Burundi‘s history of political conflict over the last 50 years has revolved in large measure around issues of access to land for agriculture. 91% of the total land is classified as agricultural land and the majority of Burundi’s population (90%) lives in rural areas.
According to the Post-Transition Interim Constitution, every Burundian has the right to property, but more specific laws related to land do not support this constitutional right. In addition, while under the customary system land is held by individual heads of households, the 1986 Land Code requires that land held customarily needs to be registered in order to be officially recognized. The Land Code has been strongly criticized and its revision is still in process.
Land in Burundi represents one of the underlying reasons for conflicts, particularly when land is related to specific ethnic groups and to the displacement and return of people during the civil war. Other common causes of disputes are: competing claims of inheritance (including by orphans); expropriation of land; polygamous marriages; and fraudulent land transactions.