Sudan is situated in Northern Africa by the Red Sea, and neighbours Egypt, Eritrea, Chad and Uganda. 52% of the population is African, 39% is Arab, and 6% is Beia. 70% of the population identifies itself with Islam, 25% follow indigenous faiths and 5% are Christians. Most Muslims live in the North, and Christians generally reside in southern Sudan.
Sudan has experienced ongoing conflict since 1972. The 30-year civil war was in the beginning stages of resolution in 2002. A conflict that broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003 has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and nearly 2 million people displaced.
Religious freedom is guaranteed in Sudan by the Constitution; however, the spread of Islam is a prominent goal of the government. In the northern regions of Sudan, Shari’a law is the basis of the legal system, and the application of national legislation in the south is subject to the values and traditions of the population.
All schools, public and private, are expected to teach the curriculum provided by the state. Although private schools may choose their teachers, Muslim instructors are provided to teach the Islamic studies portion of the curriculum. English, as a language of instruction, is not permitted.
The construction of a place of worship requires the permission of the state government, through the Ministry of Construction and Planning, as well as the acquisition of a permit from the local authorities. There have been reports that while applications for Mosques are usually granted, permission to build churches is rarely approved. 1975 was the last time a permit was issued for the construction of a church.
Non-Muslim missionaries are required to register with the government.
International Treaties Signed by Sudan
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Canada-Sudan Diplomatic Relations
Information about Canada’s relationship with Sudan
Canadian Embassy in Sudan
Canadian representatives in Sudan
Sudan’s representatives in Canada
For prayer requests, see the alerts, or the general page of prayer for the Persecuted Church.
General information about Sudan
Information about human rights in Sudan
Information about the persecuted Church in Sudan (from the Voice of the Martyrs Canada)
Related EFC Religious Liberty Commission Alerts
Note: Alerts are in reverse chronological order, beginning with most recent.
PRAY FOR SUDAN ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, 2011
SOURCES: (Globe and Mail, National Post, World Evangelical Alliance, Christianity Today)
Further to the December 20, 2010 Prayer Alert, the EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission is calling for urgent prayer this weekend as Southern Sudan will go to the polls on Sunday, January 9 in a referendum to determine whether the South will seek independence from the North.
The referendum’s results, and reaction to those results, could push the country to the brink of civil war and undo the fragile peace agreement signed five years ago. Additionally, should the result be independence for the South, the North has indicated that it will not only become an Islamic state, but will not assist Christians in returning safely to the South. There is enormous potential of a rise in violence and bloodshed, but also potential for an increase in the persecution of Christians in both the North and the South. Read more ...
NEW REPORT: Religious Freedom in Sudan Report Released by EFC's Religious Liberty Commission
In light of the impending referendum, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Religious Liberty Commission has released a report titled Religious Freedom in Sudan: Referendum on the North/South Divide.
The January 6, 2011 report is available on the EFC website at: http://files.efc-canada.net/si/rfi/sudanreport-rlcv0106-3.pdf. A related EFC video explanation about the Sudan referendum is also available on YouTube.
Sudan Referendum, January 9, 2011: “Pray for Peace and Reconciliation of Sudan”
SOURCES: (BBC Online, The Australian News, All Voices, World Evangelical Association, Faith Today, Christianity Today)
In Canada we understand the emotionally deep and lasting impact a separation referendum has on a country. Sudan is a country buried deep in 50 long years of civil tensions over religion, resources and ideology. It has experienced an even greater cost than Canada has ever known – through war and the loss of precious life – as it moves toward its referendum. Read more ...
Sudan – As the genocide ensues in Darfur and peace talks break down in the South, a timely, integrated approach to Sudan is gravely needed.
SOURCES: (Human Rights Watch, UN IRIN, CBC)
Since 1983, civil war and famine have claimed the lives of over 2 million people in Sudan and left 4 million internally displaced. The Khartoum government has committed deplorable abuses against people groups in southern Sudan since coming to power in a military coup in 1989, and now the Darfur Crisis is another chapter in Khartoum’s history of crimes against humanity, that points to the need for an integrated approach to peace in Sudan. The United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions that require the government of Sudan to stem the conflict. But these processes are very slow. Many are calling the situation in Darfur "genocide," a designation that would require the international community to intervene. A peace force from the African Union is preparing to engage in Sudan if peace is not restored.
