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ICC Note:

A South Sudanese Bishop has warned that many more Sudanese Christians could suffer persecution for the public expression of their faith as the Sudanese regime continues to implement President al-Bashir’s pledge to make Sudan a “purely Islamic” society. Already this month a 600-congregant church has been torn down in North Khartoum, and last month, a second woman was imprisoned for committing “apostasy,” or the crime of leaving Islam. Regrettably, Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old mother of two and wife to an American citizen, who was sentenced to death for her Christian faith, is only of what could be many victims of a state returning to the hostility it displayed when it perpetrated genocide against its predominantly Christian south in the 1990’s. 

07/12/2014 South Sudan (Zenit) – A bishop has warned that more Sudanese Christians could suffer severe violations of human rights – like Meriam Ibrahim – stating that their legal protection in the country has been taken away.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, in neighbouring South Sudan, described the “worrying” legal situation of Christians since his country seceded from Sudan in July 2011.

Stressing concerns for fellow clergy in particular, Bishop Hiiboro said: “In Sudan bishops and priests have been living de facto as illegals since South Sudan’s independence.”

While Sudan’s constitution guarantees equal rights regardless of a person’s religion, Christians face discrimination under the law.

The bishop said: “When we confront those in charge with this, they emphasise that Christians have the same rights as their compatriots, but this changes nothing in legal terms.

“Bishops and priests are not granted passports and they do not have legal status. They are able to leave the country but re-entry may be refused.

“Priests have already been expelled – and the bishops are condemned to remain silent.”

The Bishop of Tombura-Yambio told ACN that, while there is freedom of worship for Sudan’s more than 3 million Christians, they do not have the full protection under the law.

He said: “Christians in Sudan can attend divine service unmolested, but there is no genuine freedom of religion and conscience in the country.

“This is illustrated by the disgraceful case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishaq, which, unlike any others, has been widely publicised.”

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