Sudan: a prayer for peace this Christmas
In this season of prayer, as we reflect on our efforts to be peace-bringers in the world, Caritas Australia is providing support to the people of Sudan as they strive to secure a future free from the conflict of the past 50 years.
On 9 January 2011, Sudan will hold a referendum, offering the Southern Sudanese the opportunity to become an independent state and bringing the hope of peace to a region plagued by instability and conflict.
This vote forms the keystone of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which brought an end to half a century of civil war, violence and bloodshed.
“This referendum is a huge step for Sudan in assuring its citizens the right to self-determination, and giving them the chance to shape their own future,” Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot said.
But the historic event also brings fear, with tensions already rising and the threat of intimidation and violence an ever-present reality.
“Any violence resulting from the referendum is feared to reach far beyond national borders and implicate surrounding African nations in a bloody conflict; the likes of which the world has not witnessed since Rwanda," Mr de Groot said.
“The Catholic Church in Australia is committed both locally and globally to protecting the human dignity of the people of Sudan, and this is an opportunity for the international community to stand together and assure the change that is necessary for Sudan’s future.”
Hope for a better future
For more than a decade Caritas Australia has worked with local organisations in Sudan to improve water and sanitation, education, and livelihood opportunities as well as offering emergency relief in times of crisis.
With the hope of a better future for the Sudanese people, but aware of the challenges to be faced in the coming weeks, the international Caritas network has begun planning its response to the turmoil that may result from displacement, mass migration or the outbreak of civil war.
“Together with our international partners, Caritas Australia is committed to being a presence on the ground in Sudan to provide aid in emergency situations, but also working in the long-term to achieve lasting peace and stability," Mr de Groot said.
“In this time of uncertainty, it is critical that the world stays alert and informed of Sudan’s situation and so we urge people to learn more about Caritas Australia’s work in the region."
Visit 'Peace in Sudan' at Caritas Australia
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