A Church in South SudanAt the Juba Peoples' Forum /August 1-5, 2008

Amos 5:24 "Instead let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness ike a river that never goes dry."

We, Heads of Churches of the Sudan, their Representatives, General Secretaries and Women Leaders of our Churches, assembled in the Juba Peoples' Forum meeting in Juba, Southern Sudan, on 1st to 5th August 2008 under the theme "The Road towards Self Determination and Popular Consultation-Understanding the Achievements and Challenges of the CPA".

 

Aware of our spiritual responsibility, affirming our lead to bring about justice, peace and reconciliation, we have spent four days of very valuable discussions, listening and in dialogue with one another, to assess the current situation in our country and plan how the Church can respond in co-operation with our communities and government.

Being grateful to the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), the Sudan Ecumenical Forum (SEF) and all our partners who helped organize this Forum; commending the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference, Sudan Focal Point-Europe and RECONCILE staff persons who diligently and skilfully facilitated the Forum, we hereby state the following:

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA):

Having heard from the presentations by the facilitators and guest speakers, we comment the achievements so far, and all reaffirm our commitment to work to safeguard the CPA, which provides the basis for a just and sustainable peace in Sudan. We nevertheless recognize the existing problems like the boarder demarcation, and that many people within our communities remain poorly informed about the content of the CPA, and see an urgent need for its widespread dissemination and interpretation. We commit ourselves as Churches to:

Use preaching opportunities, public occasions and the mass media to disseminate information on the CPA;

Organize workshops, seminars and Forums;

Co-operate with UNMIS in organizing CPA awareness programmes; Net-work with NGOs, including use of their materials to promote the CPA, and translation of CPA into local languages.

Elections in 2009:

Aware that the elections are one process in the right direction on the road to Democracy, Good governance, Self-Determination and Popular Consultation, we congratulate the Government for passing the Electoral Law which we need to familiarise ourselves with very soon. We therefore commit ourselves to start voters' education and call upon our partners to support this endeavour.

The Referendum on Self Determination:

We recognize the Referendum to be held in 2011 as being of key significance in the implementation of the CPA.


We are aware of the various aspirations of our communities; we consider it important for Church leaders to speak with a united voice on this issue.


We affirm our commitment as spelt out in our document of 2002 "Let my people choose". We also affirm the right of every human being to decide his or her destiny, and accordingly we support the right of self determination for the people of Southern Sudan to decide their future. We commit ourselves to raise awareness on the Referendum to ensure that the process is carried out with transparency, and propose that the Church and community leaders be involved in ensuring such transparency.

The Popular consultation:

We are aware that the people of Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile will not participate in a Referendum to be held in 2011, but through a process of Popular Consultation. We urge all Church leaders in the respective areas to speak with one united voice on this issue as they enlighten their people as we affirm the right of every human being to decide his or her destiny. We therefore commit ourselves to the enlightenment of our people to create understanding through organising forums for people in Southern Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, advocate for structures for popular consultations to be put in place as soon as possible and to lobby the International Community to put pressure on the 2 parties.

CPA and Darfur:

We are concerned
that the ICC indictment of President Omer Hassan El Bashir on Genocide, War crimes and Crimes against Humanity may affect the implementation of the CPA and the peace process. We call upon all concerned to take into consideration the CPA implementation, the plight of the people of Darfur, and to ensure that Justice and Peace are upheld.

Safety and Human Security:

We are saddened on hearing that there are people who are still holding arms in the communities and using these arms for creating insecurity including cattle raiding and robbery. We commit ourselves to identify these groups and engage them in dialogue with the purpose of reaching understanding of disarmament.

Religion:

We note that Religion has been a source of conflict in the Sudan, and understanding the different religions in the Sudan is required. There should be more opportunities provided through Forums for addressing Religious issues and concerns at all levels, including the
Government of National Unity, Government of Southern Sudan and States.

Environment/ Ecology:

We call upon GoNU and GOSS to strictly control the disposals of the waste from the oil refineries leading to environmental disaster in the oil producing states. We are concerned about the pollution in the cities, along the roads, of the rivers, and many other places. We commit ourselves to advocate and lobby for the compensation for those displaced by the oil and other commercial interests, for proper regulations on the activities of commercial and private interests, including strict environmental controls, the protection of wildlife and education on ecological issues.

The position of the Churches in Northern Sudan:

While there may be uncertainty regarding the future political arrangements, we affirm that the Church has no boundaries. We commit ourselves to the unity of the Church of Sudan whether across one or two countries.


In addition, we commit ourselves to:

Constructive engagement with governments/authorities, at all levels to seek solutions to the challenges of the CPA implementation.

Have independent church observers in parliaments, to keep the churches informed and to convey their input. Organise regular Prayer breakfasts with parliaments/governments/ judiciary on all levels.

Reorganise and strengthen the chaplaincy in the organised forces.

Establish Church committees to liaise and engage in research about what is happening on the ground and to move to conflict places whenever needed.

Provide orientation/training within the church on justice, peace and reconciliation.

Establish an evaluation format to follow up forums which are conducted, and extend these forums to different parts of country.

Engage in Civic education, familiarise with the major points of the CPA, and the laws resulting out of it, most relevant to the various constituencies on the ground, and to provide workshops.

To strengthen communication, get better involved in documentation and research, and to make best use of various media, especially in local languages.

Strengthen efforts to advocate with international bodies and
national government institutions, especially on issues dealing with human
dignity

As we close we hold the concerns of all our people in our hearts, especially those in Darfur and Abyei, and commit ourselves before God to prayer and act on their behalf.

Signed on behalf of the Juba Peoples' Forum participants:

Bishop Daniel Adwok Sudan Catholic Church
Bishop Andrew Wawa Africa Inland Church
Fr. Bishey Al Anthony Coptic Church
Rev. Abraham Nul Yor Sudan Interior Church
Rev. Paul Bol Presbytarian Church of Sudan
Rev.Tillian Komi Sudanese Church of Christ
Rev.Lino Minadi Nyambar Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Ev. Daniel Bayima Greek Catholic Church
Rev. Enock Tombe Episcopal Church of Sudan
Rev. Peter Tibi General Secretary, SCC

Juba, 5th August 2008 (signed copy with SCC)


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People in this conversation

  • Guest - Sabino Diok

    Good statement from God’s men. Actually, you have a big role to play to let the people know that without justice, equality, and reconciliation within the nation, they won't enjoy the fruits of peace which God has blessed us with so far. So you are the guidance of this nation, and guards of this peace by watching over the walls of the Sudan as whole and South Sudan in particularly; and do not be silent or give God the rest till he establishes the nation of the south on a different levels of understanding. (Isaiah 62:6, 7)

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