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Newly Headquartered Episcopal Commission “to be voice of voiceless” in Burkina Faso

Bishop Alexandre Yikyi Bazié (right), Ambassador Ingo Herbert (Center) and Adegbola Fasutin Adeye (left) cutting the inauguration ribbon of the new headquarters of CJP-Burkina in Ouagadougou on Tuesday December 3, 2019

The Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) under the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger has taken the firm commitment of defending the rights of the poor and oppressed by promoting unity and solidarity amongst the population against the backdrop of increased cases of terrorist attacks targeting Christians including those gathered for worship.

"Several times, in our continent in particular, there are situations where unfortunately innocent people are crushed, their rights are violated. This commission wants to be the voice of the voiceless. She wants to speak for the weak,” Bishop Alexandre Yikyi Bazié, Auxiliary Bishop of Koudougou told guests at the inauguration of the new headquarters of CJP in Burkina Faso Tuesday, December 3.

“We are committed to working together, united and responsible, with all the institutions that are working in this direction. Together, we want to revitalize the process, because today Burkina Faso needs it more than ever,” the Bishop who heads the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace added.

During the event, the Burkinabe Prelate emphasized the valued of having a multi-agency approach spearheaded by the Church in safeguarding the rights of all people saying, “This cooperation could also take place within the Church through the creation of a commission for conflict prevention and management and a science laboratory for truth and peace education.”

Burkina Faso’s CJP became autonomous in 2003 after years of being part of the Catholic Organization for Development and Solidarity (OCADES).

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The newly inaugurated headquarters of the commission is located at the Paul Cardinal Zoungrana National Centre in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou.

According to Bishop Bazié, the new CJP headquarters will enable the Commission to carry out its missions more competently and efficiently.

"We rejoice today for having this jewel that will allow us to organize ourselves much better to achieve our objectives,” the Prelate said and added, “It is a building that has tried to adapt to the climate, and it also wants to be an example of a building constructed with less expenses as compared to other infrastructures.”

Built through the support of the German Catholic Bishops' Organization for Development Cooperation, Misereor, the Tuesday blessing of the structure took place in the presence of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Burkina Faso, Ingo Herbert, and the pioneer President of the Commission, Bishop Emeritus Thomas Kaboré of Kaya.

Misereor representative at the event, Adegbola Fasutin Adeye noted his organization’s keenness on environmental protection that informed the proposal to use local material to put up the structure.

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"The earth does not lie. Farmers testify. So do bricklayers. And since the earth does not lie, let us not lie to the earth or/and with it either. We should build our structures with environmentally friendly materials,” Adeye said.

During the inauguration, a minute of silence was observed in memory of the 14 people killed Sunday, December 1 in the attack on a Protestant church in Hantoukoura, a village in eastern Burkina Faso.