AFRICA/BURUNDI - The Bishops of Africa: "Bishops of Africa: "Burundi will find peace only through dialogue among all social partners"

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 bishops   politics  

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - "Ensure inclusive participation of citizens in the peace process and address all grievances peacefully in a way that maintains stability" says the message published at the end of a visit to Burundi by a delegation of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM/SCEAM), in an appeal to the government and leaders of the Church of Burundi, so that they may find ways to peacefully resolve the extremely serious crisis which for more than a year has been shaking the Country.
"We encourage that in peace process, all Christians bear the responsibility to move that first steps. Only a true commitment involving all the church can make this path growing", said SECAM in the text sent to Fides.
Burundi has been in violent political conflict since April last year due to the announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza was legible to seek a third term in office, in violation of the Constitution and of the Arusha Peace Accords. After the re-election of Nkurunziza, in August 2015, the situation has deteriorated to the point that Burundi lives on the brink of a civil war while police repression has increased. Over 270,000 Burundians have fled abroad. The government has launched a "national dialogue" that excludes the opposition forces.
"Conflict resolutions and peace-building can bear good fruits if people from all walks of life and creed and civil society participate fully in the process" underlines SECAM. In the message the delegation of African Bishops reject "negative external influences that have not only been interfering with Burundi but also with other countries in the region and in Africa". In particular they say "NO to the ongoing arms trade that is being utilized to cause violence in African countries". SECAM hopes that "the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations put more pressure and measures to curb proliferation of small arms in countries experiencing heightened political differences". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/06/2016)