EDITORIAL: Our Burundi brethren need all the help we can muster

To date, over 13,000 Burundian refugees have crossed into Rwanda fearing for their safety in the run up to national elections. The election fever has peaked at the same level as fears of insecurity, sending hordes of families across the borders to ride out the storm.

To date, over 13,000 Burundian refugees have crossed into Rwanda fearing for their safety in the run up to national elections.

The election fever has peaked at the same level as fears of insecurity, sending hordes of families across the borders to ride out the storm.

This has led Rwanda to an unprecedented move of granting the asylum seekers a collective refugee status without passing through the normal refugee red tape. That was the least it could do.

By granting the fleeing Burundians a blanket refugee status, the Rwandan government was setting the asylum bar high for other regional governments to emulate.

This region, especially Rwanda, has seen its fair share of refugee exodus for the last half century, and therefore the automatic opening of the borders for the Burundians is premised on an informed decision; comprehending the plight of a refugee who has been uprooted from his or her ancestral home.

But should the region just remain satisfied with hosting the refugees and not help the country to get back on its feet? But that should be for Burundi to decide.

As we wait for Burundi to seek counsel or a helping hand from its peers, we should offer comfort to our neighbours in whatever manner we can afford. Let them know that we feel their pain of leaving their beloved land and are at their beck and call in these trying moments.

But above all, we should give them a chip from our own block; tolerance, patriotism and sacrifice in the interest of all country men and women, mends a country’s wounds.

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