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Burkina Faso

    April 25, 2016

    Early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso is robbing thousands of girls as young as 13 of their childhood, while the cost of contraception and other barriers prevent them from choosing if and when to have children, Amnesty International said in a report published today. 

    Coerced and denied: Forced marriages and barriers to contraception in Burkina Faso exposes how many women and girls are threatened or beaten when they try to make their own decisions about when to marry or have children.

    “Far too many women and girls in Burkina Faso have no control over their lives: they are denied their right to choose if, when and with whom they marry and whether to have children,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

    “Once married, girls are expected to have children as soon as possible. Early pregnancies greatly increase the risk of girls dying or experiencing life-changing physical injuries. Very few have the chance to go to school or complete their education. 

    March 08, 2016
    Pictured above: Girls who are victims of early and forced marriage as well as early pregnancy at the FOCEB shelter admiring solidarity letters and postcards sent as part of Write for Rights 2015. Amnesty International Burkina Faso volunteers prepared the wall display for the girls, most of whom have been disowned by their families.

      Burkina Faso's Ministry of Justice, Human Rights, and Civic Promotion has affirmed the government's commitment to eradicating early and forced marriage.

    The ministry plans to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years and to ensure that forced marriage is clearly defined in Burkina Faso's criminal code.

    March 06, 2016

    The statistics tell a sobering tale. Burkina Faso has the 7th highest rate of child marriage in the world. More than half of all women were married before the age of 18 and 10% before age 15. Some girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage. Burkina Faso also has one of the world’s lowest rates ofcontraceptive use – only 17% of women. Many are denied contraception or use it in secret, out of fearof their husbands or in-laws.The end result is that by the time they are 19 years old, most girls are married, and nearly half of them are already mothers. They are raising children when they are still children themselves, in a country withone of the highest rates of maternal death in the world.

    TAKE ACTION to end early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    January 19, 2016

    It is with great sadness that Amnesty International has learned of the tragic death of photographer Leila Alaoui and driver Mahamadi Ouédraogo, as a result of the Al Qaeda attack in Ougadougou on Friday.

    Leila was shot twice, in the leg and thorax, but was quickly taken to hospital and was initially in a stable condition following an operation. A medical evacuation was being prepared when she suffered a fatal heart attack.

    Leila was a talented French-Moroccan photographer who we had sent to Burkina Faso to carry out a photographic assignment focusing on women's rights.

    Mahamadi was killed in his car. A father of four, he was a great friend to Amnesty International having accompanied staff and consultants on missions in the country since 2008. Our thoughts are with his wife, children and family. He will be sorely missed.

    Amnesty International's absolute priority is to ensure the best possible support for Mahamadi and Leila's families. The organization’s representatives are at the hospital liaising with her family, doctors and all necessary officials.

    October 14, 2015

    •        14 people, including two children, killed: six shot in the back 
    •        Hundreds injured by beatings and live ammunition, including a child born with a bullet wound
    •        Commission of inquiry should investigate recent and historical abuses

    Burkina Faso’s former presidential guard displayed a cold-blooded disregard for human life, killing 14 unarmed protestors and bystanders and wounding hundreds more with automatic weapons following last month’s coup d’état, Amnesty International said today.  

    Whilst General Gilbert Diendere, who led the coup, and General Djibril Bassole, former Foreign Minister, have been arrested and charged with crimes including attacking state security and murder, members of the Regiment de sécurité présidentielle (RSP) are being reintegrated into the national army.

    September 17, 2015

    Burkina Faso’s Presidential Guard must stop using lethal force, beatings and other violence to repress protests and release arbitrarily detained members of the transitional government, said Amnesty International amid reports that demonstrators have been beaten and shot following today’s coup.

    With large protests announced in response to the dissolution of the transitional government, members of the presidential guard (RSP, Regiment de Sécurité Présidentielle) must refrain from again using excessive force against peaceful protestors. In October 2014, more than 10 people were killed and hundreds injured when security forces, including the RSP, fired on unarmed crowds.

