In South Sudan, for generations now, too many lives have been lost or severely damaged, families have been torn apart, whole landscapes have been destroyed, development has been severely hindered and once again millions of people are facing hunger. For how long can people bear this going on? Here is the urgent call of the Ecumenical Network of South Sudan (ENSS, Europe and North America hub).
The conflict with multiple other challenges has led to a dire humanitarian situation with 8.3 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, and increase of 800,000 from the 2020 figure. 2.3 million people have been forced to flee the country and 1.71 million remain internally displaced.
Today, on the International Peace Day under the motto "Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world" we, the undersigned faith-based organizations and members of the Ecumenical Network on South Sudan (ENSS) Europe and North America Hub, urgently call for 'Peace and Accountability' in South Sudan, joining the voice of the church in South Sudan. We call upon the leaders of South Sudan, both in government and in opposition, the security forces and citizens to finally take responsibility and resolve conflicts both national and locally through nonviolent means. We reiterate our strong solidarity with the women, men, boys and girls in South Sudan who have for too many years borne the burden of conflict. We express our deep solidarity with civil society, the church and traditional leadership, especially youth and women working for peace and justice and those denouncing violence on a daily basis.
We are also deeply worried about the recent tragic and violent attacks on church servants, condemning the recent killing of the two Sacred Heart Sisters Mary Daniel Abbud and Regina Roba, and their fellow travelers on the Juba-Nimule road on 16th August 2021 and other attacks on religious leaders and property. We strongly support the Church call for forgiveness and reconciliation as we call on all stakeholders for peace and accountability.
We are concerned about the slow implementation of the R-ARCSS and call all stakeholders for its immediate implementation. Lasting peace does not come merely by signing a paper nor by sharing power amongst elites. It requires first and foremost the freedom of expression, speech and assembly, disarming hearts and minds of the people and addressing the root causes of conflicts through an inclusive process, bringing together all actors, both signatories and non-signatories to R-ARCSS. We call upon all leaders concerned to commit fully to the Rome talks. We are worried about recent splits and defections in the opposition and the adversarial style of politics causing instability and constituting just another threat to peace. We strongly support and reconfirm our commitment to support the work of civil society, the church and its council, the South Sudan Council, working for dignity of all human beings, subsidiarity, solidarity and the common good.
We strongly urge the international community to monitor and engage in the peace process and responsibility to protect. We call upon the international community to not abandon the people of South Sudan and to step up their support to the work of the civil society and the South Sudan Council of Churches', nation-wide and church-led Action Plan for Peace, for a peaceful generation to come.
Read the full statement of the ecumenical network of South Sudan (ENSS, Europe and North America hub) here: 'High Time for Peace and Accountability in South Sudan' - Peace Organization PAX (paxforpeace.nl)
Also, read the South Sudan Council of Churces Message on International Day of Peace 2021: 'Call upon every South Sudanese to stand against hatred and cultivate the culture of peace' - Peace Organization PAX (paxforpeace.nl)
Here you find the South Sudan Catholic Bishops' Secretariat - Pastoral Message: "A Call to 'Servant Leadership' in our Nation" - Peace Organization PAX (paxforpeace.nl)