Sudan: The forgotten war with no winners

01/05/2024

Statement from Bishops Nick Baines, Church of England Lead for Foreign Affairs, and Paul Swarbrick, Roman Catholic Lead Bishop for Africa:
Composite image of Bishop Nick Baines and Bishop Paul Swarbrick Diocese of Leeds, Mazur/cbcew.org.uk

It is over one year since the start of the Sudanese civil war. The actions of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to have devastating consequences for the people of Sudan. However, today, with attention turned elsewhere, Sudan remains largely overlooked – a forgotten conflict with no winners that is already one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our time.

The war has triggered the world’s largest hunger crisis, coupled with the worst ongoing displacement crisis worldwide. The World Food Programme report that there are now 10.5 million people, far more people than the entire population of London, displaced, with over 25 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Nearly 15,000 have already been killed, and 26,000 more have been injured, with women and children bearing the brunt of unspeakable violence.

Pope Francis, in his 2020 Easter Message, reminded us that “this is not the time for forgetfulness”, aligning with the Archbishop of Canterbury's plea “to stand with those suffering because of war”. It is in this spirit, that we must, however hard it is, not simply shift our attention from one crisis to another. Instead, we should acknowledge, pray, and act in solidarity for all who suffer worldwide. For each crisis is akin to a sick child in our universal family, deserving equal love, care and attention.

Sudan, a place with which we have strong connections and with whose people we are deeply engaged, demands our collective attention and focus. To the UK government and the international community - we plead with you to do what you can to bring about an immediate ceasefire and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access. It is so desperately needed to avert a further catastrophic humanitarian hunger crisis.

- Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Lead Bishop for Africa, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
- The Rt Revd Nick Baines, The Lord Bishop of Leeds, Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Foreign Affairs.