Human Right

Alarming Gender Based Violence Figures in Burundi

Some centers against gender based violence say the figures are high. Victims are beaten, ill-treated, sexually abused, their body parts cut … for various reasons.

A woman wounded by her husband with a machete.

A woman wounded by her husband with a machete.

The “Seruka Centre” recorded 1288 cases of gender based violence in 2016. Among them 95% were women, 5% men, 20% children under 5 years and 67% youths under 18. Jocelyne Kwizera, Coordinator of “Seruka centre” says impunity and ignorance are the major causes of the increase of the figures.

In Cibitoke western Province, the Family Development Centre identified 1414 cases of gender based violence in 2016. Among them, 215 cases of sexually abused persons, 176 cases of physical violence, 419 cases of economic violence and 332 cases of psychological violence.

In “Inabeza Centre”, one of the projects of the association defending women’s rights (ADDF) recorded 215 cases of gender based violence in 2016 compared to 208 registered in 2015.

Pierre Claver Kinyoma, ADDF Deputy Legal Representative, says about 60% of cases are related to economic violence which caused other types of violence such as the physical one.

Kinyoma says the victims receive medical, juridical and psychosocial assistance. “When they come to our center, they are directly referred to our partner hospitals before going to court”, says Kinyoma.

Victims are threatened with death

Those who are sheltered in Inabeza Centre are from different areas and suffer from physical and economic violence.

N.N., a mother of six children from Murwi commune of Cibitoke western province has been wounded with a machete by her husband. He accused her of looking down on him and unwilling to share her revenue with her. Her husband also cut the palm of her right hand.

The same painful experience is shared by another victim from Ngozi Province. Her husband desired to marry another woman. He ill-treated her until he cut her nose. The Inabeza Centre is currently caring for her.

Kinyoma Pierre Claver says family belongings’ mismanagement, polygamy, husbands’ irresponsibility… account for those cases of violence.

ADDF Deputy Legal Representative recommends the sensitization campaign towards the population, security forces, juridical and administrative officials on human rights in general and gender equality in particular, to break down with the traditional extreme domination within the community. He says there must be courts that seriously punish gender-based violence perpetrators and force them to pay compensation for the victims.