WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Jewish policy umbrella welcomed the emergence of a new state in southern Sudan, but said the international community must be vigilant in bringing about a broader peace.
"With the release of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission’s results today, the world will soon wake up to a new and independent country in southern Sudan," the Jewish Council for Public Affairs said in a statement after the official results released Monday showed a decided majority favoring independence. "And if the United States and international community can maintain the level of involvement and influence that brought us to last month’s successful referendum, then peace and calm in Southern Sudan will seem possible for the first time in decades."
Jewish groups have taken the lead on Sudan in pressing for rights for the country’s minorities.
The Reform movement’s Religious Action Center noted the referendum results and also called for maintaining the peace, but stopped short of welcoming the yet-to-be-named nation, instead "welcoming, with optimism, the results of the election." It stressed that other areas of Sudan need attention.
"As we look with gradual optimism at these developments in the south, we must not forget about the ethnic cleansing in Darfur that continues, an estimated 2.7 million Darfuri civilians are still living in [displaced persons] camps and an additional 300,000 were displaced in 2010 alone," it said. "There are also ongoing reports of blocked humanitarian aid and ongoing human rights abuses. We call for a continuation of the peace talks and a greater international pressure to end the atrocities that continue."
President Obama has said he will recognize the new nation and press for a comprehensive peace.