In February 2003, an armed conflict escalated between an alliance of the Sudanese government forces and ethnic Arab militia and two non-Arab African rebel groups called the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The rebel groups were demanding an end to chronic economic marginalization and sought power-sharing within the Arab-ruled Sudanese state. They also sought government action to end the abuses of Arab militias in the region. Instead of fighting the rebels, the government forces have waged a systematic campaign against unarmed civilians belonging to the same ethnic groups as the rebel groups – namely the Fur, Masaalit and Zaghawa. It has organized a military and political partnership with some Arab nomads comprising the Janjaweed; armed, trained, and organized them. In response to the Security Council’s demand that Janjaweed militia members be disarmed, the Sudanese government has instead begun to incorporate them into official state security units such as the police and semi-regular forces such as the Popular Defense Forces.
Since the crisis in Darfur emerged, an estimated 30,000 people have been killed, more than a million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, as a result of brutal attacks by armed militias. Hundreds of thousands are facing possible starvation in light of a lack of access to humanitarian assistance, and regional insecurity resulting in inability to plant crops. About 158,000 are believed to be in Chad as refugees. The U.N. estimates that by September 2004 there were be 2.2 million people at risk and in need of emergency assistance in Darfur.
While the international media focuses on the crisis in Darfur, peace talks in the south continue to deteriorate as conflict erupts in Shilluk Kingdom in Upper Nile, one of the areas covered under the peace process. Of particular concern in this situation is that the monitors appointed as part of the North-South peace process have reported on this violation of the ceasefire conditions and international humanitarian law, but nothing is being done about it. While many have tried to address the Darfur crisis separately from the problems in the rest of the country, and while the situation is not a threat to Christians directly, the crisis in Darfur is inextricably linked to the peace process in the south.
In reality, the entire area is destabilized, and a general atmosphere of insecurity pervades Sudan and neighbouring countries as a result of not one of the conflicts alone, but as a result of the numerous, ongoing and resurging conflicts. In fact, the causes of the conflict in Darfur are similar to the causes of the long-running conflicts elsewhere in Sudan. There is an immediate need for an integrated approach too Sudan’s conflicts, including a strong focus on protecting the security and rights of the Sudanese people in all parts of the country.
The Canadian government can be encouraged to support humanitarian aid, support the Sudan Peace Process, denounce human rights abuses and support any peace-keeping mission. Here are the addresses:
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Tower A, 10th Floor
Mr. Abd Elghani E. Awad El Karim
Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan
354 Stewart Street
Ottawa, ON. K1N 6K8
• That the Canadian government would continue its commitment to the Sudan Peace Process and take every opportunity to denounce human rights abuses and bars to delivery of humanitarian aid by the Sudanese government
• That the Khartoum government would cease from waging and promoting violence against its own people, and fulfill its commitment to peace and sustainable development
• That peace would be restored in Sudan
• That those who have suffered so much for so long be strengthened with hope for the future.
• For a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation
• That those who undermine peace would be frustrated
Sudan: Government Begins to Mobilize Troops
SOURCES: (World Evangelical Alliance, EFC Religious Liberty Commission, Barnabas Fund, Wall Street Journal)
Christians are at risk around the world as war with Iraq looms closer. Abbas Ahmed, a spokesman for Cairo's Al-Azhar University (one of the Muslim world's prestigious centres of Islamic scholarship), said that any attack on Iraq would in fact "be a strike on Islam." In a statement on March 10, the University's Islamic Research Academy said, "According to Islamic law, if the enemy steps on Muslims' land, jihad becomes a duty on every male and female Muslim." According to the World Evangelical Alliance, it is very probable that the American-led bombardment and invasion of Iraq will cause Muslim anger to erupt, leading to a violent backlash against Christians in a number of vulnerable areas.
The Islamist Government of Sudan has been massing troops and equipment at key locations in the south over the past two months. Many southern Sudanese are terrified that the Government of Sudan will use the invasion of Iraq as an opportunity to invade and overwhelm southern Sudan while the eyes of the world are elsewhere. This is a serious threat with grave spiritual and humanitarian consequences. The EFC Religious Liberty Commission delivered a statement of concern about this possibility to Department of Foreign Affairs officials last week.
• Pray that the Spirit of God would enable Christians in frightening situations to keep their eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Pray that God would send his own armies of angels and defenders to protect his children.
• Pray for Christians in Iraq and the Middle East. Pray that they would be protected in the event of any conflict.
• Pray for Christians in southern Sudan who may be facing an imminent invasion by government forces.
