After 21 years of devastating civil war claiming the lives of 2 million people, Sudanese Christians are cautiously banking on a new peace deal. They say it could finally bring a fresh start for southerners, many of whom have been persecuted for their faith.

Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army have signed six peace protocols, including three on May 26 in Kenya. Under the accords, the mostly Christian and animist south will remain autonomous for six years. Then there will be an envisioned referendum on independence from the largely Muslim, Arab north.

"The decisions reached between the north and south mean a lot to the Christians in Sudan," Anglican Bishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of Renk told Christianity Today.

Christians, he said, will begin to enjoy access to food, water, shelter, medicines, and clothing, "which they were denied directly or indirectly by the government of Sudan" during the war. They will also start taking positions as judges to begin overseeing their affairs, pursue opportunities to create jobs without "harassment and sabotage," and enjoy freedoms of movement and expression, as well as the rights to worship and evangelize.

According to Jeremiah Swaka of the Sudan Council of Churches, the peace agreement means that southern Sudanese Christians displaced in the north "will return home and practice their faith without any hurdles and government curtailments."

The bishop believes the international community must help resettle displaced people; build roads, schools, and hospitals; and invest wisely for the future of all Sudanese.

The country also needs peacekeeping forces and civilian monitors, Swaka said. In Sudan, "peace agreements between the north and the south are easily and quickly dishonored." ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
A Decisive Turn to Paganism Subscriber Access Only
Has the nation finally abandoned its Judeo-Christian heritage, or is there still hope?
RecommendedRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickThe March for Science Is Willing to Get Political. But Will It Welcome Religion?
The March for Science Is Willing to Get Political. But Will It Welcome Religion?
How evangelical scientists square their place in the global movement.
Christianity Today
Freedom for Sudanese Faith
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.