Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "Now is not the time for recriminations. Now is the time for the government and all citizens to work together for the future. Do not indulge in destructive criticism; instead roll up your sleeves and get to work to build a new nation for ourselves, our children and our children's children", exhort the Bishops of South Sudan, in the message of "encouragement" published at the end of their Assembly held in Juba from June 14 to 16, and sent to Fides.
In August 2015, the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict, between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, in the Republic of South Sudan was welcomed and the Bishops invite the faithful to support the nation's leader.
"Offer them support and encouragement to rise above their personal interests. Reassure them that the nation and the international community understand their situation", they say in the message. "They are human beings, sons and daughters of God. Let us treat them with love and mercy, not hatred and condemnation. The priority now is reforming and rebuilding our shattered nation".
The Bishops urge everyone "to Stop disseminating hate speech and tribalism on the internet and social media, and instead spread constructive peaceful messages".
Among the priorities that the government has to face, the Bishops indicate the ceasefire throughout the country, the improvement of the economy and the provision of basic services to resolve the grave humanitarian situation. "People still live in fear, many workers are not being paid, and many families have no food. It is particularly dangerous when the army and other security organs are not being paid, as this can lead to further insecurity".
Recalling Sister Veronika Theresia Racková, who died after days of agony from wounds inflicted by shots fired by some soldiers (see Fides 21/05/2016), the Bishops stress that Sister Veronica "is only one of thousands of women, men and children who have been killed in this senseless conflict".
The document concludes inviting President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to honour the agreement they signed, and to publicly reassure the citizens of their willingness to work together for the good of the nation by making both practical and symbolic gestures such as praying together, touring the country and meeting the ordinary people together, paying special attention to those who have been displaced from their homes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/06/2016)