The Bishops of the Catholic and Episcopal Churches of the Sudan have appealed to the Government and armed movements in Sudan for an immediate end to the civil war.
They issued their appeal Let there be a Just and Durable Peace in the Sudan, at the end of their meeting in Nairobi.
On 12-17 August, for the first time ever, the Catholic and Episcopal bishops of the Sudan gathered in Nairobi for a joint seminar on Pastoral Leadership and United Action in a Crisis Situation.
They have called for a negotiated settlement, rather than military means, as the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace.
The bishops appealed to the warring parties to address the root causes of the conflict so that all Sudanese might enjoy their full rights in dignity. The bishops suggested three proposals for the attainment of peace, the affirmation of diversity in the national identity, power-sharing through a participatory system of governance, and wealth-sharing through an equitable distribution of national resources.
However, the bishops expressed their conviction that unity of the country and a just and durable peace could not be achieved under Sharia Law in view of the cultural and religious diversity in Sudan. They upheld the value of religious freedom with equal protection for all religious groups and the separation of religion and state. If this could not be achieved, then self-determination should be the alternative for Southern Sudan and other marginalised areas.
The bishops called for the constructive engagement of all groups in society, particularly religious communities. They emphasised their commitment to fostering genuine Christian-Muslim dialogue particularly at the local community level.
Appalled by the levels of human suffering and under-development in the Sudan, the bishops resolved to offer education to as many children as possible in order to prepare them for their future roles in society. "We jointly appeal to the donors and partners to come to our assistance and support our programmes, especially in the field of education," the bishops said.
On human rights, the bishops affirmed their shared duty to uphold the dignity of all people. They committed themselves to make human rights a pastoral priority in their churches. "All people are equal in the sight of God so they deserve equal treatment in the sight of humankind, particularly from government and under the law." The bishops committed their churches to working against human rights violations in Sudan.
On Christian unity, the bishops expressed their joy in working together in unity and in building on the already close working relationship between the Catholic and Episcopal Churches of the Sudan. They committed themselves to address together the pastoral and social challenges of their areas and to speak with a united voice to government and humanitarian organisations. "We commit ourselves to work and pray together and bear one another's burdens as we pray to the one Creator to bring peace to the peoples of Sudan."
See [ACNS2608] for text of statement