Peace Activist Luol Deng Speaks

A Message from the ENOUGH Project: We’re excited to share this video message from Luol Deng with each of you. In it he’s speaking to South Sudanese, so any support you may be able to offer in getting the message out would be much appreciated. 

South Sudanese NBA star and peace activist Luol Deng speaks from the heart in this moving message to the youth of South Sudan on forgiveness, strength, and courage in the face of the current conflict. The message from Luol is interspersed with powerful images from his work in South Sudan using basketball to build bridges between youth from different tribal and ethnic backgrounds. He calls on South Sudanese youth to take a stand against the ethnic polarization of the conflict and to advocate for peace in their own communities.

Luol Deng’s message.

 

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NYC Demonstration Thursday – April 10 at 1:30 pm

Simon Deng, rights activist and former Sudanese slave, will be joined by others for a press conference and demonstration Thursday, April 10, at 1:30 pm at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, East 47th Street, near Second Avenue in New York City.

Click ACTION on the tool bar for more details.

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Hear Her Voice: 2014 SAAF Reflections

SAAF Reflections ~ By Virgil Bodeen

I thought I would reflect a bit on the Hear Her Voice conference since it was such a productive two days. The capable and passionate women from Jewish World Watch in Los Angeles who led the conference showed what strong, smart and committed leaders they are.

So much information and so many ideas were shared, a lot of optimism and pessimism, a lot of hope and discouragement. I’ll try to summarize some of the sessions and mention some conclusions. I’ll focus on Sudan and South Sudan, though the conference also dealt in depth with Congo.

Panel on Women in Conflict. Most of the voices were new to me. Lee Ann De Reus from Penn State in this panel asked how women deal with the layer of trauma that results from violence. She said they must find hope in the families and other vibrant relationships that survive. Darfuri Niemat Ahmadi told of her experience and the atrocities she’s seen and insisted that “genocide is today.”

Mukesh Kapila,  former UN official in Sudan. In his keynote address, he spoke of women who had changed his life—grandmother, teacher, Indian nuns in Rwanda, and the Darfuri woman who came to his UN office and shamed him into working harder, speaking up, and being a rebel, a “modern resistance worker.”

He gave us some guidelines: be well informed, do your research and analysis; be vigilant, not seduced or discouraged; take personal responsibility; get organized with others for more impact; remain humble and optimistic.

In the question and answer period, it was said that women’s issues are community issues and must involve men as well as women, since most of women’s problems are caused by men. Mukesh insisted that you can’t compromise on things that are wrong. You have to challenge harmful cultural practices. It’s always the women and children who suffer, he said. Also, he surmised that the days of American intervention are gone. Humility would be a good idea, he said, and the US is more effective in partnerships when other countries assert themselves and share the burden.

Princeton Lyman,  former US Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. The former ambassador reviewed Sudanese history since Bashir took power in 1989. He said the problems in Darfur that caused the eruption of genocide in 2003 remain unresolved, the fundamental issues remain unchanged, the same regime remains in power in Khartoum. He asked what to do with Bashir but had no answer.

Lyman said there will never be real progress with Bashir in power. The US is doing good humanitarian work but not making much political progress. There is no accountability in Khartoum; foreign aid mostly supports Bashir, who keeps harassing South Sudan. Bashir uses both promises of peace and justice to hold onto power. 

In South Sudan, the revolution did not result in a democratic government. There is no democratic political structure. South Sudanese must realize that accountability, justice and reconciliation are necessary for peace. And, civil society is not enough: democratic movements must be prepared to govern. What to do?

~Advocate stronger UN Security Council support for the peacekeepers.

~Press for an end to conflict in the South in the short term.

~Encourage the diaspora to get involved, press for aid to be consistently delivered for the long term. 

Other panelists said we must support independent media like Radio Dabanga in Sudan to open up society and end repression. They said it will be a long struggle with such a repressive government. There is a lack of a national identity, one said. 

