Churches play important role in peace process South Sudan

Image: Anglican bishop Samuel Peni (middle) receives a Letter of Solidarity from the Dutch Churches connected to PAX during a special meeting of the Episcopal Church of Sudan on Januari 28 and 29 in

February 18, 2014

In South Sudan churches play a key role in the mediation and reconciliation efforts. In the light of the current crisis PAX frequently provides financial support to the churches of South Sudan for enabling them to initiate mediation work and launch peace & reconciliation initiatives.

Recently church leaders from the African Inland Church, the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church, with support of PAX and the Dutch government, helped to broker a cease-fire between rebel commander David Yau Yau and the South Sudanese government. For PAX it is important that faith based groups and other expressions of the South Sudanese civil society are represented at the next round of political negotiations, that are due to start on Wednesday 19 February.  

National healing
In March 2013, the Government of South Sudan mandated the churches of South Sudan to lead the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. This Committee however, has struggled to fulfill its role without the adequate finances. It was also not an independent body from the  government, as the Committee was expected to report on its activities to the President.
In its policy recommendations to IGAD and the negotiating parties, PAX stresses that given the current situation, the church-led Committee should be provided sufficient funding and an expanded mandate to help establish truth on past and present traumatic experiences for the people of South Sudan.  Such an empowered role for the Committee is needed in order to start serious national reconciliation. While the rule of law should provide justice for the victims, faith based groups like the churches of South Sudan are able to play a key role in truth finding and reconciliation efforts on grassroots level.

Read the statement of the Catholic Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan
Read the statement of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan
Read the statement of the South Sudan Council of Churches

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