Information by Country

Burundi: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
A 12-year civil war between Hutus and Tutsis has ended, and successful presidential elections in 2005 hold the promise of a new era of peace for the nation. UN peacekeeping troops remain stationed in Burundi. About half of the population is under age 18.

Issues facing children in Burundi

  • Threats to Burundi’s children include rape, child prostitution, child labour,  recruitment into militias, internal displacement, kidnapping and landmines.
  • Burundi’s infant and under-five mortality rates remain among the highest in the world, due in large part to malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS. Burundian women face a lifetime risk of maternal death of 1 in 12.
  • Approximately 27,000 children under age 15 have HIV/AIDS. Another 200,000 have been orphaned by the disease.
  • The first national nutrition survey conducted in 18 years showed a reduction in malnutrition and an increase in breastfeeding for children under six months, but also revealed high incidences of vitamin A deficiency (28 per cent) in children under age five. Some 60 per cent of primary school–aged children have iodine deficiency.
  • Immunization rates for the deadliest childhood diseases have declined in recent years.
  • Three quarters of primary schools lack potable water; 38 per cent of schools have insufficient latrines.
  • A lingering conflict between the government and Hutu forces in the western provinces continues to threaten civilians. Recruitment of child soldiers is an urgent concern.


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