Southern Sudan will hold a referendum on independence from Sudan on January 9, 2011. This letter urges the Secretary-General of the UN to ensure that the Southern Sudanese have the opportunity to participate in a free and fair election.
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
As the January 9, 2011 referendum in Southern Sudan approaches, Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in the city of New York, writes to express our solidarity with the people of Sudan, whose religious leaders have been working towards peace. This letter follows a visit to your office in October by a high-level delegation of ecumenical religious leaders from Sudan, including the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Reverend Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak. The Archbishop came to New York to ask for the assistance of the United Nations and the international community. He urged you to ensure that the Southern Sudanese have the opportunity to participate in free and fair elections. He asked the United Nations to continue to support the Southern Sudanese in their struggle to determine their future, and he requested that the international community not turn its back on Sudan lest they fall into another decades-long war.
These influential religious leaders who spoke on behalf of their communities have returned to Sudan, but we want to ensure that they, and the people for whom they spoke, are not forgotten or ignored. We write to express our wholehearted endorsement of the Archbishop's requests, and to reiterate our commitment to a peaceful post-referendum Sudan. We urge the United Nations to live up to its values: to support and recognize the dignity of each human being and the value of each human life. As Christians, we hold human life to be of the utmost value. We write not in favor of a political outcome, but out of concern for the dignity of human life.
Accordingly, we ask the United Nations to ensure the referendum is free and fair. We ask that the United Nations urge the northern government to recognize the results of the referendum. Finally, we ask for of the United Nations' sustained engagement in the coming years. Our commitment to the people of Sudan and the Episcopal Church of Sudan will not be diverted following the referendum, and we hope your commitment will also be steadfast. Sudan will continue to need humanitarian and development assistance in order to ensure its long-term prosperity.
You have identified Sudan as one of your peace and security priorities for action, and you have devoted significant attention and time to raising awareness about the plight of the Sudanese people. We are grateful for what you have done, but we ask for an even greater commitment to the Sudanese in the coming months.
The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper Rector, Trinity Wall Street
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