Burkina Faso: the next domino?
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson on April 12 called on the international community to protect Burkina Faso from terrorism, warning that attacks on the country's infrastructure or security would undermine social cohesion within the country, impair inward investment and further destabilize the region. Burkina Faso is particularly vulnerable due to its geographical proximity to the conflict in Mali, with which it shares a border. Emmerson described the country's role in regional peace negotiations:
Burkina Faso plays a critical role in promoting peace and dialogue within the sub-region. It will almost certainly occupy an important mediating position in the forthcoming negotiations concerning the future of Mali, and will significantly contribute to the maintenance of any settlement that is reached.
There are additional sources of tension within the country which could contribute to radicalization and extremism, high unemployment and poverty in particular. The country faces unemployment rates reaching as high as 77%, and nearly half the population falls beneath the poverty line.
From Jurist, April 13