Sudan: the Church plays an essential welcoming role for the millions of displaced people

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In Sudan, since the April 15 coup, more than 6000 civilians have been killed and 7.1 million have been forced to flee. In this context of crisis, churches become shelters and provide material and spiritual support to populations.

Civil war rages in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a conflict which has resulted in the displacement of 7,1 million people. These millions of people, faced with difficult living conditions, are welcomed into churches which try to meet their needs. 

Vatican News reports the testimony of Father Jean (name changed for security reasons Editor's note), missionary priest in southern Sudan for 6 years. He welcomes into his church those who fled the fighting in the north of the country.

In a context where aid structures are few in number, the man of the church recalls the need to stay on site to “welcome people who are fleeing, to receive them and assist them, financially and spiritually”. He affirms that only the Church and certain NGOs remaining there can respond to the needs and distress of the displaced.

“Many people have been traumatized by armed conflicts in different corners of Sudan. Our role is above all to be available to welcome people who are fleeing to receive them and assist them, financially and spiritually.”

In the country, however, certain churches are the object of vandalism and looting according to Father Jean, who regrets the persecution carried out by the government on Christians.

“The system itself persecutes Christians: politically, it is impossible to have Christians in high levels, and educationally, no Christians teach in state schools.”

Sudan is ranked 10th in theGlobal Index of Persecution of Christians 2023 from the NGO Portes Ouvertes which indicates that Christians suffer "daily discrimination in society, and do not dare to share their beliefs".

For its part, theUNICEF raises the alarm on the fate of children killed or injured in the Darfur region, the organization points to an increase of 450% compared to the whole of 2022.

Melanie Boukorras 

Image credit: Shutterstock / kursat-bayhan

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