• Pray for Christians in countries with recent Muslim-Christian tensions. Pray that they would have God's grace and strength to stand in the face of provocations. Pray that God would prevent illegal weapons from coming into tense zones and into the hands of militants.
Sudan: Aid ban lifted
SOURCES: (Globe and Mail, International Christian Concern, CBC.ca)
The government-ordered aid ban to large areas of southern Sudan that left hundreds of thousands of people without food was lifted on October 6 (see the EFC RLC Alert: Sudan Special Opportunity for more information). One week later, the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the government of Sudan resumed peace negotiations and signed a cease-fire agreement. On November 1, Canadian oil company Talisman Energy announced that it would be selling its Sudanese oil interests to India. Talisman and Canadian technology played a major role in opening Sudan's huge oilfields up for export. The regions surrounding the oilfields, which are located in the southern part of Sudan, have been systematically depopulated in order to protect oil development. Oil revenues are commonly estimated at $2 million a day, which is the same amount that the government spends every day on fighting the civil war.
• Praise God for lifting the aid ban to Southern Sudan.
• Praise God for the ceasefire, a major breakthrough for peace. Pray for the peace negotiations. Pray that a just and durable peace agreement would be signed, and that the international community would hold both sides accountable for their actions.
• Praise God that Talisman Energy has withdrawn from Sudan. Pray that Talisman's executives and shareholders would recognize and apologize for the role they played in supporting a genocidal regime.
• Pray that India's national oil company would refuse to tolerate continuing human rights violations in the oil concessions.
Sudan: Aid workers to be evacuated, leaving the Southern Sudanese without food or supplies
SOURCES: (World Evangelical Alliance, KAIROS)
Sudan is host to one of the bloodiest conflicts in the world today, a 20 year-long civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south. Last week, the government of Sudan banned all humanitarian aid to large parts of southern Sudan. There will be no relief flights and no humanitarian aid available from September 27-October 6, and there are no guarantees that aid will again be allowed into Sudan after October 6. The government of Sudan has also begun to bomb the restricted area heavily.
Operation Lifeline Sudan, which is the UN's official food program to Sudan, is currently making plans for a mass evacuation of their personnel. As a result, the people of southern Sudan will be left without food and much needed emergency supplies in the midst of what appears to be a large-scale military offensive. The civilians of Sudan will be targeted and do not have the resources to withstand with these attacks.
We would like to invite you to take part in a special opportunity to communicate your godly love and concern to Christians suffering in Sudan. Canadian Christians have a special responsibility towards the people of southern Sudan because of the role that major Canadian oil company Talisman Energy has played in funding the Sudanese military. The government of Sudan is using the two million dollars a day it receives in oil revenues to fund its war against the south. Several major international reports have found that the government of Sudan also uses Talisman facilities such as airstrips and hangars to launch extermination campaigns against southern civilians living in the area of the oilfields, in order to "protect" the oil facilities. Every working Canadian is invested in Talisman Energy through the Canadian Pension Plan, which holds $53.7 million in Talisman shares.
Christian leaders in southern Sudan have asked whether they have been forgotten by Christians in the west. They feel they are holding the frontier against an aggressive Islamist government that wants to impose Sharia law and Islam on all of Sudan. Voice of the Martyrs (Canada), a member of EFC's Religious Liberty Commission, has prepared an apology to the people of Sudan which they plan to deliver to church leaders in Sudan this fall. VOM invites you to add your voice in asking forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Sudan for not praying and working more to bring peace to their land and for profiting from oil development that has led to the destruction of thousands of lives.
• Pray for the people in southern Sudan who have been dependent on food aid and are now left to starve. Pray that the Lord would provide for them miraculously until aid is again allowed into southern Sudan.
• Pray for change in the government of Sudan. Pray that the government of Sudan would return to the peace negotiations they walked out on in September. Pray that a just and sustainable peace would be established in Sudan.
• Pray for revival among the churches in Sudan and protection for civilians living in chaos.
