Sudan´s Painful Plight Spelled Out for Synod

Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei Addresses Assembly

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2001 ( The Sudanese people´s cry of suffering resounded this morning in the Synod of Bishops, through the words of Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei.

Following is an adapted résumé of his speech. The résumé was distributed by the Synod of Bishops.

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The conflict and persecution in Sudan are a direct result of a systematic campaign of Islamization and Arabization of non-Arabs and non-Muslims, who do not hold political and economic power in Sudan.

Religious persecution

Religious persecution is the systematic denial of basic religious freedom. A program of Islamization continues to characterize the approach of the fundamentalist regime of Khartoum toward the Christians and those Muslims who do not profess that particular version of fundamentalist Islam.

Cultural persecution

Cultural persecution is the systematic undermining of the dignity of non-Arab Sudanese citizens; the relegation of people to a status of subservience continues to shape social institutions and fundamental attitudes of people living in northern Sudan for which the government is responsible.

Aerial bombardment

Frequent aerial bombardments of civilian targets are carried out by the government. This is a systematic use of high-altitude Russian-made Antonov bombers to terrorize the civilian population in contested areas. Other tactics are also used to drive people out from oil rich regions of southern Sudan; these are part of the military strategy of the government of Sudan.

Oil exploration

Oil exploration in southern Sudan by multinational oil companies from Canada, China and Malaysia fuels the war.

Its development and sales contribute to an expansion of the war, deepen the plight of the people of southern Sudan, harden the resolute decision of the government to see a military solution to the conflict, and widen the gap between the government and the armed liberation movement in southern Sudan, which is contesting the government´s practices and legitimacy.

Displaced people

The internally displaced people in the north and south of Sudan live in desperate conditions of life, with little hope for immediate improvement.

Refugees in neighboring countries

Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries suffer in refugee camps with few prospects for their future. Donor fatigue on the part of the international community is due to the fact that the conflict is being protracted.

Urgent intervention

There is urgent need for intervention in southern Sudan, particularly in the areas of education and technical training and for formation of individuals and communities in the basic principles of responsible government and civil administration.

[Original text: English]

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