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He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

It has been more than a year since large-scale fighting broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This conflict between two former allies in the 2021 military coup that toppled the previous transitional government has almost destroyed a country whose people had already suffered through many years of protracted and multidimensional crises.

As reported by the United Nations, there have been more than 15,500 deaths and over 1,400 violent events targeting civilians across the country since the war began. The conflict has resulted in extensive damage to critical infrastructure and facilities, as well as large-scale displacement. Approximately 8.8 million people have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety within and outside Sudan. Together with the 3.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) from past internal conflict, Sudan faces the largest internal displacement crisis in the world and the most significant child displacement crisis, with more than 3 million children displaced inside and outside the country.

Nearly one in three people in Sudan is acutely food insecure. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned the Security Council that Sudan will soon be the world’s worst hunger crisis, with 90% of people in Khartoum, the Darfur region and the Kordofans facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity.[1] Overall, around 24.8 million people, almost one half of Sudan’s total population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Further, by the end of 2023, the number of people in need of gender-based violence services in Sudan had increased by more than 1 million, reaching 4.2 million people since the start of the war, and that number is expected to reach 6.9 million during 2024.[2]

Despite the unprecedented magnitude of the needs, international funding support has been, at best, modest. Currently less than 15% of the international humanitarian appeal has been funded.[3] Moreover, along with the inadequate international humanitarian response, and relative to other current conflict situations, Sudan has been discriminated against in terms of the lack of effort by the international community to exert pressure on the conflict parties to agree to a ceasefire and to enter into dialogue for a sustainable peace. Indeed, the engagement of some outside actors in support of one or the other of the conflicting parties has exacerbated the violence and the suffering of Sudan’s people. In addition, Sudan is often ignored by international mainstream media despite the catastrophic humanitarian situation.

The executive committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, on 6 to 11 June 2024, recalls previous WCC governing body statements on the situation in Sudan[4] and previous ecumenical efforts (including the ecumenical solidarity visit to Sudan in April 2022 – one year before the outbreak of the current civil war). We welcome the recent ecumenical solidarity delegation visit to Sudan undertaken by WCC jointly with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA), the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), ACT Alliance, the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church (GBGM-UMC) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) on 17 to 24 April 2024. This visit responds to the executive committee’s May 2023 request to the WCC general secretary “to lead an ecumenical pilgrim visit to offer solidarity to the churches and people of Sudan as soon as security conditions allow.”

The executive committee:

Lifts up the special vulnerability of women, children, and marginalized minority groups in the midst of this war.

Denounces the conflict parties’ obvious and repeated disregard for the principles of international humanitarian, human rights and criminal law and of common morality as evidenced by the nature of atrocities committed – including endemic sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the very high toll of civilian lives, and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools and residential areas.

Calls for full legal accountability for all crimes committed.

Highlights the psychological toll on people, especially children, resulting from this ongoing conflict and its impacts, and the critical need for mental health, psycho-social support and trauma healing services for the affected population.

Demands that all parties to the conflict prioritize the protection of civilians (especially women, children and vulnerable groups), adhere to international law, commit to an immediate ceasefire, ensure safe humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas, preserve civilian properties and infrastructure, and enter into comprehensive and inclusive negotiations for sustainable peace, and the restoration of a democratic process.

Denounces the role of some outside actors in exacerbating the violence, sustaining the conflict, and increasing the suffering of Sudan’s people.

Urges all members of the international community to respond generously to the humanitarian needs of the people of Sudan, and to engage proactively with the conflict parties for an end to the violence, a ceasefire, secure humanitarian access to all conflict-affected areas, and negotiations for a sustainable peace.

Encourages the WCC general secretary to pursue efforts to engage with the leadership of the RSF, following the ecumenical solidarity visit of April 2024 (during which an encounter with the leadership of the SAF took place).

Calls for all WCC member churches, ecumenical and interfaith partners to pray and act in solidarity with the churches and people of Sudan suffering violence, death, destruction and displacement due to this ongoing conflict, that they may be protected from harm and enabled to return to their homes and livelihoods in conditions of safety and dignity.


[1] https://www.unocha.org/news/ocha-warns-security-council-sudan-will-soon-be-worlds-worst-hunger-crisis

[2] Cluster Status: Gender-based Violence (GBV) Sub-cluster Response (April – 15 October 2023) | OCHA (unocha.org)

[3] Data drawn from https://www.unocha.org/sudan

[4] Including the WCC executive committee statement on the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Sudan, May 2023, and the WCC central committee statement on the ecumenical solidarity visit to Sudan, June 2022.