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Statement on the upcoming referendum in Southern Sudan

Statement on the upcoming referendum in Southern Sudan of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches

27 September 2010

Statement on the upcoming referendum in Southern Sudan

WCC Executive Committee,

14-17 September 2010

Edinburgh, Scotland

1. The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches meeting 14-17 Sept, 2010, in Musselburgh/Edinburgh, Scotland, calls on all parties in Sudan to adhere to Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), keep to the timetable for the upcoming referendum and assure security for all people.

2. Sudan has experienced one of the longest-running conflicts in Africa. The conflict between north and south Sudan lasted four decades, killed more than 2 million people, destroyed the infrastructure of the country, eroded its economic resources and caused suffering to millions of people.

3. With the signing of the CPA in 2005 this prolonged war ended. The CPA was the result of tireless diplomatic efforts led by the East African regional organization, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and was supported and accompanied by the international community. The CPA has been considered one of the most successful diplomatic efforts in recent years. Even with the international community’s support and efforts the CPA was nonetheless a Sudanese agreement and became a major step forward by the leadership of both the rebel Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP)-led government in Khartoum.

4. The CPA established a framework with a six-year transition period guaranteeing de-facto autonomy for Southern Sudan, a unity government in Khartoum and incorporated agreements on security, boundaries, revenue sharing from southern oil fields and the administration of three contested areas straddling the north and the south. Under a new constitution that emerged from the CPA, national elections were held in April 2010. As per the agreement, Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold a self-determination referendum in January 2011.

While the WCC and its member churches continue to pray for a solution that will bring lasting peace and reconciliation in Sudan, the executive committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Musselburgh/Edinburgh, Scotland, 14-17 September 2010:

A. Calls all those concerned to work for free, fair and peaceful referendum in 2011 and for referendum guarantors to ensure that the referenda are held on 9th January 2011 as provided for in the CPA and agreed upon in the Referendum Acts of December 2009;

B. Urges the NCP, the SPLM and all political parties and the people of Sudan to fulfill their obligations in the spirit of the CPA and for the guarantors of the CPA (the UN, USA, Britain, Norway, AU and IGAD) to increase their engagement to reach a solution for lasting peace;

C. Extends support and encouragement to the churches of Sudan in their continued public witness and efforts towards peace and reconciliation in the Sudanese society;

D. Appeals to WCC member churches and related agencies to, as matter of urgency, provide necessary support to the Sudan Council of Churches and the people of Sudan to contribute to a peaceful process towards free and fair referenda.

Approved by consensus by the WCC Executive Committee, 17 September, 2010, Musselburgh/Edinburgh, Scotland.