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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 19. Comprehensive Peace Processes?


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· 19 ·


When we address the issues of peace and conflict in Sudan, we cannot talk about one conflict only, and not even about one peace process. Several parallel civil wars were going on at the same time in Sudan, each of them requiring a solution.1 Discontent with the government in Khartoum flared up in the south, the east, the west, and the north of the country, where large parts of the population felt marginalized. Various groups mobilized for armed struggle against the regime, and the government was at one point in three different peace negotiations. These processes led to separate peace agreements. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in Nairobi in Kenya in January 2005, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed in Abuja in Nigeria in May 2006, and the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) was signed in Asmara in Eritrea in October 2006. The last two agreements did not lead to a lasting solution to the conflicts in those regions. The acts of war in Eastern Sudan were never as violent as those in the south or in Darfur, but the issues of the conflict are still the same, marginalization of the periphery. Neither of the problems in Darfur are solved. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since the war broke out in 2003. Much of the content of the CPA was replicated in the DPA and ESPA, only that the process was flawed....

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