.- Outspoken Sudanese Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur has come out against a change in Sudanese leadership, saying that ending human rights abuses is more important than removing the accused President Omar al Bashir.
Last week the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued a warrant for President Bashirâs arrest, accusing him of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur in west Sudan.
President Bashir responded to the warrant by expelling 13 aid agencies, prompting international protests.
Bishop Adwok, speaking with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), warned that a change in leadership could derail the fragile peace process in the country, especially in south Sudan.
âThe indictment of the president is not a matter taken lightly by the President or the people around him,â the bishop said.
âRemoving him could throw obstacles in the path to peace â including in the south of the country.
âWe urge people around the world to pray for us. Sudan has entered into a critical moment in her history.â
Bishop Rudolf Deng, President of the Catholic Bishopsâ Conference of Sudan, has also warned that arresting the president would create more tension. Instead, according to his message reported by the Catholic Information Service for Africa, he called for âmore sincerityâ from the leaders and the rebels and âa more serious dedication from the international community to save the Sudan.â
Four years ago, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was brokered by the Khartoum government and rebel leaders in the south, ending 25 years of civil war.
According to ACN, tension in the region is growing with the approach of a referendum on independence for the south. The referendum is expected within two years.
Bishop Adwok further explained the situation:
âWhatever happens now, the people should be treated justly. We are asking ourselves âWho will defend the rights of Christians in our country?ââ
Calling for an end to abuses against minorities, including Christians, the bishop said: âThere have been human rights abuses going on for a long time and now we need to put that behind us.â
âAbove all justice for the people should be maintained. Those who have suffered are innocent people who have been put through misery because of their ethnic background, their religion or culture,â he added.
Bishop Adwok said that ACNâs work in Sudan, work which supports priests, religious sisters and schoolchildren, would not be affected by the tensions in Khartoum.
ACN also provides help for seminarians, catechists, Mass stipends, Childrenâs Bibles and schools in Khartoum.