Impunity Watch sensitises Burundian communities on women’s leadership and rights; prioritises victim participation in transitional justice in the DRC

Throughout the month of August 2019, our gender team in Burundi co-organised with our local partner Association Dushirehamwe two trainings for local communities on women’s leadership and their rights. In addition, we organised a workshop on the role of victims in transitional justice processes in South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On 13 and 14 August 2019, 20 Burundian women and girls from the provinces of Bururi, Cankuzo, Ruyigi and Bujumbura gathered in Bujumbura to discuss women leadership, women rights and positive masculinities. During this two-day workshop, they were trained on advocating for the needs of their communities as well as taking action against violence targeting women. Two weeks later, on 30 August 2019, we organised an awareness session for the husbands and family members of the same 20 women and girls. We sensitised the participants to understand the importance of the work that their wives and daughters will do in their communities and to break down the socio-cultural barriers that women face. The training addressed topics like hegemonic masculinities as an obstacle to the political participation of Burundian women. At the end of the workshop, the participating men committed to supporting the full participation of women in the 2020 electoral processes.

These trainings are the first in a series that we will be carrying out with Association Dushirehamwe in the last quarter of 2019 and throughout 2020. We have been working with this group of 20 women and girls on women’s leadership and women’s rights as part of the FLOW programme, implemented by Impunity Watch and Oxfam Ibis with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In parallel to our gender-focused work, we carried out,

throughout August and into September 2019, awareness-raising

sessions on transitional justice, gender, and memorialisation

across 60 communities in Bujumbura Rural, Cibiotoke and Muyinga.

We conducted these activities with three local partners MIPAREC,

THARS and Association Dushirehamwe as part of our “Akarigo

Karavugwa” [meaning What happened cannot be kept secret,

we must talk about it to prepare for the future] programme.

With support from the Belgian Development Cooperation,

the programme sees to contribute to reconstructing the social

fabric as well as to the local processes of transitional justice, with

a focus on memory and intergenerational memory trauma.

Our team in Burundi has also been working since May 2019 on

an extensive participatory research project with a group of 140

youth from communities in the provinces of Bujumbura Rural,

Cibitoke, and Muyinga. We are implementing this project with

our local partners, MIPAREC and THARS, under the “Nyubahiriza

[Respect Me] Programme, supported by the Dutch Ministry of

Foreign Affairs. The 140 trained youth, known as the “Peer

Researchers,” have conducted, more than 840 interviews and 96 focus groups targeting more than 1,000 in July and August to shed light on the past and to promote mutual recognition among previously divided groups. Intergenerational dialogues will be conducted later in the year based on the community histories.

Meanwhile in the DRC, we organised a workshop on

the role of victims in transitional justice processes from

12-14 August 2019 in Bukavu, South Kivu. We trained

ten Congolese civil society activists on how to

facilitate awareness sessions on victim participation in

transitional justice across several communities in South

Kivu.

Together with our partners in the DRC we have worked

on a transitional justice strategy which we are

implementing at the community, provincial and

national levels. We also developed together training

modules tailored to the Congolese context. These

modules can be accessed here:

Restricted Access: Promises and Pitfalls of Victim Participation in Transitional Justice Mechanisms.

Initiatives locales et attentes des populations : la justice transitionnelle au Sud-Kivu, RDC.