Sudanese Warn UN of Tasks Undone

Express Concern That Violence Will Follow Referendum

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NEW YORK, OCT. 13, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Several religious leaders in Sudan met with U.N. officials to warn them that several tasks leading up to the Jan. 9 referendum have been left undone, and violence may result.

The referendum will decide whether southern Sudan will separate from the north and form its own country. It was stipulated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the civil war that began in 1983.

The delegation of religious leaders met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and other officials in New York on Monday to warn them that several elements of the agreement, including the referendum plan, are not unfolding as planned.

Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul said in a press conference after the meetings, “We came to raise an alarm to the United Nations.”

He explained: “We are on the ground. We are with the people. And we are knowing everything that is happening on the ground there. So because of that we are here.”

Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Marko Kur of Khartoum, also part of the delegation, said: “Tension already is building in the north and south. The north doesn’t want the south to secede.”

He underlined the human rights issue involved in giving the south the freedom to vote. “At this juncture, in the third millennium, I don’t think anybody can really be expected to remain in slavery when people all over the world are fighting for independence, self expression and democracy,” the prelate said.

Disaster

The Episcopal archbishop noted that the delegation came to report to the United Nations, which signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, that many things have been left undone.

“Our fear is going to come if the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is not implemented accordingly, and that is going to be disaster in the country,” he said.

Deng continued: “The people that are going to die are going to be innocent. And for us at the church we are always careful and mindful for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Ramadan Chan, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, said, “There are some fears that the referendum will not take place because the north is not happy.”

He added, “We feel that if these things are not done properly, it may take the country back to violence and war, which as churches we are not for.”

Deng told journalists that during the meetings, U.N. officials promised to send representatives to south Sudan to monitor the referendum.

The ecumenical delegation will also travel to Washington, D.C. during their 12-day advocacy campaign, which will include meetings with government officials, a panel discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, and an interfaith prayer service.

Retired Bishop Paride Taban of Torit said, “We are also appealing to our brothers and sisters in the Lord that they accompany us with their prayers.”

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ZENIT Staff

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