SOUTH SUDAN: Rise Up to Your Responsibilities for Peace’s Sake, Bishops tell Governments

JUBA, NOVEMBER 6, 2019 (CISA)-The Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called on the governments of South Sudan and Sudan to be keen on responsibilities of protecting lives, property and ensuring freedom for all so that peace can be restored.

“It cannot be over stressed that peace can only be achieved in our countries when the two governments rise up to their key responsibilities which are protecting of life, protection of property and guaranteeing protection for all. The question of justice, equality, respect of human dignity and equitable sharing of resources remain at the forefront of the sustainability of peace,” they said.

The bishops spoke in a statement, released at the conclusion of the annual plenary assembly of the conference held at Good Shepherd Peace Centre in Kit-Juba from October 23-30.

“The governments of our two countries must address the current extreme poverty, lack of basic services and the other difficult conditions of life in Sudan and South Sudan if there is to be any chance of lasting peace,” they noted.

They emphasized that leaders quit selfish political ambitions, and put the interests of citizens first, urging them to take concrete steps towards reconciliation, putting in mind the plea of Pope Francis, that they should abandon war and seek lasting peace.

“It is high time the Sudanese and South Sudanese political leaders put the interests of their people before their personal interests and to practice politics with a human face. The much-needed forgiveness, national healing and reconciliations in our two countries require exemplary leadership and much sacrifice at all levels of society,” they said adding that;

“We need concrete actions of trust, openness, remorse, repentance and restorative justice to effect forgiveness and reconciliation in the two countries. It is our hope that our political leaders in South Sudan, both in government and opposition, most of whom are Christians, will keep in mind the appeal and the extra ordinary gesture of the Holy Father begging them to bring peace to their brethren in South Sudan.”

The Bishops also echoed the sentiments earlier voiced by South Sudan bishops in support of a coalition government between the opposing factions (government and opposition).

“We reiterate what the bishops of the metropolitan see of South Sudan have recently stated in their letter dated October 18,2019, (that) “…We hope that a transitional government will be formed soon, but we stress that the formation of a government is not and end in itself…We support the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) only when essential preconditions have been met, and only when it is truly inclusive, including non-signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS),” the bishops  said.

Sudan started experiencing turmoil earlier in the year, when civil protests led to the ousting of former president Omar Al Bashir on April 30 and the formation of a transition government between civilian leaders and military, while South Sudan has been experiencing tribal and political turmoil between supporters of the government and Opposition.