Burundi

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 20 November 2016

Action points based on findings

  • Dedicate funding to ensure continuity of services and develop a national database of mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) victims and their needs.
  • Improve access to physical rehabilitation for survivors by finding the means to overcome the barrier of fees for services present.

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of Burundi is responsible for a significant number of survivors of landmines and ERW who are in need. Burundi has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Burundi signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 26 April 2007. The parliament of Burundi formally adopted the CRPD on 6 March 2014 and it was ratified on 22 May 2015.[1]

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2015

2,634 mine/ERW casualties

Casualties in 2015

4 (2014: 0)

2015 casualties by outcome

2 killed; 2 injured (2014: 0)

2015 casualties by item type

4 ERW

 

In 2015, the Monitor identified four new casualties from mines/ERW in Burundi based on data provided by the Humanitarian Department for Mine/Unexploded Ordnance Action (Direction de l’Action Humanitaire contre les Mines et Engins non explosés, DAHMI).[2] Previous to 2015, since 2009 no mine/ERW casualties had been recorded. Before 2009, annual casualty figures had been declining since a peak in 2005. However, it was likely that casualties may have occurred but were not recorded, since the DAHMI stopped collecting casualty data after 2009.[3]

In June 2010, Burundi estimated that the total number of casualties was 6,000.[4] However, no further details were available and that information has not been revised or clarified. The DAHMI recognized that there was a need to conduct a nation-wide survey to evaluate the exact number of mine/ERW victims in Burundi and identify their needs.[5] As of June 2014, the DAHMI had identified 2,630 casualties, but this only covered three provinces of Burundi.[6] According to DAHMI data, 80% of identified victims are male and 34% were children and young adults (between 1 and 20 years old). Only 3% were military personnel.[7]

Victim Assistance

As of 2015, there were estimated to be 5,002 survivors in Burundi.[8]

Victim assistance in 2015

In 2015, implementation of the National Victim Assistance Action Plan 2011–2014 remained largely on hold due to lack of funding.[9] While the Interministerial and Inter-sectorial Coordinating Committee for Victim Assistance met several times throughout the year, provision of victim assistance services continued to be undertaken for the most part by international and national organizations.[10] The DAHMI noted a reduction in the number of victim assistance service providers due to lack of funding in 2015.[11]

Assessing victim assistance needs

In 2015, no further needs assessments were conducted due to a lack of funding.[12] The National Victim Assistance Action Plan, adopted in 2011, includes a target to conduct a qualitative survey on persons with disabilities and their needs by the end of the first half of 2012. This deadline was not met due to a lack of funding to conduct this survey. In 2014, the DAHMI made efforts, in collaboration with Handicap International (HI), to identify victims and assess their needs, but this was restricted to three of the 17 Burundian provinces (Makamba, Rutana, Ruyigi).[13]

Victim assistance coordination[14]

Government coordinating body/focal point

DAHMI

Coordinating mechanism

Interministerial and Inter-sectorial Coordinating Committee for Victim Assistance

Plan

National Victim Assistance Action Plan 2011–2014

 

Burundi’s National Victim Assistance Action Plan 2011–2014 aims to improve victim assistance across seven thematic areas: immediate and continued healthcare; physical rehabilitation; psychosocial and peer support; inclusive education; social and economic inclusion, including community-based rehabilitation; inclusive development; and data collection, legislation and policies, and coordination.[15] There were no efforts to revise or adopt a new plan due to a lack of funding, thus the 2011–2014 plan remained in place but little could be done to achieve its goals.[16]

The Interministerial and Inter-sectorial Coordinating Committee for Victim Assistance was founded in 2011 to monitor and report on the implementation of the Action Plan; to define public policies in order to improve the delivery of services; to link relevant ministries, agencies, service providers, and donors; as well as to support the government in responding to its commitments under national law for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. In 2015, the committee held meetings;[17] however, it was unable to continue implementing the action plan due to a lack of funding.[18] The physical rehabilitation sector of Burundi is the responsibility of the Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights, and Gender.[19]

In June 2015, Burundi submitted its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar year 2014, which includes information and updates in victim assistance. As of 1 October 2016, Burundi had not submitted its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar year 2015. Burundi did not give updates on victim assistance during Mine Ban Treaty or Convention on Cluster Munition international meetings in 2015.

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

In 2015, mine/ERW survivor organizations participated in a workshop for developing a draft law for the protection of persons with disabilities.[20]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities: 2015[21]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2015

Ministry of National Solidarity

Government

Physical rehabilitation; social and professional reinsertion

 

Center for Training and Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC)

National NGO

Economic inclusion (micro-credit); psychosocial assistance; advocacy

Unknown

Union of Persons with Disabilities (Union des Personnes Handicapées du Burundi, UPHB)

National NGO

Advocacy and economic inclusion; referrals for other services

Unknown

HI

International NGO

Disability rights; physical rehabilitation; capacity development of disabled persons’ organizations; access to education for children with disabilities

Ongoing

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV)

International NGO

Advocacy on rights and gender issues; capacity-building; socio-economic reintegration; psycho-social support; community inclusion

