According to Fides News Service, “On October 19, 2010, a conference began in the Great Lakes Region opened in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi. It will be dedicated to the issues of peace and justice. According to a note sent to Fides, the conference, which ends October 21, is being attended by delegates of the two regional conferences of bishops, ACEAC (Association des Conférences Episcopal de l’Afrique Centrale) and AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) in addition to those from the national bishops’ conferences of Burundi, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. The aim is to undertake a joint action to make the Church in the region a greater sign and promoter of a culture of peace and reconciliation.
The conference was originally commissioned by the Episcopal Conferences of Tanzania and Burundi, on a proposal from the Joint Commission for Refugees formed by the two conferences. Tanzania has, for a long time, been home to hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees. A few years ago, they started the repatriation of these people, with the assistance of several organizations, including the Catholic Church in the two countries. The proposal was echoed by the other episcopal conferences mentioned above. The Catholic Peacebuilding Network of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University in the United States has offered technical help in the preparation of the event. Among the participants are the Presidents and General Secretaries of the Bishops’ Conferences organizing the conference, the Presiding Bishops of the respective Commissions for Justice and Peace, and the bishops of the dioceses bordering Burundi. There will also be delegates from the CPN, from the United States Bishops’ Conference, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), from the Civil Service for Peace (AGEH), Missio and MISEREOR of Germany, and CORDAID of Holland. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/10/2010)