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Republic of Burundi[1][print]

Last edited: May 2006

 

Summary and Analysis

                                

Burundi's Constitution specifically incorporates the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified September, 1990). Therefore, the law provides that children be allowed to express their views in the protective proceedings that are provided by the Family Code. The code does not provide any procedural rules for the proceedings, however. This in part has lead to significant variations in process, regionally. In actuality, children are almost never heard in court. There is a lack of awareness of the Convention in Burundi, and the judicial system does not show signs of acting in accord with the Convention's mandates. Burundi ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on June 28, 1994.

 

Given the unstable political climate and significant and widespread civil unrest, it is perhaps not surprising that adequate resources are not available for the protection of children. Traditional values, and a court system which takes cues from these values rather than written law, are another obstacle to real compliance with the Convention. Burundi continues to state its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the government is not able to satisfactorily act on this commitment.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

International Law

Convention relative aux droits de l'enfant, [2] ratified May 23, 1990.

 

Article 12

 

1. Les Etats parties garantissent à l'enfant qui est capable de discernement le droit d'exprimer librement son opinion sur toute question l'intéressant, les opinions de l'enfant étant dûment prises en considération eu égard à son âge et à son degré de maturité.

2. A cette fin, on donnera notamment à l'enfant la possibilité d'être entendu dans toute procédure judiciaire ou administrative l'intéressant, soit directement, soit par l'intermédiaire d'un représentant ou d'une organisation approprié, de façon compatible avec les règles de procédure de la législation nationale.

 

Regional Agreements

 

Charte Africaine des Droits et du Bein-etre de l'Enfant,[3] signed Feb. 27, 1992, ratified Apr. 17, 1997.

Article 4.  Interet Superieur de L'Enfant

 

2. Dans toute procédure judiciaire ou administrative affectant un enfant qui est capable de communiquer, on fera en sorte que les vues de l'enfant puissent être entendues soit directement, soit par le truchement d'un représentant impartial qui prendra part à la procédure, et ses vues seront prises en considération par l'autorité compétente, conformément aux dispositions des lois applicables en la matière.

 

Article 7.  Liberte d'Expression

Tout enfant qui est capable de communiquer se verra garantir le droit d'exprimer ses opinions librement dans tous les domaines et de faire connaître ses opinions, sous réserve des restrictions prévues par la loi

 

Constitution

 

La Constitution Interimaire Post-Transition de la Republique du Burundi[4]

Aritcle 19.

... la Convention relative aux droits de l'enfant font partie intégrante de la Constitution de la République du Burundi.

Ces droits fondamentaux ne font l'objet d'aucune restriction ou dérogation, sauf dans certaines circonstances justifiables par l'intérêt général ou la protection d'un droit fondamental.

 

Article 30. Tout enfant a droit, de la part de sa famille, de la société et de l'Etat, aux mesures de protection spéciale qu'exige sa condition de mineur.

 

Article 44.  Tout enfant a droit à des mesures particulières pour assurer ou améliorer les soins nécessaires à son bien-être, à sa santé et à sa sécurité physique et pour être protégé contre les mauvais traitements, les exactions ou l'exploitation.

 

Statutes

 

Code des Personnes et de la Famille[5]

 

Section 4 : De la déchéance de l'autorité parentale

 

Article 298

A la requête de toute personne intéressée ou du ministère public, le tribunal compétent peut priver temporairement ou définitivement le père ou la mère de l'autorité parentale sur son enfant dans les deux cas suivants :

a) lorsque le père ou la mère abuse de l'autorité parentale ou se livre à des sévices sur la personne de son enfant ;

b) lorsque, par son inconduite notoire ou son incapacité absolue, le père ou la mère se montre indigne de l'autorité parentale.

Si la déchéance est prononcée à l'égard des deux parents, le tribunal désigne un tuteur selon les conditions fixées par le titre relatif à la tutelle des mineurs.

 

Translation

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [6] ratified May 23, 1990.

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Regional Agreements

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child[7]

Article 4.  Best Interests of the Child

 

2. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her own views, an opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.

 

Article 7: Freedom of Expression

Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

Constitution

The Interim Post-Transition Constitution of the Republic of Burundi[8]

Article 19.

.the Convention on the Rights of Children are an integral part of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi..

These fundamental rights cannot be restricted or dispensed with, with the exception of some circumstances that can be justified by the general interest or protection of a fundamental right.

 

Article 30. Each child has the right, from his family, from society and the State to measures of special protection that his condition as a minor requires.

 

Article 44. Any child has the right to particular measures that ensure or improve the care necessary for his well-being, his health, and his physical safety and to be protected against poor treatment, exactions or exploitation.

Statutes

Code of Persons and the Family[9]

Section 4: On the forfeiture of parental authority

 

Article 298

At the request of any interested person or the public ministry, the competent court can temporarily or completely remove parental authority for their child from the father or mother in the following two cases :

when the father or mother abuse their parental authority or engage in abuse of the child ;

when, through notorious misconduct or absolute inability, the father or mother prove to be unworthy of their parental authority.

 

If forfeiture is declared with regard to both parents, the court designates a tutor according to the conditions stated in the title on tutorship of minors.

 

Local Contact Information

 

M. Benoit Harerimana

Secrétariat Permanent de suivi des réformes économiques et Sociales

Phone: +257 24 56 90

Address:          

B.P. 1960

(Quartier Rohero I),

Bujumbura

Burundi

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.ohchr.org/french/law/crc.htm.

[3] Charte Africaine des Droits et du Bein-etre de l'Enfant, opened for signature July 11, 1990, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49, available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[4] La Constitution Interimaire Post-Transition de la Republique du Burundi, loi no.1/ 018 DU 20/OCTOBRE/2004, available at www.chr.up.ac.za/hr_docs/constitutions/docs/Burundi(2004)-French.doc, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Code des Personnes et de la Famille, decret-loi N° 1/024 DU 28 AVRIL, available at http://www.ligue-iteka.africa-web.org/article.php3?id_article=36.

[6] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, supra note 1, available at http://www.ohchr.org/french/law/crc.htm.

[7] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, opened for signature July 11, 1990, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49, available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[8] Unofficial translation by a translator provided by Yale Law School.

[9] Unofficial translation by a translator provided by Yale Law School.

 

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