Franciscans International Advocates for the Sudan

HNP Communications Franciscan World

The conflict in central Sudan has Franciscans International members working extra hard to raise awareness for this humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.

FI, the Franciscan voice at the United Nations, recently hosted Sharon de Souza, Tyler Balding and Stefan Marx from the Diocese of El Obeid in Sudan, who have been working in the relief efforts. News about this meeting was reported in the May issue of Franciscan Voice, the newsletter of FI.

The conflict is so severe that it has been described as the next Darfur. De Souza, Balding and Marx recently came to the United Nations in New York to participate in the NGO Working Group on the Security Council, in which FI has participated since 2006. The group lobbied the U.N. for a response to the turmoil.

The extent of the crisis in central Sudan has been revealed by journalist Aidan Hartley in his recent documentary for Channel 4 television in Britain. Hartley visited Gidel Hospital, the only functioning hospital in the conflict zone and a central component of the Diocese of El Obeid’s humanitarian response.

Bishop Macram Max Gassis of the El Obeid Diocese will visit the United Nations in July.

New Franciscans International Board
FI’s newly appointed board of directors held its first meeting from April 19 to 21 in Geneva, Switzerland. The new members met with staff, visited the United Nations office, and learned more about FI’s ministry.  New members are Doug Clorey, OFS, president; Averil Swanton, TSSF, vice president; and Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., secretary. Fr. Elias Mallon, SA, was appointed interim treasurer until October, when the board members will meet in Assisi.

Other Recent Developments
The Voice also reported on the following:
· Karmataka Domestic Workers Movement
· The child advocacy movement in India
· Climate change and human rights

— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer based in Connecticut.