January 8, 2010
Further to the December 20, 2010 Prayer Alert, the EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission is calling for urgent prayer this weekend as Southern Sudan will go to the polls on Sunday, January 9 in a referendum to determine whether the South will seek independence from the North.
The referendum’s results, and reaction to those results, could push the country to the brink of civil war and undo the fragile peace agreement signed five years ago. Additionally, should the result be independence for the South, the North has indicated that it will not only become an Islamic state, but will not assist Christians in returning safely to the South. There is enormous potential of a rise in violence and bloodshed, but also potential for an increase in the persecution of Christians in both the North and the South.
In light of this weekend’s impending referendum, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Religious Liberty Commission has released a report titled Religious Freedom in Sudan: Referendum on the North/South Divide.
The report shines a spotlight on the widespread discrimination against Christians in Northern Sudan and how this discrimination has contributed to the pitched ideological divisions between North and South. Following the widely noted expectation that secession of the South will be the result of the referendum, the report then examines the issues likely to impact negotiating post-referendum practicalities, and reviews possible scenarios that might follow internationally-recognized secession by the South.
Referendum on the North/South Divide also surveys current international political efforts toward a peaceful transition to two states, and discusses the potential role of the Church in these efforts. The report concludes by recommending that the Canadian government continue its role in regard to the referendum’s logistical needs, maintain an active, sustained diplomatic presence to help improve the plight of religious minorities in the North and standards of governance in the South, engage with UN peacekeeping initiatives if required, and support the work of NGOs in developing the impoverished communities of the South.Underlying the report is the assertion that the impact of religious persecution in Sudan’s recent history requires that religious freedom be a human rights and political priority in order to secure a peaceful transition after the referendum.The January 6, 2011 report is available on the EFC website at: http://files.efc-canada.net/si/rfi/sudanreport-rlcv0106-3.pdf
Learn about Sudan from:
Learn about religious freedom and human rights in Sudan from: