Dear Friends – Within the context of extreme civil unrest in Burundi, recently the Unitarian Church of Burundi (the Assemble Unitarien Chretian de Burundi) was attacked and ransacked, with bullets fired into walls and doors and money stolen.

Members of the church were questioned by government officials who visited on a Sunday. Two days ago the minister of the church, the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, was arrested from the church 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.

The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, along with our member groups and partners around the world, is calling upon the Burundian government to cease these activities immediately, which we interpret as persecution for reasons of faith. Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists in the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Romania and beyond are united in concern for the Unitarians of Burundi.

We call upon the government of Burundi to immediately cease and desist the persecution of the Unitarian Church of Burundi and its members stemming from reasons of their faith.

We call for the immediate release the minister of that congregation, the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, from police custody. Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists around the world stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Burundi, who are dedicated as we are to religious freedom, and a civil society in which all persons are respected and valued.

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