December 23, 2013 (SSNA) — As a spiritual body, South Sudan Coalition of Episcopal Churches in the United States is concerned with the level of violence taking place in Juba, Bortown, Akobo and other areas of South Sudan. As a body of Christ, South Sudan Coalition of Episcopal Churches in the United States strongly condemned senseless killing of civilians.
As a result:
A. We are urging President Kiir’s government to declare:
- Ceasefire and refrain from escalating the conflict
- Protect all civilians across the country
- Agree to dialogue as a way to resolve any political differences
B. We are urging Dr. Riek Machar and all dissatisfied parties to:
- Accept ceasefire and/or initiate ceasefire
- Adhere to principles of democracy that they are advocating
- Protect civilians, respect their rights and properties in towns and/or areas under their control
C. To the United States and United Nations
We are appealing to the United States government and United Nations to:
- Exert political pressure on President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar and all opposition parties to immediately stop hostilities
- Help establish displace camps and provide necessary security protection to civilians displaced by the ongoing violence across the country
- Use their good offices to bring the disputing parties to a negotiating table
- Help investigate cases of human rights violations committed by both parties
- Introduce UN Security Council Resolution to strengthen UNMISS mandate and increase the number of peacekeepers in South Sudan.
Note: As a church, we are seeing ethnic polarization in South Sudan. This is evident in the division among the country’s leadership, formation of political parties along ethnic line and also evident in division in the country army forces. If nothing is done sooner to mediate the present conflict situation between Kiir’s government and Dr. Riek Machar and other dissatisfied opposition parties, we are afraid that South Sudan will see a repeat of 1991 massacre in which thousands of civilians lost their lives and/or properties. Therefore, in order to avoid that from happening, we are appealing to the United States and the United Nations to do everything in their power to avert another ethnic cleansing from happening again in South Sudan.
Rev. John Deng, South Sudanese Congregation Saint Paul Episcopal Church, Kansas City MO. And Chairman of South Sudan Coalition of Episcopal Churches (SSCEC) in the United States.