During the last six months, UNICEF, OHCHR and partners conducted close monitoring of child rights violations and undertook advocacy on behalf of arbitrarily arrested children, leading to the successful release of 67 children.
In the context of expulsions and detentions of schoolchildren for vandalism of schoolbooks, UNICEF and partners successfully advocated for the release of 6 children from Muramvya prison and provided legal assistance for 9 additional children in Ruyigi.
UNICEF supported the continuity of primary health care services by distributing essential drugs to more than 900 health facilities located in all of Burundi’s 46 health districts.
269,583 Refugees seeking asylum in neighboring countries (UNHCR, 26 June 2016)
41,423 Estimated internally displaced people in 5 provinces (IOM, 27 June 2015)
4,343,809 Reported malaria cases (MOH, 23 June 2016)
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The political and security situation in Burundi remains volatile and continues to impact the humanitarian situation. The total number of refugees in neighboring countries (Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia) has increased to 269,583, while the number of internally displaced people registered in five provinces is 41,423 (IOM, May 2016), of which 59 per cent are children. Among the displaced, 69 per cent reported leaving their homes for social and political reasons.
The number of Burundians deported from Rwanda increased to 4,300 since May 2016. Joint rapid assessments from OCHA, UN and NGO partners showed that about 70 per cent of these deportees are women and children who were living illegally in Rwanda. UNICEF and partners are closely following up on all child protection issues, especially on separated and unaccompanied children and continue to monitor the overall situation to ensure children have access to essential social services.
During the reporting period, the European Union announced that it will continue to apply sanctions against the Burundian Government which relies heavily on foreign donors for its annual budget. Underfinancing of social sector ministries due to donor withdrawal or suspension constitutes a serious challenge to achieving results and threatens access to and provision of social services to children and women, in particular the most vulnerable.
In June, partners reported 48 students detained, of whom at least 5 are girls, for vandalism of school textbooks containing the President of Burundi’s photo. UNICEF and partners successfully advocated for the release of 6 children (3 boys, 3 girls) from Muramvya prison, and also provided legal assistance for 9 additional children in Ruyigi province (two children were under 15 and were released). In an important step forward, the Minister of Justice addressed an official letter to the Director of Prison Affairs (DJAP) emphasizing that no child should be held in adult prisons, providing an important advocacy tool to support the immediate transfer of children in conflict with the law to UNICEF-supported reeducation centers in Rumonge and Ruyigi.
Burundi has registered a sharp increase in malaria cases in the first half of the year. More than 16 health districts are seriously affected, with a cumulative total number of 4,343,809 cases of malaria and 2,102 deceased (MoH, 23 June 2016). Despite a slight decrease in the last month, the level is more than double those reported by MoH in 2015 for the same period (1,983,323 cases and 859 deceased). UNICEF supported the MoH with the provision of emergency stock of malaria drugs for the management of malaria in 16 districts as well as funding for national level supervision to health districts and technical support for improved monitoring of data (Health Management Information System, HMIS).
Two cholera outbreaks were declared in 3 different districts in southern Burundi, with a cumulative total of 22 cases with no deaths reported in 2016. All patients have been treated in a timely manner as a result of preparedness, including the prepositioning of cholera kits in cholera-prone health districts. To address timely and quality reporting of cholera, UNICEF continued its support to the MoH by providing training on Rapid Pro to healthcare workers in cholera-prone districts and provinces.