Protecting civilians in armed conflict


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Burundi has been plagued by political instability and ethnic violence since independence in 1962.

The last armed conflict flared up after the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye by Tutsi soldiers in 1993. In 2003, the largest Hutu rebel movement, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), signed a peace treaty with the Tutsi-controlled Government, and subsequently came to power by winning democratic elections.

The smaller Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People – National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL) laid down its weapons in early 2009. However, there has been renewed instability since disputed elections in 2010.

It is estimated that some 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed during the 1993-2005 armed conflict. Anti-personnel (AP) mines were used by both the army and rebel groups, with thousands of casualties caused by AP mines and explosive remnants of war.


Geneva Call engaged the CNDD-FDD and the Palipehutu-FNL on the AP mine ban from 2002 to 2008. Activities ended with the election of the CNDD-FDD and the transformation of the Palipehutu-FNL into a political party following its decision to give up armed struggle.


Banning AP mines

Following intensive negotiations with Geneva Call, the CNDD-FDD signed the Deed of Commitment banning AP mines in 2003. Geneva Call continued to engage with the group after it came to power in 2005. It was important to ensure that the new CNDD-FDD-led Government followed through on its pledge to address the landmine issue and implement the Mine Ban Convention ratified by Burundi in 2003. These efforts contributed to the destruction of the country’s AP mine stockpile in 2008 . The 664 AP mines destroyed included part of the stock of the CNDD-FDD, combined with those of the regular armed forces.

Though the Palipehutu-FNL did not sign the Deed of Commitment, engagement work by Geneva Call led to the movement’s President denouncing the use of AP mines in 2006, and vowing to collaborate in mine action. Geneva Call also pushed for the inclusion of mine-ban related language in the ceasefire agreement concluded in 2006 between the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL.

By engaging ANSAs on the AP mine ban and promoting mine action, Geneva Call contributed to a reduction in the mine threat in Burundi. Humanitarian demining operations began in 2006 and by the end of 2013 only residual suspected mined areas still remained to be cleared. The last confirmed mine and ERW casualties occurred in 2009.

Main achievements

  • Both the CNDD-FDD and Palipehutu-FNL committed to the ban on AP mines.
  • The CNDD-FDD-led Government destroyed Burundi‘s stockpile of AP mines in compliance with the Mine Ban Convention.


In Burundi, Geneva Call works or has worked with the following armed non-State actors:

Organization Active Thematic areas
Landmine ban Child protection Gender issues Humanitarian norms
Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces de Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) No
  • Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People – National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL) Yes
    Click on the ticks to display the signed Deeds of Commitment

    The ANSA is being engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area


    The ANSA was engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area


    The ANSA has signed the Deed of Commitment on this thematic area


    Related news


    • is a directory of armed non-State actors commitments. Check out the documents concerning this country on

    Related Medias

    Strategy 2017-2019


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