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Statement on destruction of church property in Khartoum

The general secretaries of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) have expressed their shock and profound concern following the demolition of an Episcopal parish church in Khartoum on orders of Sudanese government authorities.

22 June 2012

The All Africa Conference of Churches and the World Council of Churches strongly condemn the demolition of the Episcopal Parish Church of Saint John, Haj Yousif in the Diocese of Khartoum by the government authorities in Khartoum at 11 a.m. on Monday 18 June 2012. We are saddened that this has happened within two months after the occupation and confiscation of property of the Sudan Council of Churches and Sudan Aid premises in Nyala, Darfur, by security forces on 23 April 2012. We also recall that the Sudan Evangelical Church Bible School was destroyed and books including the Holy Bible, burned on the 21 April 2012 in the full view of the police, in Gerief West in Khartoum. We are further reminded that, the government of Khartoum had, for the first time in the country’s history, denied its citizens the Christmas holiday in December 2011.

We express our fears that all these events may not be isolated but rather calculated attacks on Sudanese civilians who are not of the Muslim faith and their property in Khartoum, and in particular Christians. This is more the case considering that church leaders from the demolished Saint John, Haj Yousif, had for 25 years been pleading with government authorities to issue the church with legal recognition just as the rest of the allocations in the area. Further, it is now public knowledge that Christians of Muslim background have also been targeted and have been dispossessed of their properties and their spouses.

We once again regret that despite repeated rhetoric about freedom of religion and the protection of the minorities in the Republic of Sudan, the government policy seems to be bent on threatening and discriminating against Christians in Khartoum. By protecting religious fundamentalists who wreck mayhem and havoc on innocent civilians with impunity, the Republic of Sudan undermines the tenets on which a multi-religious society is based.

The ecumenical movement cannot remain silent while such a horrific violation of human rights and threat to lives continues unabated. Indeed, as the Church, we are called to promote and assure abundant life, a possibility that seems to be fading for many Christians in Sudan.

We call upon all Christians in the Republic of Sudan to remain peaceful and encourage one another. We also wish to call upon our Muslim brothers and sisters in Khartoum to show solidarity with their fellow country men and women of the Christian faith.  We believe peaceful life together between Christians and Muslims is essential for a promising future of Sudan.

We call upon the Government of the Republic of Sudan to fully investigate the motive of these repeated incidents and apprehend those responsible for these criminal acts, and to provide adequate and true security to Christians in Sudan.

We call upon the international community to exert renewed pressure on the government of Sudan to observe in full the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, including the freedom of religion and freedom of assembly and the protection of Christians and all other religious minorities in Sudan.

We call upon all believers around the world, and especially Christians, to pray for their brothers and sisters in Sudan in these difficult times when they are not able to freely practice their faith as they should.

We salute the courage of the church leaders in Sudan and welcome their plan to organize prayers on Sunday, 24th June on the site of the demolition, the Episcopal Parish Church of St John, Khartoum. We call upon Christians around the world to express their support and solidarity with Christians in Sudan by joining them in prayer on that Sunday, 24 June 2012.

For the World Council of Churches:


For the All Africa Conference of Churches:

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Rev. Dr André Karamaga

WCC general secretary

AACC general secretary

Geneva, 22 June 2012

Nairobi, 22 June 2012