Peace and reconciliation for South Sudan. The Federation of South Sudanese Churches is working towards this major goal. The ecumenical umbrella organization is supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Mission 21. In October, a delegation from the Federation of Churches was in Basel for talks. The church member media in German-speaking Switzerland are now reporting on this.
"A lot of strength emanates from the church people who traveled to Basel, although they have little good to report," says reporter Christa Amstutz in the December issue of the newspaper "reformiert." sums up her impressions. And Karin Müller quotes peace coordinator Juan Rachel, one of the 16 delegates who traveled to the conference, in the online edition of the "Kirchenbote". With a view to the upcoming elections in 2024, she says: "Young people like me have never been able to vote. Young people want to vote for their political leaders, but at the same time they distrust them."
This mistrust is based on a great deal of experience of violence. After several wars, South Sudan seceded from Sudan as an independent state in 2011, but a civil war began in the country itself in 2013, which only officially came to an end in 2018 with a peace treaty. However, fighting and human rights violations are still a sad reality.
Persistent work on peace and reconciliation
The South Sudan Federation of Churches has been working for years to create reconciliation and peace in the country and to build trust. All the major churches are organized in the Federation. Now they want to work towards a non-violent ballot next year. The sixteen-strong delegation met in Basel with the FDFA and Mission 21 - both of which support the Federation of Churches in its peacebuilding efforts.
The obstacles that the church delegation sees, but also the glimmers of hope that come from the work of recent years, can be read in the articles in reformiert. and kirchenbote-online. The two reports complement each other! It is very important that the newspaper reformiert, which reaches around 700,000 households with its printed edition, and the Kirchenbote, which informs the church members of nine cantons, showed great interest in the visit of the Federation of Churches and reported on it in detail.