This article is about the importance of framing in conflict situations, and how this informs peacebuilding interventions. It discusses the consequences of understanding land disputes in Burundi as a short-term problem, resulting from the massive return of refugees and displaced to their former homes. This framing of land disputes urged international and local organizations to initiate programmes for strengthening the capacities of local conflict resolving institutions. The case material shows that, though the return of refugees was a factor in disputes about land, there was a lot of continuity between conflict-related and regular land disputes. Many disputes required first and foremost solutions at the national, political level, rather than at the local level. Further, the predisposition towards local institutions failed to take account of the weaknesses of those institutions. The article further points out some of the practices that played a role in this framing of conflict and the intervention strategies based on it.
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