Sudan: Human Rights Situation in Sudan Continues to Deteriorate
Source: (EFC Religious Liberty Commission, Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group, Faith in Action, KAIROS Canada)
The human rights situation in Sudan, already considered the worst in the world today, continues to deteriorate. The northern government of Sudan has now told the UN-run emergency food aid program Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) that it must move its base of operations from a neutral town in nearby Kenya to a town controlled by the Sudanese government. This follows an earlier decree by the government of Sudan that banned food shipments to the oil rich Upper Nile region. These moves appear part of the government of Sudan's strategy of creating famines to kill civilian populations in the south of the country. Earlier this month, government helicopters attacked a humanitarian relief food station and killed or wounded nearly 100 civilians who had gathered to be fed. The food station was set up near an oil concession belonging to Canadian oil company Talisman. The Sudanese government's campaign to completely wipe out the pre-existing civilian population near Sudanese oilfields has been well documented by missionaries and Canadian government observers. Members of a small Christian relief and development agency witnessed the aftermath of the latest attack and reported that the carnage resembled something out of a war film.
The EFC RLC has been involved in long-term dialogue with the Canadian government regarding the human rights abuses against Christians and others in Sudan. Members of the House of Commons Human Rights and International Development are currently holding hearings on Sudan and will be visiting Sudan in the Fall. Canada has been criticized for its role in the conflict because a major Canadian oil company is in a partnership with the government of Sudan to extract oil from the south. The oil revenues fund the war effort. More tragically, it is clear that the government of Sudan has a policy of wiping out the indigenous civilian population surrounding the valuable oilfields.
The current phase of the civil war began nearly 20 years ago when the Sudanese president tried to implement Sharia law throughout the religiously and ethnically diverse nation. Since the early 1990s, when the government in the north declared its economically and racially driven war a 'jihad' for the expansion of Islam, Sudan has received financial and moral support from other Islamic countries and organizations such as Al-Quaeda. Christians and traditional believers in the south have faced enslavement, famine and death as the southern rebel army battles government soldiers from the north.
This is a critical time for Canada's policy on Sudan. Please pray for the members of Parliament who are considering how to respond to the human rights catastrophe in Sudan.
Please pray for the millions of people who are suffering in Sudan. Pray a breakthrough would come soon.
Pray that they will have wisdom, insight and integrity as they work.
Pray that the true facts of the situation would come out.
Sudan: Government attempts to eliminate civilians from oil-rich regions
Source: (EFC Religious Liberty Commission)
The EFC RLC has worked to keep you informed about the war raging in Sudan and the impact this war has had on the Christian community in the south. Numerous international government observers and missionaries working in the region have documented the clear relationship between the opening up of oilfields in the south and the government of Sudan's campaigns to eliminate the civilian population in these areas. Today in Calgary, EFC will join with other Christian denominations in calling on the Canadian oil company Talisman Energy to rethink its partnership with the government of Sudan and withdraw from Sudan.
In Calgary, oil is big business. The province of Alberta receives massive revenue from oil. This revenue helps to pay for schools, hospitals and basic infrastructure like roads. Farmers and ranchers are compensated for having oil wells on their land. But this is not how oil is developed in Southern Sudan. There, people are forced off the land. Their homes and villages are bulldozed and burned. Their crops are burned and their cattle driven off. Women and children are abducted, never to be seen again. After being driven off their land, people flee to the mountains, only to face indiscriminate bombing. They have nothing to eat and when UN aid missions drop food, those who try to get it have faced more bombing. The government of Sudan has also brought fear to many Christians in Southern Sudan by speaking the language of Islamic fundamentalism.
It is true that there is a civil war that has been continuing since 1984 but the oil fields are a large part of that civil war. Studies ranging from the Harker Commission, commissioned by the government of Canada, to Amnesty International, to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Sudan have found that the exploitation of oil reserves is linked to serious human rights abuses. These abuses include forced displacement of people; bombing of civilians, sometimes in hospitals, schools and churches; forcible abductions and bombing of humanitarian sites such as food drops and hospitals. Meanwhile, the government of Sudan has used the oil revenue to buy more military equipment to wage war on those in Southern Sudan.
All this raises serious questions about the presence of Talisman Energy in Sudan. While Talisman releases its version of a human rights report, independent studies have a very different story. Talisman’s version does not accurately reflect the experiences and stories of those in Southern Sudan. These Sudanese deserve to be heard on these issues. The refugees who are in Canada must be heard. Canadians need to know, and Talisman shareholders need to know, how Talisman’s oil exploitation has affected the lives of those in Southern Sudan and the lives of their families. In the last several months, the government of Sudan has escalated the conflict. More civilians have been killed. The government deliberately bombed a UN food drop at Bieh. The government has denied access for UN humanitarian assistance in other areas.
