The first thing that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan have in common is the fact that they are in the heart of Africa, or nearly so. The two countries also have something else in common: they have both been going through a permanent political crisis and a pandemic of violence for years, albeit each with its own peculiarities. Insecurity in the DRC is most pronounced in its eastern part, while in South Sudan it is spread across the country.
The DRC, a country-continent in the heart of Africa – also called Congo-Kinshasa, to differentiate it from Congo-Brazzaville, its neighbor to the northwest – has experienced repeated crises since 1995. Numerous rebellions that have bloodied its eastern part in recent years. This situation obviously makes it difficult for the country to develop. Moreover, it has experienced a succession of dead-end political crises, particularly during elections which are always contested and discredited.
As for South Sudan, after gaining independence in 2011, at the cost of tensions and violence, it has been mired in conflicts between its leaders since 2013. In the short, medium and long term, there is still no end in sight to the political uncertainty generated by tensions at the top of the state.
In this context, the Catholic Church is active in making its contribution to the progress of both countries, not only through its works (pastoral, charitable, health, educational, etc.), but also in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
One cannot look at the map of Africa without noticing this large state at the center of the continent. The DRC is the second largest country in Africa (2,345,000 sq. km.) in size after Algeria. In 2020 it had 95,784,841 inhabitants, with a density of 44.8 inhabitants per sq. km. It borders nine states: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia. Its motto Justice, Paix, Travail (“Justice, Peace, Work”) has replaced that of the Congo Free State dating back to colonial times: L’union Fait la Force (“Union Makes Strength”), which is the motto of Belgium. The country’s monetary unit is the Congolese franc (CDF).
Its capital is Kinshasa, which has about 12,600,000 inhabitants. Major cities include: Lubumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga, Kisangani, Bukavu, Tshikapa, Kolwezi, Likasi, Goma, Kikwit, Uvira, Bunia, Mbandaka, Matadi.
With a semi-presidential regime, this country has two legislative chambers: the Senate and the National Assembly. Its current head of state is Félix Antoine Tshisekedi (as of January 25, 2019). On April 27, 2021, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge was appointed prime minister of a mixed government, supported by the Union Sacré, a coalition of several political parties.
French is the official language of the DRC, which has four national languages: Lingala, Kiswahili, Kikongo and Tshiluba. In addition to these, there are more than 400 tribal languages, spread across the state’s 26 provinces.
On the religious level, the Constitution of February 18, 2006, states that the DRC is a secular state. The main religions in the country are Catholicism, Protestantism, Kimbanguism (a local Christian denomination), Islam, “Awakening (or revivalist) Churches” and traditional religions.
A present and committed Catholic Church
In its present configuration, the Church-family of God present in the DRC was canonically erected as an apostolic delegation by Pope Pius XI with the decree Ad regimen, January 10, 1930. The canonical erection of the apostolic nunciature in the DRC was done by Pope John XXIII on February 16, 1963. The current apostolic nuncio is Archbishop Ettore Balestrero.
The Catholic Church in the DRC is represented by the Congo National Episcopal Conference (CENCO), whose current president is Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani. It consists of 48 dioceses, distributed in six ecclesiastical provinces: Kinshasa, Bukavu, Mbandaka, Lubumbashi, Kisangani, Kananga.
According to the 2020 Yearbook of the Catholic Church, in the DRC, out of an estimated total population of 87,652,670, there are 45,496,553 Catholics, or 51.9 percent of the population. There are 1,493 parishes, 4,541 diocesan priests, 8,653 religious, and 8,564 nuns. The DRC Church has two blesseds: Anuarite Nengapeta (beatified by Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1985, in Kinshasa) and Isidore Bakanja (beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, in Rome).
