The Archbishop of Sudan (Photo: © Anglican Communion) At the Lambeth Conference, the Most Rev Dr Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Sudan, described the casualties in Darfur as "an affront to all who value human life" and argued the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
After thanking the conference participants for their prayers and support during 21 years of war in southern Sudan and in reaching the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005, the bishops' statement, read by the archbishop, went on to express their deep concern about the conflict in Darfur.
They contrasted the Government of Sudan’s official estimate of not more than 10,000 deaths during the fighting in Darfur with the UN estimate of 300,000 war-related deaths since the escalation of fighting there in 2003.
“Whatever the exact figures, this continuing loss of life is an affront to all people who value human life and to religious faith in the God of mercy,” the bishops stated. Listen
Archbishop Deng spoke to CMS
On the CPA and role of international community
On the destruction of Abyei
The finding of a political solution, helped by continuing international pressure, was an urgent priority, the bishops believed.
“In Darfur, a predominantly Muslim region, the Church is playing a growing part in responding to humanitarian needs and providing education to displaced communities as part of its practical witness to the Gospel,” they pointed out.
They reiterated that the Darfur situation cannot be viewed in isolation and called for a whole Sudan approach.
They were certain that “for a just and sustainable peace to be realised, full implementation of the CPA needs to be ensured” and recognised the holding of the Referendum in 2011 on the future political status of southern Sudan as being of key significance in its implementation.
They made particular mention of the destruction of the town of Abyei and the displacement of the area’s population of over 90,000 people — the most serious violation of the CPA to date.
Their statement also touched on the position of the Church in northern Sudan, where it continues to face pressure and discrimination. They championed the need for leverage to repeal discriminatory laws. They also voiced their concern for the Church’s vulnerability in the North in any future political dispensation.
They underlined that atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and armed Arab nomads, known as the Ambororo, were destabilising or “adversely affecting” the states of Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria.
Lastly, they pointed to the major practical challenges involved in the return of refugees and the internally displaced and how much support would be needed to realise such an aim.
The statement ended with an appeal, “on all these issues which are key to the prospect of peace for Sudan”, to the whole Anglican Communion to continue to stand in solidarity with the Sudanese Church and people and requested its continuing prayers and fellowship to encourage and support the Church in its mission. Read the full text of the Sudanese Bishops' Statement