There are serious and significant allegations that Talisman is implicated in some of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of Sudan. These allegations must be heard publicly and addressed. It is not sufficient for the senior management of Talisman to paper over the problems and issues. Canadians must recognize that many Southern Sudanese view Talisman Energy as an oppressor. This has tarnished Canada’s good reputation internationally.
We urge those in Calgary, those in Canada, but particularly shareholders of Talisman to listen carefully to the Southern Sudanese among us. Listen to the cry of their hearts. Listen to their cry for peace and justice.
• Pray that the statement would be heard by many, and that the truth of the suffering in Sudan would be made clear to all who hear it.
• Pray that the investors and shareholders will be convicted and will begin to ask hard questions about Talisman's involvement with the government of Sudan.
• Pray that the Lord would continue to protect and care for his people in Sudan and would move to bring about an end to the decades-long civil war there.
Sudan: Police Launch a Search For Mohammed; Two more Converts in Hiding
Source: (Compass Direct)
Please continue to pray for Aladin Mohammed, the Sudanese Christian convert from Islam who has not been allowed to leave the country (see EFC's Sudan Update 2/6/02). Mohammed is currently in hiding, and the Sudanese police have launched an all-out manhunt for him. As a known "apostate" who left Islam 11 years ago to become a Christian, Mohammed is subject to the death penalty under Sudanese criminal law. Since his conversion, Mohammed has been jailed and brutally interrogated numerous times. In January, security officers forcibly gave him a series of injections of unknown drugs that left him drowsy and disoriented. His friends have asked that we pray that they would be able to identify the drugs he was given and that God would heal him of their effects. According to a church leader, two other Sudanese converts to Christianity are caught in a similar situation, facing "critical danger" under threats from the security police. Both are reportedly in hiding to avoid arrest and further torture.
• Pray for the safety of Aladin Mohammed and the two other Sudanese converts presently in hiding from security forces. Pray that God would protect them and strengthen their faith so that they can endure in this difficult situation.
• Pray that all three converts would soon be able to leave Sudan safely.
• Pray that Mohammed and those who care for him would be able to tell what drugs he was injected with in January and take the appropriate steps to help him get better.
• Pray for those who are sheltering Mohammed and the other converts. Pray for God's protection and blessing on them as well.
• Pray that those who are pursuing them would be confused. Pray that the security officers who have interrogated the converts would be humbled by the Gospel message and repent for what they have done.
Sudan: Man Denied Permission to Board Flight in Hiding
Source: (Middle East Concern)
Aladin Mohammed, the Sudanese convert to Christianity spoken of in last week's EFC Alert, is in more danger. He is now in hiding after being beaten and having his passport confiscated by government officials. His exit visa has been cancelled and he cannot travel unless the security police issue a release letter, which they have refused to do. Mr. Mohammed was turned away from the airport for the first time this January as he tried to leave Sudan to study theology in Kenya. He was turned back because he was listed as a criminal in the government's computers. Mr. Mohammed has never been formally charged or convicted for apostasy or conversion from Islam, which are criminal offences in Sudan.
After being turned away from the airport, Mr. Mohammed was ordered to report to the immigration office and check in with security police daily. He complied with this order, in spite of the insults and threats he received with each visit to the security police. On February 2 in the evening he was told that the ban on his travel was lifted and that he should come to the airport the next morning. However on that morning he was stopped at the security desk in the airport and he was asked to go to an office where he found 4 men in plain clothes who introduced themselves as government security personnel. After questioning Mr. Mohammed for some time, they beat him and confiscated his passport and his money. Then they sent him away. Mr. Mohammed is currently in hiding, and his home is being watched.
• Pray for Aladin Mohammed. Pray that God would keep him safe and encourage him during this difficult time. Pray also that he would be allowed to leave Sudan soon.
• Pray for the people who may be involved in sheltering Aladin Mohammed or helping him in any way. Pray that God would protect them from persecution and bless them for their courage and faithfulness.
• Pray for the security police who have been involved in mistreating Aladin Mohammed. Pray that Mr. Mohammed's testimony of love and faithfulness to Jesus Christ would convict them of the wrongness of their actions and cause them to turn to Jesus for salvation.
• Pray for Mr. Mohammed's family. Pray that they, too, would be touched by his faithful ness to Jesus and would in turn look to Jesus for their own salvation.
• Mr. Mohammed's friends have asked human rights organizations to intervene in this situation. Pray for the EFC and other human rights groups as they write Sudanese president Oman Bashir.