Ongoing

ICRC

International organization

Support for physical rehabilitation at the Saint Kizito Institute (ISK); donation of materials, components and equipment; management training and assistance

Ongoing

 

Access to appropriate physical rehabilitation services remained difficult in 2015 for most of those in need. The greatest obstacles for accessing services remained the lack of facilities and professionals and the cost of treatment, since users had to pay for the services.[22] It was generally difficult for survivors to access information on available services.[23] HI continued to provide physical rehabilitation to persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW victims, in four provinces, while also building local capacities and skills in the rehabilitation centers of those areas.[24]

The ICRC continued its collaboration with the ISK in Bujumbura to provide good-quality physical rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, especially minors.[25] The ISK targets services for people in Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Cibitoke, and Muramvya provinces, of which four provinces were the areas in Burundi most severely contaminated by weapons.[26] In 2015, 2,920 persons with disabilities,[27] including at least 2,600 children, improved their mobility through customized assistive devices and other physical rehabilitation services, provided free-of-charge at the ISK.[28] The institute improved the quality of care it provided by optimizing its patient management, departmental organization, and treatment protocols with ICRC financial and technical support. Four students continued their studies abroad in physiotherapy/orthopedic technology to help improve the quality and sustainability of physical rehabilitation services in Burundi. The ICRC also financed courses for teachers at the ISK school for children to learn how to adapt sports activities so that both disabled children and children without disabilities could participate.[29]

Following implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Development of Medical Rehabilitation 2011–2015, the Ministry of Public Health managed rehabilitation. The government of Burundi continued to support a center for physical therapy for persons with disabilities in Gitega and a center for social and professional reinsertion in Ngozi.[30]

HI continued to improve access to physical rehabilitation for persons with disabilities, train local physiotherapists, and provide materials. In 2015, HI also worked to improve access to education for children with disabilities and advocate for their specific needs to be included in national education policies. HI collaborated with national social services to support access to employment for young persons with disabilities.[31]

In 2015, CEDAC continued implementing an economic inclusion project and providing psychosocial support for survivors through a peer support initiative.[32]

The constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. However, the rights of persons with disabilities were not promoted or protected with regard to employment, education, or access to healthcare. Although persons with disabilities are eligible for free healthcare through social programs targeting vulnerable groups, these were not widely publicized. Legislation did not mandate access to buildings, information, or government services for persons with disabilities.[33]



[1] Email received from Eric Niragira, Director, Center for Training and Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC), 7 March 2014; response to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 6 October 2015; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, Humanitarian Department for Mine/Unexploded Ordnance Action (Direction de l’Action Humanitaire contre les Mines et Engins non explosés, DAHMI), 1 August 2016.

[2] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, Director of Humanitarian Mine and ERW Action, DAHMI, 1 August 2016.

[3] Responses to Monitor questionnaire by Léonce Musavyi, Director, DAHMI, 3 October 2015, 18 March 2014, and 20 March 2013; and by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 14 March 2013; interview with Nkeshimana Nicodème, Director, DAHMI, in Geneva, 16 March 2010; and interview with Generose Ngendanganya, Deputy General Manager, Ministry of Public Service, in Geneva, 23 June 2010.

[4] Statement of Burundi, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education, and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 23 June 2010; and statement of Burundi, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3–7 December 2012.

[5] Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2014.

[6] Provinces of Makamba, Rutana, and Ruyigi. Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Geneva, June 2014.

[7] Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2014.

[8] This figure includes the 1,300 survivors identified as of the end of 2008. Interview with Nkeshimana Nicodème, DAHMI, in Geneva 16 March 2010; email from Désiré Irambona, DAHMI, 11 April 2011; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016.

[9] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016

[10] Ibid.

[11] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 6 October 2015.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016

[13] Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2015; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 6 October 2015.

[14] National Victim Assistance Action Plan, 2011–2014, January 2011; statement of Burundi, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 9–11 April 2014; statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2014; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 2006 to June 2015), June 2015; ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015; United States (US) Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016.

[15] National Victim Assistance Action Plan, 2011–2014, January 2011.

[16] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 29; and US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016, p. 36.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Méthode Niyungeko, DAHMI, 1 August 2016.

[21] Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2014; statement of Burundi, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3–7 December 2012; responses to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 5 March 2014, and 6 October 2015; and by Caroline Duconseille, HI, 22 March 2013; email from Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 7 March 2014; ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, May 2016; ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015; US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016; HI, “Burundi programme,” undated; CEDAC, “About us,” undated; and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), “Our work on the ground – Burundi,” undated.

[22] Statement of Burundi, Session on Victim Assistance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings,  Geneva, June 2014; statement of Burundi, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3–7 December 2012; and ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 29.

[23] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 5 March 2014; and US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016, p. 35.

[24] HI, “Burundi programme,” undated.

[25] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, May 2016, p. 117.

[26] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 29.

[27] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, May 2016, p. 120

[28] Ibid., p. 118.

[29] Ibid.

[30] US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016, p. 36.

[31] HI, “Burundi programme,” undated.

[32] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Eric Niragira, CEDAC, 6 October 2015; and CEDAC, “About us,” undated.

[33] US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016, p. 35.