|“We will do all that we can to continue to bear witness to the love, reconciliation, justice and peace of the risen Christ by our mission and ministry in South Sudan. All the Jesuits who are currently in South Sudan are staying on and carrying on with their mission and apostolates. They deserve our prayer, support and encouragement,” Fr. Orobator said.|
"We encourage all our friends and well-wishers of South Sudan, wherever they may be, to do all they can to advocate on behalf of South Sudan for a speedy, just and peaceful resolution of the current crisis," said the Jesuit Provincial of East Africa, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J.
"In particular, we call on the international community not to abandon South Sudan; to ensure that adequate provision is made for the security and protection of innocent civilians, especially women and children; that there is sufficient humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced people; and that appropriate pressure be exerted on the principals to the conflict to cease hostilities and resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful political means," Fr. Orobator said.
Violence broke out December 15 in the capital of Juba and within days spread to other states across South Sudan, which achieved independence from Sudan in July 2011.
Jesuit Refugee Service first started working in South Sudan in 1997 in Nimule, assisting people internally displaced by the civil war in Sudan. Further projects followed in Kajo Keji and Lobone in 2001, and then Yei in 2004.
The projects were turned over to local communities by December 2012, after many years of service and in keeping with our JRS exit strategies. After closing these four projects, JRS South Sudan opened two new projects; they are currently operating in Yambio, Western Equatoria State, and in Maban in Upper Nile State.
Jesuit Refugee Service supports four primary and four secondary schools in Yambio with educational materials, support for girls education, and teacher training. "We hope to start rehabilitating some schools this year which we could not do last year due to funding constraints," said Fr. Deogratias M. Rwezaura S.J., the Regional Director of JRS Eastern Africa.
Before the outbreak of violence, the Maban project was set to begin fully this year. The project will focus on psychosocial support in four refugee camps that are home to 122,000 refugees from Sudan. Another aspect of the project is in-service teacher training in collaboration with Solidarity with South Sudan.
JRS is monitoring the situation on the ground and with the cessation of hostilities and the return of security "we will be able to return to Maban hopefully soon, given the hope we are beginning to see from the peace talks in Addis Ababa," said Fr. Rwezaura.
"As a province, we will do all that we can to continue to bear witness to the love, reconciliation, justice and peace of the risen Christ by our mission and ministry in South Sudan. All the Jesuits who are currently in South Sudan are staying on and carrying on with their mission and apostolates. They deserve our prayer, support and encouragement," Fr. Orobator added.
Peace Building and Education in South Sudan