18 July 2016 - The Chair of Christian Aid, the Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken out against the recent fighting in South Sudan, where armed clashes in the capital, Juba, claimed nearly 300 lives and forced thousands of people to abandon their homes.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, who visited South Sudan with Christian Aid in 2014, has highlighted the devastating cost of conflict in the country. He has also echoed a call for peace made by fellow senior Christian leaders at the South Sudan Council of Churches, a Christian Aid partner, in response to the Juba clashes.
Dr Williams said: “The recent escalation of violent conflict in Juba since July 7 has caused yet more appalling suffering for the people of South Sudan who have over the past two and a half years endured the terrible consequences of a return to war and the bitter disappointment of hopes denied or deferred.
“It is – as so often – the poorest and most vulnerable who bear the brunt of the violence, who have lost lives, loved ones and homes. Thousands of people have been displaced by the recent violence. Many have sought refuge in church compounds across Juba, seeking safety and protection. These people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
“For too long, women, children, and men in this nation have struggled to continue with their daily lives against the threat of food shortages, widespread displacement, economic crisis, and the trauma of murderous conflict.
“The recent hostilities have demonstrated the fragility of the peace agreement. They have underscored the need for the international community to call the leaders of South Sudan to account in implementing the promise of peace.
"They have shown just how much is at stake in this for future generations in South Sudan: if the next generation is to inherit anything more than devastation, resentment and failed hopes, urgent action is imperative in ending this conflict.
“As they did through decades of civil war, the churches once again stand as one of the few signs of hope, giving voice to the needs of the people of South Sudan… Their commitment to working for peace and reconciliation is as strong as ever.
“As the South Sudan Council of Churches says in its statement, ‘The time for carrying and using weapons has ended; now is the time to build a peaceful nation.’ I affirm and echo their cry for peace. I stand with them in praying that parties, communities and leaders do everything in their power to ‘create an atmosphere where violence is not an option’.”
If you would like further information, please contact Tomi Ajayi on 020 7523 2427 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (24-hour press duty phone: 07850 242950.)
To donate to our emergency appeal for the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, see here.
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk