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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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The Sudan and DRC

The Sudan

The need for justice and change

 In January 2011, the people of Southern Sudan voted by an overwhelming majority of 99% to secede from the north. The official Independence Day is scheduled for 9th July 2011.  It is a time of great rejoicing and an opportunity to heal the wounds caused by years of civil war.

 But there are a number of issues which will need to be addressed now if this new country is to grow into fruition.   The south is currently under developed.  The disputed border area of Abyei, which forms a bridge between north and south, will need to be resolved and it is holding its own referendum.  Arrangements must be agreed for citizens of Southern Sudan currently living in the North and vice versa. Unemployment figures have risen to over 90% and virtually all employment is with the government.  Many people do not have enough to eat.

 Over 90% of the population of Southern Sudan is Christian.  Let us pray that the hopes for peace and reconciliation become a reality in people’s lives in Sudan.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The need for corporate ethics

 More than a million Congolese have been displaced over the past three years.  Since 1998, 5.4 million people have lost their lives in the past fifteen years during the war, many through malnutrition and preventable diseases.  A further million people have been displaced from their homes and getting help to these refugees has been very difficult for aid agencies. Thousands of women have been raped during the conflict and still live in fear.

 

A further tragedy is that although the DRC is rich in minerals, including those used to produce sophisticated electronic products, very little of the wealth generated is reaching those in most need. What is more, there is evidence that children are used to mine these minerals, often for a pittance. It is crucial that the world’s major electronic companies ensure that their goods are sourced ethically and not through slave labour. We as consumers also have a responsibility to ask questions of these manufacturers to ensure that the goods they produce are ethically sourced and that they are helping rather than damaging the lives of children in the DRC.