APD campaigns to promote children and youth rights

Report on the activities organized by the association “Action for Peace and Development” in the framework of the Campaign 19 days of activism for the prevention of abuses and violence against children and youth. 


The long decade of war that destroyed Burundi from 1993 to 2003 has not spared any aspect of the life of the country. Among the most recorded damage, the human damage has taken great record for more than 300,000 people died and hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries of Burundi and other became Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs). This being said, the Burundian child had not been given any special protection to escape the horrors of the fratricidal war. Parents who died in the war left orphans without support, poor IDPs in camps were found themselves unable to feed, clothe or send their children to school, what gave rise to a phenomenon that remains unresolved: that of children in the in street situation.
The consequences of the Burundian conflict on civilian populations are catastrophic: malnutrition, lack of water, illiteracy, disease, violation of human rights, destruction of infrastructure, large flows of refugees. In addition to the ravages of war and poverty, there has been recording of prevalence rate of HIV / AIDS among the highest in the African Great Lakes region.
In hospitals, seven out of ten beds are occupied by HIV positive patients and 15% of voluntary testing are positive. Thus, there are 37 000 children who are infected by AIDS and 120,000 who have become orphans due to AIDS-related death of one or both parents.
However, different actors carry out actions in order to end this scourge but the way seems long, especially in a country such as Burundi, where until now there is no concrete policy to eradicate this phenomenon. Burundi now has thousands of young people and children living in the streets especially in major towns such as Bujumbura, Gitega, Ngozi and others. These young persons and children live in precarious conditions the reason why one more voice to advocate for the promotion of their rights is a necessity.
Although the phenomenon of children / young people in the street situation is one of the most eloquent forms of abuse and violence against these children / youth in Burundi, other forms of violence and abuse are observed around the world the reason why a synergy of children and youth human rights defenders is of prime need. It is in this context that from 1 to 19 November 2012, the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) section child / youth organized for the second consecutive year a campaign called 19 days of activism campaign for the prevention of abuse and violence against children and youth, a campaign that closes a day before the celebration of the International Day of the Child on 20 November. To spread the voice of this campaign, WWSF appealed all organizations working in the field of promoting the rights of children and young people to take action on a large scale for the prevention of abuse and violence against children and youth. It is in this context that Action for Peace and Development joined other participants in this campaign by organizing on 17 November 2012, a community activity to advocate for children and young people in street situation by involving forty children and young of them. The activity was to clean the beach of Lake Tanganyika at Bujumbura port side.
This activity had four specific objectives:
1. To show children and youth in the street situation of that they are also promoters of development of the country although they often feel abandoned to themselves,
2. To show the rest of the society that children and young people in street situation that are social partners instead of being considered as crime perpetrators,
3. To make the children and youth in street situation to participate in the protection of the environment
4. To advocate for the protection and promotion of the rights of children and young people in general and those in street situation in particular.
During the execution of this activity, the following results were achieved:
– A plea for the protection and promotion of the lives of these children and young people has been done
– 40 young people and children in the street situation benefited a psycho-social coaching around a community activity, a balanced and deserved meal, clothes and soaps.
– The part of the beach of Lake Tanganyika of a distance of 200 meters was scrubbed.
– These children and young people in the street situation were able to learn the concepts of environment protection and hygiene.
– They were able to express their wishes on the protection and promotion of their rights as expressed in the following slogans:
a. All children should be treated in equal rights.
b. We want to be assisted.
c. Who cares about us?
d. Equality and justice for all children.
e. We demand our rights.
In concrete, this activity was an opportunity that helped to change the way these children and young people living in the street are considered in relation to the rest of the society. They now know that they are also indispensable partners to the development the country. They also proved their usefulness and a special attention should be given to them. This is why Action for Peace and Development through this activity called the Government of Burundi, the society, the development partners of Burundi and all the friends of children and youth to contribute to the promotion of human rights of this category of youth. Concrete actions such as the establishment of a specific law on the protection of children’s rights, children and youth policy should be undertaken and the returning to the cultural value of taking each child as a community heritage has to capture the hearts of Burundian. We should never forget that youth is the Burundi of today and tomorrow, why not the entire w

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