Burkina Faso

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Persistent violations
  • Trafficking for economic exploitation, particularly in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire [1]
  • Children work in dangerous conditions, particularly girls in domestic service [2] and boys on cotton plantations [3]
  • Violence in schools [4]
  • The minimum age of marriage is lower for girls (17) than for boys (20) [5]
  • Domestic violence [6]
  • The high prevalence of female genital mutilation [7]
  • Sexual violence [8]
  • The persistence of corporal punishment in schools in spite of a ban on this practice [9]
  • Lack of support for children separated from parents living in Côte d’Ivoire [10]
  • High rate of malnutrition, especially among children repatriated from Côte d’Ivoire [11]
  • The high number of children living in poverty [12]
  • Only one third of children are registered at birth [13]
  • Discrimination against children with disabilities [14]
  • High rate of illiteracy [15]
  • Many children still lack access to quality education [16]
  • Maternal and infant mortality rates though decreasing remain high [17]
  • Juvenile justice: Children deprived of their liberty are detained in the same facilities as adults; are placed in police custody for lengthy time; are rarely provided with legal assistance and can’t benefit from legal assistance at the early stages of the proceedings [18]

For more details, go here.

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  12. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  13. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  14. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  15. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  16. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  17. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  18. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Commission on Human and People's Rights, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child



Introduction

Français

Burkina Faso, literally the “land of the honest men” in words taken from the two most widely spoken languages of the country, is a landlocked country in West Africa. A series of military coups dominated national politics until 1987, since which multi-party elections have been uninterrupted, though opposition parties have questioned their democratic credentials. From the low levels of human development to the trafficking of children and sexual violence, human rights mechanisms have raised a number of serious concerns about children’s rights in the country.


Geography

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country situated in West Africa. Its neighbours are Mali in the north, Niger in the east, Benin, Togo, Ghana in the south and Cote d'Ivoire in the south west. The country's capital is Ouagadougou.

Population and Language

The population of Burkina Faso has grown considerably since it achieved independence, from 4,300,000 in 1960 to more than 16 million today [1]. Around 50 per cent of the population is under 15 years old and only two per cent is over 65 [2]. There are various ethnic groups in Burkina Faso, including the Gurunsi, the Senufo, the Lobi, the Bobo, the Mande, the fulani and the Mossis. An estimated three million Burkinabe live in Cote d'Ivoire [3] although this number has been falling since the Ivorian political crisis began in the late 90s and the early 2000s. French is the country's official language.

History and Politics

Burkina Faso was a French colony between 1896 and 1960 when it became a sovereign State called the Republic of Upper Volta. In 1983, under president Thomas Sankara, Upper Volta became Burkina Faso.

Politically, Burkina Faso has been marked by a number of crises since it became independent. Four coups took place between 1960 and 1987. President Thomas Sankara (1983-87) was deposed in 1987 after a coup plotted by his friend and ally Blaise Compaoré who became president. Today, the constitution allows two terms of five years. The opposition has protested the results of the most recent elections which took place in November 2010 elections, arguing that there were a number of irregularities.

Economy

The economy of Burkina Faso relies heavily on agriculture: 85 per cent of the country's active labour force works in the agricultural sector[4], mostly for subsistence, while cotton is the main export. The country has very few natural resources, although there are limited supplies of gold and manganese. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 40 per cent of people live below the poverty line [5] illiteracy soars at 70 per cent among men and 85 per cent among women, while life expectancy is low at 52 for women and 55 for men [6].

Media and Civil Society

Human rights have progressed since the introduction of democracy in 1991. The country ranked 49 on Reporters Without Borders 2010 Press Freedom Index. However, the assassination of Albert Zongo in 1998, a journalist who criticised Compaoré's regime, was widely condemned by civil society organisations and many international NGOs. Zongo's murder, which has never been fully investigated, remains a symbol for human rights advocates campaigning against the prevailing climate of impunity.

Human Rights and Children's Rights

See persistent violations.

Footnotes:

  1. "Perspective Monde", University of Sherbrooke
  2. World Bank
  3. Nouvelles de France"Ouattara à Ouagadougou: « Chaque Burkinabè est chez lui en Côte d’Ivoire", 17 May 2011
  4. World Bank, Jonathan Kaminski, "Strengthening the Cotton Sector and Preparing for Balanced Growth in Burkina Faso", 2010
  5. Rural Poverty Portal, " La pauvreté rurale au Burkina Faso", from UNDP, FIDA
  6. UNICEF, Burkina Faso country page

Sources:


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