WCC makes new call for peace in Darfur
The violence in Darfur had internally displaced some 3 million people by January 2009, like this woman living in the Hassa Hissa Camp. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT, 2007
01 September 2009
The World Council of Churches Central Committee again took up the issue of Sudan at meetings in Geneva this week, issuing a “Statement on the Darfur crisis in the context of Sudan”. Since early 2003, the statement says, “the conflict in Darfur has unleashed an overwhelming wave of violence resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and an immense humanitarian crisis”.
The Central Committee and its executive committee have spoken several times previously on Sudan and the conflict in the nation’s Darfur region. In September 2006, the Central Committee requested that staff study whether “the use of the term genocide with regard to the crisis in Darfur is appropriate in light of the internationally agreed conventions on this issue, and to offer counsel to the churches”.
A progress report on that study was attached to this latest statement as background, referring to the conflict in Darfur as “a moral challenge for the international community”.
The new statement adopted by Central Committee delegates on 1 September “condemns the mass atrocities committed against innocent civilians in Darfur”. It further urges the government of Sudan “to assume full responsibility for the protection of its citizens” regardless of ethnicity or other affiliation and to “allow uninterrupted humanitarian assistance to reach all suffering people in Darfur”.
It also appeals to the government of Sudan to honour all statements and agreements it has signed, most notably the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in 2005 in the country’s south. It urges the nations of Africa and the international community to continue to support the peace process “through constructive dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict”.
The statement goes on to express appreciation for the assistance provided by the United Nations/African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping force in Darfur and acknowledges the “significant role of the churches in Sudan in promoting interreligious dialogue and advocating for peace, justice, reconciliation and respect for the dignity and well being of all the people of Sudan”.
It ends by encouraging Christians everywhere to pray “for an end to the hostilities in Darfur and for a lasting peace in Sudan”.