10.10.07 - BURUNDI/JUSTICE - BURUNDIAN WOMEN WANT THEIR PLACE IN TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE

  Bujumbura, 10 October, 2007 (FH) - Representatives of several associations for the promotion of women in Burundi expressed the wish to see women represent 50% of the popular consultation on the mechanisms of transitional justice which will be launched shortly throughout the country.   
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"We want an effective participation of at least 50% women", underlined the communication officer for transitional justice and member of the "Justice of Transition" unit at the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), Mrs. Marie Pascaline Menono.
 
"On the demographic level, women represent the most; in the field of suffering, they are also the most", she explained.
 
Mrs. Manono invited Burundian women to infuse more theories relating to transitional justice and to assert their "space of speech" so that there is not somebody else who takes decisions in their place.
 
"The less you speak, the less you are worth", warned the U.N. representative, advising them not to fall into the "trap of the upper case M [man]". According to her, representatives of women will have a great responsibility to mobilize their colleagues at the grass roots level and support them.
 
Questioned by the Hirondelle Agency, the project coordinator at Global Rights, Mrs. Jeannine Nahigombeye, indicated that "nothing had yet been clarified". Global Rights is an American NGO which follows closely the evolution of transitional justice in Burundi.
 
She however reminded that the government representatives, civil society and even of the UN at the pilot committee on the mechanism all are assisted by female substitutes.
 
Mrs. Imelda Nzirorera of the center for the promotion of human rights and genocide prevention estimates, for her part, that if women succeeded in "forcing" their presence at the negotiations of the Arusha peace agreement, they will succeed in the same way within the mechanism of post-transitional justice.
 
Signed in August 2000, the Arusha peace agreement plans two mechanisms of transitional justice: a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Special Tribunal (ST) which will have the heavy responsibility of establishing the truth and end impunity, but especially to reconcile a people ravaged by several decades of political and/or ethnic violence.
 
GA/PB/MM

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