The Church of the DRC has a rite recognized by the Holy See under the name “Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire,” often called the Zairean Rite or Congolese Rite. It was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship on April 30, 1988. On December 1, 2019, Pope Francis presided at St. Peter’s Basilica at a Mass celebrated with this rite for the Congolese community in Rome and Italy. He stressed that this “so far is the only inculturated rite of the Latin Church approved after the Second Vatican Council. The Zaire Rite of the Roman Missal is held up as an example of liturgical inculturation.” The pope also said that the example of the Zairean rite, where one hears vibrating in the celebration “a culture and spirituality enlivened by religious songs with African rhythms, the sound of drums and other musical instruments that constitute a real advance in the rooting of the Christian message in the Congolese soul,” suggests a promising way forward for the eventual elaboration of an Amazonian rite as well.
The commitment of a Church that is never silent
The Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has great vitality and contributes greatly to the life of the nation. Its presence in education and health is remarkable. In addition to the Catholic University of Congo (KUC), it had 775 primary schools (58,710 students), 13,878 elementary schools (4,759,170 students), and 5,298 secondary schools (1,312,099 students) in the year 2019-20. All these students were led by 269,228 teachers.
In the health sector, the Church-family of God operates 187 hospitals and 1,368 medical centers, spread across the country in 515 health zones. It should be noted that the health facilities covering rural areas of the DRC are 90 percent managed by Catholic entities.
As part of its commitment to justice and peace, the Congolese Church is very active in holding politicians accountable for their duties to society. In this regard, we can recall several messages, statements and stances of the Congolese episcopate. Recently the bishops, together with the Protestant Church of Christ in Congo, have made their voices heard so that any kind of controversy over elections be avoided. Indeed, there are still differences of opinion on various points regarding the organization of the upcoming 2023 elections. The goal of the Christian Churches is to bring all protagonists to a consensus on some essential issues so that peaceful and transparent elections can be held.
For the DRC bishops the welfare of the Congolese people and national cohesion depend on the success of the electoral process. The bishops regularly deplore the politicization of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which creates a climate of mutual distrust. This results in protests against the elections and the risk of popular unrest, which in turn strains national cohesion and social peace. This is why the Congolese bishops insist on the independence of the INEC and its transparency.
It should be noted that in previous elections, Congolese bishops have always intervened when the electoral process appeared to be in danger or did not reflect the expressed will of the people. The 2018 elections were strongly criticized, and the Church raised its voice on several occasions, especially after the elections.
Some blame the Catholic bishops for always protesting election results. During the 2011 elections, they felt that the results were not in accordance with justice and truth, and the same transparency problem had also arisen in the elections of July 20, 2006. The National Bishops’ Conference of Congo had denounced irregularities detected in their preparation and threatened not to recognize their validity if these irregularities were not corrected. In the second round of the presidential election, held on October 29, 2006, the defeated candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba (41.95 percent) declared that he could not accept Joseph Kabila’s (58.05 percent) victory.
The Congolese bishops argue, through the voice of their president, Archbishop Utembi, that the will of the people expressed in elections should always be respected. In 2019 he said “Unfortunately, it must be noted that in 2006, 2011 and – I must say it strongly – even in 2018 things did not go as the people expected. It is a matter of conscience. It is a question of justice. When justice is somehow destabilized and challenged, the Church, which is called to defend values, to defend morality and ethics in social behavior, can never be silent, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Framework Agreement between the Holy See and the DRC.
On May 20, 2016, the Holy See and the DRC signed a framework agreement in the Vatican that covers many areas – including Catholic educational institutions, religious education in schools, the Church’s charitable and charitable activities, military, prison and hospital chaplaincies, land and tax regimes, and the granting of entry and residence visas for religious personnel. It was later ratified on January 17, 2020, during President Félix Tshisekedi’s official visit to the Vatican.
As part of the implementation of this framework agreement, several specific agreements were signed on July 2, 2022, between the government of the DRC and the National Bishops’ Conference of Congo (CENCO) in different areas: health and medical care; tax and customs facilitation; pastoral activities in penitentiary institutions and state custodial and educational institutions; school training; and activities for orphans and the elderly, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people.
Prior to this agreement there was only the Convention between the Holy See and the Independent State of the Congo, signed on May 26, 1906, to promote the spread of Catholicism in the Congo. It specifically provided that the state would grant Catholic missionaries the necessary land for their religious activities.
