Date: October 9, 2020
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report on attacks against houses of worship and religious leaders in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso Factsheet– In the context of the upcoming presidential election in Burkina Faso scheduled for November 22, 2020, this factsheet details the drivers of and responses to attacks against religious institutions in Burkina Faso in recent years, including threats to houses of worship, religious ceremonies, and faith community leaders. Burkina Faso was long viewed as a bastion of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony in west Africa. Yet, in recent years religious freedom conditions in Burkina Faso have worsened, with the country facing interrelated security and humanitarian crises. Attacks on both Muslim and Christian houses of worship and religious leaders have spiked as jihadist and other militia groups have expanded their area of influence throughout the country. The government has struggled to rein in the violence and bring about accountability to perpetrators, and poor performance and misconduct by government affiliated forces are exacerbating the situation.
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF raised concern regarding the global spike on attacks targeting places of worships and holy sites. In October 2019, USCIRF held a hearing on Protecting Houses of Worship and Holy Sites to consider how the international community can better work together to stem the global violent targeting of houses of worship. USCIRF continues to recommend that the U.S. government expand programs to train and equip local officials and communities to protect places of worship and other holy sites, especially in countries where such sites face a high risk of attacks, such as Burkina Faso.