Burundi takes vital step to remove child sexual abuse imagery from the internet by launching a public reporting system

Published:  Mon 3 Sep 2018

From today, anyone in Burundi can make a confidential report of online child sexual abuse images or videos to the expert Analysts of the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation), via a new IWF Reporting Portal in the country. 

Burundi has taken the huge step of becoming the latest country to launch a new system for reporting child sexual abuse imagery in partnership with the IWF and The National Federation of Associations engaged in the field of Childhood in Burundi (FENADEB). 

By Burundi equipping its citizens with a mechanism to report suspected child sexual abuse imagery online, the country is doing the right thing and making the internet a safer place for all citizens. 

The IWF reporting websites, known as Reporting Portals, are web-based forms where internet users can report child sexual abuse imagery they may have stumbled across online. Portals offer priority countries around the world a place to report safety and anonymously, this illegal material to expert Analysts in the UK. They then assess the reports and have any illegal content removed.  

Three children walking

Despite Burundi’s disadvantaged economic situation and struggle to emerge from years of civil war, this move illustrates a concerted effort to protect the rights and welfare of children and provide citizens with a secure place to report abusive imagery. The mechanism will ensure that child victims of child sexual abuse, will not have to suffer the torment of having images of their abuse shared online, again and again.

Burundi is the latest country to announce a Global Fund to End Violence Against Children sponsored Portal. It joins its neighbours, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who have also benefitted from a programme that has enhanced the sub-Sahara Africa’s technical response to the global cybercrime of online child sexual abuse imagery. The Fund will eventually help implement 30 Portals across the world, taking the number of IWF Reporting Portals up to 48 by the end of 2020.

It’s simple to make a report – just go to http://report.iwf.org.uk/bi (French) and follow the steps. The process takes less than two minutes and can be done completely anonymously. 

People in roundtable BurundiAttendants to the IWF Reporting Portal roundtable in Bujumbura, Burundi, on 25th July 2018.

Director of Children and Family Department at the Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender, Mr Ignace Ntawembarira, said: "The Government of Burundi, through the Ministry in charge of child protection, has always encouraged the various actors to take initiatives in order to better ensure the protection of children. It will be the same for those who will advance the mechanisms of monitoring images of sexual abuse committed on children online."

Jacques Nshimirimana, President of FENADEB, said: "We must combine our efforts to address the risks of online safety and the creation of a Portal will enable our country to be ready to fight child pornography online, before it becomes a major scourge."

The IWF Reporting Portal is being made possible by a global partnership, dedicated to protecting internet users and child victims.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “At the IWF, we’re determined to tackle the horrific crime of child sexual abuse imagery online and to prevent the victims of child sexual abuse from being revictimised the world over. We’re grateful to Burundi for showing leadership in the global fight against child sexual abuse, by implementing a Reporting Portal to help protect children. At the IWF, we never forget that behind each and every one of these disturbing images is a real child. Their suffering is very real.”

Jenny Thornton, IWF International Development Manager, said: “The internet does not respect borders, so when an image or video of a child being sexual abused appears online, that child can be based anywhere in the world and via sharing, their image seen from all corners of the globe. We are very proud to be part of a partnership that will help protect citizens from stumbling upon these disturbing images online, as well as protecting Burundian child victims of abuse from suffering revictimisation. We congratulate Burundi for taking this proactive measure to protect all children online.” 

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