Violence against the Church
As we have already mentioned, the DRC Church has never ceased denouncing injustice of all kinds, corruption and violence. But it has itself been the victim of numerous abuses, arrests and assassinations, especially in the run-up to the 2018 elections. By way of example, the kidnapping of two priests, Charles Kipasa and Jean-Pierre Akili, on the night of July 16-17, 2018, in the diocese of Beni-Butembo in the east of the country. The killing of Fr. Étienne Sengiyumva, parish priest of Kitchanga (in North Kivu province), on Sunday, April 8, 2018, while celebrating Mass. The abduction of Passionist Father Sébastien Yebo, on February 3, 2018, by police, after celebrating Mass, in the outskirts of Kinshasa. We also recall the events of Sunday, December 31, 2017, when police and military used force – including the firing of tear gas and the explosion of several gunshots – to disrupt religious services and prevent peaceful processions organized to demand that President Joseph Kabila not stand for a third term. On that occasion there were unfortunately deaths and injuries. “Things never seen,” commented Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, the then Archbishop of Kinshasa.
Eastern DRC battered by rebellions and armed groups
The violence suffered by the Church in the DRC is not an isolated case, but is connected with the instability that plagues the east of this country with rebellions and the emergence of armed militias that have been going on since 1995, and are now very numerous. The DRC is thus a tested country. The contours of such permanent insecurity are difficult to determine. Despite the presence of the United Nations Stabilization Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) forces, the country is very unstable.
The DRC government and various international observers accuse neighboring nations, including Rwanda, of supporting some rebellions to exploit mineral resources, destabilize the country, and balkanize it.
Illegal exploitation of mineral wealth and inter-ethnic conflicts are usually seen as the main causes of such instability. Conflicts that, in addition to causing many deaths, displacement and suffering, are also the cause of much sexual violence. Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, continues to call on the country’s authorities and the international community to end the culture of impunity that has fueled conflicts in the DRC since the 1990s. For him, sexual violence in conflict zones in eastern DRC goes to the symbol of what humanity holds most dear. To combat violence against women in armed conflicts, Mukwege has urged the international community to establish a tribunal to try those responsible for such violence, as outlined in the Mapping Report.
Instability in eastern DRC has claimed many victims, including foreigners, in particular the regrettable assassination in this area of Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio, along with Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Mustafa Milambo.
DRC, a potentially rich but unstable country
In addition to the great wealth of the Congo Basin forest – the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon – which it shares with five other countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea), the DRC has deposits of about fifty minerals. Only a dozen are used: copper, cobalt, silver, uranium, lead, zinc, cadmium, diamonds, gold, tin, tungsten, manganese, and some rare metals such as coltan.
However, the country’s economic growth, which had reached 4.4 percent in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, dropped to 0.8 percent in 2020, according to World Bank estimates. In contrast, the mining industry grew by 6.9 percent in 2020 (compared to 1 percent in 2019). Meanwhile, other economic sectors contracted by 1.6 percent, following a 5.7 percent increase in 2019. As for private consumption and public investment, they declined by 1 percent and 10.2 percent in 2020, respectively. During the pandemic period, the DRC government had to incur large expenditures, while revenues declined due to the decline in economic activity and the prolonged use of tax relief measures, resulting in a budget deficit of 1.9 percent in 2020. In addition, the total volume of external and domestic public debt in 2020 grew to 15.9 percent and 8.9 percent of GDP, respectively.
Despite the great potential of natural resources, the daily life of the Congolese population is marked by unemployment, poverty, difficult access to clean water, inefficient health services, lack of a quality education system and basic infrastructure such as roads, airports, ports, etc. The country also experienced a resurgence of the Ebola epidemic in 2018-20 due to the persistence of the virus, particularly in the eastern part and the equatorial region.
DRC ranks 176th out of 188 on the Human Development Index (HDI), according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In 2020, life expectancy in the country was 61 years.
