WCC Calls for Peace in Sudan -- ACT Seeks $800,00 in Funds

( [email protected] ) May 20, 2004 04:44 PM EDT

In the short period of 14 months, over 800,000 Sudanese were displaced as a result of escalated violence between government forces and rebel groups. While Christian and non-governmental humanitarian groups have vigorously attempted to aid these victims, funding has been lacking and the government has not stepped forward to end the hostilities.

Therefore, in an effort to gather funds for the mission and also to urge the government to take action, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, released a statement of appeal.

"We have urged the president of Sudan to work for an immediate end to hostilities and to take steps to resolve the conflict through a negotiated settlement so that much needed humanitarian relief is able to reach those in desperate need of such assistance,” Kobia commented about the statement.

"We also urged the president to take steps to put an end to human rights violations in the region and to ensure that those guilty of committing acts of violence and human rights abuses are brought to justice."

On March 15, Action by Churches Together International – a global alliance of churches and related agencies – issued an emergency appeal for $800,000 to assist some 30,000 victims of the conflict in the Dafur region of Sudan.

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, commented today on the situation in Sudan's Darfur region:

"Over 700,000 Sudanese were internally displaced and another 110,000 were forced to cross the border into neighbouring Chad," Kobia explained.

The WCC had been involved in efforts for peace in Sudan since 1971, when it and the All Africa Council of Churches brokered the Addis Abbaa Peace Accord. At one point in time, Kobia himself acted as a “special envoy” to Sudan.

"Sudan continues to remain close to my heart," Kobia said.

At that end, Kobia also urged for the drafting of a new constitution based on the respect for human rights, just

The WCC has since closely monitored developments in the conflict between North and South Sudan and efforts made to achieve a just and lasting peace. The WCC and its member churches, including those in Sudan, were greatly encouraged by the progress made by the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), to bring an end to Sudan’s 20 years of civil war.

Based on that history, and in keeping with the Machakos Protocol, the WCC general secretary also emphasized the urgent need for Sudan's government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to undertake work on the drafting of a new constitution based on respect for human rights, justice and equality.

"We are willing to consider and help in promoting any proposal or suggestion that Sudan's government may have to contribute to an early end to the conflict so that peace can prevail," Kobia stressed.