Today, July 9, 2011 Southern Sudan becomes the world’s newest nation – the Republic of South Sudan. This came about after a referendum for independence that despite all predictions was peaceful, orderly and uncontested. In the United States and throughout the world, the prayers, advocacy and financial support of Catholics and people of goodwill helped shape a climate where peace was possible.
But Southern Sudan will also be one of the world’s poorest nations. Decades of civil war with northern Sudan has left the region with widespread poverty, limited infrastructure, and little money in its coffers. Likewise, many provisions of the peace agreement that brought an end to Sudan’s civil war remain unsettled, including final border demarcation, citizenship, oil revenue sharing, and guarantees for the security and rights of minorities, particularly those remaining in the north. Recent violence in the border area of Abyei and political tensions in Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile could escalate. Likewise, the suffering and insecurity of the people in Darfur continue unabated , leaving the region’s long-term peace, stability and chances for development in doubt.
The prayers, advocacy and financial support of Catholics and people of goodwill throughout the world are essential to keep people’s hopes alive, to help shape a climate where peace, stability and development are possible in the new South Sudan, as well as in Sudan to the north including the Darfur region.
The rest of the world can help by:
- Actively engaging to ensure the governments of Sudan and South Sudan resolve the outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the longest civil war in Africa. These issues include resolving citizenship questions, sharing oil revenue, demarcating the border, and identifying the solutions needed to en-sure a peaceful establishment of the two new countries.
- Increasing long-term development assistance to the region and ensuring that humanitarian assistance is sufficient and that humanitarian access to all vulnerable populations is secured.
- Continuing to pressure all parties to stop the violence in Darfur and negotiate a credible and sustainable peace.
- Acting in the United Nations Security Council to continue support for the peacekeeping missions in these countries, and providing adequate funding and logistical support so that peace and security can be achieved.
To support the church’s efforts to help foster peace and prosperity in Sudan, visit http://www.peaceinsudan.org for resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services. [From http://www.peaceinsudan.org ]