UNICEF Burundi Humanitarian Situation Report – 31 December 2015

Situation Report
Originally published


Key figures

  • 21 Children killed by gunfire or grenade fire since the onset of the crisis in April (UNICEF, 28 December)
  • At least 7 children detained for suspected association with armed groups in December 2015
  • Over 227,000 Refugees seeking asylum in neighboring countries (UNHCR, 22 December 2015)
  • Nearly 15,000 Internally displaced people in Makamba province (IOM, 17 November 2015)
  • 18 cholera cases In the district of Nyanza Lac


  • Children continue to bear the brunt of the violence in Bujumbura: a 9-year-old boy was shot on 5 December as he was playing in the street in Cibitoke, Bujumbura; on 9 December, a 16-year-old child living in the street who attended a UNICEF Child-Friendly Space was killed by gunfire; and on 23 December, a 15-year-old playing at a school in Musaga was killed by a grenade.

  • Extensive advocacy efforts by UNICEF and partners at the local, provincial, and national level led to the release of 11 children from prison, police and prosecutors detention cells, and re-education centers. It also led to the separation of children from adults in prisons. This also included the release and reintegration within 24 hours of the re-arrested child, who was previously released and reintegrated with his family on 30 November 2015 following allegations of his involvement with armed groups.

  • As of 22 December, the cumulative number of cholera cases was 18, including 14 amongst returnees from Tanzania. These cases received the necessary care and services in the Kabonga Cholera Treatment Center in the southern district of Nyanza Lac.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2248 in November and the ensuing UNSC consultations on the escalation of insecurity and violence in Burundi, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council highlighting two options for UN presence in the country: a “multidimensional integrated peacekeeping operation under Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN” or a “fully fledged integrated special political mission.”

The Security Council in its 19 December press statement supported and urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the African Prevention and Protection Mission to Burundi (MAPROBU). The deployment of MAPROBU was authorized by the AU Peace and Security Council on 17 December 2015, and was tasked with protecting civilians and creating the conditions for an inter-Burundian dialogue.

However, on 22 December, the Government of Burundi rejected the AU proposition for the peacekeeping mission MAPROBU, arguing that this equated to “denying the sovereignty of Burundi and [that it] would be considered an “invasion”.

On 28 December, although present for the Peace Talks in Kampala, the Government of Burundi issued a statement refusing the set date for the dialogue (6 January 2016) and rejecting the participation of some of the actors from the opposition groups.

Children’s issues were expressly highlighted by members of the United Nations Security Council during consultations on Burundi, with references made to access to healthcare and other social services, and to children being killed, detained, and separated from their families. Further, the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly Resolution issued on 7 December 2015 explicitly pointed out similar concerns over children and included relevant recommendations.

UNICEF is increasingly concerned about the escalation of violence and the deteriorating security situation in Burundi, and the impact that this has on children. Following the attacks on three military bases and subsequent violence in Bujumbura and Bujumbura Rural on 11 – 12 December, official figures announced that 87 people were killed and 68 arrested, but these numbers are difficult to verify and are believed to be significantly higher.

The political and security situation remains volatile, and a climate of fear predominates the affected areas. This continues to impact the humanitarian situation, with an increase of displaced populations and refugees in neighboring countries (+5,990 in December, UNHCR December 22nd).