Message of solidarity, peace and hope to the people of South Sudan

(Juba, South Sudan) May 23, 2014 — The Religious Superior’s Association of South Sudan released a statement earlier this month expressing a message of “solidarity, peace and hope” to those affected by the violence in South Sudan over the past five months.

The full statement from the RSA of South Sudan:

A MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY, PEACE AND HOPE TO THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN

“It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts of the Apostles 4:20)

We, the 75 representatives of 29 Catholic Religious Congregations belonging to the Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan (RSASS) that carry on evangelization offering various services in Church schools, dispensaries, hospitals and pastoral activities in dozens of parishes and missions across the seven Dioceses of South Sudan, gathered in Juba for our Annual Assembly to reflect on the Small Christian Communities, as a new way of being Church for the People of God, from 13th-15th May 2014, wish to send a message of solidarity, peace and hope to the people of South Sudan in this time of crisis and violence.

As your brothers and sisters, we are all mindful of each child, each woman, each man, each elderly person who has been affected by violence in South Sudan over the past five months. The blood of thousands of innocent people cries for justice. We cannot remain indifferent to the cry of the poor and the innocent who have lost their lives or are going through deep suffering and pain. “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil” (Genesis 4:10).

We wish, first of all, to offer our prayers for those who have fallen victims of this senseless violence and lost their lives in the various regions of the country where there are conflicts. Our hearts and our thoughts are with the bereaved families in these difficult moments of pain and loss. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:25) Read the rest of this entry »

A record 33.3 million now displaced by war worldwide

(GENEVA) May 14, 2014 — Thirty-three million people were internally displaced at the end of 2013 due to conflict and violence says a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This equates to a staggering increase of 4.5 million from 2012, signaling a record high for the second year running.

SetWidth240-idmc-global-overview-2014-cover-72dpiToday IDMC, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), launched its Global Overview 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva, alongside the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The report, which covers internal displacement in 2013 highlights that a full 63% of the record breaking 33.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) reported worldwide, come from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Including figures for Nigeria for the first time, the report documents that an astounding, 3.3 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict.

“This record number of people forced to flee inside their own countries confirms a disturbing upward trend of internal displacement since IDMC first began monitoring and analyzing displacement back in the late 90s,” says Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of NRC.

“The dramatic increase in forced displacement in 2013 and the fact that the average amount of time people worldwide are living in displacement is now a staggering 17 years, all suggest that something is going terribly wrong in how we are responding and dealing with this issue,” says Egeland.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres added: “We should all be concerned about these numbers and the continuing upwards trend. We have a shared responsibility to act to end this massive suffering. Immediate protection and assistance for the internally displaced is a humanitarian imperative.” Read the rest of this entry »