Sudan is a 'forgotten conflict with no winners', say Churches

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The Church of England and Catholic Church have issued a joint statement lamenting the ongoing conflict in Sudan and calling for action from the international community to restore peace.

The statement coincides with the first anniversary of the outbreak of fighting between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) (RSF) – a Sudanese paramilitary force - and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). 

The UN says that nearly 15,000 have been killed and 25 million people are in "dire" humanitarian need in the country. According to the World Food Programme, 10.5 million people have been displaced. 

Bishop Nick Baines, the Church of England's Lead Bishop for Foreign Affairs, and Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Lead Bishop for Africa for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, called the civil war "a forgotten conflict with no winners" and "one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our time".

They said that with "attention turned elsewhere" - a reference to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza - the conflict in Sudan remains "largely overlooked", and women and children are "bearing the brunt of unspeakable violence".

"Pope Francis, in his 2020 Easter Message, reminded us that 'this is not the time for forgetfulness', aligning with the Archbishop of Canterbury's plea 'to stand with those suffering because of war'," they said.

"It is in this spirit, that we must, however hard it is, not simply shift our attention from one crisis to another. Instead, we should acknowledge, pray, and act in solidarity for all who suffer worldwide. For each crisis is akin to a sick child in our universal family, deserving equal love, care and attention.

"Sudan, a place with which we have strong connections and with whose people we are deeply engaged, demands our collective attention and focus." 

The statement ends with a plea to the UK government and international community to do everything in their power to bring about an immediate ceasefire and ensure "unhindered" humanitarian access.

"It is so desperately needed to avert a further catastrophic humanitarian hunger crisis," the bishops concluded.