults on the civilian population have left 62 people reported dead, injured or missing. Aside from the loss in human lives, this new wave of violence has triggered an increase in population movement as individuals flee their homes in search of “safer” areas. Some 135,000 people were already internally displaced prior to this, and 65% of them live in the Sahel region. Consequently, humanitarian workers are experiencing difficulties in providing the necessary help, added to which comes a challenging security situation and a failure to mobilise financial resources. In Arbinda, access to water, food, housing and care is proving particularly difficult for internally displaced people. The state of affairs is illustrative of a real risk of a full-scale humanitarian crisis if nothing is done to put an end to the inter-communal violence.
As humanitarian actors working for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso, we would like to express our serious concern over how the situation is currently unfolding.
We would also like to stress that we firmly believe that the only viable way to find a solution for lasting peace in the country is to consider the political, social and economic aspects to the crisis, whilst simultaneously tackling the underlying causes.
We hereby call on all parties involved, and particularly the State, to push for an inter-communal dialogue in order to restore a situation in which these communities can live together in harmony. This, we believe, is the only way in which lasting peace can be built.
We are committed to taking action in response to urgent humanitarian crises, with a view to building resilience among the population and helping rebuild the country. We are also committed to helping all communities affected without discrimination. Our actions respect the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity.
We wish to call upon all relevant bodies to facilitate the access of humanitarian parties to vulnerable individuals, thereby helping us to carry out our mission.