CAFOD calls for peace in Sudan and South Sudan
We have expressed grave concern over the deteriorating relationship in recent weeks between Sudan and South Sudan, and call on supporters to add their voices and prayers to the international calls for peace.
Recent border skirmishes culminated in South Sudan occupying Heglig, an oil-rich border town. Under international pressure, South Sudan has withdrawn from Heglig. However the stoking of tensions between the two countries has already affected the lives of millions of people living on both sides of the new border.
South Sudan gained its independence on July 9th last year when the South decided to split from the North after a referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) brokered by Britain, America and Norway, ending 22 years of civil war.
Unresolved issues from the peace agreement
However there are still unresolved issues from the CPA, including oil-sharing rights, border demarcation and the status of the disputed areas of Abyei, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, where fighting has continued and humanitarian access to vulnerable communities caught up in the conflict remains severely restricted.
We are calling for the protection of all civilians, including southerners living in the north and northerners living in the south, and those making the journey between the two countries. CAFOD is also calling for both governments to refrain from using inflammatory language that incites violence and puts their civilian populations at great risk.
In Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, CAFOD’s church partners have reported the burning and ransacking of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church and complex. The Bishop of Khartoum - the Rt Revd Ezekiel Kondo said:
“Christians gathered in the compound to pray and to encourage one another over the incident. All the Christian denominations attended the prayer, but also Muslims, members of different political parties, women’s groups and other neighbours. All the speakers condemned the incident.”
CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy Neil Thorns said:
“We want to see the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, faith institutions, the United Nations and the international community working together to pull back from the brink of war and strengthen all moves towards peace. The international community must act urgently to promote peace between the two countries and prevent further conflict. This means following through on the commitments of the CPA and both parties returning immediately to the negotiating table.
“The peace agreement between the two countries, and their peaceful separation, was something for which CAFOD supporters across England and Wales worked and prayed fervently for more than two decades. Our supporters’ voices were among the loudest, calling for international action to secure and guarantee that peace. Now, at this dangerous moment, we must all pray again that the governments of Sudan and South Sudan turn away from the darkness of the past, and ensure the bright future for their peoples for which we have all worked so hard.”