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Republika y' Uburundi / République du Burundi; Republic of Burundi

Last modified: 2005-10-08 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: burundi | star: 6 points (fimbriated) | stars: triangle | stars: 3 | sabena | ethnic groups | motto | hutu | tutsi | twa |
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[Flag of Burundi] [National Flag] 3:5
by Mark Sensen and António Martins, 15 Nov 1999
Flag adopted 28 June 1967, ratio set to 3:5 on 27 september 1982, coat of arms adopted in 1966.
See also:

Meaning and origin of the flag

The flag was adopted in 1967.
Stuart Notholt, 12 Mar 1996

The ratio of the flag was changed 27-9-82 to 3:5 when was published the official regulation. [Earlier de facto proportions 2:3. Ed.]
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

The three stars in the centre of the flag officially refer to the three words in the national motto “Unité, Travail, Progrès” (French for “Unity, Work, Progress”). The three stars are also said to represent the three ethnic groups who live in Burundi: the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. Burundi has a similar ethnic mix to Rwanda and has similar problems. The Twa are a pigmy race. The red in the flag stands for the independence struggle, the green for hope and the white for peace.
Stuart Notholt, 12 Mar 1996

W. Smith, 1980 also suggests the possibility of the Burundian flag being based on the old Sabena flag, but he also says that there is no proof of that.
Željko Heimer, 02 Aug 1996

Flag use

According to W. Smith, 1980 civilians have the right to use this flag only on holidays. Otherwise the flag is used as a state flag and military flag on land. President of the Republic has right to use a flag on buildings.
Željko Heimer, 13 Mar 1996

Colour approximations given in Album 2000 are:
Red: Pantone 186c - CMYK (%) C 0 - M 90 - Y 80 - K 5
Green: Pantone 361c - CMYK (%) C 80 - M 0 - Y 90 - K 0
Ivan Sache, 8 April 2001

Regarding the dimensions, I was a bit speculating about the possible measures. As judging from the Album 2000 image, the measures could be easily something like this (3:5 width to length ratio is known):
white disk diameter: 3/5 of hoist
side of the equilateral trangle connecting centers of the stars: 1/4 of hoist
width of white saltire: 1/8 of hoist
diameter of the circle around each of the stars: 1/8 of hoist
Would that sound reasonable?
One should note that the green in BI flag is considerably lighter then green shades used in near by shown flags (in Album 2000) of Burkina and Bulgaria. The use of the lighter FOWT green (otherwise quite rarely used in FOTW images), as in Ivan's gif is rightly chosen.

Željko Heimer, 9 April 1996

Flag in Constitution

From constitution (in French)
Extract from
English translation with notes
by Ivan Sache 17 September 2000
Article 8.
Le drapeau du Burundi est tricolore : vert, blanc et rouge. Il a la forme d'un rectangle partagé par un sautoir, comportant en son centre un disque blanc frappé de trois étoiles rouges à six branches qui forment un triangle équilatéral fictif inscrit dans un cercle fictif ayant le même centre que le disque et dont la base est parallèle à la longueur du drapeau. La loi précise les dimensions et les autres détails du drapeau.
Article 8.
The flag of Burundi has three colours [note that "tricolore" means "with three colours", sensu stricto, but usually "with three stripes of different colours", influenced by the French Tricolore, which is obviously not case here] : green, white and red. It has a rectangular shape and is divided by a saltire, including in the middle a white disc charged with three six-point stars. [I cut the very long, a la Marcel Proust, original sentence in three, for the sake of clarity]. The stars form a fictive equilateral triangle inscribed in a fictive circle. The circle has the same centre as the disc. The triangle basis is parallel to the length of the flag. The law states the dimensions and the other details of the flag [I suppose the colours of the "quarters" and the stars, as well as the width of the saltire and the size of the stars.]
Article 9.
La Devise du Burundi est : Unité, Travail, Progrès.
L'emblème de la République est un écu frappé de la tête du lion ainsi que de trois lances, le tout entouré de la devise nationale.
L'hymne national est Burundi Bwacu.
Le sceau de la République est déterminé par la loi.
Article 9.
[National] motto of Burundi is: Unity, Work, Progress. [Note that we use in French the same word "devise" both for motto and currency.]
The emblem of the Republic is a shield charged with the lion head and three spears, the whole being surrounded by the national motto.
National anthem is Burundi Bwacu.
The seal of the Republic is fixed by law.
Article 10.
La langue nationale est le Kirundi. Les langues officielles sont le Kirundi et les autres langues déterminées par la loi.
Article 10.
The national language is Kirundi. The official languages are Kirundi and the other languages fixed by the law [as far as I am aware, it is only French].

The National Unity Flag

National Unity Flag
by Jaume Ollé, 13 Mar 1999

Unlike the initial information that this would be the flag of the political party called Unité this is the flag of the National Unity is a recognized national flag, theoretically agreed togheter by the ethnic groups to be used at side of the national flag. I believe that there never was a party called UNITY but only a flag called "drapeau de l'unité". Unité is an institutional agreement (pact) between the three ethnic grups created from initiative of the (then) country president Buyoya (before 1993). Following this agreement free elections were organizated and the first hutu president (from FRODEBU) was elected.

Jaume Ollé, 28 February 2005

"The World" on BBC4 tv on Friday (26 August 2005) carried a short report about the swearing in of the newly elected President of Burundi. A brief clip showed him passing by a blue flag (see here).

It is clearly a darker blue than the drawing we show above. It was once also to be see at

That this is indeed a recognized national flag and not a political flag (in the sense of being the flag of a political party) is confirmed by a Chinese news agency report at which includes the sentence: "The new president received in turn from his predecessor the constitution, the national flag, the unity charter, the national unity flag, the national logo and the "intahe" (in Kirundi) - a stick that is the symbol of power and fair judgment" [my emphasis].

André Coutanche, 28 August 2005