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Raising awareness on human rights among the general public

In Burundi, a grant recipient organized a cultural event which consisted of songs, dances and dramatic performances.  139 participants (53 women, 20 men and 66 children) took part. The recipient reports that the purpose of the event was to assist people in looking back on the human rights violations which took place in the country nearly 6 years ago and to suggest useful recommendations for the country's authorities to protect human rights today. The recipient noted the difficulty of transporting some of the performers hired to the somewhat isolated area where the event took place. 

Translating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into local languages 

In Burundi, a project focussed on women living in camps for displaced persons. The UDHR was translated into the Kirundi language and disseminated.  Audio cassettes of the UDHR were also produced and distributed and a series of human rights discussions were organised in the camps in which approximately 200 women participated.

Informing on children's rights

In Burundi, the Association for Peace and Development of Bukeye organized a 3-day seminar in which 50 young men and women (aged 16 to 30) participated.  Discussions were held on experience sharing and on a new approach of dialogue between young people of various origins; this led to the adoption of a common way of reflecting on human rights issues.  The central theme of the seminar was that the respect of others' rights is respect of my rights.  The seminar finished with a football competition in which every one got a prize.  The success of that competition led the organizers to hold two other matches and new ones are planned.  The greatest achievement of the seminar was, according to the NGO report, that "people [hidden in the forest because of the fighting] were coming from the Kiriba forest by hundreds".  The NGO Legal Representative stresses the need for a sustainable effort on the part of OHCHR to support human rights activities in the field, and especially "Administration's [Headquarter members] should be more  sensitised , invited to collaborate.  In fact, they are more often in contact with the populations.  They could then be efficient if they are gained to that cause."

Phase 2

1. The Observatoire Burundais des Prisons conducted a country-wide study of living conditions in the country’s 11 prisons. The results were presented in a report that served as a basis for discussion with the relevant partners (mostly other NGOs) and the authorities. The visits to the prisoners highlighted human rights violations and abuses occurring in Burundi prisons which were reported to the courts. After the presentation of the report, the applicant decided to carry out periodical unannounced visits to prisons to assess improvements in living conditions.

Allocated grant: US$3,000

2. The Association pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme-Ngozi (APDH) organized a human rights song contest in remote areas of the country. The prizewinning songs were then recorded on audiocassette and performed on many occasions in the villages. Songs are one of the best means of reaching grassroots communities where many people are illiterate. According to the NGO report, the activity enabled many people to reveal human rights abuses that they suffer.

Allocated grant: US$2,200

3. The Club des Jeunes pour la Promotion des Droits de l'Homme (CJPDH) wrote and performed a play on inter-ethnic violence and peaceful cohabitation. The play was performed in Ngozi and Bujumbura before 516 people, including 322 children. An evaluation form was circulated after each performance to explore the good and weak points of the play and to evaluate its impact on the spectators. In the evaluation the issues raised were described as crucial and the solutions proposed by the play for addressing conflicts met with full approval. It was also the first opportunity for most of the audience to hear about human rights. The play is still being performed throughout the country, thanks to the working relations established with the national authorities.

Allocated grant: US$3,000

4. The Association Dufashanye de Kinindo (ADUKI), headed by a woman doctor, organized a two-day workshop on the reproductive rights of women. Thirty-eight women participated in an experience-sharing discussion and received training.

Allocated grant: US$3,000

5. The Union des Personnes Handicapées du Burundi organized five workshops in Bujumbura and its suburbs on the rights of persons with disabilities. The workshops provided an opportunity for many disabled persons to speak out about their daily problems and to become aware of their basic rights and means to enforce them. The outcome of the discussions was summarized and submitted to the relevant national authorities in the form of a law proposal for better protection of the social rights of the disabled.