Sudan: Convert to Christianity Denied Permission to Board Flight to Uganda
Source: (Compass Direct)
A Sudanese convert to Christianity was refused permission to board a flight to Uganda this morning at the Khartoum airport, where state security police said their computers identified him as a criminal. The security police ordered Aladin Mohammed to report to immigration authorities tomorrow. The situation is serious: two known converts to Christianity disappeared earlier this year under circumstances which strongly implicate government security police. Since his conversion 11 years ago, Mohammed has been arrested, interrogated, imprisoned, tortured and threatened with death. His last stint in prison reportedly stretched from June until September of 2001. During the four months since his release, he has been required to report to the security police on "almost a daily basis," according to one source.
Aladin Omer Agabni Mohammed, 34, is a Sudanese Arab who converted to Christianity while a business student at Gezira University. As a child he had memorized the complete Qur'an, and during his teenage years, he became involved in Sufism, a mystical form of Islam. But four and a half months after he got a copy of the Bible and began reading it, he became a Christian. His family promptly denounced him for apostasy, classified as a crime under Sudanese law, and he was soon expelled from the university. Although Mohammed managed several years ago to enroll in an Arabic-language Christian seminary abroad, he was forcibly deported back to Sudan when local Muslim authorities learned that he was a convert from Islam. A week ago, when his passport being held by the police was returned to him, Mohammed decided to travel to Uganda. There he planned to apply to study theology at the St. Paul Theological Seminary in Limuru, Kenya.
Under Section 126 of the Sudan Penal Code, a Muslim who commits apostasy by deserting Islam for another faith is subject to the death penalty. By contrast, non-Muslims who convert to Islam are given celebrity status, often including media coverage and financial benefits.
• Pray for Mohammed. Pray that God would protect him from the powerful forces of evil that have come against him in Sudan.
• Pray that Mohammed would be allowed to leave the country as soon as possible without interference.
• Pray that Mohammed would be accepted to St. Paul Seminary, and that God would raise him up as a leader in the much-persecuted Sudanese church.
• Pray for other Sudanese converts from Islam, whether secret or open believers. Pray that God would protect them and give them strength to endure the persecution they face from their families and the government.
Sudanese Christians continue to suffer due to the war between the north and the south
Source: (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
Sudanese Christians in the south of the country continue to face the catastrophic consequences of the civil war. Christians in government-controlled northern Sudan are faced with harassment and persecution for practising their faith. Converts to Christianity are tortured. Pray that Jesus would visit his people in Sudan this Christmas and encourage them in these incredibly difficult circumstances. May the Light of Emmanuel be with each of us, and with each of our brothers and sisters, this season.
Parliament feels it must do something about the situation in Sudan
Source: (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Religious Liberty Commission)
Many thanks to all of you who wrote letters during our recent action request on Sudan. They have had an impact. Several other organizations joined the letter-writing campaign as well. Many Members of Parliament have said that they are now receiving more letters on Sudan than on any other issue. And also thanks to those who have prayed and continue to pray for the people of Sudan. There is finally some Parliamentary action on Sudan. On May 9, the Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs held an in camera meeting to decide whether to hold hearings on Sudan. I have been informed that the Sub-Committee has decided to hold hearings. Several Members of Parliament have recently traveled to Sudan, including Joe Fontana who was in Southern Sudan with some members of Christian Solidarity International. Mr. Fontana has agreed to host a meeting between MPs and Bishop Max Gassis, a leading spokesman for the New Sudan Council of Churches. This meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 4. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Critic for Foreign Affairs, Francine Lalonde, has introduced a private members bill to amend the Special Economic Measures Act in a way that would allow the government to impose sanctions on Sudan.
There is a mood on Parliament Hill that “something must be done on Sudan”. The issue for MPs is what to do and how. They do not feel that it is wise to take specific action against Talisman Energy despite everyone’s admission that oil is a contributing factor both to the war and the human rights abuses associated with it. Some options include expanding humanitarian assistance, taking a stronger role in the peace process, and asking for a moratorium on oil expansion. In addition to parliamentary action, Bishop Max Gassis will be traveling to Canada next week to highlight the plight of the Southern Sudanese. The Bishop has been referred to as the “voice of the voiceless”. The Bishop will be meeting with the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Anglican Archbisop of Ottawa on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Bishop will be on 100 Huntley Street. This visit can potentially alert thousands if not millions of Canadians to the concerns of the Sudanese.
Please continue to pray for Sudan over the next few weeks and for the above noted meetings.
