In a gesture of solidarity towards the new country of South Sudan and to the Caritas Internationalis network committed to its full development, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (Development and Peace) is contributing $250,000 to improve access to basic services, water, food shelter, health and education for returnees, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable populations.
Decades of North-South conflict in Sudan have taken two million lives and displaced more than five million people. As a result of the Peace Agreement signed in 2005, a referendum took place in January 2011 where the population of South Sudan voted massively (99%) for independence, and the new Republic of South Sudan was officially declared on July 9.
"Along with many other international solidarity organizations, we are excited and inspired by the birth of this new nation" says Michael Casey, Executive Director of Development and Peace.
"However, the region continues to be extremely volatile and its population is subject to growing internal unrest and violence particularly in Abyei, South Kordofan, and other regions on the border between North and South Sudan."
After a long period of conflict, serious governance issues, and suffering the growing impact of recurring natural disasters, the challenges of this new country are immense. Its long-term success will depend first on the determination of its citizens and leaders, and also on the support of organizations such as Development and Peace to promote peace and stability for its citizens.
Over the last 30 years, Development and Peace has supported numerous emergency and humanitarian relief projects in Sudan and has contributed to the capacity-building of Sudan Aid (Caritas Sudan).