Minute on South Sudan
12 February 2014
WCC Executive Committee
7-12 February 2014
The World Council of Churches laments and condemns the acts of violence and the political crisis which have been continuing in South Sudan since 15 December 2013. It is particularly saddening for such a young nation which is finally liberated from decades of conflicts to be caught up in a costly fratricidal war, in which a large number of innocent people who have lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and sought refuge in churches and hospitals; others became refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries.
The magnitude of the suffering and the plight of the people as a result of the political crisis and violence are destabilising this fragile and new nation. This is by no means the time for this young nation to reinitiate conflicts. Rather, we believe that South Sudan should be built on solid foundations of peace with justice, reconciliation, and reconstruction. The leaders of the country should take every effort to pursue peace and justice at all times.
As followers of the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, we affirm the dignity and right to life of every human being. Human life is a gift from God, and we are created in God's image and likeness. Therefore, we affirm that the sanctity of human life should be respected and the dignity of every individual should be protected.
The executive committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting at Bossey, Switzerland, from 7 to 12 February 2014, therefore:
Calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities, and urges all warring parties to respect, honour and implement in good faith the cease-fire agreement signed on 23 January 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, so that civilian populations are protected;
Demands for negotiations that are inclusive of all parties and stakeholders representing all peoples of South Sudan, including churches;
Encourages churches in Africa for advocacy on an African Union-led structure to coordinate efforts for comprehensive peace in South Sudan;
Asks all stakeholders to recommit themselves to a sustained and long term process of reconciliation and healing, in order to build confidence among citizens, restore trust and to promote peace;
Demands the warring factions to create a humanitarian corridor that would allow humanitarian aid to safely reach the victims of the conflict, and their humanitarian needs, and also the safety and security of the humanitarian aid workers as well as the victims who live in refugee or IDP camps;
Encourages churches to continue being a sanctuary and an accompanying presence for all those who are fleeing away from the violence, and are looking for safe shelters.