March 8, 2023 - Tournons la Page Burundi (TLP-Burundi) joins other actors in celebrating International Women's Rights Day. Despite the progress made in the fight for the respect of women's rights in Burundi, Tournons la Page Burundi (TLP-Burundi) remains concerned about the trafficking of Burundian women, the impunity of the violence suffered and other challenges that Burundian women still face for their general development.
On March 8, Tournons la Page Burundi (TLP-Burundi) pays tribute to Burundian women's struggle for their rights and to others who have taken up the cause.
March 8 reiterates the determination of women around the world in the struggle for equality and social, economic and political rights. The constitution of Burundi of June 7, 2018 in its article 13 states, "All Burundians are equal in merit and dignity. All citizens enjoy the same rights and are entitled to the same protection of the law. No Burundian shall be excluded from the social, economic or political life of the nation because of his or her race, language, religion, gender or ethnic origin."
In April 1991, Burundi ratified, without reservation, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a legal instrument that defines the fundamental rights of women in all areas of public and private life.
Burundi has acceded to other regional and international instruments for the protection of women's rights.
Despite these multifaceted and long-standing commitments, Tournons la Page Burundi (TLP-Burundi) notes that women in Burundi still face rape, human trafficking and discrimination due to prejudice.
During the last 16-day campaign of activism against violence against women from November 25 to December 10, 2022, women's rights organizations in Burundi recorded more than one hundred rapes against women and girls since January 2022, the majority of which have gone unpunished.
Rape in schools remains a major concern, with some cases of rape committed by teachers close to the ruling CNDD-FDD party enjoying the complicity of the country's high authorities and their crimes never being punished.
It is still the case that Burundian women and girls, after being recruited by labor companies, are taken to Arab countries with the complicity of some of the country's authorities to be exploited without regard for their basic rights and respect for national and international labor standards. This traffic has been repeatedly denounced but appropriate measures for the welfare of these women and girls have never been taken.
In terms of women's representation in the country's public institutions, it is provided for by the 2018 constitution which guarantees the equality of all Burundian citizens and allows for a "minimum of 30%" of job quotas for women. These quotas are not respected in most sectors of the country's life, the few women's positions granted are for women of the ruling party, these women are put forward for the interests of the party first and not for the general interest of women.
As for the succession of Burundian women, a draft law aimed at restoring the balance of land rights and granting women real and legal access to land has been ignored by several governments and flatly rejected by the current government.
In other key sectors of the country's life, such as education, agriculture, reproductive health and women's empowerment, there is still a need to put in place programs to support Burundian women for their development. This could give a boost to the overall development of the country, given the place that women occupy in Burundian society.
Indeed, if the UN has chosen the theme "For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technologies for gender equality", while fully agreeing, TLP-Burundi is convinced that the stage of "Innovation, technological change and education in the digital age to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" (67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67)) will not be reached unless the basic rights of women are respected.
Moreover, on this day of March 8, TLP-Burundi would not fail to show its solidarity to women human rights defenders unjustly imprisoned for their work in promoting human rights: Ms. Sonia NDIKUMASABO, Floriane IRANGABIYE, Marie EMERUSABE and Sylvana INAMAHORO, your commitment and perseverance are worthy of admiration and will certainly contribute to the advent of a better Burundi.
Tournons la Page Burundi (TLP-Burundi) asks the competent Burundian authorities to :
- Respect the national and international commitments of the government of Burundi to respect women's rights,
- Protect Burundian women from gender-based and sexual violence and bring the perpetrators to justice,
- Pass a fair law on access to land for all citizens to correct the inequalities suffered by Burundian women,
- Give a fair trial to the four women human rights defenders incarcerated for their work and ensure their safety, physical and psychological integrity.
Done on March 8, 2023
Tournons la Page Burundi
 Constitution of the Republic of Burundi of 2018 in its articles 13 and 128