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Friday, 22 April 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement


Burundi has a population of 8.1 million citizens. It is estimated by the U.S. State Department that 60 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 20 percent hold indigenous beliefs, 15 percent are members of Protestant denominations, and 2 to 5 percent are Muslim. The majority of Muslims are Sunni, with the remainder being Shi’a.

There is no state religion, and the government makes no attempt to restrict freedom of worship by adherents of any religion. However, the government has little ability to protect politically targeted clergy. Over the past decade the country has been ravaged by civil war and ethnic conflict, particularly between Hutus and Tutsis. In this climate there have been several incidents in recent years of violence against clergy of the Anglican and Catholic clergy. The 2001 International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. State Department mentions the case of one religious leader with claims to divinity who was arrested and had his church closed as a threat to public order after some conflict had broken out with a rival religious leader.

In May 2008 a ceasefire between the government and the last active rebel group, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), was signed. The political climate has since been more peaceful, and the European Union praised Burundi for their 2010 presidential elections. However, they were critical of the government for limiting political expression. This stability has led to more religious freedom. The 2010 U.S. State Department report claims that there were no infractions against people’s rights to practice their religion freely.

2011 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Burundi

Burundi - New World Encyclopedia

Burundi Country Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 17:49