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Female victims of unwanted pregnancies should be treated in the same way as boys in school reintegration

ByWebmaster

Jun 15, 2023

BUJUMBURA June 15th (ABP) – The long periods that girls who are victims of unwanted pregnancies spend at home before their reintegration into school can be sources of dropping out of school completely. This was revealed on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, during a three-day workshop for the consultation of civil society organizations to propose amendments to the incomplete articles of the school regulations for the school reintegration of young girls who are victims of unwanted pregnancies, hosted by the National Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (RNJ+), via its Right here Right now project.

Indeed, there are shortcomings in Ministerial Ordinance N° 620/1078 of June 19, 2020 revising Ministerial Ordinance N° 610/1076 of July 17, 2017 harmonizing school regulations for public and private preschools, basic schools and post-basic schools.

In articles 27 and 35, they talk of the faults which deserve an expulsion for the remainder of the underway school year but they do not show the process of reintegration. In addition, Ministerial Ordinance N° 620/1078 of June 19, 2020 revising Ministerial Ordinance N° 610/1076 of July 17, 2017 harmonizing school regulations for public and private pre-schools, basic and post-basic schools, presents a kind of discrimination based on gender in its articles 70 and 71.

Female Lawyer Kelly Remesha pointed out that article 70 specifies that the girl victim of the unwanted pregnancy returns to school in another school institution as soon as the child is at least 12 months old, whereas article 71 authorizes the boy who impregnated the girl to reintegrate into the next school year.

According to that woman lawyer, those articles violate the constitution of the Republic of Burundi which says that people are born free and equal in rights and dignity, which means that the girl should also return to the following school year.

During the open debate, the participants want the harmonization of the school reintegration process for all. For them, the 12 months that a girl must wait after childbirth is a long period that can cause disinterest and permanent abandonment of school. At the request of the girl’s parents, she can return to school during the next school year like the boy, if they wish.

In addition, the obligation to change the school establishment during reintegration is also a major challenge for both the boy and the girl who are victims of the unwanted pregnancy. The latter may suffer while searching for the same section they were frequenting.

Note that the RNJ+ organized that workshop to gather opinions from civil societies with a view to advocating for young girls who are victims of unwanted pregnancies, as revealed by the Executive Director of that non-governmental organization, Mrs. Audrey Inarukundo.