Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Burundi

Number of IDPsAbout 78,800
Percentage of total populationAbout 0.9%
Start of displacement situation1993
Peak number of IDPs (year)800,000 (1999)
New displacement in 2012
Causes of displacementx International armed conflict
✓ Internal armed conflict
x Deliberate policy or practice of arbitrary displacement
✓ Communal violence
x Criminal violence
x Political violence
Human development index178
Kampala ConventionSigned

As of the end of 2012, about 78,800 IDPs were living in around 120 settlements, mainly in northern and central Burundi. The majority were ethnic Tutsis displaced by inter-communal violence following the 1993 coup and the ensuing fighting between government forces and non-state armed groups. There has been no new displacement since 2008.

In 2011, the Ministry of National Solidarity, Refugee Return and Social Reintegration led a profiling exercise of IDPs, intended to inform government support for durable solutions. The survey found that 85 per cent wished to integrate locally, fewer than eight per cent preferred the option of return and a similar percentage preferred settlement elsewhere.

The ownership of much of the land on which IDPs' settlements were established is disputed, however, and tenure risks are an obstacle to local integration. The government established the National Commission for Land and Other Possessions (Commission Nationale des Terres et autres Biens or CNTB) to find solutions for people who lost land and possessions during the conflict, and it continues to adjudicate on conflicting claims. Progress, however, has been slow and complicated, and to what extent local integration can become a durable solution remains to be seen.

A comprehensive land code enacted in August 2011 should help IDPs identify and certify their land, and a national "villagisation" scheme that began in 2011 was also considered an opportunity to facilitate durable solutions for some IDPs and repatriated refugees. Neither process has progressed as planned, however, and few IDPs have benefited as a result.

Burundi has ratified the Great Lake Pact and it signed the Kampala Convention in 2009. The process of ratifying the convention is still ongoing, and with considerable numbers of refugees returning from Tanzania over the end of the year, there is an opportunity to renew national efforts towards durable solutions for IDPs and repatriated refugees alike.


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