Kirundo: Women invited to denounce violence

Awakened by the authorities, women from Kirundo, often beaten or ill-treated, now know their rights. But the fight is not totally won.

Chantal Rukundo, a mother of two, from Ntega commune met at AFEV, an association that assists the victims of GBV since 2013 in Kirundo province, says her husband has been abusing her for three years.
“Recently, he beat me seriously, took all the family assets for other women. This behavior has so afflicted me that I do not want to live with him or another man for the moment. I opted to file a complaint in court.”

Lazare Niyonkuru: “Previously, domestic violence was a taboo, but today there is a significant step towards their denunciation”

Angelique Mushimiyimana, 22, lives on Rwibikara hill in Busoni Commune in the same province. In tears, she says her husband made her to sell a property that she inherited from her parents. ” I gave him all the money and he carried out different development projects. But afterwards, he started mistreating me. He beat me seriously and kicked me out to marry another woman. I have repeatedly asked the intervention of local authorities but he bribed them and they protected him so that he could not explain himself over the violence he inflicts on me.”

Antoinette Mukeshimana , 28, another victim of domestic violence says her husband has wasted all family property often to buy beer and find other women .

“He once wanted to sell the property. I refused him my approval because it was a family property. Since then, he kicked me out and bribed his friends to beat me. I was beaten up mercilessly and was subsequently hospitalized and lost consciousness.”

Lazare Niyonkuru, legal representative of AFEV, an association that provides medical, psychosocial, legal assistance and offers temporary accommodation to the victims of GBV, says that cases of physical, psychological and economic violence are very rife within that province.

Nevertheless, Mr Niyonkuru rejoices that victims have started to denounce these acts thanks to the involvement of the authorities in the fight against domestic violence. “A few days ago, it was taboo but now there is a significant step towards their denunciation.”

He calls on the government to financially support associations involved in assisting victims of domestic violence so that they can do their jobs properly.

According to Alain Tribert Mutabazi, Governor of the province of Kirundo , the administrative authorities are determined to fight against GBV . He recalls that Gender based violence constitutes a crime punishable by the Burundian law. “Last year, 70 cases of GBV were treated by the Kirundo High Court. With the awareness of the population, we hope that domestic violence will decrease significantly in the coming days”

Infidelity, among other causes of domestic violence

Jacques Ndihokubwayo : “The victim tends not to denounce the violence suffered because she depends economically on the perpetrator of the crime”

Jacques Ndihokubwayo, advisor at the Ministry in charge of human rights and social affairs, says domestic violence is difficult to fight because sometimes the victim depends economically on the perpetrator of the crime and is therefore afraid to denounce the violence suffered, the reason why it is recurring

For the province of Kirundo, the most frequent domestic violence is mainly caused by mismanagement of household property and extra-marital relationships.

“The poor relations between spouses and family property mismanagement cause domestic violence in households,” he explains.

“In collaboration with members of joint security committees, we do community sensitization at household level for the victims to denounce all forms of violence,” he added.
This official also mentions cohabitation where couples live illegally. There is no law that protects the woman and the man can mistreat her as he wants.

“The new law in its article 24 stipulates that cohabitation is prohibited throughout the national territory. All hill leaders are informed. They know that cohabitation is now banned. Common-law households have also been sensitized to register at the civil registry for the protection of a woman who is often the victim of domestic violence,” he concludes.

Services provided to the victims of GBV from 2013 to 2018 in Kirundo province






2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Victims received

51 321 371 375 272 266
Hosted Survivors 21 128 120 281 253 224
Legal assistance 20 78 54 84 72 113
Psychological assistance 15 39 38 21 38 145
Medical assistance 26 121 171 137 76 86
Victims trained in small trades 78 25
Victims reintegrated with IGAs 6 13 26 124


Source: AFEV Kirundo