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Sudan: CPA in trouble
September-October 2009

According to the Integrated Regional Information Network (8/13/09), concern is growing at the likely humanitarian impact of poor rains and high levels of insecurity in Southern Sudan, with aid workers and officials warning of a major hunger gap in coming months. And the World Food Program’s ability to deliver much-needed supplies to hungry communities is being hampered by increasing violence, but this is only one of the major problems facing Sudan. Fear is rising that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005, is unraveling.

In mid-August the Sudan Council of Churches wrote an urgent appeal entitled “Let us join together to rescue the peace for our people.” In their statement they said in part:

“Deeply saddened and highly alarmed by the current situation and possible future scenarios…, we have spent four days of serious reflections to assess the current situation in our country, to reflect on our own role and responsibilities, and to plan how the Church in co-operation with our communities, our governments, our partners and all those who committed themselves to the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement … can respond to the severe obstacles and challenges we are facing all over Sudan.

“Instead of a comprehensive dialogue and reconciliation process as the basis for a common future, we have witnessed people retrieving back to their own groups. Instead of seeing development and becoming self-sustained, we have to call for providing relief in many areas once again to rescue the life of our people.

“In the fourth year of the CPA-Interim Period, at a time when people should be able to enjoy the fruits of peace, we see prevailing and emerging conflicts all over Southern Sudan, namely in Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria, in the Lakes State, in Jonglei, in Upper Nile, in Warrap, let alone in Darfur and parts of Southern Kordofan. We cannot but suspect a common pattern behind all these armed conflicts, which by far exceed the so called ethnic clashes, leaving hundreds of people killed and thousands newly displaced.

“While disarmament is going on in some places, brand new arms are provided in others, by sources apparently connected to those who seem to have no interest in a common peaceful and just future of our people.

“In addition, those responsible to provide security seem to be unable or even unwilling in some places to do so, for reasons we fail to understand.

“In a country rich of resources like Sudan, many are unemployed or do not get their salaries for months. This cannot be explained by the global financial crisis alone. Money allocated for development of the people, never reaches them but vanishes unaccounted for.

“Furthermore, especially in the areas where oil exploitation is going on, we witness an ecological disaster, with polluted water and soil. Our people, displaced by the war, cannot return home due to the lack of security, basic services and the environmental damages.

“Elections have been postponed twice, and there are indications that even if they will be held finally as scheduled now for April 2010, they may not be free and fair, based on experiences with the contested results of the recent census.

“Being aware that the boarder demarcation is far behind schedule, and the Referendum Bill is still disputed between the parties, we furthermore fear that the Referendum for Southern Sudan and for Abyei as well as the Popular Consultation for Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile might not be conducted as provided in the CPA. We recognize holding the Referendum in 2011 as being of key significance in the implementation of the CPA. We are aware of the various aspirations of our communities; we consider it important for Church leaders to speak with a united voice on this issue…”

Committed to dialogue as the best option for managing the current state of affairs, they then specifically called upon the parties to the CPA, regional and international partners, all parties to the conflict in Darfur, communities of faith, government of national unity and the government of Southern Sudan to “take responsibility and to join hands – for the sake of our people and the whole region.” And they committed themselves to provide responsible, accountable and transparent leadership, to work in the spirit of unity, and to act with the people and on their behalf, wherever needed.

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