All Africa Council of Churches Call for "focus on the whole Sudan"

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By Pauline J. Chang, Christian Post Reporter
May 24, 2004|6:10 am

On May 22, the General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches called on the Christians and governments of the world to “place support structures that will enable the Sudan peace process” and “keep the whole Sudan in focus.”

The Rev. Dr. Myume Dandala’s statement follows the extreme humanitarian crises in Sudan, where some 30,000 people died in a simmering conflict that erupted in February 2003. Recent estimates show that 1.2 million were forcefully evicted from their homes and one million are in squalid camps within Dafur. Humanitarian agencies warn that the lives of an additional 350,000 are at risk in the next nine months, mostly from famine, disease, malnutrition and violence.

“I have just returned from a visit to the Sudan, extremely heart-broken from a shocking experience,” began Dandala in his reflection. “The Sudan, as you are aware, is everything that embodies pain. It is a huge cauldron – a boiling pot, burning, bleeding and hurting all at the same time.”

“There is a great need for the world to put in place support structures that will enable the Sudan peace process in Naivasha and subsequent agreements, to contain the tragic destruction. Hand in hand withteh initiatives taken by WCC, the AACC urges the world to keep the whole Sudan in focus beyond Darfur,” Dandala wrote. “The AACC believes there are strong grounds for investigating and monitoring reports of crime against humanity in Sudan.”

The following in the Rev. Dandala’s statement in full, as released by the All African Council of Churches:

“I have just returned from a visit to the Sudan, extremely heart-broken from a shocking experience.

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The Sudan, as you are aware, is everything that embodies pain. It is a huge cauldron – a boiling pot, burning, bleeding and hurting all at the same time.

While the graphic media reports have caused all of us, the world over to focus attention primarily on the Darfur, we were informed that government backed militias are raiding villages in the Upper Nile around Malakal with equal zeal as that of Darfur. The scenario illustrates the sad perversity of the inhuman nature that has been allowed to exist in our modern and supposedly civilized world.

Reports reaching us last evening from our contacts in Sudan said that within the last four days, homes of an estimated 23,000 villagers have been razed down in the Upper Nile. We further learned that the militias were moving towards the northern part of Upper Nile causing thousands of helpless villagers to flee their homes.

So far 150,000 people have been displaced and the humanitarian agencies have left the area.

What is even sad is that blacks are conscripted into the militia gangs to raid and kill their own innocent people, mostly the Shilluk and Nuer tribes, who for time immemorial have lived in the Upper Nile region as their home.

Together with Dafur, the recent unfolding situation truly lends itself to a genocide in the making. It resembles Rwanda ten years ago when the world merely watched as tragic events took place.

During our tour of northern Sudan we found black refugees and internally displaced persons in the camps about 20 kilometres from Khartoum living in what can be described as “hell on earth”. There are over 65,000 people at the Geberona camp alone. 60,000 at Jebelaulia and over 35,000 at Hajuosif camps respectively. However, majority are women and children. Here, children, women, the old and youth languish in the hot sand with temperatures ranging between 42 degrees centigrade and upto 47 degrees centigrade.

We were also informed by our hosts the Sudan Council of Churches that they have written letters of appeal for intervention to embassies based in Khartoum. While those from the North responded, the rest from Africa seemed indifferent bearing in mind the fact that Africa successfully supported appointment of the chairmanship of United Nations Human Rights Commission.

There is a great need for the world to put in place support structures that will enable the Sudan peace process in Naivasha and subsequent agreements, to contain the tragic destruction.

The World Council of Churches has meanwhile urged Sudan government to help end hositilities and human rights violations in Darfur.

Hand in hand withteh initiatives taken by WCC, the AACC urges the world to keep the whole Sudan in focus beyond Darfur.

The AACC believes there are strong grounds for investigating and monitoring reports of crime against humanity in Sudan.

Thank you.”

 

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