Allocated grant: US$ 2,900

Phase 3

Human Rights Awareness Raising on selected topics

Ligue Iteka, a theatre group, performed an interactive play addressing human rights issues to more than 1,000 pupils of the Gitega and Muyinga districts in Burundi. The children were asked to replace, from time to time, the actors playing the role of the oppressed, and were asked to express feelings and to find out solutions on how human rights violations should be avoided.

The Association Kerebuka, based in Ngozi, Burundi, established a human rights youth club in Kinyami. A training workshop on children’s and women’s rights was held for 12 girls and 8 boys from the region; these participants were selected for their communication skills.

The Association Murika piloted a sensitization campaign on general human rights issues for women, returnees, and internally displaced people from various ethnical origins. Approximately 94 women, 65 men, 24 girls and 17 boys of the Bugendana municipality benefited from this project. Human rights focal points were established in Bugendana, Busangano and Mutoyi in Burundi, and will regularly report to the grant recipient, and alert them if needed.

Women’s rights, Violence Against Women and Reproductive Rights

The Association pour la Défense des droits de la femme, based in Bujumbura, Burundi conducted six information sessions on women’s rights in the poorest suburbs of the capital. An impressive audience responded to the invitations: 852 women, 413 men, 995 girls and 680 boys attended the sessions, during which drawn materials were distributed.

Solidarité Femmes, based in Gitega, presented the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to 551 women, aged between 18 and 40, from 6 municipalities of the Gitega district in Burundi. During the debate, women came up spontaneously with testimonies and feelings about their own lives, the way they were treated in their marriages and the discrimination in girls’ access to education. The NGO also highlighted a number of human rights concerns in the target region, namely reasons of the HIV/AIDS growing epidemic, sexual delinquency and situation of orphans. The NGO reported that the local authorities welcomed the creation of the clubs as they participated in the peaceful settlement of conflicts. It is expected that participants will conduct sensitization campaigns in their respective villages through clubs that have been set up for this purpose.

The Association féminine secours mutuel de Gitega conducted a 14-day training campaign on women’s rights for community and teenagers leaders of the Gitega region in Burundi. Approximately 53 women, 21 men, among whom representatives of local authorities, 6 girls and 7 boys benefited from the sessions conducted in the Kirundi language. A number of concrete recommendations to advance the cause of women were outlined and transmitted to local authorities.

The Association Dukundane conducted a training session on violence against women in the Gitega region in Burundi. They trained 10 female community leaders. The grant recipient produced a training manual and a picture-set; copies were distributed to all participants so that they can present it in their communities. Participants reported that they were more aware about their rights and that they will now speak out on violence against women and girls and denounce them to the local authorities.

Children’s Rights

The Association pour la promotion des déshérités du Burundi set up a programme aiming at finding families willing to adopt orphans. Conferences and sensitization seminars on children’s rights were organized to raise people awareness on the situation of orphans in Burundi. Adequate education materials were also produced and disseminated during the conferences. A legal clinic was also set up to provide psycho-social and material assistance to children.

Human rights in the Administration of Justice

The Association Aprofeta, based in Ngozi, Burundi, conducted a training programme for 13 imprisoned women aiming at supporting the condition of living of female prisoners and facilitating their reintegration in society by assisting them in becoming economically independent after their release from prison. The training programme included income-generating activities such as: sewing and dressmaking. The implementation of the activity required obtaining beforehand the authorization of the prison’s leaders and the General Direction of Prison Affairs, which was a noticeable achievement. The NGO addressed general human rights issues with the imprisoned women through informal talks as many of them were illiterate. When reporting, the NGO highlighted the release of two trained women, who started to work as dressmakers.

The Association Tubagarukire, based in Ngozi, Burundi, visited prisons in the Ngozi district where they conducted sensitization sessions on human rights in prisons and arbitrary detention. This campaign resulted in a number of complaints of rapes in prisons, and built up confidence between prisoners and prison officials. The NGO also set up follow-up committees in the cities and villages where the prisons are established. It also organized a series of events and lectures on the occasion of human rights day 2002 in which 178 women, 294 men and 112 children participated.