World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Minute on the peace process in Sudan

26 August 2002

Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 26 August - 3 September 2002.

At its last meeting (Potsdam, February 2001) the WCC Central Committee adopted an extensive statement on the situation in Sudan. That statement drew the attention to the urgency of efforts to resolve the conflict and called on the member churches, ecumenical partners and related agencies to engage in a series of advocacy actions to this end.

Through the Sudan Ecumenical Forum, the WCC and other ecumenical partners have intensified their monitoring of developments, and provided new support to the churches of Sudan and their advocacy for peace and reconciliation.

In late June 2002, the General Secretary visited the North and South Sudan at the invitation of the Sudanese churches. There he renewed the WCC's pledge to continue to accompany the churches in their struggle for a just and lasting peace in Sudan.

Simultaneously with this visit the Government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army / Movement (SPLA/M) met in Machakos, Kenya under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) for further negotiations on a peaceful resolution of the conflict. On 20th July 2002 they signed an agreement known as the "Machakos Protocol". The Sudanese churches, though still concerned with the increased incidents of violence in Upper Nile, have expressed unequivocal support for this commitment of the parties to enter into negotiations for a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the conflict, based on the IGAD Declaration of Principles (DOP). They welcomed the Machakos Protocol as a valuable framework for the ongoing peace negotiations, and especially the specific agreement of the Parties to incorporate provisions for the Right to Self-Determination for the people of South Sudan and on State and Religion in a Final Agreement.

The Central Committee welcomes the Machakos Protocol and reiterates its support for the IGAD Peace Process, and expresses appreciation for the persistent efforts of the Sudanese churches to pursue peace against heavy odds. At the same time, it is concerned about the reported escalation of fighting around Tam in Western Upper Nile and Yuai in Eastern Upper Nile, in serious breach of the provisions of the earlier Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement brokered by the USA and Switzerland, resulting in further serious loss of life and displacement of civilian population.

In this new context, and in light of the Decade to Overcome Violence, the Central Committee urges member churches to:

  • remain constant in prayer for the churches and people of Sudan;
  • support and encourage the churches of Sudan in their continued witness and work for justice, peace and reconciliation;
  • monitor and exchange information on developments related to the Machakos Protocol; and
  • assist the Sudanese churches to gain access to future negotiations within the framework of the IGAD Peace Process.