Child marriage by 15
Child marriage by 18
Other key stats
|Are there Girls Not Brides members?||9|
|Does this country have a national strategy or plan?||No|
|Is there a Girls Not Brides National Partnership or coalition?||No|
|Age of marriage without consent or exceptions taken into account||No minimum legal age of marriage (all exceptions taken into account)|
What's the prevalence rate?
What drives child marriage in Burundi?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys.
In Burundi, child marriage is exacerbated by:
Gender norms: Some girls are referred to as umukobwa, which means 'intended for bride price'. Due to a common belief that a girl's main purpose in life is to marry, many families see little point in investing in their daughter's education. For the few years that girls do live with parents, they are expected to take on household chores to prepare for their future role as wives. Burundian girls cannot inherit property and have few options to earn income and support themselves. Therefore many feel pressured to marry early so they have support and respect within society.
Political alliances and corruption: According to the Burundian Human Rights League, some influential people force parents to marry off their daughters in exchange for financial or political advantage.
Violence against girls: Sometimes girls who have been raped are forced to marry their attacker as a result of settlements negotiated by families outside of the formal legal framework. In some regions of Burundi, young girls are kidnapped and abused by young boys who have previously been 'rejected'. In such cases, the girl’s rape brings shame to her family and it is sometimes considered better to negotiate a settlement for marriage as moral restitution.
Humanitarian settings can encompass a wide range of situations before, during, and after natural disasters, conflicts, and epidemics. They exacerbate poverty, insecurity, and lack of access to services such as education, factors which all drive child marriage. While gender inequality is a root cause of child marriage in both stable and crisis contexts, often in times of crisis, families see child marriage as a way to cope with greater economic hardship and to protect girls from increased violence. While the humanitarian situation in Burundi has stabilised since 2017, it remains fragile. There are acute pockets of vulnerability in certain regions of the country and, in 2019, 1.77 million people were in need humanitarian assistance.
Conflict: Burundi’s civil war (1993 - 2005), and the 2015 outbreak of violence, significantly increased poverty and insecurity in Burundi. This was coupled with flooding, droughts and landslides, all of which damaged the livelihoods of many communities. When Burundian refugees started to be repatriated from Tanzania in 2002, more pressure was placed on depleted resources. This may have created long-lasting enabling conditions for child marriage, both as a means of survival and of stability. In addition, there is recent anecdotal evidence of child marriage happening in Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania.
What international, regional and national commitments has Burundi made?
Burundi has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Burundi co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2018 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Burundi ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1992, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage
In 2016 the CEDAW Committee expressed concern that its recommendations to revise the Personal and Family Code to standardise the age of marriage for everyone had still not been implemented by Burundi.
Ahead of Burundi’s 2018 Universal Periodic Review, the Human Rights Committee recommended that the government amend the Personal and Family Code so that the minimum age of marriage for men and women is equal and in accordance with international standards. Burundi agreed to examine recommendations to adopt effective measures and repeal legal provisions that discriminate against women, including practices such as child marriage.
In 2004 Burundi ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage. In 2003 Burundi ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.
Burundi is one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.
In 2019, at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, the Burundi National Assembly committed to tackle early marriages in the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also committed to end sexual and gender-based violence by strengthening the legal framework and judicial services, and promoting socio-economic recovery initiatives for women and girls.
Burundi is one of the countries where the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/DREAMS Initiative is working to reduce rates of HIV among adolescent girls and young women.
Burundi is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
What is the government doing to address child marriage?
In September 2019, at an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the First Lady of Burundi, Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, publicly called on parliamentarians, the media and parents to do their part in preventing and ending early marriage and gender-based violence.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the Code des Personnes et de la Famille 1993, the legal age of marriage is 21 years for boys and 18 year for girls. However they may marry below 18 years with a waiver from the provincial governor and with parental consent.
We have 9 members in Burundi
Content featuring Burundi
3 lessons and 3 actions: Let’s make every day International Day of the Girl
Ending sex discrimination in the law
Looks at sex discriminatory laws around the world, including minimum age of marriage, domestic violence & rape laws, and provides contact information for those who wish to act
- African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).
- African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).
- CARE, A Husband is the Most Important Diploma, [website] 2014, http://www.care.org/blog/husband-most-important-diploma (accessed February 2020).
- Global Partnership for Education, Burundi, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/burundi (accessed January 2020).
- Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, A/HRC/38/10, 2018, p. 23, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BIIndex.aspx (accessed January 2020).
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Burundi: The frequency of forced marriages in Burundi; state protection available, 2010, http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd118192.html (accessed February 2020).
- Ministère à la Présidence chargé de la Bonne Gouvernance et du Plan Burundi (MPBGP), et. al, Troisième Enquête Démographique et de Santé au Burundi, 2017, https://dhsprogram.com/what-we-do/survey/survey-display-463.cfm (accessed January 2020).
- Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African, [website], 2014, https://www.youngpeopletoday.org/esa-commitment/ (accessed January 2020).
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed February 2020).
- Nairobi Summit, Le Burundi s’engage à mettre fin aux violences sexuelles et basées sur le genre, [website], 2019, http://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitment/le-burundi-s’engage-à-mettre-fin-aux-violences-sexuelles-et-basées-sur-le-genre (accessed February 2020).
- Nairobi Summit, Raising awareness and encouraging the population to family planning through several field visits, [website], 2019, http://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitment/raising-awareness-and-encouraging-population-family-planning-through-several-field-visits (accessed February 2020).
- OCHA, A propos d'OCHA Burundi, [website], https://www.unocha.org/burundi/propos-docha-burundi (accessed February 2020).
- Plan International Australia, Burundi’s Lost Girls, [website], 2017, https://www.plan.org.au/learn/who-we-are/blog/2017/01/24/burundis-lost-girls (accessed February 2020).
- U.S. Department of State, United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, [website], 2019, https://www.state.gov/where-we-work-pepfar/ (accessed January 2020).
- UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Burundi, 2016, p.13, http://www.refworld.org/publisher,CEDAW,CONCOBSERVATIONS,BDI,583866354,0.html (accessed February 2020).
- UN General Assembly, Compilation on Burundi Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2017, p.7, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BIIndex.aspx (accessed February 2020).
- UNFPA Burundi, Celebration of ICPD 25th Anniversary in Burundi, [website], 2019, https://burundi.unfpa.org/en/news/celebration-icpd-25th-anniversary-burundi (accessed February 2020).
- UNICEF DATA, Burundi, [website], https://data.unicef.org/crvs/burundi/ (accessed February 2020).
- United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevleopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed January 2020).