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Archbishop of Canterbury

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the outcomes were of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent visits to the (a) Democratic Republic of the Congo and (b) South Sudan.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

A) The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in November 2019 when he spent four days travelling to see Ebola treatment centres and meet doctors, patients and survivors. The Archbishop's Office has been working with aid agencies to promote resources and best practice for clergy who are working in areas of outbreak. On 4th February 2020 the Archbishop released a statement of concern following a new wave of violence leading to the death of 70 civilians in Deni. Among those killed was the Reverend Yese Ngulongo and others within the local Christian community. The Archbishop called on local and international leaders to pursue a comprehensive strategy to bring lasting peace and reconciliation to the country.

B) The Archbishop and His Holiness Pope Francis remain committed to finding a peaceful way forward in South Sudan, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches have been jointly at the forefront of efforts to bring peace to the country. The Church is encouraged that some progress appears to be being made and the ceasefire is holding. However concerns remain that the South Sudanese Principals have not yet been able to find ways to resolve outstanding pre-transitional issues. While this situation continues it will be very difficult for His Holiness and the Archbishop to visit the country, which they have committed to doing together. Conversations are ongoing at an international level to encourage those in Government to use their power to find solutions that would enable all South Sudanese peoples to return home.

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