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Advocacy

by Kate Brankin last modified 13 Feb, 2014 01:43 PM

We plan to provide regular updates on the situation in the Sudans – which staggers from security crisis to humanitarian crisis both cross border fighting and inter-tribal fighting – as currently seen in Jonglei State in eastern South Sudan.

Background

The Christian Churches have been active in Sudan since the end of the 19th century especially in the South. Since independence from the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium in 1956, Sudan has seen nearly 40 years of war between the Arab mainly Muslim North and the African mainly Christian and animist South. Millions were killed in these wars and made homeless and stateless.  With the discovery of oil the North relatively flourished but the South remained impoverished with no effective government, health or education. The second civil war that ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement brokered after many years of negotiation by the International Community including the UK, the USA and Norway, and Kenya and Uganda gave and degree of security, allowed people to return to their homelands and supposedly the opportunity for the South to get used to relative peace and build governmental capacity and infrastructure. As the CPA period came to an end a Referendum on self determination was held and the South voted overwhelmingly for independence from the North and this was celebrated in July 2011.  In Sudan, given the very few facilities of local government and services that we in the West take for granted such as hospitals and schools and roads and transport services, the Churches are the only institutions that reach into every community in South Sudan. They are thus uniquely placed to provide considerable influence on peoples’ lives. This also brings responsibilities.

How do we work?

The Link works actively and closely with the joint Sudan Unit of HM Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development and the view and voices of the Churches are welcomed. We also work with Lambeth Palace and the new Aglican Alliance and ecumenically with our Roman Catholic colleagues and other denominations here and in Sudan. We are frequently in Parliament working with the Associate Parliamentary Group on Sudan and through our bishops in the House of Lords. We also work with the European Union. We have active relationships with the major NGOs – Christian Aid and Tearfund and SPCK and Oxfam and academic think tanks including Chatham House and the Overseas Development Institute. In Sudan we work with the Sudan Council of Churches and more widely in Africa with the All Africa Conference of Churches. We also work closely with our friends in the Episcopal Church in the United States through AFRECS – American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and we jointly lobby the State Department in Washington DC and the United Nations in New York.

Advocacy Updates

Security continues to be the major issue followed by health care and education and essential infrastructure especially roads. The ongoing border disputes in the Abbyei region, the bombing of people in Nuba Mountains in Southern Kordofan and the fighting in Blue Nile are in a major part the result of the disputed border across which major oil deposits lie and the unresolved delivery of oil revenues to South Sudan. The neglected crisis that is Darfur continues unresolved. Inter-tribal fighting within South Sudan over cattle grazing rights and supposedly abduction of children is an especially a grave tragedy and Archbishop Daniel Deng is playing a leading role with the Sudan Council of Churches in brokering an abiding peace between the Lou – Nuer and the Murle tribes.

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