Release Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana from Burundi Police Custody
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The Unitarian Church of Burundi has been targeted by violent forces and its minister has been arrested and detained by the police. We believe he is being persecuted because of his Unitarian faith and the good work he and his congregation have done for their surrounding community. Please join this petition to demand Rev. Fulgence's immediate release.
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana is a member-at-large of the Executive Committee of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.
Telephone +257 22 25 36 08
Mobile phone +257 79 94 90 94
SKYPE ID : ndagijimana.fulgence
Website of the ICUU: http://www.icuu.net/about/ExecCo.html
Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence was born in the central part of Burundi, central Africa in 1976 from a Roman Catholic family. He missed the opportunity to attend the minor seminary, during the anticlerical regime of President Bagaza when seminaries and churches were shut down and missionaries sent back home, but attended the major one with the Dominican fathers.
He has worked with many international organisations like Oxfam Quebec, CRS. He is currently the Programme Manager of the Burundi Programme of a British based organisation, CORD.
He is one of the founding members of the Unitarian Church in Burundi and is the Minister. He is married to Therese and a father of a boy, well Brown.
THE CONTEXT OF HIS ARREST:
(from The National Law Review)
On November 12th, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council called on all parties in Burundi to engage in peace talks, warning against any actions that might incite further violence in the country. The Security Council also called on the Government of Burundi to protect human rights and to cooperate with regional African mediators seeking to convene a dialogue to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has continued since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intent to run for a controversial third term in office earlier this year. Further, the Security Council indicated it would consider additional measures against Burundians who contribute to the violence and impede the search for peace. (Details here).
On November 13th, U.N. independent experts welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of a new resolution condemning the ongoing killings and human rights violations in Burundi. U.N. Special Rapporteurs emphasized that actions must now be undertaken to follow up on the text and address the crisis in the country. Additional feedback was shared here.
On November 13th, U.S. President Barack Obama recorded a video message to the people of Burundi. In the video, President Obama spoke directly to Burundians and urged them to put aside the language of hate and division and to build a peaceful and stronger country. The video can be watched here.
On November 13th, Burundian opposition leader Charles Nditijie urged the U.N. to send peacekeepers to Burundi to help curb rising violence in the country. Additionally, Nditijie welcomed the recent push within the U.N. Security Council to ramp up efforts to promote dialogue between the Burundian Government and the opposition. Nditijie’s comments were captured here.
On November 15th, at least four people were killed in Bujumbura in continuing violence surrounding President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term in office. Attackers in the southern part of the capital targeted a police post, killing one police officer and injuring another. Shootings were also reported in Mutakura, where three people were wounded, as gunfire was reported in other parts of the city. Grenades were also launched at homes near Rohero. The scene in Bujumbura was described here.
On November 16th, following rising pressure from the international community to convene a dialogue inclusive of all Burundian stakeholders, the Burundian Government indicated openness to dialogue with all Burundians inside and outside of the country. Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe indicated an interparty dialogue had been launched in Bujumbura on November 13th. Additionally, he urged the ongoing dialogue will be based in the spirit of the Arusha Accord and Burundi’s constitution. Minister Nyamitwe’s comments were recorded here:
On November 17th, Deogratias Niyonkuru, Secretary General of ADISCO, a Burundian NGO that organizes farmers to mobilize resources for development, called on the international community to help strengthen Burundian civil society groups to enhance their role in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country. Secretary General Niyonkuru argued greater participation by civil society groups is needed because too often peace talks are represented by the extreme views of the government and the opposition without the voices of the people. His comments were transcribed here.
On November 18th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that escalating violence in Burundi is putting the lives of children in the country at risk. According to UNICEF, since the beginning of the crisis in Burundi in April, child rights violations have multiplied, with children being caught up in violent clashes and raids, schools being hit by grenade blasts, and more than 100 children being arbitrarily detained. UNICEF’s observations on the situation in Burundi were posted here.
November 19, the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, minister of the Unitarian Church of Burundi (the Assemblée des Chrétiens Unitariens du Burundi), was arrested at gunpoint, taken into police custody and interrogated severely regarding the activities of his church. He was threatened with physical harm and death. At the moment, he remains in custody, with other members of the church also being questioned. He is a man of peace and peaceful means.
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