Practice Relating to Rule 105. Respect for Family Life
In 2008, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Burundi stated:
187. In addition to the reasons enumerated in article 9, paragraph 4, of the Convention, separation [of children from their parents] may also result from armed conflicts that have led to mass internal and transboundary population movements.
188. In Burundi, the persistence of the crisis has resulted in internal and transboundary population movements. These movements have tended to stabilize since 2003, following the signing of the ceasefire agreements between the Government and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Force for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). During the period under consideration, the Government, with the cooperation of donors (UNHCR, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)), launched a number of programmes to promote family reunification.
189. In keeping with the principle of maintaining family unity, children separated from their parents following an emergency situation, such as an armed conflict … , must be reunified with their family as soon as possible. They may leave the country or enter it for this purpose.
190. In cases of separation resulting from armed conflicts … , the guidelines of international bodies and NGOs (UNHCR, UNICEF, ICRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children and World Vision International) concerning unaccompanied and separated children recommend rapidly identifying such children and proceeding without delay to look for the family, the goal being reunification. During the period under consideration, the six bodies present in Burundi and in neighbouring countries collaborated closely with the Governments concerned to meet this challenge.
Burundi also 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 …
299. The following measures are taken with regard to unaccompanied, separated or orphaned children:
- Unaccompanied repatriated children are looked after and an attempt is made to reunify them with their families.