Already one of the world’s poorest countries, Burundi’s lengthy civil war damaged much of the country’s legal and government infrastructure and left it with a drastically reduced capacity to serve its citizens or deliver justice efficiently or effectively. Widespread land disputes over limited territory marginalize Burundi’s poor and disenfranchised communities, already struggling in the wake of civil war. Violence against women in Burundi is also on the rise: women face displacement from their homes and communities, and are threatened by rape. Without strengthening Burundi’s judicial system and advocating for good governance from its leadership, the scope of this crisis could threaten the stability of the country.
Global Rights’ long-term, capacity-building approach in Burundi prioritizes building skills, empowering local leaders at the grassroots level, and forming meaningful collaborations with civil society groups throughout the country. In the first program of its kind in Burundi, Global Rights is working to increase access to justice for victims of land conflict and sexual and gender-based violence by strengthening the ability of legal services groups to bring high-impact strategic litigation to the courts. There is no other NGO conducting strategic litigation on land rights in Burundi, and, while some medical care is available to victims of gender-based violence, there is currently no movement to promote the legal rights of victims and secure access to justice for them in the courts.
Civil society organizations have only just begun to explore new opportunities to promote transparency and accountability in the Burundian government and its judicial system. Based on the premise that Burundi could make visible and measurable progress toward lasting peace, democratization, and social and economic development if public institutions and services properly fulfill their mandated obligations, Global Rights builds the capacity of Burundian organizations and media to serve as watch-dogs and to hold the government—and in particular judicial system actors—accountable during this crucial period of rebuilding. Through training, public education, and advocacy, we will work with our local partners todevelop a cadre of active citizens, led by local civil society, able to monitor and evaluate the work of their elected and appointed officials.
Universal Periodic Review Submission on the Human Rights Situation in Burundi 2008 | Français
Organizational Development Manual 2008 | Français