Forced recruitment of females of Hutu origin by Hutu militia groups (September 2002) [BDI39963.E]

Information on the forced recruitment of females of Hutu origin by Hutu militia groups could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the following information provided during a 24 September 2002 telephone interview by the Executive Secretary of the Burundian Human Rights League (Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme, ITEKA), a human rights organization affiliated with the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH), may be of interest. The interview was conducted in French.

During Hutu insurgent attacks, females are among combatants. While it is not clear whether or not female combatants are forcibly or willingly recruited, it is well known that persons, including females are, especially in rural areas, often kidnapped by Hutu rebels who use them as soldiers, forced labourers and even as human shields.

ITEKA's Executive Secretary added that while he has no proof that female members of rebel groups are of Hutu origin, it is well known that members of the Tutsi ethnic group, including females, who were abducted by Hutu rebels were rather killed than used as soldiers.

Without specifying neither the sex nor the ethnic backgrounds of persons who were recruited or abducted by Hutu rebels, Human Rights Watch's World Report 2002 stated that:

The rebels recruited and in some cases abducted children for military service. In mid-November, the FDD [Forces pour la défense de la démocratie] kidnapped several hundred school children, the youngest thirteen years old, apparently to use them as soldiers. The majority escaped, but at the end of November a dozen remained in rebel hands (2002).

Referring to Burundi, Country Report 2001 also noted that "rebel groups ... force the rural population to perform uncompensated labour, including the transport of rebel supplies and weapons. Rebels also recruit and use child for labour. On November 6 and 9, FDD rebels forces abducted primary school students to serve as soldiers" (4 Mar. 2002, sect. 6c).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 4 March 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Publishing Office. [Accessed 23 Sept. 2002]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2002. World Report 2002. "Burundi." [Accessed 23 Sept. 2002]

Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme (ITEKA), Bujumbura. 24 September 2002. Telephone interview with Executive Secretary.

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential [London]. June 2001-July 2002.

Africa Research Bulletin [London]. June 2001-June 2002.

L'Autre Afrique [Paris]. January-August 2002.

IRB Databases.

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent [Paris]. January-September 2002.


Resource Centre country file. Burundi.

Websites, including:



Amnesty International.




Nouvelles du Burundi.



The Use of Child Soldiers.

War Resisters International.