As Sudan prepares for a January 2011 referendum in which southern states will vote on possible secession, the potential for a sustainable peace lies in a precarious balance. Now more than ever, the country that only five years ago emerged from Africa’s longest civil war needs the support of the international community – especially the United States – to prevent the return to full-scale violent conflict and to build a lasting peace for the first time.
In 2005 Sudan ended 45 years of intermittent civil war between the central government and rebel forces with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Today key provisions of that agreement – including border demarcation, wealth sharing, citizenship, and determining the status of the transitional areas – remain unfulfilled, threatening the cease-fire. Presidential, parliamentary, and gubernatorial elections required by the peace agreement were boycotted by many opposition groups and widely seen as failing international standards.
Meanwhile, conflict continues in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where since 2003 a complex emergency has affected more than 4.7 million people, including nearly 2.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Last year levels of conflict in southern Sudan surpassed those in Darfur. In southern Sudan the number of people in need of food assistance has more than quadrupled, going from 1 million in 2009 to 4.3 million currently.
Peace is possible
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) believe that peace is possible in Sudan, and is best encouraged by adequate humanitarian and development assistance from the international community, the full deployment and support of U.N. peacekeeping missions in Sudan and by a proactive stance by the U.S. government to work with international partners to ensure the parties to the CPA resolve and implement the provisions necessary for adequate security, full citizenship rights, freedom of religion, and all other human rights needed to secure a just peace after the January 2011 referendum.
CRS is helping Sudanese develop skills in peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation, so that together we can help tip the balance toward a sustainable peace.
What You Can Do to Help
Contact your elected officials and urge them to support initiatives that fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, cease of all other fighting, fully deploy international peacekeeping forces, and undertake essential relief and development projects. Visit http://actioncenter.crs.org now.
• Join Catholics Confront Global Poverty-http://www.crs.org/globalpoverty,-sponsored by CRS and the USCCB and join us to pray, learn, share and advocate in support of international justice and peace.
• Give to CRS. Support our work to build peace, stability, and hope for the people of Sudan. Visit www.crs.org or call 1-800-736-3467 today.
Sudan: Tipping the Balance toward Peace – Background on the Resolutions and Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005.