Press release: ACT general secretary pledges continued solidarity with South Sudanese people

Friday, March 02, 2012

In his first visit to South Sudan, ACT Alliance general secretary John Nduna today pledged continued solidarity with the people of the world’s newest country, and urged the government in Juba to fulfil its responsibilities to its citizens.

"This is a critical time in the history of the new nation," said Nduna. "The South Sudanese people have long struggled and endured intense hardship for the sake of their new homeland. It is now up to the government, with the help of those of us who are committed to supporting justice and peace in the region, to provide a stable and secure environment that allows people to develop and prosper in the ways they choose."

The ACT general secretary's comments were made during his five-day tour of South Sudan, where he met the South Sudanese minister of information, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, and Mary Abiong, Director General of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC).

Nduna acknowledged that the government faces numerous challenges and expressed concern about the humanitarian impact of violence in Jonglei in the north of the country, as well as in the state of South Kordofan over the border in the Republic of Sudan, both of which have led to tens of thousands of people being displaced across South Sudan.

Jonglei and in South Kordofan (situated in the Republic of Sudan) that has created internally displaced and refugee populations, respectively.

"It is the primary responsibility of the government to provide security for all people within its boundaries, including refugees from the north, and to lead the way in bringing about peace and development for the whole country."  He affirmed that ACT, through its member organisations and partners in the country, will be there to support these efforts.

The general secretary pointed to a number of ongoing ACT projects in South Sudan, specifically those that are working to assist internally displaced and refugee populations. The Lutheran World Federation, in coordination with Norwegian Church Aid and the Sudan Council of Churches, for example, is providing humanitarian relief to those affected by conflict in Jonglei. With an eye toward long-term development and peace-building, the humanitarian response in Jonglei has been linked to conflict-mitigation activities facilitated by the Sudan Council of Churches.

With more than a dozen member organisations working in South Sudan, and many more local and international partnerships in action on the ground, Nduna spoke to the value of effective coordination among stakeholders.

“A large network like ACT has an important role to play in the effective coordination and mobilisation of resources for affected populations.  And we will continue our grassroots efforts to listen and respond to the needs and aspirations of the South Sudanese people to help them chart the pathways to development that they have marked out for themselves.”