An Appeal by the Bishops of the
Catholic and Episcopal Churches of the Sudan
17 August 2001
We, the Bishops of the Catholic and Episcopal Churches of the Sudan, gathered in Nairobi for a seminar, Pastoral Leadership and United Action in a Crisis Situation, from 12-17 August 2001, moved by our Christian Faith and concerned by the immense suffering of all the Peoples of Sudan because of the current civil war, appeal for an immediate end of the hostilities and the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Sudan.
We address our appeal to the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), other warring parties, all Peoples of Sudan of every tribe and religion, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and other peacemakers including the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF), the United Nations, the African Union and international partners.
We also address our appeal to His Holiness Pope John Paul II and The Most Reverend and The Right Honorable Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to religious leaders around the world.
State of suffering
We are deeply concerned with the appalling human suffering in both the North and South of the country. Nearly three million people have died because of the war. Over six million have been internally displaced and millions more having fled the country. The economic situation has deteriorated to the extent that over 95% of the population is living below the poverty line. In some areas, populations are being deliberately denied critically needed basic humanitarian assistance.
The war has adversely affected particularly the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly. In order to sustain the war efforts, the warring parties conscript by force children of school age into military service, thus exposing them to grave harm, depriving them of any chance of education and jeopardizing their futures. Women and children are harassed and abused and the elderly are robbed of normal traditional care. Ordinary and traditional family life has collapsed, and cultural traditions have broken down.
Large sections of the population have become dependent for their survival on humanitarian assistance. This assistance, though desperately needed, is however not an effective long-term solution to the crisis.
Given these and other heinous experiences of human suffering, we appeal for an immediate end of the war. A negotiated settlement, rather than military means is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace.
Peace based on justice
Stopping the war is essential, but not sufficient for the establishment of a just and lasting peace. The root causes of the conflict must also be addressed, so that all Sudanese can enjoy their full rights in dignity. This could be achieved by addressing the following:
Programme for Peace
Addressing the above three major concerns requires a concrete programme of action that includes the following:
As believers in the one Creator, and sharing in a single humanity, we believe and hope that God will grant the Peoples of Sudan peace if we are willing to pray sincerely, to reconcile and bear one another's burdens.