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Sudanese bishop urges action in favour of his people

Posted on: October 29, 2002 12:09 PM
Related Categories: Sudan

What follows is an edited version of the presentation made by Bishop Michael Lugör at the Anglican Consultative Council that met in late September in Honk Kong.

I would like to draw your attention of the words found in Isaiah 18:2. "Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers."

Perhaps some of you are not aware of the meaning of the word 'Sudan'; virtually it means the country of 'black people for black people.' Perhaps this is why my fellow Sudanese present here and I are dark due to our ethnic tribal grouping. Therefore Isaiah's words should not be overlooked.

Indeed, it is a pity to speak about the war-torn Sudan, because the current war has caused thousands and thousands, otherwise over four million people to flee to our neighbouring countries of Uganda and Kenya, and as far as to America, Canada and Australia (only to mention a few countries). Nearly two-thirds of these people are living in the jungles of Uganda and Kenyan borders, and they need your prayers.

They have lost all their property and over two million have been killed or died as the victims of the war between 1972 and 2000, let alone those who were killed or died between 1955 and 1972, numbering one million people!

Therefore, due to all this political unrest in the Sudan, peace is inevitable. In other words, peace and the issue of self-determination for the people of the Southern Sudan and Nuba Mountains, including other marginalized people of the Sudan is needed most urgently.

Of course, we in the Church do recommend very strongly that self-determination is a Human Universal Right and that it is the right of the people of the South Sudan and those from the Nuba Mountains and others to exercise that right through referendum. I repeat, it will be the choice of the people if they want the Sudan to remain one or they may apply the philosophy of Ibrahim and his cousin Lot in Genesis 13:8. Such I believe will also solve the problem of Religion and the State.

As regards religious persecution, I believe Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian organisations have already recorded several violations; e.g. there is a concern that certain people otherwise the Government in the North may apply a licensing scheme for teaching religion and the manipulation of funding to favour one religious community.

However, in regards of wealth-sharing, which is one of the burning issues, especially the oil, which is now being used by the present regime to fuel the war in the Sudan; it is advisable that this must be negotiated by an international body, otherwise it must be stopped until peace is achieved. Of course, this issue of wealth-sharing includes all the assets of the Sudan and should not focus only in oil alone!

It is only very unfortunate to hear that Sudan peace talks agreed upon by the two warring parties had to come to a standstill after the capture of Torit town in Eastern Equatoria by the SPLA, which angered the Government delegation and caused them to pull out from the talks under the chairmanship of President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya in the town of Machakos, Kenya.

Hence with this background, it is my pleasure and humble duty as one of the least of the servants of Christ to urge the members of this Council to please adopt the proposed resolutions already submitted to this Assembly for approval and to adopt the proposed resolution on the Sudan as follows:

    1. that ACC-12 urges the Government of the Sudan to return to the peace negotiations in Machakos, Kenya;
    2. that ACC-12 urges the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A to agree to a just and comprehensive cease fire leading to a just and durable (everlasting) peace in the Sudan;
  1. that ACC-12 urges all Provinces of the Anglican Communion to note with concern the flight of all involved in the conflict, in particular the Christian community (and those who are refugees outside the Sudan) who are suffering from the result of over 20 years of the civil war.

Mr Chairman, with these words, I believe this gathering of ACC-12 will take seriously the issue of peace for the Sudanese people who are now scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Presumably that might have been one of the reasons God sent messengers to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers (Isaiah 8:2 f).