Churches warn of threat of genocide in Sudan

Published June 1, 2004

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has sent $20,000 to a worldwide appeal for thousands of Sudanese civilians who have been displaced from their homes by ongoing violence in the Darfur and Upper Nile regions.

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has warned of a “genocide in the making” in the northeast African nation where government-backed militias have been raiding villages in these areas, according to Ecumenical News International (ENI). AACC compared the situation in Sudan to that of Rwanda 10 years ago where 800,000 people were killed. The AACC said it has received reports that the homes of about 23,000 people had been destroyed in the Upper Nile region.

PWRDF, the Anglican Church of Canada’s disaster relief and development agency, sent its contribution to its global partner, Action by Churches Together, which has been assisting the Sudan Council of Churches and Norwegian Church Aid in providing emergency relief to more than 30,000 victims.

PWRDF also joined Kairos, a Canadian ecumenical social-justice organization, in urging the Canadian government to help stop the violence in Sudan and to “take leadership in assuring a comprehensive peace process between the government of Sudan and its opposition.”

“The Canadian government has not acted beyond some ‘behind the scenes’ work at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva,” said a PWRDF report on its Web site.

AACC has accused African governments of “indifference to the suffering of the people of Sudan, for failing to respond to their appeals and for having supported the re-election of Sudan to the executive committee of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission,” ENI reported.

“The recent unfolding situation truly lends itself to genocide in the making,” AACC general secretary Mvume Dandala said in Nairobi. “If another tragedy develops in proportion to that of Rwanda, this will be an indictment on our generation.”

World Council of Churches general secretary Sam Kobia has called on Sudanese president Lieutenant-General Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir “to take steps to put an end to human rights violations in the [Darfur] region and to ensure that those guilty of committing acts of violence and human rights abuses are brought to justice.”

Meanwhile, ENI said that Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, reported recently that Sudanese police had evicted church


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