JUBA, JANUARY 24th 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudan’s prominent activist Edmund Yakani has appealed to Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, to consider meeting people with disabilities when he travels to the Africa’s newest nation next month.
Francis will, from February 3 to February 5, travel to South Sudan in a trip seen as vital in the country’s quest for peace after a violent power struggle between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar Teny triggered in 2013 a deadly civil war that has since been fought along ethnic lines.
Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth told Sudans Post yesterday that Pope will be received at Juba International Airport by President Kiir, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and senior government officials.
The head of the Catholic Church will then proceed to the state-house J1 where he will meet President Kiir, First Vice President Machar and the other vice-presidents for a welcoming encounter before moving to the Freedom Hall in Central Juba to meet internally displaced persons.
In a statement, Yakani who is the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) called on Pope Francis to meet people with disabilities who he said remains under marginalization in all aspects of life.
“The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization program of Remember the Kiss of Pope Francis for Peace would like to take this opportunity to urge the Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to meet with representatives of the persons with disabilities in South Sudan,” the statement reads in part.
“Persons with Disabilities across South Sudan constitute marginalized section of the population,” it added.
The prominent activist who has warn a number of awards for peace activism further said that wars in Sudan and South Sudan have contributed to increase in the number of people with disabilities and it would be of a great important for Pope to listen to them.
“It will be impressive if the Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland have audience of the persons with disabilities in South Sudan. The long civil wars across South Sudan have contributed in increasing the population of persons with disabilities in South Sudan,” Yakani said.
“Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland should add their voices on calling the government of South Sudan to embrace the culture of promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities as stipulated in the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and African Union Protocol on the rights of Persons with Disabilities,” he stressed.