Sudan and South Sudan must step back from war

By |24 April 2012|

Caritas Internationalis fears that a full scale war is imminent between Sudan and South Sudan with dire humanitarian consequences for both unless there is pull back from further military action. South Sudan became independent from Sudan last July following a popular vote. It was the culmination of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of war. However, areas of contention including border demarcation, the status of disputed areas in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile and oil rights still have not been resolved. The Caritas confederation of over 160 Catholic aid agencies fears that recent clashes over these issues have now brought the two countries to the brink. Caritas is also concerned over the use of extreme rhetoric by officials and that it is inciting an environment of fear. Attacks in Sudan on Christians such as the ransacking of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum on Saturday are deeply troubling. Over 500,000 South [...]

Churches fear rising ethnic violence in South Sudan

By |20 February 2012|

The Sudan Council of Churches (the SCC) is warning of a new cycle of revenge and retaliation in South Sudan’s Jonglei State. Over 120,000 people have been affected by a conflict that flared over Christmas between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities in Jonglei. A Caritas team is carrying out an evaluation of the humanitarian needs. The SCC represents six Christian churches including the Roman Catholic Church. The SCC is calling on all sides to step back from ethnic hatred. In a 18 January statement on Jonglei, it said: “Brutal actions were carried out against non-combatants. Ethnic hatred was expressed verbally, in graffiti left by the attackers and on the internet, and this could be the precursor to larger-scale atrocities.” The SCC blames the conflict on inter-ethnic raiding against a backdrop of insufficient security provided by the Government and a UN peacekeeping force (UNMISS), a failure of political and religious leadership to influence [...]

Poverty and conflict in South Sudan

By |27 January 2012|

By Rene Lambert, My colleague, Jane Andanje and I, flew in a small eight-seater plane from Juba to Boma Town in Jonglei, South Sudan. We were on our way to see how Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis might assist thousands recently displaced by conflict. In recent weeks, Boma, a small verdant mountain town of around 7,000 had swelled with the arrival of roughly 2,400 people displaced by inter-communal violence between two ethnic groups the Lou Nuer and the Murle. The U.N. estimates that more than 60,000 Murle fled their homes when around 8,000 armed Lou Nuer youth raided towns in search of stolen cattle and kidnapped children. Jonglei is one of South Sudan’s most underdeveloped states. It lacks most basic services like electricity, running water, paved roads, schools and healthcare facilities. Many believe these factors are catalysts for conflict. With limited opportunities, youth often resort to violence to amass resources. As [...]
  • Jane Andanje, the Deputy Coordinator of the Caritas Coordination Unit, with some children who have fled the fighting.

Credits: Renee Lambert/CRS
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    Growing crisis in South Sudan’s Jonglei as fighting continues

Growing crisis in South Sudan’s Jonglei as fighting continues

By |26 January 2012|

Fears are growing over the increasingly ethnic and violent nature of the conflict in South Sudan’s Jonglei State. It’s the latest fighting in the region following independence for South Sudan last July. Aid workers from Caritas and Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a Caritas member) joined an assessment team to Boma in South Sudan at the weekend. Over 2300 people have fled to the small town (pop. estimated at 7000) following violence in Jonglei in recent weeks. The team was looking at the shelter needs in Boma. Most people have found a place among in the thatch-walled compounds of residents and the local government has distributed IOM kits containing essential items. Boma is the furthest people have fled in sizable numbers and more continue to arrive daily. There is growing concern for those trapped closer to the conflict. A day’s walk is the isolated town of Labraap, where 10,000 people are said [...]

Concerns mount over conflict in South Sudan

By |6 January 2012|

Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a Caritas member based in the US) is poised to respond to the declared emergency in Jonglei State in South Sudan, where an estimated 50,000 people have been displaced since late December due to ethnic conflict between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes that has claimed an estimated 1,000 lives in the past six months. “The current situation remains very fluid, with many families having fled their homes for other towns further away from the conflict,” says CRS South Sudan head of programming, Isaac Boyd. “Others have dispersed into the countryside, making it difficult to determine how many people are in need of immediate assistance. “Regardless of the exact number, United Nations (UN) and government reports from Jonglei indicate that many villages have been burnt to the ground, and affected families face the prospect of returning home to absolutely nothing,” Boyd says. “This includes the loss [...]

Durban talks: Climate justice and food security

By |12 December 2011|

By Martina Liebsch, Director of Poverty and Advocacy at Caritas Internationalis Representatives from different faiths gathered at a ‘Climate Justice and Food Security: Moral, ethical and spiritual imperatives’ side event 7 December at the Durban climate change talks. The event was sponsored by Caritas Internationalis and World Council of Churches. The panel was chaired by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban and included Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim representatives. Reverend Mardi Tendal, of the United Church of Canada, said we should work towards transforming cultures of consumption to cultures of responsibility. She said there is a moral imperative for action and solidarity in reducing the adverse effects of climate change. Rabbi Hillel Avidan from Durban said God maintains the creation, but gives us the responsibility to care for it. We have failed to do so and we have recognised it. “Change does not happen through treaties and conventions, but by bringing in compassion and [...]

