Second Inter-Burundian Round-Table at Caux
Thursday, 5. June 2003

Paris/ Caux, 5th of June 2003 - On request from some Burundese personalities, Initiatives of Change held a Burundese round-table in Caux, Switzerland, from the 29th of May to the 4th of June 2003. This is the second such event this year.

This initiative was in keeping with some previous meetings dedicated to peace and reconciliation in the African Great Lakes Region, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, organised in Caux for three years.
From the 15th to the 20th of March 2003, a first Burundese round table took place in the same framework. The representatives from the government and the army, and those from the Palipehutu-FNL, agreed on meeting again quickly in order to follow-up with this dialogue and find some ways and means to end with the armed conflict.
Nineteen Burundese personalities thus participated to this second meeting. Besides the Bujumbura delegation and the Palipehutu-FNL's one, the Archbishop of Gitega and the Bishop of Bujumbura also attended the round table. The purpose was to follow on the long and patient path towards trust and reconciliation.
The discussions were organised in two directions : on one hand, some plenary sessions during which some testimonies, interventions and personal stories were presented, illustrating the specificity of the methodology used by Initiatives of Change. On another hand, some closed sessions between representatives of the Palipehutu-FNL and the delegates from Bujumbura were held.
The participants had the opportunity to express their sufferings, frustrations and demands to their opponent, without external intervention or participation. The sessions took place in a peaceful atmosphere of listening to each other. Each part was able to present its own vision of the past and current situation of Burundi. Several participants acknowledged that hatred and distrust were still prevailing among the two communities, Hutu and Tutsi, and that one should recognise his faults before being able to reach peace and to re-build the Burundese Nation.
The delegates from the two groups committed themselves to report to their respective bases on one what they had lived in Caux, with the concern of doing everything possible to put an end to this conflict that provoked so many victims each day.
Some diplomats from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and representatives from the European Union, as well as the Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur for Burundi, came to meet the participants at the end of the round table.

Since the second World War, Initiatives of Change's objective has been to support the process of reconciliation between men and to promote peace. It aims at contributing to the transformation of society through personal change.

Laurence Le Moing. For further information, please contact her