Church Leaders in South Sudan Want Peace Restored Ahead of Unity Government Anniversary

Members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) during a press conference on 15 February 2021
Credit: ACI Africa

Church leaders and representatives of various civil groups in South Sudan are appealing to the government to restore peace, security and stability in the East-Central African country ahead of the first anniversary of the formation of the transitional government of national unity aimed at bringing peace.

 “We, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), the South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) and South Sudan women’s Coalition for Peace (SSWCP) have come together to jointly amplify the call of the citizens of South Sudan for restoration of peace, security and stability and an end to all bloodshed in our country,” the representatives of Churches in South Sudan including the Catholic Church state in their collective statement issued Monday, February 15.

The SSCC is an ecumenical body of seven member churches and associate churches in South Sudan with a strong legacy of peace building, reconciliation and advocacy.

Together with the women's coalition and civil society forum, the organizations enhance the pursuit for peace in the nine-year-old country.

According to the advocacy organizations, South Sudan “has continued to witness devastating intercommunal violence, displacement of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, unnecessary roadblocks for extorting money and inflicting pain on travelers and humanitarian workers alongside an economy that falters with soaring inflation rates.”

Formed on 22 February 2020, the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) brought hope for peace to many in South Sudan.  

Aid groups hoped the agreement would help alleviate a protracted humanitarian crisis that has left millions of people displaced and deprived.

“Reports from aid agencies persistently indicate an increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in the country,” they reveal.

In a joint statement to the press signed by the SSCC Chairman, Bishop Dr. Arkangelo Wani Lemi of the African Inland Church, representatives of the organizations reiterate their appeal to political leaders in South Sudan saying, “It is not the first time we have called on the same leaders to fulfill their responsibility to our country and the citizens of this nation.”

“With this growing unbearable situation of human suffering, we are prompted to echo the people’s call for an end to violent conflicts and insecurity, displacements of civilians and insensitive creation of more orphans and widows,” the representatives say in their collective statement.

They add, “We now seize this moment to jointly exhort all our representatives; religious leaders, women, youth and civil society leaders across the country to unite, raise their voices and call for what the people desperately need – peace, security and stability.”

The Church and Civil society leaders further say they are worried that the “scale of the economy, security and humanitarian crisis have not moved the leaders to save this country from further disintegration and human suffering.”

“These calls have not yielded any meaningful change to the ongoing crisis in the country and the living conditions of the common citizens,” the leaders say in their February 15 statement.

They add, “In the face of these unprecedented challenges our country and the people are going through, we commit on their behalf to intensify these calls until all leaders listen and deliver peace, justice, liberty and prosperity for all citizens of our country.”

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
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