Burundi has celebrated 31 years since a referendum on the Charter of the country’s unity was signed back in 1991.
A referendum on the Charter of National Unity was held in Burundi on 9 February 1991. The charter was signed in efforts to abolish ethnic discrimination and give a mandate for the government to write a new constitution.
The Unity day in Burundi was introduced by then President Pierre Buyoya in an attempt to reconcile the warring ethnic groups of the Tutsi and the Hutu.
“I call on Burundians to always foster peace and to remember and implement the slogan for this month that lets move from the past and remember we are all one family,” Burundi president Evariste Ndayishimiye twitted.
As Burundi’s president was attending the 35th session of the Heads of State at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia, Gelase Ndabirabe the speaker of the national parliament read president Evariste’s speech at the Union square in Bujumbura.
A referendum on the Charter of National Unity was held in Burundi on 9 February 1991 was approved by 89.77% of voters with a 96% turnout.
Following the Charter’s approval, work began on the drafting of a new constitution which was approved in a referendum held in March 1992 and promulgated in March 13th 1992.
Burundi plunged in ethnic civil war few years after gaining its independence in 1962 which led to decades of instability resulting to thousands of people losing their lives.
As part of the healing and reconciliation process between Burundians after the brutal ethnic violence that led to hundreds of thousands losing their lives, the 2000 Arusha agreement that put an end to the civil war in the country recommended for the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Commission was formed in 2014 for the reconciliation of Burundians to soothe and heal the hearts and restore Burundian society on the path of change and equal progress.
The mandate of the TRC is to conduct investigations and establish truth about the serious violations of human rights and international human rights law from 1885 to the date of signing the cease fire agreement with FNL in 2008.