Bishop David Konstant of Leeds has just visited Sudan to view the situation there at first hand. The country is suffering terrible hardships, he said. These result directly from 16 years of civil war. In his report to the Bishops' Conference, Bishop Konstant said two million people have been killed in the past 16 years, and the same number have been displaced from their homes. All sides have abused human rights, he said. But the bishop pointed out: "It is clear that the Sudanese government bears the greatest blame for its continuing attacks on civilian targets. In Narus in Southern Sudan, for example, three or four bombs were dropped near a health centre with no military connection whatever. One of the most poignant moments of our visit to Narus was the sight of small children running panic stricken to an air raid shelter because they heard a plane in the distance." The bishop's report highlights the work of of CAFOD and other agencies in the area. However, he complained that their work is being hampered by the government's obstruction of humanitarian aid. The bishop also highlights the religious persecution of Christians in the north. He said: "A prerequisite to progress is the end of the war, the cessation of human rights violations and the opening of corridors for the provision of humanitarian aid. This will require forgiveness, reconciliation and the building of trust and community." He said the international community must do all it can to encourage progress, or the future of South Sudan and the Christians that live there is dire.
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