• Please pray for the visit of Bishop Max Gassis, both on May 22-24 and June 4. Pray that he will speak so clearly about the plight of his people that Canadians will be compelled to action.
• Please pray for Members of Parliament, that they will not lose the will to take action and that they will have wisdom as to which courses of action to pursue.
• Please pray for those suffering in Sudan, particularly in the South. Pray for the Christians who are crying out to the Lord for relief from the war, the forced relocation and the famine.
Sudan: Not a country of concern for Canada
Source: (EFC Religious Liberty Commission, Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group)
The EFC Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) recently held meetings in Ottawa with Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers. One of our four focus countries is Sudan. We were told that both government and the Official Opposition are currently formulating their policies on Sudan. We also were told that MPs and Cabinet Ministers have had few letters on Sudan and feel that it is not a country of concern for most Canadians.
We urge you to write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, the Opposition Critics on Foreign Affairs (contact information below) and your Member of Parliament. Below is a copy of the letter recently sent by Gary Walsh, President of EFC. This letter gives a great deal of current information on the situation in Sudan. You need not write a lengthy letter. It is valuable simply to note that you are concerned about the conflict in Sudan and wish the Canadian government to make it a priority.
The Hon. John Manley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 996-3443
The Hon. David Kilgour
Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)
Fax: (613) 996-3443
Canadian Alliance Critic for Foreign Affairs
Fax: (613) 992-6181
Progressive Conservative Critic for Foreign Affairs
Fax: (613) 992-7220
NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
Fax: (613) 992-5501
Bloc Quebecois Critic for Foreign Affairs
Fax: (613) 996-5173
The EFC wrote a letter to the Honourable John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on March 26, 2001, which reads as follows:
The facts of Sudan are all too well known and documented by the UN, dozens of human rights groups, relief agencies, government agencies and Sudanese churches. There are over two million dead, more than in Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and all the wars in the Middle East combined, and the greatest death toll since the second world war. There are five million displaced people, the largest population in the world. This year hundreds of thousands face politically induced starvation.
The government of Sudan uses food as a weapon, uses children in armed conflict, uses forced abduction and slavery, forcibly massacres and moves large populations in order for foreign companies to pursue oil development. It deliberately bombs relief centres, hospitals, churches and schools. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has said that "Sudan [is the] site of the world's most long-lasting religious persecution and genocide ." The U.S. Holocaust Museum's Committee of Conscience has determined "that Government actions threaten genocide" and is causing the Museum to have its first ever exhibition on a non-European country.
The sheer scale of the atrocities itself calls out for Canadian action. But Canada has a particular responsibility since, unlike the rest of the Western world, we, through our corporations, have been and are partners of the Sudanese government. The link between Talisman Energy of Calgary and recent human rights abuses in Sudan has been well documented.
The Canadian government's Harker Report establishes the connection between oil development and human rights abuses by the government of Sudan. Reports by the U.S. government, Amnesty International and Medicins sans Frontier have also established and documented both human rights abuses and the complicity of foreign oil companies in the situation.
While Canada has engaged in a policy of "constructive engagement," civilian bombings have increased. We have not seen any improvement in any of the human rights abuses noted above; indeed, we have seen deterioration. We urge you, therefore, to reconsider Canada's approach to dealing with the government of Sudan. We are encouraged that the Department of Foreign Affairs is addressing issues of corporate responsibility. We urge that this be given the highest priority. Other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have enacted legislation on corporate responsibility. It is overdue in Canada. We urge you to take the strongest possible action against Sudan. We urge you to join with other concerned countries to make a major diplomatic effort to achieve a just peace. As part of this, we urge you to support motions condemning the Sudanese Government at the United Nations. We urge you to condemn civilian bombings. We urge you to demand that humanitarian assistance be available to all in Southern Sudan, particularly with the threat of famine in the Nuba Mountains.
As Canada currently considers its own responsibility in allowing the genocide in Rwanda to continue, and as we now try to call to account those who profited from or remained silent about human rights abuses and genocide during the Second World War, we cannot now refuse to act as we profit from the situation in Sudan. We urge you to make Sudan a high priority and formulate your policies consonant with the gravity of the situation and Canada's role.
• Please pray for our leaders, that they will have wisdom and insight as they formulate Canadian policy on Sudan.
• Please pray for the millions suffering in Sudan.
