Protecting Women’s Rights in Burundi

The Burundi Government has implemented some measures to guarantee and ensure women’s protection.-By Diane Uwimana

Humura centre ©Iwacu

Humura centre ©Iwacu

During the UN General Assembly in New York on 15 October 2014, Ambassador Albert Shingiro, the Permanent Representative of Burundi to the UN, has declared that the Burundi Government has put in place some measures to protect women. One of them is the creation of a center for victims of sexual violence. Centre Humura, in Gitega province, was set up in November 2012 and welcomes patients from all over the country.

According to the Director Dr Sylvie Nzeyimana, the center offers medical services and judicial services. It also provides psycho-social services such as counselling, accommodation, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, follow-up and accompaniment of the victims and their family and socio-economic reintegration.

N.N, a patient from Karuzi province, indicates that thanks to the centre she now knows how to cope with the discrimination from the Burundian society after being raped. “The center teaches us how to lead our life in our community”, she emphasises.

Dr Nzeyimana notes that the center not only welcomes women but also men. “We have received 337 cases of which 46 were men. Men are also violated and we can help them with our existing services.”

“The Ministry of National Solidarity is aware of the issue”

The National Assembly has unanimously adopted, last week, a draft law on the ratification of a financing agreement for the emergency project on sexual and gender-based violence and the health of women in the Great lakes Region.

Clotilde Niragira, the Minister of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender indicated that the funding for this project amounted to USD 15.15 million granted by the International Development Association of the World Bank.

The main beneficiaries of this project are vulnerable women, including victims of sexual and gender based violence.

“By promoting and protecting women’s rights by the application of the available human rights instruments, Burundi has committed to a series of legislative reforms that deeply affect the Burundian society and its customs”, says Donatienne Igirukwishaka, the General Director for woman promotion in the Ministry of National Solidarity.

“Soon, three more centres will be opened in Cibitoke, Makamba and Muyinga in order to ensure the health and empowerment of women in the Great Lakes region”, she points out.

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