Peace and Justice Panel. In this panel, recommendations for US action in Sudan and Congo, some mechanisms were cited: truth telling, forgiveness, reparations; appealing to the ICC in cases of impunity, such as Bashir, for example; lustration  for removing perpetrators; and especially, insisting on the rule of law to build long term stability. The consensus was that peace without justice won’t last long. Only some mediators and donors see Bashir as a partner for peace. For most people, prosecuting Bashir is the only way to peace.

Additional advocacy was called for in support of HR 1692, the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013, which would be our main message to House members during our lobbying the next day.

Enough Project Co-founders, Gayle Smith and John Prendergast. The two came on as a mutual admiration society, but then got down to business.

Gayle said the problems seem much harder when you’re inside the government, trying to weave many interests together. She asked how do you highlight our interests in Africa, get a robust foreign policy and foreign aid budget, when there’s not much of a constituency out there for these things?

Talking about working for change within the government, she said it’s easy to apply pressure. But, she asked, how do you create incentives for people to do the right thing when they‘re angry and polarized? Short term, reflexive actions are likewise easier than long term policies and strategies. What do you do today to make things different 20 years from now?

Gayle brought up the Atrocities Prevention Board, the APB, which operates out of the White House and spans many agencies. The APB has elevated the issue of atrocities and genocide and has been well received as the place to go when atrocities are on the rise.

John spoke of the legacy of Rwanda: more and quicker attention to atrocities, as in the Central African Republic recently; more press coverage, getting out ahead of a looming calamity.

Gayle, on getting our government’s attention on South Sudan, said:

~Don’t be shy with criticism, yet give credit where it is due and thank people for their efforts.

~Focus on ways to heal the people’s profound and embarrassing trauma. Talk about the horrific fighting; be vocal about it; bring up the accountability and responsibility the South Sudan Government must show.

~Recommend means to give voice to the South Sudanese people’s aspirations for their country.

~The US military should move humanitarian aid and connect with other forces for security and humanitarian work as well as help develop a disciplined, professional military and work for security sector reform and assistance.

~Darfur is far from resolved. Put it in the larger picture of Sudan, the present context, but keep it alive. The issue is centralized power in Khartoum instead of the diversity of the nation. Now there is a movement by people who can come together across the country, who can advocate to the media and give them credit for covering Darfur.

US Congressmen Royce and McGovern. Congressman Ed Royce, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, said sustained engagement is essential. We must keep our focus on genocide in Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan. We must rally NGOs and the international community, the House and the Senate to get results. He said South Sudan leaders are unwilling to do what’s necessary for peace and reconciliation. The House wrote to President Kiir that future U.S. cooperation is in jeopardy if the current crisis continues. He feels that Bashir is weakening, but Sudanese activists and everyone else there must be serious about responsible, positive change in Khartoum.

Congressman James McGovern, who introduced H.R. 1692, the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013, told us our presence on the Hill is vitally important. His bill has 108 co-sponsors now, thanks to our advocacy. He wants the US to work with democratic voices in Sudan and South Sudan to bring the horror to an end. 

OUR WORK IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT, HE SAID. WE HAVE TO SPEAK UP.

March 10, 2014

 

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South Sudan Humanitarian Situation

OCHA SITUATION REPORT
South Sudan | As of 6 March 2014

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS:

~4.9 million, estimated people in need of humanitarian assistance

~3.2 million, people to be assisted by aid organizations by June 2014

~758,400, people provided with humanitarian assistance, including IDPs, violence-affected host communities and refugees from other countries sheltering in South Sudan

705,800, people internally displaced by violence since 12/15/2014.

~Aid agencies have reached 758,400 people across South Sudan with humanitarian assistance since the start of the year, including 234,000 refugees sheltering in the country.

~The number of people who have fled from South Sudan to neighbouring countries has increased to 226,000.

~An agreement was signed with the Government regarding a new site for displaced people in Juba, which will be able to host some 10,000 people and help decongest the two UN bases in the capital.