    Civilians with gunshot wounds have already been registered at local hospitals in Ouagadougou, while there are also reports of deaths. Amnesty International has spoken with an eyewitness who saw the dead body of one person killed by bullets.

    August 27, 2015

    Burkina Faso must seize the opportunity to abolish the death penalty, Amnesty International said on the eve of parliamentary sessions which will culminate in an historic vote.

    Tomorrow the national transitional parliament will start a series of discussions with organisations and interested parties regarding the abolition of the death penalty before putting a bill to the vote on 6 September. The government has already approved the text of the bill which has been sent back to the transitional parliament.

    “This is a critical moment for Burkina Faso to put itself on the right side of history by acknowledging the inviolable nature of the right to life,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International West Africa director.

    “The eyes of the world will be on the country’s parliamentarians to see whether they will join the steady global movement away from the use of the death penalty and abolish this cruel punishment once and for all.”

    The last known execution was carried out in Burkina Faso in 1988. If the law is adopted, Burkina Faso will join the 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which have abolished the death penalty.

    July 22, 2015
    If you’re a girl in Burkina Faso, chances are your childhood won’t last long. Forced early marriage is common, as is early pregnancy.

    If you’re a woman, you may be denied contraception, simply because you don’t have your husband’s permission. And if you do manage to get contraception, you may be forced to use it in secret for fear of being accused of adultery by your partner or in-laws.

    If you’re a rape survivor, pregnant as a result of that assault, you must pay for your own emergency medical care – something that is out of reach for most victims.

    It’s an unsustainable situation. Burkina Faso’s girls want their childhoods back. Their mothers, aunts and sisters are fed up of being side-lined from the decisions that affect their lives. Stand with them today.

    July 15, 2015

    Photo: "Young women hold hands in a shelter run by Nuns, these young women have courageously fled forced marriage or early and unwanted pregnancies. Ouagadougou, July 2014".

    Released Wednesday 15 July 15.00 GMT (16.00 BST)

    Burkina Faso must urgently tackle the nationwide crisis where forced and early marriage, unwanted pregnancy and lacking sex education reduce hundreds of thousands of girls and women to second class citizens, said Amnesty International today.

    Amnesty International is today launching the My Body My Rights campaign in Burkina Faso, with a human rights manifesto calling on presidential and legislative candidates in the 11 October 2015 elections to commit to a tougher stance on forced and early marriage, and to making it easier for women and girls to access contraception and sexual and reproductive health information and services.

    January 14, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 15 January 2015

    Burkina Faso’s transitional authorities must investigate the use of excessive and lethal force by the military, including the presidential guard, against largely peaceful anti-government protesters, which left at least 10 dead and hundreds injured last autumn, Amnesty International said in a detailed report published today.  

    The report,“Just what were they thinking when they shot at people?” Crackdown on anti-government protests in Burkina Faso, is based on an in-depth investigation into the excessive and often lethal use of force by the presidential guard known as Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle or RSP, gendarmes  and the military during the protests that erupted in Ouagadougou and other cities from 30 October to 2 November 2014.

    Evidence suggests that little or no warning was given by the military before they opened fire on protestors, some of whom had their hands up and many of whom were shot in the back as they attempted to flee. Under Burkina Faso law the military was not even authorized to be deployed in such circumstances.

    October 31, 2014

    Authorities in Burkina Faso must rein in security forces that have used excessive force to crack down on peaceful anti-government protests, Amnesty International said today.

    According to Amnesty International’s information, at least three people have been killed in the protests and dozens of demonstrators have been injured by gunshot wounds since unrest erupted yesterday.

    “The use of excessive force to crack down on peaceful protesters is unacceptable and the transition authorities must act urgently to rein in security forces,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s Researcher for West Africa.

    “Any use of force in the policing of demonstrations, even when they may have turned violent, must comply with international law. It appears from these reports of deaths and injuries that the security forces have ignored these basic principles.”

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