PWRDF responds to critique of the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (ICCAF) in Sudan

This brief, prepared by Rob Shropshire, Development Team Coordinator, PWRDF, gives an overview of the other side of the campaign against the ICCAF.

Recently, staff and some members of several Canadian Christian churches, including the Anglican Church of Canada, received a document which criticized the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa’s (ICCAF) actions in Sudan.

Producers of the document did not alert ICCAFto this distribution, or provide the distribution list so that ICCAF could respond. Many of these critiques are partisan, unfounded, and false, ICCAF says. This brief, prepared by Rob Shropshire, Development Team Coordinator, PWRDF, gives an overview of the other side of the campaign against the ICCAF, and outlines how Anglican parishes can continue to support human rights in the Horn of Africa.

It has come to the attention of General Synod staff relating to Africa that a document entitled “Turning a ‘Blind Eye and a Deaf Ear to Crimes Against Humanity'” is receiving wide circulation by mail and/or by e-mail. This document was produced by a group called the European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council (ESPAC).

The version sent by mail is accompanied by an introductory letter bearing the title “An Important Appeal to Canadian Christians on Sudan: Stop Turning a Blind Eye to War Crimes! Contact your Church for an Explanation”. It seeks to discredit the work being done on Sudan by the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (ICCAF).

In the past, ESPAC has directed similar attacks at the work of Amnesty International and journalists who have been reporting on the situation there. It is likely that versions of this latest document have been or will be sent to various Anglicans ‘in the pew.’

It appears that this document is intended to smear the good work that ICCAF has been doing on human rights in Sudan. ESPAC falsely calls ICCAF’s work “one-sided partisanship,” while its own work is full of errors and offers only “selective readings” of ICCAF documents pertaining to Sudan.

ICCAF has worked long and hard to address the situation in Sudan, which remains critical. More than 2 million are estimated dead. Access to emergency food relief is denied for famine-stricken populations. Bombings of civilian hospitals and farms are common. ICCAF has been doing excellent work analysing and raising awareness of that situation. Its work is in line with major human rights organizations and also with the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.

The positions ICCAF has adopted reflect the thinking of the Sudanese churches on the situation there. It recognizes human rights abuses on both sides of the war front, but also clearly identifies the root causes of the conflict.

It is the quality and increasing effectiveness of ICCAF’s work that has invited such an attack, and we at PWRDF continue to stand behind the work that ICCAF is doing.

Meanwhile, PWRDF’s appeal for humanitarian relief efforts related to floods, drought-induced famine, and conflict in Africa continues. As of June, $157,000 has been allocated to programmes addressing the situation. Further allocations are under consideration and will be made as designated donations are received.

Apart from this appeal, PWRDF continues to draw on non-designated donations to support development and peace efforts in both government- and rebel-held areas of Sudan. A Parish Response Kit, designed to help local fundraising efforts, is available from Winsome Moses, PWRDF Information and Resource Assistant, at (416) 924-9199, ext. 266, or [email protected].

Continued prayers are requested for the people and lands of Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Mozambique.

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