~The response to thousands of people displaced in Panyijar County in Unity State began in Ganyliel on 6 March. So far, aid agencies have responded in 59 of 129 reported sites with displaced people in South Sudan.

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Call to join in Day of Prayer for South Sudan – 2/16/14

CALL FOR PRAYER

As a ceasefire has been declared, January 23, between Sudan and South Sudan, please join the Episcopal Church, the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) as together we lift up South Sudan in worship and prayer on Sunday, February 16, 2014. 

“Our sisters and brothers in South Sudan need our prayers as they seek to move into a future of justice and peace,” said PCUSA leaders. Your prayers are requested for those who mourn the loss of loved ones, for those injured in the conflict, for political and religious leaders, and for all who work for peace and justice. A suggested prayer follows:

Gracious God, we lift before you the people of South Sudan who seek to create a new future after a period of violence.Three years ago, we rejoiced with our sisters and brothers as they voted for independence and became the world’s newest nation.

Over the past months, our hearts were heavy as a deep conflict threatened to destroy all for which they have strived. We mourned with those who lost loved ones in this unrest, with the children and adults who have become traumatized again and again, with those who are injured, imprisoned, and hiding, and with those driven from their homes. We give thanks for the ceasefire, but we pray for our brothers and sisters as they face the tasks of building a future together.

God of reconciliation, we ask you to send your Spirit of unity and peace to guide the people and the leaders of South Sudan from violence and into the paths of peace and justice. We pray for our church partners; may they feel your presence with them. Strengthen them with the power of your Holy Spirit as they witness to the strong love of Christ, advocating for peace and justice in a situation that is only hopeful because we follow a resurrected Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

CALL FOR ADVOCACY

Contact your senators and representatives in Congress and ask them to support the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act, H.R. 1692.

CALL TO GIVE

Presbyterians are asked for gifts to provide emergency supplies in South Sudan. Account # DR-000042.

 

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South Sudan Webinar January 14, 2014

Join Presbyterian World Mission for a webinar to learn about the recent events unfolding in South Sudan and how the church is working to end violence and bring about reconciliation.

Hear from mission workers who have worked in the region, global partners from South Sudan, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian United Nations Office and Presbyterian World Mission staff.

Register at link below.

Link:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1218950831868056322

 

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December Prayer Focus

December 2013 Sudans Prayer Focus:  Pray for leaders, and the vulnerable peoples of the Sudan and the Nuba Mountains

During these days we’re thinking again of the remarkable love to all mankind through his Son Christ Jesus.

“Matthew 5:45, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he make his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and on the unjust.” If God didn’t unconditionally love wicked sinners, the ground would immediately open and swallow them all into Hell beneath. The Bible teaches that evil and unjust men enjoy the same blessings of the sun and rain as do the righteous.”

Right now a deep rift of division in showing within the ruling political party in South Sudan. This is DEEPLY CONCERNING. Pray for the intervention of God in the hearts of the leaders to avert what has the potential to become really nasty. From what we can see, it’s clear that tensions are escalating fast and if not averted, it could have very negative consequences in South Sudan. So we’re asking specific prayer that God would give wisdom to the leaders in both Sudan and South Sudan to lead justly. On the other hand we know that God is shaking both the Sudans, so that his unshakable kingdom would arise. Pray that God’s purposes would be fulfilled in the Sudans.

May God bless you as you pray and during this time when we remember God’s love for us and for the world through Christ Jesus.

Below is an extract of an article published December 12, 2013, where the Church leaders in South Sudan are speaking to political leaders to rise above their differences in the interest of South Sudan.  

Exhibit nationalism, religious leaders urge SPLM leaders

 December 12, 2013 (JUBA) – The current political rift within the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will only be resolved, if its leaders exhibit the spirit of nationalism, religious leaders from various denominations, said.

The religious leaders were speaking during an occasion held at their head offices, launching the strategic plan for reconciliation, to last till 2016.

