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Banjul, 13 December 2021: IHRDA, in collaboration with Burundi Young Lawyers Association (BYLA), is organizing its first-ever child rights strategic litigation training and case-identification workshop for lawyers and child rights civil society activists in Burundi from 13 – 15 December 2021.

Topics to be covered include an understanding of human rights and child rights concepts and terminology; problems affecting the enjoyment of children’s rights in Burundi, the Burundi legal and judicial framework for the protection of children’s rights, the normative content of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and procedure before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). Discussions will also give insights on other African regional mechanisms for child rights protection, notably the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Facilitators will equally do an overview of strategic litigation of child rights in Africa and the ACERWC litigation toolkit, and enlighten participants on State party and shadow reporting before the ACERWC.

The workshop will end in a session to identify suitable cases with potential for high impact, which IHRDA will eventually assist domestic child rights defenders to follow up and file for litigation before the relevant regional mechanism.

The workshop which was formally opened by the Chairperson of the ACERWC, Honourable Joseph Ndayisenga, who doubles as Director General in the Burundi ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender, also had in attendance the Head of Minors Protection Department at the Burundi Ministry of Justice. It comes in a context where a significant gap remains between policy-making and implementation, with serious implications on the achievement of child rights in Burundi, as there is continuous widespread prevalence of several harmful practices affecting children, especially girls, in the country.

The workshop is IHRDA’s first in Burundi, adding another footprint on the continent as part of its strategic focus on building the capacity of child rights defenders in Africa, within its mandate pillar of ‘Educate’ to equip them with the knowledge, skills and practical experience on how to use the African human rights system to better promote and protect children’s rights. This activity falls within the framework of phase II of the Pan-African States Accountability Program (PASAP II) coordinated by Plan International.