9 July 2011 saw the official founding of the new, and so far youngest state worldwide, South Sudan. The people in South Sudan celebrated this event with great enthusiasm. Leading up to it were decades of armed struggle within Sudan to achieve the autonomy or independence of the South.
However, years of armed conflict followed in this new state, and also now, too, the situation in South Sudan is tense and difficult. Churches and church-related organisations are endeavouring to provide the necessary humanitarian aid, and also to initiate processes of reconciliation, mediation, conflict prevention and peace-building. They include, above all, the South Sudan Council of Churches, which the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) supports, together with many other ecumenical partners.
Petra Bosse-Huber, EKD bishop for ecumenical relations, comments on the current situation in South Sudan:
“The 10th anniversary of the founding of the state reminds me of the exuberant joy with which, on 9 July 2011, the people celebrated the independence of their country and the founding of the state of South Sudan. This new start was linked with such fervent hopes for a peaceful and dignified life. But unfortunately these hopes were quickly disappointed, abruptly dashed by a civil war that dramatically worsened the people’s situation. They suffered violence, hunger, displacement, had to flee their homes and even today, almost three years after the peace agreement of 2018, these consequences of the war have not really been remedied. Droughts, flooding and plagues of locusts have exacerbated this situation.
However, I am also very grateful that many churches, above all the South Sudan Council of Churches, are attempting to improve the situation of the people, to contribute to justice for the victims of violence and displacement, and to play a part in achieving reconciliation between the communities. They are working on resolving conflicts and stopping new ones arising. In addition, they urge the government to take its responsibility to implement the 2018 agreement and establish a functioning state system in all parts of the country. We have accompanied the Council of Churches as an ecumenical partner for many years and remember the people in South Sudan in our prayers.”
Background: To mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of South Sudan, the Ecumenical Network on South Sudan (ENSS) has published a joint statement in which the European and North American partners express their solidarity with the people in South Sudan and call upon the government to implement the agreement of 2018 (R-ARCSS), to guarantee unhindered access to humanitarian aid in all regions of the country and to prevent the attacks on church actors, humanitarian aid workers, peace workers and human rights activists. And they appeal to all in South Sudan to work for peace and to respect the dignity of human life.
Hanover, 8 July 2021
EKD Press Office