The NAE calls on all evangelicals to pray for the people of Sudan as they approach national elections on April 11-13, the first such elections since 1986. The election of national leaders is the first of two major milestones established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005, ending nearly two decades of civil war. The second vote, a referendum on independence in southern Sudan, is scheduled for January 2011.

International observers, including the Carter Center and the International Crisis Group, have questioned the integrity of the national election process. The main opposition party recently announced a boycott of the elections. The likely winner of the elections, current President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity linked to the conflict in Darfur.

Given the history of violent conflict and repression in Sudan, there is widespread concern that the country could be plunged into renewed civil war. More than 2 million Sudanese lost their lives, and millions more were displaced, by fighting between 1989 and 2005. Five years after the peace agreement was signed, more than 2 million Sudanese remain displaced from their homes, and a quarter million are newly displaced. Conflict in Darfur has added hundreds of thousands of deaths to these grim statistics.

The NAE has joined other faith leaders in calling on our government to continue pressing Sudan’s leaders to resolve their differences peacefully and to support the full implementation of the 2005 peace agreement. We call on all evangelicals to pray for Sudan’s leaders, as well as President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan, retired Gen. Scott Gration, and others who are working for peace in Sudan.

In 2002 the NAE issued a statement of conscience promising both prayer and action on behalf of those suffering from religious persecution in Sudan. In the intervening years, evangelical ministries have worked to provide shelter for the displaced, food for the hungry and care for the sick. Sudan will require international assistance for years to come, but more than anything they need a just peace and a stable government. At this critical moment we call all evangelicals to renewed prayer and action on behalf of peace and freedom in Sudan.