Peace bid for war-torn South Sudan

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) discussed at its meeting June 8-12, in Armenia, the alarming situation in South Sudan where people continue to be killed, raped, displaced and tortured. The humanitarian situation is reported to be deteriorating.

We lament that sustainable peace has not been attained in South Sudan.

The tragic conflict in South Sudan has moved into its 18th month, and the WCC has pledged its support of the church leaders in the country making a commitment to work for peace.

Twenty-five leaders and representatives from the member churches of the South Sudan Council of Churches gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, for a retreat from June 1-7 along with members of the laity, the World Council of Churches and partners to reflect and propose a plan to achieve peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.

“We lament that sustainable peace has not been attained in South Sudan,” said Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC Central Committee. “Peace must be sustained and it must be peace with justice. People’s lives are in danger, the whole country cries out in pain.”

Church leaders statement

Abuom offered prayers for the church leaders in their efforts to make peace and reconciliation, and for the conflicting parties to listen to the voice of the church leaders.

“We are pilgrims and we have to work, walk and pray together,” Abuom said. “The WCC supports the church in South Sudan during these difficult times. We have a long commitment in the region of more than 40 years, and the WCC supports the statement of the church leaders June 7.”

Leaders from the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) said in their statement:

We have repeatedly stated that this is a senseless war which must stop immediately. There is no moral justification to continue killing ourselves, regardless of any legitimate political issues with government or opposition. …

A cessation of hostilities must be implemented before any detailed negotiations for the future; it is unacceptable to negotiate posts and positions while people are killing and being killed. Negotiations are about to begin again while innocents continue to suffer. What will be different this time? …

The needs of the people must be met, not the needs of political and military elites. It appears that pride, power and politics have become a greater priority than peace.

Editor's note: The World Council of Churches (WCC) brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. At the end of 2013, there were 345 member churches.

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