Impunity Watch in Burundi
We have been engaged in Burundi since 2010. We began by monitoring the post-conflict election process, working with local civil society organisations, examining political discourses surrounding the elections and mapping the needs and desires of affected communities for transitional justice. In 2011, our office was established in Bujumbura.
In order to tackle structures of impunity, we believe that increased knowledge, understanding and participation of affected communities in transitional justice processes are needed. To this end, we ensure the participation and involvement of victims, women and girls, as well as facilitate inter-generational exchange to achieve effective transitional justice processes. Alongside this community work, our innovative and participatory research methods have enabled us to become a reliable source of information from the ground that meets the increasing demand for objective information from within the country. Our work leads to in-depth analyses that tap into Burundi’s complex socio-cultural particularities and give voice to local communities. On the basis of these efforts we are able to bring the needs/experiences of affected communities forward, ensuring that their needs and Burundi do not disappear from the policy agenda.
Victim Participation: We bring forward the views of victims. By empowering victims and affected communities, their knowledge and decision-making capacity regarding their rights and opportunities within national-level and community-based transitional justice processes are significantly increased.
Gender: We aim to tackle pre-existing and cross-cutting gender-based power relations and inequalities. To this end, we seek to offer new perspectives on the experiences and roles of men, boys, women and girls in conflict. We also seek to identify the challenges faced by women for them to effectively participate in decision-making within the socio-legal sphere and transitional justice processes.
Inter-generational exchange: We believe that targeting youth is tantamount to ensuring conflict transformation in the future. To this end, we implement activities in Burundi and the wider Great Lakes Region to counter ethnic division and devise ways for dealing with the past through dialogue and exchange between youth and their elders.
On 1 July 1962, Burundi achieved independence from Belgian colonial rule. Like many of its neighboring countries in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, colonialism left Burundi and its population plagued by political instability, violence and divisions. Only three years after independence the country began seeing the first waves of violence.