AFRICA/BURUNDI - Inclusive dialogue only path to peace: bishops make new appeal to overcome political crisis

Saturday, 16 September 2017 politics   bishops  

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - “Inclusive dialogue is the only path to peace” the Bishops of Burundi say in a message issued at the end of a Plenary Assembly and read out in all parishes at every Mass on Sunday 10 September .
“We stress once again that inclusive dialogue must be adopted for the greater interest of the nation if we are to stop the advance of those who want to take the path of war ” says the statement sent to Fides.
“We ask all those involved in the crisis to participate in dialogue with the mediation of a facilitator and we express concern to see that dialogue is difficult to concretise”.
The appeal from the bishops comes at a time when there appears to be no exit from Burundi’s political crisis which broke in April 2015 following an announcement by President Pierre Nkurunziza that he was standing for a third mandate, in violation of both Burundi’s Constitution and the Arusha peace pacts, which envisage no more than two presidential mandates. Since the election of Nkurunziza, in July 2015, violence and repression have increased forcing more than 425,000 Burundians to seek safety in neighbouring countries . Already in 2015 (see Fides 24/9/2015) the country’s bishops called for “inclusive dialogue”, to involve also Opposition leaders forced into exile so as to start authentic talks and put an end to the crisis. So far however, the government has limited itself to dialogue with groups not totally representative of the entire political and social situation.
Since April 2015 to today the crisis has caused the death of 500 to 2,000 persons (figures supplied by the United Nations and some NGOs), with hundreds disappeared and tortured.
On 4 September experts charged by United Nations to investigate regarding violation of human rights in Burundi called the International Penal Court to open an investigation “as soon as possible” regarding abuse committed by Burundian security forces accused of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual harassment. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 16/9/2017)