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Youth journalists in Burundi interview their president on child trafficking

UNICEF Image: Burundi, child trafficking
© UNICEF Burundi/2007/ Ajia
Pascal, Fiston and Iris asked the President of Burundi how the government could stop child trafficking.

By Olalekan Ajia

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 27 June 2007 – After a recent public outcry, the goal of ending child trafficking has been strongly backed by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Earlier this month, on the eve of the Day of the African Child, President Nkurunziza spoke to three UNICEF-trained youth journalists and stated that child trafficking will not be allowed to flourish in this country.

The young journalists – Pascal Cishahayo, 18, Fiston Yakunze, 16, and Iris Emerusabe, 17 – asked President Nkurunziza how the government could stop internal trafficking of orphans.

Help for orphans and widows

President Nkurunziza told the youths that his government is enacting a law to protect children in difficult circumstances and will provide free education for all orphans and widows from primary to university levels. The President also noted that all underage children should be released from prison.

When the journalists reminded him of their request for a Children’s Parliament during their first interview with him last October, he reaffirmed his support for a forum that would enable the youth of Burundi to contribute ideas towards the development of the country and said he hoped it would be established soon.

UNICEF Image: Burundi, child trafficking
© UNICEF Burundi/2007/ Ajia
Commemoration of this year’s Day of the African Child started on 9 June 2007 with workshops and cultural activities throughout Burundi.

Later the same day, UNICEF Representative in Burundi Madame Bintou Keita addressed the media on the many causes of child trafficking and exploitation, such as poverty and the need for domestic workers. She challenged the mass media to contribute to the prevention of child trafficking.

Activities to heighten awareness

Commemoration of this year’s Day of the African Child began in Burundi on 9 June with a two-day UNICEF-sponsored drawing competition for children aged 5 to 12. Numerous civil society organizations also held discussions, workshops and cultural activities on the theme of consolidating peace in order to stop the suffering of children.

The celebration came to a close in mid-June with a procession across the capital, Bujumbura, as well as a rally and other activities at the National Museum. These diverse events took place in order to bring attention to the problems of child trafficking and keep children out of situations where their basic rights are ignored.



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