A consultation in Arusha, Tanzania, has issued a communique entitled “Sustainable Peace in Burundi.” The meeting, organized by the World Council of Churches and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, drew together Burundian religious leaders on 18-19 October.
Representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Burundi, Council of Union of Christian Churches, Islamic Community of Burundi, Confederation of Church and Revival of Burundi, and Seventh Day Adventist Church attended the consultation.
They examined the current situation in Burundi as well as the role of religious leaders and their contribution to enhance peace, security and reconciliation in the country.
The communique, in addition to recognizing government, civic and religious groups engaged in peace-building, also called on the international community and government of Burundi to re-establish diplomatic relationships.
Among other recommendations, the communique proposes establishing a workshop in Bujumbura in early 2018 engaging all religions. In addition, the communique urges the Burundian government to “continue to pursue the path of national peace, security, reconciliation, inclusive dialogue and social cohesion; and to establish the conditions for free, fair and transparent elections in 2020.”
The communique also urges Burundian political leaders to prevent the dissemination of divisive speech and narratives and incitement to violence; as well as promote peace, unity and non-violent behaviors. It urges the Burundian population to discard rumors and lies and remain peaceful and united.
The communique also calls upon the international community, including the Africa Union and United Nations, to re-establish good relations with the government of Burundi.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).