Child labour and HIV are challenges in the lives of children.
The collapse of the Burundi’s economy, due to the protracted armed conflict and the
economic embargo imposed on Burundi by its neighbours, has increased unemployment and
poverty. These conditions of poverty often result in the neglect of children’s education. Thus,
children are encouraged by their parents to leave school or are even sometimes prevented by
their parents from going to school. Instead, they are encouraged or forced to search for
employment at a terribly young age. Other children engulfed in material and at times moral
deprivation within their home lives, sacrifice school and start working or else embrace a life
on the streets. Separation from parents and loss of family members are also significant causes
of child labour.
The current economic crisis has spared neither the cities nor the countryside. Children set out
to work on their own to survive and / or to help their parents. For this reason, children start
working at a young age in diverse economic sectors. Some are employed as domestic helpers,
while others, after receiving a small sum of money from their parents or someone else, start a
small trade. Yet others regularly travel to the Bujumbura central market in search of work.
This dissertation, therefore, examines the causes and types of child labour in Burundi as well
as the impact of child labour on HIV and AIDS in Burundi. Burundi has ratified and
domesticated several international and regional human rights instruments that guarantee
expressly or by implication the rights of the child. Burundi’s human rights obligations to
protect children child labour are examined, as well as its policies and legislation regarding
child labour. The study recommends legislative reforms which include the drafting of a
comprehensive law addressing the issue of child labour.