All Unmarried couples in the East African country of Burundi have until the end of the year to legalise their relationships through church or state registrations.
This is in line with a controversial law signed by President Pierre Nkurunziza in May 2017 which is pegged on creating a “more moral Burundian society”.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Burundi’s Minister for Human Rights Martin Nivyabandi warned that couples who will not have married by the end of 2017 will be charged in court. After December punishment will be carried out towards those families who will not be legally married…If they don’t respect the law some of them will be taken to court and jailed.
The government insists a legal document recognising a marriage helps protect women and their children, especially when it comes to issues such as inheritance. However, others say the new marriage law infringes on people’s religious beliefs, customs and practices.
Others argue they cannot afford to marry as it is an expensive affair that entails paying a bribe price and organising a wedding ceremony.
Nonetheless, some couples in Burundi support the new law saying it is necessary to have a legally recognized marriage.