The World Evangelical Alliance assures Southern Sudanese leaders of support for referendum

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October 11, 2010 

The World Evangelical Alliance has pledged action to ensure that the referendum taking place on Southern Sudan’s future next January is a success.   

The WEA’s Secretary General, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, promised the measures in an address to Southern Sudan’s President, Vice President and other senior political leaders at the closing session of the Government-Church forum in Juba last week.   

In response to calls for assistance from the Southern Sudanese President and the Sudan Council of Churches, the WEA has committed to:  

·         mobilise its entire global community in praying for a free, fair and safe referendum
·         ask its National Alliances to lobby their respective governments in supporting the timeline of the referendum
·         work with our global community to send international observers to the Sudan for the referendum
·         launch a Peace for Sudan Fund, which it encourages its global community to give generously to
·         call on all governments to respect and accept the will of Southern Sudanese expressed through the referendum
·         call upon all governments to play their part in ensuring that the Khartoum government protects the human rights and religious freedom of all people.   
·         support holistic development, peacebuilding, reconciliation and good governance through our global community of churches and NGOs.
·         advocate on behalf of the people of Southern Sudan at the highest governmental and institutional levels. 

The referendum on January 9, 2011, is taking place to determine whether Southern Sudan will become independent from the North.   

Dr Tunnicliffe commended the Government of Southern Sudan for the depth of its commitment to engage with the church. 

He also thanked the President for demonstrating a spirit of reconciliation in offering a presidential pardon to some rebel leaders. 

In his closing remarks to the forum, Dr Tunnicliffe said: “The people of Sudan have suffered for many years.  Now is the time for a new future that will bring peace, wholeness, dignity, freedom of belief and freedom from extreme poverty.  The people of Sudan deserve nothing less.” 

The forum ended with a joint communiqué and several resolutions signed between the government and churches.   

Aiah Forday-Khabenje, General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa (AEA), was present at the forum.  He called upon the international community to support the Southern Sudanese in holding a successful and peaceful referendum.   

He said: “Sudan was embroiled in civil war for the best part of half a century.  That war ended when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was agreed five years ago and it is imperative that the country does not slide back into another destructive cycle of conflict and poverty.  We are looking to governments to honour the commitment they made to ensure that the referendum goes ahead on time and that it does not result in further suffering for the people of Sudan.” 

The World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations and global networks. The WEA is the world¹s largest association of evangelical Christians serving a constituency of 600 million people. The WEA is a voice to governments, media, and other faith communities and holds consultative status at the United Nations.

Contact: WEA Communication, [email protected]