Sudan: Situation has not improved
Source: (Freedom Quest)
Although we have not reported on the situation in Sudan for some time, it has not improved. The government of Sudan continues to bomb civilian targets in Southern Sudan, including hospitals and churches. A Samaritan's Purse hospital, for example, has been hit 9 times in the last several months. New reports have been received of the enslavement of women and children and the regular gang raping of female slaves. This conflict has religious overtones as the government of Sudan is Muslim while the people of the South are largely Christian and animist.
Sudanese newspapers have carried interviews with government ministers that link oil revenue to the continuing military campaign the government of Sudan is waging against the South. Despite assurances from Canadian oil company Chief Executive Officer Jim Buckee, from Talisman Energy, that the situation has improved, there is no evidence of any change. If anything, the situation has deteriorated. There have been many reports that link Talisman Energy's oil development in the Greater Nile Oil Project with the human rights atrocities committed by the government of Sudan in its war against the South. These reports come from reputable sources such as Amnesty International, Medicins sans Frontier and even agencies of the American government.
The Royal Bank of Canada is now Talisman's largest shareholder. The Royal Bank is well aware of the link between Talisman's Sudanese investment and the human rights abuses of the government of Sudan. Several months ago, the EFC Religious Liberty Commission asked for divestment of Talisman shares. Now we ask you to go one step further. If you are a Royal Bank customer, we urge you to write to the Royal Bank and tell them to drop its shares in Talisman immediately or you will find another bank. Talisman profits have a human price. Two million Sudanese have died in the civil war since 1984 and another four million are displaced. Please take this step today.
Toronto street address:
Royal Bank of Canada
200 Bay Street
Tel: (416) 974-5151
Fax: (416) 955-7800
P.O. Box 1
Royal Bank Plaza
Toronto, ON M5J 2J5
Montreal street address:
Royal Bank of Canada
1 Place Ville Marie
Tel: (514) 874-2110
Fax: (514) 874-6582
Royal Bank of Canada
P.O. Box 6001
Montreal, PQ H3C 3A9
• Please pray for the Christians in Southern Sudan and those who are refugees in the surrounding countries.
• Pray for a just and lasting peace in Sudan.
• Pray for Jim Buckee of Talisman Energy, that his heart would be softened towards the persecuted in Southern Sudan and he would disinvest in the Greater Nile Oil Project.
Sudan: Government Violates UN sanctions
Source: (Globe & Mail)
The Globe and Mail reported on September 2 that "Canada will welcome Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Musafa Osman Ismail, to a major global conference on "War Affected Children. The conference is scheduled for September 10-17 in Winnipeg. Those who have been working to highlight the plight of the mostly Christian and animist Southern Sudanese are appalled. Not only does the Government of Sudan the "worst human-rights violator on the face of the earth today" in the words of Secretary of State David Kilgour, but it bombs civilian targets including hospitals and schools. The government of Sudan also permits the enslavement of children. Welcoming the Foreign Minister of Sudan to Canada sends a message that the Canadian government does not take these atrocities seriously, nor does it condemn them. The invitation and welcome are a clear violation of UN sanctions which forbid the international travel of senior Sudanese diplomats.
Over the last several months the government of Sudan has increased attacks on the people of Southern Sudan, particularly in the Nuba Mountains. The government of Sudan has also attempted to stop humanitarian assistance from reaching the displaced people of Southern Sudan. Many Southern Sudanese have been forced from their homes and their agricultural lands during seeding time and are living in the mountains, eating leaves and sleeping in trees. The situation is truly desperate. Now is a strategic moment for a concerted letter-writing campaign to tell the government of Canada that it is not acceptable to welcome the Foreign Minister of such a government to this country.
• Write to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and your Member of Parliament. In your letter, emphasize that the government of Sudan has the worst human rights record in the world.
• State that this government bombs civilian targets and does not allow humanitarian assistance. A government that bombs children by targeting civilian institutions such as churches and schools has no place in a conference about the plight of children in war.
• Due to the urgency of this matter, please fax your letters.
• If you do not receive this alert in time to write before the conference commences, please use this opportunity to write after the fact to deplore the Canadian government’s actions in inviting the Sudanese Foreign Minister to Canada. Letters may be mailed to the House of Commons without postage.
The Honourable Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 941-6900
The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy
Minister for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 996-3443
• Pray that the Canadian government will not allow the Sudan Foreign Minister to attend this conference.
• Pray that the government of Sudan will stop bombing civilian targets and agree to a just and negotiated end to the oppressive war it is waging against the people of Southern Sudan.
• Pray for the Southern Sudanese who face indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets.