14 December 2017

Burundi: Govt Still Needs to Take Further Steps Towards Protecting Children

Children's conditions have improved since Burundi signed the African Charter on children's Rights and Welfare. However, there is still a way to go. This was said by a Burundian civil society during the presentation of its report on the children's rights situation in Burundi before the African Union committee of experts.

In the session which is currently taking place in Khartoum-Sudanese capital, Jacques Nshimirimana, the chairman of the National Federation of Associations Engaged in Children's Welfare (FENADEB), recognises that Burundi has made a progress in children protection. "In our report, we highlight the progress made by Burundi in children's rights promotion since its signing of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children", he says.

Nshimirimana says there are laws that have been adopted namely the specific law on people with disabilities, the law on gender-based violence, the law against human trafficking ...

However, he says there are challenges that Burundian children still face namely school drop-out, unwanted pregnancies in schools, street children and Batwa children situation.

FENADEB chairman appeals to the government to take further steps forward. "The government should establish a national commission for children in order to monitor cases of violation of children's rights and ensure the provisions contained in the African charter and the international convention on children's rights are implemented," he says.

He recommends the adoption of a code of children protection and a law on inheritance. He also urges the government to set up a committee which can monitor closely the current campaign for removing children from the street to make sure it respects the rights of these children. He also pleads for a specific program for the education of Batwa children, which would remove stigma and discrimination against them.

This civil society report is complementary to the one of the government and the Committee uses it to make recommendations to the Government in order improve the situation. The government will present its own report to the same committee of experts in April 2018. Burundi signed the African Charter on the Rights and welfare of Children in 2004.

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