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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 29 / 125





29 / 125

A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

and rebuild the country’s economy, judicial institutions and social services.

Current challenges Burundi faces considerable challenges in this post-war reconstruction and peace- building phase. An estimated 250,000 people were killed during the war, and hundreds of thousands of Burundians sought refuge in neighbouring countries (mainly Tanzania), and although many have now returned, there are an estimated 250,000 still being accommodated in camps in Tanzania, with others spontaneously settled, making a total Burundian population in Tanzania of around 380,000. An estimated 400,000 people have been displaced within Burundi itself, and altogether around a quarter of the whole population was obliged to move home, either inside or outside of the country.

The return and reinstallation of refugees and internally displaced people has in turn generated further problems. Not only do the returnees require assistance before they can re-establish their own means of subsistence, but also many have come back to find their property has been occupied by others. This has given rise to localised tensions and fresh conflicts. Government, multilateral agencies and local civil society organisations alike are struggling with the challenge of ensuring the displaced regain their property where appropriate, and are promoting reconciliation and the renewal of trust between neighbours.

Procedures for the demobilisation and reintegration of combatants were agreed in the Arusha Accords. With the assistance of the World Bank, a National Commission for Demobilisation and Reintegration (CNDRR) was put in place in 2004 to effect the demobilisation of a planned 55,000 combatants; the total demobilised up to the end of 2006 was 18,754, of whom 494 were women.

The Arusha Accords attempted to recalibrate ethnic and regional balances through agreed quotas of representation in the government and in parliament, as well as by restructuring the army, a move intended to enhance its ethnic balance and ensure the integration into the army of members of the previous rebel movements. Government is putting in place measures to overcome the factors which militated against the aspirations of the majority population. In this context it has declared free primary education for all children, free health care for all children under five years of age, and free hospital care for delivering mothers.

Throughout the Arusha peace process, women played significant roles in negotiations, and women’s rights and representation have been incorporated into the new constitution. Thirty per cent of parliamentary seats are reserved for women (they currently account for 30.5 in the lower house and 34.7% in the upper house), and new laws are in the process of being drafted to ensure equal rights for men and

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