Join me today in praying for those suffering from a political crisis in Burundi and decades of conflict and extremism in Afghanistan. My name is Fouad Abou-Rizk, and I am a Catholic who is passionate about international crisis relief. I write Humanitarian Prayers to be an advocate & help people care.
I pray that Burundi’s president who has exceeded his two-term limit will peacefully resign. I pray that those who protest his abuse of power will not continue to be met with violence and even death.
I pray that the 400,000 refugees who have fled the country due to government abuses will be welcomed into neighboring countries, even countries with their own troubles, and not met with more violence. I pray that the September mass shooting of refugees and asylum seekers by forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 39, will not go unpunished.
I pray that the international community will not be indifferent to the tribulations facing Burundi, a small country that most people could not point to on a map.
I pray for Afghanistan’s government to regain control of the entire country within five years, taking back the territory currently controlled by the Taliban and ISIS. I pray that the government will be able to fully and effectively protect its citizens from terrorism and violence.
I pray that Afghan refugees will be treated with mercy and compassion wherever they go. I pray that when they end up in countries without the resources to care for them, international organizations, especially humanitarian organizations, will step in to fill the gap. I pray that they will not be deported back to their country where they no longer were safe.
I pray for your mercy for the children who were killed in the bombing of a school in the country.
I pray for the extinguishing of the destructive ISIS and Taliban ideologies in Afghanistan and pray that both of those groups will be defeated and the territory they control freed.
Notes and Explanations
Burundi is a small country in the African Rift Valley. It faced a civil war from 1993 to 2005 between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups that killed about 300,000 people.
Its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, became president in 2005. He completed his second 5-year term in 2015 and sought to run for a third term. This has been called out as being unconstitutional. He was elected to a third term; his opponents boycotted the election.
Now in 2018, he remains in power, and on May 17th the country will have a referendum to allow him to serve much longer, extending his presidency to 2034, which would be a 29-year term. Those who have protested have been met with violence by government forces, with at least one person having been beaten to death.
In September 2017, 39 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers were killed by security forces in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Four hundred thousand people have fled the country since 2015. Burundi has resigned from its membership in the International Criminal Court, a system in place essentially so that war and political criminals cannot get away with their crimes that they are not being punished for in their own country.
Afghanistan has been facing violent conflict for decades. It is a very diverse country with a variety of ethnic groups. It is known for the Taliban, a Muslim extremist group which has fought for territory and controlled significant portions of the country for decades. The U.S. military has been present in the country since 2001 fighting the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and more recently ISIS.
Approximately 10,000 people were killed in the country in 2017. Due to the large scale of the conflict, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled towards Europe. The journey to Europe is very dangerous, and masses of refugees have gotten stuck or detained in Turkey and Greece.
About two weeks ago, bombings by the Afghan military killed over 70 people, including many children and other civilians at a religious school, said a district official. The Afghan government denies the claim and says they killed more than 30 Taliban fighters.
Read a newer post, Pray for Peace in Afghanistan, Civilians in Poverty—056
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