NGOs welcome historic step towards peace in Sudan, but warn of continued conflict and need for international attention and suppo
9 January 2005 - Sudan Advocacy Coalition (CARE International, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam International, Save the Children UK and Tearfund)
Six international agencies working in Sudan today welcomed the historic signing of the long-awaited comprehensive peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).
"The agreement offers Sudan the best hope yet for peace. For millions of displaced people it will signal the start of their journey home. It is the start of the process of healing for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who have borne the brunt of this cruel conflict,'' said Cynthia Gaigals, a spokesperson for the agencies.
Despite this peace agreement, insufficient attention has been given to the underlying causes of Sudan's conflict, contributing to continued fighting in Darfur and tensions in the Beja area in the east.
"In Darfur nearly two million people have been driven from their homes, continued abuses and unrelenting attacks are a tragic blight on the peace process.
"A peace settlement that does not seriously address the causes of conflict in Darfur and other areas cannot be comprehensive, nor can it be sustained without community involvement. The crisis of governance, the lack of respect for human rights and the marginalization of ordinary citizens that contributed to the war have also fostered new crises," said Gaigals.
It is vital that the international community continue to work with the Government of Sudan and the SPLM to ensure that the peace deal is implemented.
"The next six months are the most fragile for this fledgling peace deal. A strong peace-keeping mission must be deployed quickly by the United Nations. Sudan has been ravaged by civil war for generations, donors need to commit funds for essential development."
The agencies, CARE International, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam International, Save the Children UK and Tearfund, have been working in Sudan for more than 20 years.
For further information, please contact Matt Grainger on 44 1865 313705.