Colette Samoya Kirura – Burundi

See also the WSF World Social Forum 2007, Kenya.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “We can and must root ourselves on the long tradition of peace making that women have in Africa!”

She says also: “I cannot stand violence, so I have to do something against it. Even as a child I could not tolerate injustice”.

And she says: “It is high time we played down tribal differences, which the colonial powers stressed for their own interest. Tutsis and Hutus lived in peace before and can do it again!”

Colette Samoya Kirura - Burundi redim 50p.jpg

Colette Samoya Kirura – Burundi

She works for Bangwe and Dialogue, a peace organization.

Colette Samoya Kirura, born 1952, is a pioneer. Politically active even in her student days, she was elected to parliament between 1982 and 1987, one of only two women. From 1992 to 1994 she served as Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, where she dedicated herself to the defence of human rights. She headed the Union des Femmes Burundaises, and in 1998 she founded the peace organization Bangwe and Dialogue. It unites women of Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, strengthening their power in the reconciliation process and providing education, especially for displaced people. Colette does not like to mention her ethnic affiliation.

Colette travelled several times back to her country, often at considerable risk, from 1987 to 1991 when she headed the Union des Femmes Burundaises. In 1998 she founded the Peace Organization BANGWE, which means ‘Stop fighting!’ in Kirundi. It is developed on the women’s traditional mediation tasks when men fight. The organisation, uniting women from all social and ethnic backgrounds, meets alternatively in one of the three war-stricken countries of the Great Lakes Region to establish dialogue and cooperation.

It strengthens women’s power in the peace process, using cultural tools such as poetry, song, theatre performances and works of art. The organization helps displaced people not only with material assistance, but education for women, young people and children.

Widowed in 1992 and mother of three children, Colette does all this work on a voluntary basis, including the difficult task of securing the funds for the organization. She says, ‘I cannot stand violence, so I have to do something against it. Even as a child I could not tolerate injustice’. This is also the subject of her book, ‘La Femme au regard triste’. (Read all on 1000peacewomen 2005).

Colette Samoya Kirura est née en 1952 à Nyakirwa au Burundi. Alors que la scolarisation des filles n’était pas encouragée, elle fait des études universitaires, couronnées en 1975 par l’obtention d’une licence en Histoire et Géographie. Colette Samoya Kirura s’engage alors dans le combat des droits des femmes burundaises au sein de diverses Institutions politiques et parlementaires. Elle fut nommée Ambassadeur Représentant Permanent auprès de l’ONU à Genève en février 1992, devenant la première femme burundaise à exercer cette fonction. Colette Samoya Kirura vit actuellement (2002) à Genève où elle est consultante et responsable de projets au sein d’Organisations non gouvernementales. (Voir sur Femmes Ecrivans Africines).

Read: Women and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Issues and Sources.

Internat. Expert Board;

General Assembly.

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