“We do not doubt the capabilities of our leaders to embrace peaceful dialogue. But we pray they do it with sense of responsibility, nationalism, love and forging understanding”, remarked Archbishop Paride Taban, the retired Roman Catholic Bishop of Torit diocese.

We therefore called on them to exercise maximum patience [because] everything needs understanding”, added the cleric, also deputy chair for the country’s national healing, peace and reconciliation committee.

The ruling party, led by South Sudan president Salva Kiir faces a tough test from dissenting members, who insists the party leader should quit after he “unconstitutionally” dissolved its structures.

Last week, for instance, a group led by ex-vice president Riek Machar held a press conference in which they accused president Kiir of allegedly mishandling the party’s affairs, and calling for his exit.

Isaac Dhieu, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan bishop said the late SPLM founding leader, John Garang died at a “very difficult” time when people still needed leadership.

Full article at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201312130248.html

Post adapted from: SSNet [Sudan Support Network] 

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Presbyterian leaders released following imprisonment in South Sudan

Members of the clergy in the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, a partner church of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) , were released after nearly seven months of imprisonment. Reverend Idris Joshua Idris Nalos and Pastor Trainee David Gayin were taken from their homes on May 19 by armed men identified by Amnesty International as security forces.

The two were kept incommunicado – without access to lawyers or their families. Their whereabouts remained unknown until their recent release. Neither Rev. Nalos nor Gayin were charged with a crime. No further details are available regarding their current health.

In support of its partner church in the Republic of South Sudan, leadership within PC(USA) contacted the government there and U.S. State Department on the pair’s behalf. Also, congregations throughout the United States were encouraged to write letters to the government and offer prayers for the pair’s safe release.

 

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Unrest in Khartoum, capital of Sudan

Photos of the protests in Sudan.

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July 1-8: Prayers for South Sudan

July 8: National Day of Prayer for Reconciliation in South Sudan

Please join the people of South Sudan in interfaith prayer for reconciliation. A National Day of Prayer for Reconciliation in South Sudan takes place July 8, 2013, the eve of the second anniversary of  South Sudan’s independence. Pray daily: 

  • July 1-7, with different groups offering prayers (government, organized forces, women, youth, etc).
  • July 5, with Muslims offering prayers in mosques
  • July 7, with Christians offering prayers in churches
  • July 8, with citizens offering prayers for the nation in Juba Stadium and in the 10 State capitals

Prayer concerns may include:

  • Justice leading to peace for all
  • An end to violence
  • The transformation of hearts
  • The safety of Reverend Idris Joshua Idris Nalos and Pastor Trainee David Gayin and all others who have been detained
  • Jonglei state and other places of inter-tribal violence
  • Good leadership and good governance

Here is a sample prayer you may adapt or use:

God of grace,
 God of justice,
 God of peace,

you create us to live together,

to honor and respect one another.
Hear us as we pray for South Sudan.
With our sisters and brothers,
we give thanks as they celebrate their independence.
With our brothers and sisters,
we pray for your presence and guidance
as they seek to live together.
Comfort all who mourn the death or injury of loved ones.
Keep safe Reverend Idris Joshua Idris Nalos and Pastor Trainee David Gayin and all who are detained and their families.
Speed the day when they will be released.
Protect the women who are targets of sexual violence
the children and the most vulnerable.
Grant all your children
the grace to see each other as sisters and brothers
and the courage to turn from violence and break cycles of vengeance.

Renew within the leaders of South Sudan
the vision for a just and peaceful country

that leads to the wisdom to govern wisely.
Provide the leaders and peoples of South Sudan with
strength to work for justice for all;

passion to seek reconciliation and peace;

and all that is needed for the living of these days.
God of grace,
God of justice,
God of peace,

you create us to live together,

to honor and respect one another.

Bless South Sudan and her people,

we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

May God lead the people of South Sudan to justice, peace, and reconciliation.

 

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