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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights


Burundi: Research and Information Visit regarding Indigenous Populations / Communities, 2005

Special Mechanism: .Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa

Commissioner:

A delegation consisting of Mr. Zephirin Kalimba, a member of the African Commission‟s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities, and Dr. Albert Barume, member of the Working Group, carried out a research and information visit to Burundi from 27 March to 9 April 2005. The visit aimed to:

  • Inform the Burundian government, civil society organizations and associations, development agencies as well as various actors interested in the report and the efforts of the African Commission‟s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities;
  • Collect information relating to the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in Burundi, in order to prepare a subsequent report for the African Commission on Human and Peoples‟ Rights;
  • Distribute the report of the African Commission‟s Working Group of Experts on indigenous populations/communities.

Recommendations

To the African Commission:

  • Call upon the Burundian Government for extension to other sectors of public affairs the measures of positive discrimination for their Batwa‟s representation in Parliament and Senate;
  • Undertake a more thorough study on the practice of bondage still affecting countless Batwa in Burundi;
  • Convince the Burundian government to ratify the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child as well as the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery;
  • Visit Burundi together with Rwanda and Uganda;
  • Exert pressure on the Burundian government, the United Nations agencies and other development agencies for a focus on the education of Batwa children;
  • Closely monitor the situation of the Batwa of Burundi who are at risk of being easy targets of violence during the forthcoming elections in the country;
  • Support the publication of the Report of the Working Group in Kirundi and its dissemination in Burundi.

To the Government of Burundi:

  • Building on the positive steps already taken to ensure Batwa representation in the Parliament and Senate, it is recommended to extend Batwa representation to other national and local governmental structures.
  • Create national sectoral policies within key areas such as land, health care, education and employment in order to enable the Batwa to enjoy rights and fundamental freedoms on a par with other Burundian citizens.
  • Take urgent action to implement in practice the law of 1976 prohibiting the practice of bondage.
  • Ensure that Batwa will be represented in the Land Commission, which is soon to be established.
  • Include Batwa representatives in the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Ensure fair treatment for the Batwa, especially on disputes relating to land matters.
  • Provide protection to the Batwa during situations of armed conflicts.

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Special Mechanism: .Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa

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