Benin

Agathe Affougnon Ago coordinates the Christian Lawyers Association of Benin (“Association des Juristes Chrétiens du Bénin - AJCB”). They are only a very small group of about 10 lawyers at present, but are currently embarking on a recruitment drive. Their members have been meeting together since about 2003, but it was only in 2008 that they formally set up their association and filed the official documents needed to be recognized by the government authorities in Benin. They are still waiting for the government to give them this official recognition, so please be praying for them in this process. Members of the fellowship in Benin have attended various Advocates Africa and Advocates International conferences since 2002.

Their principle activities are to help the church leaders and other brothers and sisters in Christ to understand a bit about the law, and to bring the Gospel into the judicial setting. They are currently planning some training for pastors and Christians in professional settings; to start up a radio programme on the only Christian radio in Cotonou; and to organise recreational/evangelism events aimed at lawyers.

There is religious freedom in Benin and since the return to multi-party democracy in 1991, the human rights record of Benin has improved. There is a proliferation of political parties, there is a vibrant independent press, the trades unions are a powerful force and civil society is flourishing. There are some 5000 local NGOs, including human rights groups, in operation, all operating freely without government interference.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. The President himself is a Christian, and as such is surrounded by various pastors. However, since 1992 the then President declared Voodoo to be an official religion in Benin and it was declared that 10 January is to be a public holiday each year, to celebrate Voodoo. This has given an official force to Voodoo and the current President has to respect this. It has been a big obstacle to advancement of the Gospel in this country.

Contact a Local Advocate:
Agathe Affougnon Ago  (agatheaffougnon@yahoo.fr)

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