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Advocates Burundi “Voice of the Voiceless” (“Advocates Burundi Voix des Sans Voix”) is led by Longin Baranyizigiye and Jonathan Nahimana. It was created in 2001, and was formerly registered with the authorities in Burundi on 26 December 2007. They currently have about 30 members. Since the organization is still at its early stage, membership commitment is limited. For this reason, the fellowship’s activities are currently limited to the capital, but the plan to extend to other areas of the country as conditions permit.
The fellowship holds conferences on reconciliation, targeting in particular the lawyers and judges in the judiciary, but also other professionals in the public sector. They also engage in an anti-corruption campaign aimed at lawyers, judges and other magistrates through conferences and workshops. In addition to this, they have also started up a legal aid programme, by providing legal counsel case by case on a pro bono basis. They don’t yet have a legal aid centre because of their limited financial capacity, but it is in their plan once they get the necessary financial support for this project.
The human rights situation in Burundi remains poor, with widespread abuses in both the rural areas and in the capital. Tens of thousands of people remain internally displaced. Rape and gang rape against women, girls and boys is on the increase. The judicial system is passive and has little capacity to act in timely and impartial manner, and impunity is pervasive. Christian Lawyers in Burundi need financial and moral support to combat these evils.
Economically and socially, there is a serious problem of corruption both in the public and private sectors. Pray for Christians to be the light in a morally challenged society. Pray too for the church to have a prophetic voice and work as an agent for the reconciliation of the society.
The country is currently in a pre-election period. Elections are planned for the period from May to July 2010. Disturbances are already recorded across the country. Prayer is needed for these elections – so that they might be peaceful and transparent.