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Reconciliation in the Sudans


Stein Erik Horjen

In 2005, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the longest civil war in African history. Stein Erik Horjen argues that although this second civil war was not a religious one, religion still played an important role in the conflict. Ensuring freedom of religion was a high priority for the SPLM and for the Sudanese churches, which were instrumental in preparing the ground for the 2005 agreement in the same way they had been in facilitating the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972.
Focusing on the pivotal role of the Sudanese churches through a grassroots peace process called People to People, Horjen examines the churches’ work in ensuring the success of the peace talks between the SPLM and the government sealed by the 2005 Peace Agreement. Taking up the role as the voice of the voiceless, the Sudanese churches challenged and criticized the military and political leaders in regards to abuses of power.
In Reconciliation in the Sudans, Horjen details the tremendous suffering of the people during recurrent conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. Understanding the history will allow the reader contextual insight into the latest conflict that erupted in South Sudan in 2013. The failure of including mechanisms for reconciliation in the CPA can be considered a main reason for this latest war.
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Chapter 13. Wunlit


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The planning of the peace conference in Wunlit took more than eight months. A lot of practical issues needed to be sorted out. The conference site had to be chosen and buildings constructed, participants and supporters were to be chosen and their safety ensured. It was also important to get permission from the armed forces. In addition, it all had to be financed and organized. A great deal was at stake. The successful preparatory meeting with the local leaders in Lokichokio had created expectations that would be all the greater with regard to the larger conference at Wunlit. Failure would have had very negative consequences for the organizers and for the NSCC, and even more for the Southern Sudanese people. An unsuccessful conference could set the work for peace back by many years and lead to an intensification of the warfare, which in turn would have lead to new misery. The planning therefore had to bear in mind the following up and the implementation of the conference’s proceedings.

One of the first questions was the location of the conference. This had both practical and political implications. It was clear early on that both the NSCC and the local representatives wanted the conference to be held inside Sudan, not in Kenya like the preparatory conference. Which place in Southern Sudan could accommodate thousands of visitors for several weeks? Was ← 77 | 78 → it better to meet in the Dinka or...

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