Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that:
the Occupying Power, when carrying out evacuations [of the civilian population of the occupied territory], must ensure … , to the extent possible, that the evacuated persons are received in suitable facilities [and] that the displacement is carried out under satisfactory conditions.
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “the Occupying Power, when carrying out evacuations [of the civilian population of the occupied territory], must ensure … to the extent possible … that members of the same family are not separated from one another”.
In 2008, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Burundi stated:
295. In addition to experiencing the flight of its populations to other countries, Burundi has also taken in refugees from its neighbours, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Children account for the largest percentage of these refugees. They receive assistance from UNHCR, and the Government provides camps. Three refugee camps for Congolese have been opened in the country, one in Gasorwe, the second in Mwaro and the third in Nagagara, a neighbourhood in Bujumbura. Rwandan refugees arrive from time to time and are quickly repatriated to their country.
296. The camps accommodate nearly 3,000 children under 18 years of age. An unknown number of urban refugee children, mainly of Congolese origin, are also in the camps, where they benefit from the protection of UNHCR, which ensures respect for their rights. They also receive material assistance from UNHCR, which distributes food and other basic necessities (foodstuffs once a month, cooking utensils, mosquito nets, blankets, jerry cans, pails, mats, soap and clothing). Pregnant women in the camps receive a kit for their newborns consisting of a carrying sling, diapers and flannels. The kit is in the process of being modified to add soap and baby clothing so as to better meet the needs of newborns. Newborns who cannot be breastfed for medical reasons (mothers who are HIV-positive or have problems lactating) receive infant formula for several months.
297. A nutritional supplement centre has been set up at the Muyinga camp which periodically conducts a survey to ascertain the nutritional health of children and address nutritional deficiencies. More than 1,300 children up to the age of 5 years were tested in April, and 150 received a food supplement package. Children in nurseries at the camp receive baby cereal daily.
298. Basic health care, medicines, hospitalizations, vaccinations and preventive medicine are provided. HIV/AIDS carriers receive psychosocial assistance and counselling.
299. The following measures are taken with regard to unaccompanied, separated or orphaned children:
- They are placed in families and monitored.
- Individual records are produced to assess their situation and ensure that action is taken in their best interests. The best solution is sought for each individual case.
- Unaccompanied repatriated children are looked after and an attempt is made to reunify them with their families.
300. The following initiatives have been taken at the Mwaro and Muyinga refugee camps with regard to education:
- Classrooms for primary school education have been built; the classrooms are equipped with desks and blackboards.
- Classroom materials are supplied in cooperation with UNICEF and other partners.
- UNHCR supplies school uniforms, where available.
- Assistance is made available so that children raised in the camps can receive secondary school education.
- Support is provided for the functioning of the schools, teacher training, educational follow-up and inspections on the basis of an agreement with a Congolese school in order to facilitate the teaching of the Congolese curriculum. Refugee children at the camps can take tests to enrol in Congolese school in Bujumbura. They receive assistance in the form of transport and food as well as during the examinations.
- Lodging and food are provided for pupils at the camp who passed the tests for admission to the Bujumbura boarding school.
- In close cooperation with UNHCR, the Ministry of Education and Culture holds tests for Burundian children in refugee camps in Tanzania until they are repatriated. UNHCR covers the ensuing costs (logistics, travel expenses). The initiative enables the children to return to school once they are repatriated to Burundi.