28-January-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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East African Bishops: South Sudanese Society Must Be Included in Negotiations

Says Unity Among Churches Should Inspire Peace Between Government and Rebel Forces

ROME, January 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - "Let the international community know that there is a moral obligation to intervene on behalf of the many people in South Sudan whose very survival is threatened and whose basic human rights are seriously violated."

This was the appeal launched by the Association of Members of the Episcopal Conference of East Africa (AMECEA) in a statement sent to Fides News Agency.

The Eastern African bishops also called for humanitarian aid to those who have fled the ongoing conflict. Tensions in the area continue despite a ceasefire between rival factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Both government and rebels have accused each of violating the truce.

Calling for an expansion in negotiations, the AMECEA stated that all components of South Sudanese society should be included, not just members of the government and rebel factions.

South Sudan's independence, the Bishops stated, "should never be looked at as solely military success. It is the south Sudanese as a people who were fighting for liberation. It therefore means that every effort should be made to avoid the militarization of the management and day to day running of the affairs of South Sudan."

Highlighting the role the Church has played in uniting the people of South Sudan, the East African bishops continued to appeal for unity among all the churches.

"We admire the strong ecumenical bond that has existed between the different churches in South Sudan. It is in the unity of the prophetic voice of the Church leaders that the people were inspired to find their identity as one united people of south Sudan," the Bishops stated.

The AMECEA, which includes Bishops from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, concluded their letter, entrusting South Sudan to the Blessed Mother whom they referred to as the "Queen of Peace and Queen of Africa."

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