Juba, South Sudan
Pope Francis referred to as for peace on Saturday as he met a gaggle of a number of hundred South Sudanese folks internally displaced by battle at an occasion within the nation’s capital Juba.
“I want to renew my forceful and heartfelt appeal to end all conflict and to resume the peace process in a serious way,” the pope informed the gang gathered within the Freedom Hall.
“There is no room for delay,” Francis mentioned to applause. His phrases echoed his message to the nation’s leaders Friday night when he criticized the “stagnant” peace course of.
The pope’s go to to South Sudan got here days after the 86-year-old held Mass for 1 million folks within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one other nation grappling with poverty and strife. Francis’ journey to the DRC – the primary papal go to since 1985 – got here because the African nation is beset by armed combating and a worsening refugee disaster.
South Sudan has been in a civil battle since 2013, and a 2018 peace settlement has but to be absolutely carried out. The battle has led to greater than 4 million South Sudanese folks – 65% of them aged below 18 – both fleeing the nation or being internally displaced, in line with the UNHCR.
“The future cannot lie in refugee camps,” the pontiff mentioned Saturday.
“There is no room for further delay,” he mentioned, including that “great numbers of children born in recent years have only known the reality of camps for displaced persons.”
In photographs: Pope Francis visits DRC and South Sudan
Rebecca Nyakour, a younger lady who lives in a refugee camp in Juba, addressed the pope, asking him to provide a particular blessing to internally displaced and refugee youngsters.
“We know you are a great leader because despite your bad knee, you have come to be with us,” she mentioned.
“Pope Francis, we love you; we will never forget this day. Thank you for loving South Sudan,” she mentioned to nice applause.
Francis gave a particular blessing to the kids of South Sudan, along with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby and Moderator of General Assembly of Church of Scotland Iain Greenshields, who’re with the pope on this journey. The three church buildings symbolize the bulk Christian denominations to which most South Sudanese belong.
On Saturday night all three Christian leaders are scheduled to take part in a joint prayer ceremony on the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba. The pope will maintain an out of doors mass in Juba on Sunday morning earlier than returning to Rome within the afternoon.
“South Sudan, wrecked by years of war, longs for an end to the constant violence that forces many people to be displaced and live in conditions of great hardship,” the pope mentioned earlier than leaving Rome for Africa on Tuesday.
South Sudan gained independence from Muslim-majority Sudan in 2011 after a long time of battle solely to plunge into civil battle two years later when combating erupted between these loyal to President Salva Kir and people allied with Vice-President Riek Machar, who’s from a unique ethnic group.
In April 2019, the pope held a non secular retreat on the Vatican for political and non secular leaders in South Sudan, and in an unprecedented gesture he knelt down and kissed the toes of President Kir and Vice-President Machar.
Source web site: www.cnn.com