The churches in Sudan worked towards a peaceable environment through lobbying and advocacy in which justice and reconciliation became inevitable. In this regard the World Council of Churches appreciates the exemplary leadership of the Sudan Council of Churches and the New Sudan Council of Churches on behalf of their member churches. In this endeavour they were supported, encouraged and accompanied by the Sudan Ecumenical Forum. The Sudan Ecumenical Forum established in 1994 by the World Council of Churches that brought together several ecumenical partners from around the globe, deserves special thanks for the unique role it has played particularly in the area of lobbying and advocacy during the last ten years.
Sudan, the largest country in Africa, which borders nine countries, has been at war with itself since its independence in 1956. The positive impact of the Agreement will not only be for the people of Sudan, but also for the people of the nine neighbouring countries.
The Agreement signed on January 9, 2005 brings a new life and a new hope to the people of Sudan. Peace in Sudan has not been achieved without sacrifice. All peace-loving people, nations, institutions, civil society groups must jealously guard and protect what has been achieved through careful diplomatic efforts.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed includes the eight well-formulated and inclusive protocols including the ones on the division of Sudan's national wealth and power and the question of autonomy for the South. Under the terms of the Agreement a government of national unity will be formed for a transitional period of six years. During this time the South will be autonomous, and at the end of the six-year period a referendum will be held on the issue of a unified Sudan or secession of the South.
There is optimism and confidence shared by all the concerned parties that this Agreement will bring a holistic, just and durable peace. The Agreement has been negotiated skilfully, cautiously and diplomatically. This optimism is based on the safeguard that the members of the African Union, and specifically the IGAD leaders and the Friends of IGAD and the international community are likely to provide. They have invested a great deal since 1994 and are bound to ensure that the Agreement is implemented in its spirit. The World Council of Churches will continue to accompany and support the Sudanese churches as they keep themselves involved in the implementation and monitoring of the Peace Agreement.
The post-conflict period is going to be difficult. Given the historical background of the Sudan conflict and the consequences of being at war many years since independence, the challenges of attaining a just and enduring peace will be complex and wide-ranging but not impossible. Peace and stability will be achieved through a holistic and democratic process that embraces the civilian population at the grass-roots level together with the policy makers to attain long-term strategic objectives for social change.
The important question is how prepared are the people of Sudan to move from a culture of war to a culture of peace? The situation requires vigilance and careful planning because the period after prolonged conflict can easily fall back in to renewed violence. It is hoped that the international community and as well as all stakeholders will guarantee that the dark clouds of the past do not overwhelm the present.
1. Set up a co-ordinating mechanism to ensure and facilitate the continued support and accompaniment by IGAD, the African Union and the international community.
2. Establish a well-equipped and robust international peacekeeping force that is able to investigate reported violations of the Agreement and oversee its implementation.
3. Set up a strong mechanism on the ground that can deter any violations of cease-fire and in case of violations respond swiftly and effectively.
4. Ensure that all the people of the North and South Sudan irrespective of their political inclinations own the peace process and participate in it.
6. Ensure freedom of religion and worship.
7. Ensure gender equality, property rights including communal land ownership.
8. Guarantee equality of opportunity, including freedom from exploitation, slavery, and dependence on landlords and employers.
9. Establish an inclusive political process that guarantees participation of all Sudanese citizens in the selection of their governments without recourse to violence or unconstitutional means.
10. Ensure freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
11. Establishment of all the institutions that have been agreed upon in the various protocols of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
12. Formulate and adopt a new constitutional order that promotes pluralism and guarantees human and peoples rights as well as basic universal principles of liberty and freedom.
May this occasion become the dawn of new life among the people of Sudan and the neighbouring nations. May they all learn from history and embark with confidence on this definitive path of peace. May God grant manifold grace and assurance for justice with prosperity to the people of Sudan. “Blessed are the peace makers - they shall be called the Children of God! “
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia