Photo: Betsy Karel

Burundi

Priority Issues

  • Land rights
  • Women’s rights
  • Justice and rule of law
  • Refugees
  • LGBTI rights

Began Program: 2008

By 2003, after ten years of civil war in Burundi, approximately 300,000 had died, the economy had been devastated, and a massive refugee crisis had taken hold of the country. To this day, Burundi still struggles to overcome the consequences of its long history of ethnic conflict, as it faces widespread disputes over land, extremely high poverty rates, and continued impunity for crimes committed before and after the civil war.

When the Fund began its work in Burundi, a small number of human rights organizations were working to educate communities about women’s rights, provide mediation services for victims of land rights violations, and support efforts to bring justice for human rights abuses and atrocities committed during war time. Today, more and more fearless activists are denouncing government abuses and leading the charge for policy changes and reforms. Their work has proven all the more difficult and crucial as Burundi’s government increasingly suppresses freedoms of speech, association, and the press.

“With critical support from the Fund, we’ve been able to educate women on their right to land and mediate conflicts in the communities where they live.”
Jean Marie Habwintahe, Association for Peace and Human Rights

Our Strategy

We provide much-needed funding to groups pushing back against government attempts to close the space for activism and dissent. We support organizations defending civil liberties and promoting equal rights for marginalized people. We’re also committed to resolving tensions over land rights and ownership throughout the country. We provide support for the rights of returned refugees to access land, for women’s inheritance rights, and for the rights of the Batwa, the indigenous forest people of Burundi whose rights have been violated for decades. Above all, we’re driven by our vision that a dynamic human rights movement can grow and thrive in Burundi.