Stay with Sudan

By |12 July 2011|

South Sudan celebrates independence

By |12 July 2011|

Mass in South Sudan for a new nation

By |11 July 2011|

A day after the people of South Sudan came together to declare their independence, they converged on St. Teresa Cathedral of Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on July 10th to celebrate a special Mass dedicated to their new nationhood.

Happy Birthday South Sudan

By |10 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak Just six months after Southern Sudanese voted with an overwhelming majority to secede from the North, the new nation of South Sudan was born. Southern Sudanese turned out in the hundreds of thousands to witness the declaration of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan, and to celebrate a milestone they had been waiting for since a 2005 peace agreement that gave them the right to vote on whether to stay united with the north or form their own nation. People from all over Southern Sudan came to see first-hand the birth of a new nation this July 9. Some said they traveled for days to make it to the capital in time for the celebrations. “I’m very happy today,” said Alfred Gore Dimitri, who had come with his family to witness the celebration in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. “I’ve been celebrating since yesterday.” Also in attendance at the celebration [...]

Q&A on South Sudan

By |9 July 2011|

What happens on 9 July 2011?  Decades of North-South conflict in Sudan came to an end in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). One of the most important CPA provisions was a referendum on possible secession of the South. The referendum took place in January 2011, and the overwhelming majority of southerners (99%) voted for independence. The secession process will be finalised on the 9 July 2011, when new Republic of South Sudan will be officially declared. What will be the main challenges?  Civil war in Sudan took more than two million lives and caused displacement of around five million people. This prevented any progress to take place, infrastructure is severely underdeveloped and access to any services (health, education and water and sanitation) is extremely limited. The situation is particularly dire in the South. As the newly emergent Republic of South Sudan looks to its future, the challenges are [...]

Calendar of Church events on South Sudan independence

By |9 July 2011|

A calendar of events for the spiritual preparation celebrating of the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The bishops of Sudan have asked for parishes throughout the world and people of all faiths to join them in praying for peace. Saturday, 28 May Eucharistic procession and launch of the campaign Sunday, 29 May Day of Reconciliation: Preaching on reconciliation at all levels. Mending differences through human dignity with events such as washing of the feet, lighting a candle and prayers of the faithful. Monday, 6 June Schools programme: School children and young people in song, with poems and drawing competitions on the theme of independence, new life, peace and reconciliation. Saturday, 11 June Pentecost Vigil: Adoration gratitude and petition for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sunday, 12 June Pentecost celebrations. A tree is planted in each diocese as a symbol of new birth. From this day onwards till 9 July, families, institutions, schools, parishes are [...]
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    Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

By |8 July 2011|

By Sara Fajardo Women bent over handmade brooms sweep the streets of southern Sudan’s capital of Juba free of dust each morning. On the few miles of paved city roads, concrete road dividers are brightened with freshly planted flowers and saplings. The entry gates of buildings and homes boast fresh green paint. The rows of robust trees along the road that houses the majority of southern Sudan’s Ministry offices are adorned with bright white banners that read “Happy Independent Day.” Everywhere there are signs of Juba preparing to be ushered in as the world’s newest nation. Even the electoral countdown clock that once ticked away the hours left for southern Sudanese to cast their ballot for self-determination has been reconfigured to flash stats of the Republic of South Sudan’s pending nationhood: “East Africa’s newest nation #6, the United Nation’s Country #193 , Africa’s Youngest Nation.” Recycling bins and newly minted trash cans [...]

South Sudan: Preparing for independence

By |7 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak When I arrived in South Sudan’s future capital Juba yesterday, the joyous preparations for independence were immediately apparent. Landing at the airport, another passenger pointed out the newly installed lights along the runway to allow for night flights. Everywhere you look there are small signs of progress. Driving along Juba’s bumpy, dusty roads, you see women cleaning the streets. Signs for the long expected independence have been put up along small storefronts, on crumbling walls and white washed tree trunks. Spending my first day in Juba, I spoke with many people about their hopes and dreams for the new nation. I want to tell you about two of them. Taban Benneth, 25, works as a driver for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and plans to see the celebrations firsthand so he can tell his children and grandchildren that he was there when the flag was raised for the first time. “I’m really happy [...]

Southern Sudan votes for peace

By |7 July 2011|

Fighting in southern Sudan only ended five years ago after more than three decades of war. Many people knew only conflict. “ We have to work at all levels and across all areas to build a sustainable peace,” says Paul Nantulya, an expert in peacebuilding in southern Sudan with one of the American Caritas members, CRS. “ The churches are the peacebuilding architecture on which everything rests in southern Sudan; they have deep institutional memory, knowledge and skills. We have built ‘people-to-people’ diplomacy and discussion from the grassroots, to the military, to the top political leadership. Crucially, we have invested in giving people training and livelihoods, which makes them less likely to pick up a gun again.” Duku Martin John was one of many young men who had known nothing but war. Now he’s the host of “One People”, a radio show about reconciliation which is supported by the Sudan Catholic [...]

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