Head of Faith Initiatives for White House Pledges Commitment to Sudan

October 2, 2009

Pete Muller/SDC

Pete Muller/SDC

Faith Leaders Deliver Letter Signed by over 1,400 Clergy and Underscore Commitment to Peace in Sudan

Today, representatives from faith communities nationwide met with Reverend Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, to discuss the ongoing violence in Sudan. The leaders are members of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group, a coalition of faith-based organizations working for lasting peace in Sudan. Pastor Cynthia Lapp represented Mennonite Central Committee.  During the meeting, Rev. DuBois expressed that Sudan is a critical issue for President Obama and that faith groups play an important role in drawing attention to the ongoing tragedy there.

At the meeting, Dr. Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered the Interfaith Sudan Working Group letter signed by 1,410 Christian, Jewish and Muslim Clergy. One hundred Mennonite pastors signed the letter.  The letter asks the Obama administration to work with multilateral coalitions to ensure that the Darfuri people can return safely to their homes and begin to rebuild their lives. It also asks the United States to continue to lead for justice and lasting peace in Sudan and work toward full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Furthermore, the letter asks for a resolution in the lesser-known conflict in Eastern Sudan.

To view the letter, please visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/20491444/Clergy-Letter-for-Moved-by-Faith.

The faith leaders asked Rev. DuBois to convey their message to President Obama that Sudan should be a priority for his administration. Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service stressed that, “Full engagement and leadership now is critical as we move toward elections and the referendum.” Bishop David Jones from the Episcopal Church in Virginia added, “When the U.S. pays attention, the government of Sudan responds. We need the U.S. to take an interest.” Read the rest of this entry »

“Fragile Peace in Sudan”

August 25, 2009

sudan51Mary Stata writes for Third Way Cafe about the struggle for peace in the country of Sudan:

The people of Sudan are all too familiar with war. For two decades, a brutal conflict between the North and the South killed and displaced millions. Since 2003, the people of Darfur have endured targeted attacks of their villages by government supported militia.

Four years ago, the United States helped broker the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that officially ended this conflict. Three years ago, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed, in hopes of ending the conflict. Despite an unprecedented effort by the international community to bring stability, a sustainable peace remains elusive for Sudan.

Churches around the country are invited to participate in a weekend of prayer and action for peace in Sudan from August 28-30. Over the weekend, congregations are encouraged to collect and submit prayers for peace in Sudan. Prayers should include name, congregation, and address, including zip code, and can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to the Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office. Sign up to be involved here. Click here for worship resources.

Read the complete article at Third Way Cafe.

SUDAN: Lingering uncertainties over North-South truce

January 13, 2009

In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) brokered a power sharing government, articulated a roadmap for Sudan’s recovery, and ended two decades of civil war.  However four years after the signing, full implemetation has yet to be realized.  Significant challenges including elections, border demarcation, and demobilisation remain, according to a recent IRIN article.  Despite these obstacles the article states that,

“Local leaders in Southern Sudan say relative calm has allowed them to begin to focus on health, education, and other social services and meeting the resettlement needs of returnees.”

While progress has been made in Sudan, it is clear that considerable challenges and lingering uncertainties will exist until the CPA is fully implemented.

Click here to learn more about Sudan, the CPA, and how you can get involved.

Waging Peace in Sudan

November 21, 2008

Sudan Web Campaign

Five years ago, the crisis in the region of Darfur erupted. The conflict has killed 300,000 and forced another two million to flee their homes.  In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the conflicting groups.  Last year, African Union and United Nations peacekeeping troops (UNAMID) arrived in Sudan. Despite the signing of the CPA and UNAMID’s presence, the Sudanese people still live in danger and insecurity.

The International Criminal Court’s warrant for arrest of current President Omar al-Bashir is a step forward in achieving justice for Sudan.  The court accused him of war crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, and murder.  These accusations show how directly the Sudanese government is involved in the conflict and how the people are unable to protect themselves.  The government of Sudan continues to claim innocence despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has cost thousands of lives.  Further, international bodies are far from stopping it.

UNAMID is unable to gain control and influence the crisis because of the small number of troops and disagreements about their responsibilities.  A recent IRIN article discussed some of UNAMID’s tasks, including the responsibility

“to engage in high risk assignments and the protection of people in imminent danger, preventing attacks and threats against civilians, and in monitoring and providing security and protection in IDP camps, threatened villages, and migration routes.”

These assignments are simply not enough to effectively protect the people of Sudan, as civilians continue to die and government attacks persist.  As a result, the citizens of Sudan remain unsafe and unprotected.

The international community needs to pressure the government of Sudan to fully implement the CPA and stop militant attacks against its citizens.  Until peace is attained, refugees cannot return to their homes and the country will not rebuild.

Visit mcc.org/sudanaction to learn more about the situation in Sudan and how you can advocate for peace and justice.

By Fithe Heramo

“Waging Peace in Sudan”

August 20, 2008

Tammy Alexander writes in PeaceSigns about the situation in Sudan, and what we in the United States and Canada can do to address the conflict and genocide occurring there:

We know the horrors in Sudan. We are not at peace. We are called by this knowledge and by Jesus’ example to take action. Children like Achak should be able to grow up in a land free from violence and oppression. They should be able to play and hope and learn and enjoy this beautiful world that God made for all of us.

So what do we do? In the short term, we can support efforts to rebuild homes and schools in southern Sudan, such as those supported by Mennonite Central Committee. For the longer term, we can advocate to our elected officials and urge them to take ethical, constructive action in Sudan to help maintain the peace in the South, and to help foster peace in Darfur. Churches across the country will be participating in a “Week of Waging Peace” Nov. 9-16, to pray and advocate for the people of Sudan. Visit www.mcc.org/sudanaction to find out how you and your congregation can get involved.

She also highlights the new Sudan worship resource available on our Waging Peace in Sudan website.

UN to withdraw staff from Darfur

July 14, 2008

From BBC NEWS: The United Nations has announced it is to withdraw non-essential staff from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

The move comes after a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court sought the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide in Darfur.

Read more from BBC News.

Learn how you can help work for peace in Sudan with the Washington Office Waging Peace in Sudan campaign.

Sudan: Abyei Aflame

June 2, 2008

Enough Project
May 30, 2008

The town of Abyei no longer exists. In a paper released today, ENOUGH consultant Roger Winter reports from the field about the attack by the Khartoum-controlled Sudanese Armed Forces in Abyei. The clash displaced the town’s entire civilian population and left its buildings in ashes. As this report goes to the press, the United States has not made a single public statement regarding Khartoum’s instigation of violence in Abyei, the resulting humanitarian emergency, the damage done to the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, or prospects for peace in Sudan.

“Abyei should matter to all who care about peace and democratic transformation in Sudan,” says report author Roger Winter. According to most Sudan experts, Abyei is a unique bellwether of war or peace between Khartoum and Sudan’s South. And now that direct combat between the military wings of the CPA signatories has occurred, the country faces a serious threat of a return to full-scale war through­out the country. The Bush administration and other interested parties must step up and make sure the international community is doing all it can to bring peace to all of Sudan.

Read the report here.

Learn more about Sudan and what you can do to help by visiting the MCC Washington Office Waging Peace in Sudan web site.


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