Peace and faith: securing peaceful co-existence after the referendum

Africa Files

Northern Sudan Churches Consultative Forum

St Paul’s Major Seminary, Khartoum January 5-7, 2011

Communique: A call for Peace and Justice for all People

On the eve of the historic Referendum in which our southern sisters and brothers will decide whether to stay in one united Sudan or whether to secede, we, more than 100 church leaders and committed Christians from both SCC and non-SCC member churches, call for the peaceful conduct of the Referendum, and a peaceful future with justice for all the people of Sudan.

After 3 days of fruitful discussions, focussing on the future role and responsibilities of the church in Northern Sudan, enriched by the inputs of the General Secretary of the Presidential Commission for the Rights of Non Muslims and other lecturers, blessed by the presence of guests from the All African Conference of Churches, Kenyan and Ghanaian Sister Churches and other members of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum,

We strongly reject and protest against

*The public statement of our President Omar el Bashir on December 19,2010 announcing ” If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution. There will be no question of cultural or ethnic diversity. Sharia will be the only source of the constitutio n, and Arabic the only official language“.

*The breaking into and searching of SCC premises by police without any prior notice on November 14, 2010

We hereby raise our deep concern about:

*The worsening situation of Christians in Muslim countries in general, and particularly and in particularabout the recent events in Alexandria, Egypt, where fellow Christians and Muslims fell victim of absolutely unjustifiable terrorist acts

*The armed conflicts in our country, especially in Darfur, as well as the potential new conflicts in Abyei and other parts of Northern Sudan like Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile

*The ongoing serious discrimination on gender, race, ethnicity, culture or religion, despite the guarantees of the Interim constitution.

*The recent El Ahram newspaper editorial indicating that Church properties shall become State properties after the Referendum

Whether the people of Southern Sudan will decide to stay in one united country or decide to secede, the church knows no boundaries, and we commit ourselves to stay united in our mission and vision, based on the foundation of our faith, in the search and active promotion of reconciliation, peace and justice for all citizens. Whether in one or two countries, Sudan will remain blessed by cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.

Whatever new constitution will be worked out, this needs to be the basis, and the rights of people need to be based on citizenship rights. Otherwise, marginalisation and discrimination will never end, and will endanger any peaceful co-existence of the people.

We therefore call upon our government, politicians, civil society organisations, fellow Christians and all people of faith to join hands in guaranteeing a peaceful future by

*Finding a just solution to all ongoing and potential new armed conflicts

*Reconciling and healing of memories of all the people, wherever they are

*Conducting an inclusive Constitutional Process with full participation of all stakeholders

*Working out a constitution, which e.g. shall fully acknowledge the diversity, guarantee freedom of movement, assembling, speech, press and access to media as well as equal rights of all citizens without any discrimination on gender, culture, ethnicity or religion.

These fundamental freedoms and equal rights also to be reflected in all education curricula.

May God Bless the People of Sudan

Khartoum, January 7, 2011

Signed on behalf of the participants

(Bp Ezekiel Kondo Kuku, chair SCC)

(Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol, General Secretary, SCC)