Burundi: Truth and Reconciliation Commission(CVR) calls for women and girls to share their experiences

Women and girls are invited to share their experiences with the CVR (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) in relation to the painful past that Burundi experienced during various crises.

The appeal was launched on March 8, 2019, in Bujumbura by the Dushirimbere Association, during a meeting for a better consideration of the rights of women and girls in the occasion of the celebration of International Women’s Day.

Stakeholders in promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls who participated in the round table estimated that women are generally affected by any event that affects them or their neighbors, even touched when their neighbors are hungry.

They have been much more affected by the painful past that Burundians experienced during the various crises in Burundi. They certainly would testify before the CVR if they are reassured of their protection, said one speaker.

CVR (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) members

The objective CVR is to encourage them to express what they saw during the various conflicts.

“What do women want after telling the truth? Reconciliation! Justice! Or both!” questioned one speaker.

Difficulties for elder women to testify an effect encountered

Another speaker suggested setting up teams that would inspire confidence and credibility, taking gender and ethnic dimensions into consideration.

The sharing of lived situations was also said to be one of the remedies to the problems of trauma; it was noted during the round table.

The speaker claimed that it would be difficult for an elderly raped woman to testify before a team of young people, just as she will hardly speak to a team of men. In case of a victim of the ethnic conflict, it will not be easy for her to speak to people of the same ethnic group as the executioner.

Women and girls are not sufficiently informed about the CVR

According to roundtable participants, the public, specifically women and girls, are not sufficiently informed about the CVR mechanism and its missions. They are reluctant and afraid to speak out as part of this new process. Therefore the participants recommended increasing awareness sessions on the CVR, its mandate, and principles at the community level, and support by civil society.

Women should also be educated and sensitized on the Witness and Victim Protection Act and encouraged to increase their participation in this transitional justice process, especially at the community level.

The CVR was also asked to broaden the listening period to gather more testimonials about the painful past.

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