South Sudan: a country so young, so problematic
South Sudan has a total area of 644,330 square kilometers, with an estimated population in 2021 of 10,748,278. The capital is Juba (or Djouba), which has a population of about 500,000. This state, which gained independence on July 9, 2011, borders 6 nations: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Its currency is the South Sudanese Pound. The official language is English, to which must be added Arabic – spoken mainly in Juba, with Sudanese variants – and regional languages, such as Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande and Shilluk. The current president – the first since the country became independent from Sudan – is Salva Kiir Mayardit. He had been president of the semi-autonomous region of South Sudan and vice president of the Sudanese national government from 2005 to 2011.
Religiously speaking, Christians make up 60.5 percent of the population, followers of traditional African religions 32.9 percent, Muslims 6.2 percent, and those of other religions 0.4 percent. The other main cities in South Sudan are Wau and Malakal. Life expectancy in the country is 58 years.
A country torn apart by ‘leadership’ conflicts
South Sudan is a country that in 2013, just two years after its independence, plunged into civil war. It started when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Riek Machar, his vice president, an ethnic Nuer, of wanting to stage a coup against him. Since then, the country has plunged into clan wars and bloody conflicts, especially between 2013 and 2018. An estimated 400,000 people died during that period, while millions were displaced or forced to flee.
The power-sharing peace agreement signed between the warring parties in 2018 did not completely end the rivalry between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. And because the political situation has not yet stabilized in the country, the U.N. Security Council extended the arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze it had imposed on South Sudan in 2018 until May 31, 2023.
Currently, observers believe that the internal situation in South Sudan is continuing to escalate,with large-scale violence persisting at the local level. The ceasefire between the warring parties is broken regularly. At the same time, the humanitarian situation is alarming. About 9 million people (nearly 75 percent of the population) are in urgent need of aid. In addition, more than 2 million people have taken refuge in neighboring countries. Human rights are constantly violated, especially those of women.
A fragile economy
The South Sudanese economy, with its heavy reliance on oil and poor infrastructure, was greatly weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the invasion of desert locusts, falling oil prices, and three consecutive years of major flooding have not spared the already conflict-affected country. After contracting by 6.6 percent in 2020, GDP growth rebounded to 5.3 percent in 2021, dueto higher oil prices. According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), economic growth in the country is expected to reach 6.5 percent in 2022, then drop to 5.6 percent in 2023.
In 2021, South Sudan’s economy began to recover. The authorities implemented a reform program aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability by strengthening fiscal discipline, removing distortions in the foreign exchange market, and improving transparency with the help of the IMF. The value of the South Sudanese pound has stabilized, and the gap between parallel and official rates has been erased. From an estimated budget deficit of 7 percent of GDP for the2020-21 financial year ( to June 30), a surplus of 2.6 percent of GDP is projected for FY 2021-22, mainly due to the recovery of oil revenues and the reduction of Transitional Financial Agreement (TFA) payments to Sudan.
The Catholic Church in the midst of conflict
The Catholic Church in South Sudan has only one ecclesiastical province the Archdiocese of Juba that has six suffragan dioceses: Wau, Rumbek, Malakal, Tombura-Yambio, Yei and Torit. Despite the independence gained by the country, the Catholic Church in South Sudan remains connected with the Catholic Church in Sudan (Archdiocese of Khartoum and its two suffragan dioceses). The bishops of the two states thus form the Episcopal Conference of Sudan and South Sudan.
The Holy See and the Republic of South Sudan, by mutual agreement, decided on February 22, 2013, to establish diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature (Holy See) and embassy (Republic of South Sudan). The apostolic nunciature was created on May 1, 2013, by Pope Francis’ Bull Quo Firmiores.
The Church’s pastoral work in South Sudan has for several years been geared toward reconciliation and peace, in a context characterized by violence, hostility, and conflict among the country’s leaders and between ethnic groups. This situation creates a climate of division and suspicion among the population. But despite the complexity of the situation in which it has to work, the Church continues its work of evangelization to heal the multiple social wounds, caused by armed conflicts and difficult socioeconomic conditions. This work is carried out through Caritas, services for displaced persons or refugees, schools and health centers.
The Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus have participated in the evangelization of the country and still contribute to the building of this young nation. They have been carrying out many pastoral activities in Sudan and South Sudan for several years. In addition to teaching, they are dedicated to the apostolate of the sick, with hospitals and health centers.
Need for peace
The Catholic Church is working to ensure that peace, justice and reconciliation reign in the territory of South Sudan. And it cooperates, in an ecumenical spirit, with other religious denominations.
It should be noted that one of the glues of identity in South Sudan is the fact that the majority of its population belongs to Christianity, around three main Churches: the Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches. Since the beginning of the civil war in this country in December 2013, the factor of religious affiliation has not torn the population apart. Indeed, the parties involved have not taken up arms in the name of religion.
The bishops promote peace and reconciliation in a country where the people are wounded materially, psychologically and spiritually, and have repeatedly urged political leaders for dialogue. On July 27, 2021, for example, a delegation of bishops met with President Salva Kiir, asking him to involve religious leaders in the process of reconciliation, justice, and peace among the South Sudanese belligerents. We must also recognize that President Kiir, declaring himself a Catholic, maintains good relations with the Church-family of God in his country. In the same spirit of peacemaking, the Religious Superiors Association of South Sudan (RSASS) inaugurated in 2016 a peace center in Kit, in the Archdiocese of Juba.
In addition to the efforts made by the local Church, the universal Church is also working to bring real peace to South Sudan. This is the case of the Community of Sant’Egidio, which for several years has been working to foster dialogue among all South Sudanese politicians by organizing meetings with the National Pre Transitional Committee (NPTC), the body charged with implementing the peace agreement. In November 2019, the Community promoted a meeting between non-signatories and signatories to the agreement, in order to avoid any form of armed confrontation.
The Rome Declaration, signed on January 12, 2020, by the government of South Sudan and opposition movements who pledged to respect the cessation of hostilities and engage in political dialogue, is a key step toward achieving peace and stability in the country. From July 15-18, 2021, the Community of Sant’Egidio held peace talks in Rome between South Sudan’s transitional government of national unity and some opposition movements in the presence of observers from the international community. During the four days, the parties signed two documents: the roadmap for the inclusion of two political parties – the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (Real SPLM) and the South Sudan United Front (SSUF/A) – in the ceasefire verification mechanism; and the roadmap for political dialogue on the causes of the conflict. However, on November 21, 2022, the transitional government decided to withdraw from the negotiating table.
South Sudan must continue its journey toward peace and reconciliation. At the political level, the factors that foster mutual trust among political actors are still quite weak. Still, the international community is making efforts, together with the Churches and other religions, to move the country forward, the task remains daunting and onerous. Two things are essential for this country: healing and reconciliation.
Can we describe the main characteristics of the DRC and South Sudan without asking questions about solutions to the major problems that are their common denominator? Indeed, it is difficult to talk about these two countries today without referring to instability in the east of the DRC and leadership conflicts in South Sudan, respectively, as well as inter-ethnic violence.
What can be done for these two countries to benefit from their natural wealth and aspire to peace and development? What role should the international community and religions play in accompanying these two troubled countries? There is no single answer to these two questions, which show the complexity of the situations. The expectations of the people of both states are enormous: peace, development, security, an end to violence, especially that directed against women. It would be irresponsible to close our eyes and plug our ears in the face of such a situation.
DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 7, no.2 art. 9, 0223: 10.32009/22072446.0223.9
. Cf. “Afrique”, in www.populationdata.net/continents/afrique
. Cf. I. Ndaywel è Nziem, Histoire du Congo. Des origines à nos jours, Paris, Parole et Silence, 2011, 18.
. Cfr www.populationdata.net/palmares/villes/afrique
. The 6 ecclesiastical provinces and their dioceses are: Kinshasa (archdiocese of Kinshasa, dioceses of Boma, Idiofa, Inongo, Kenge, Kikwit, Kisantu, Matadi, Popokabaka; Bukavu (archdiocese of Bukavu, dioceses of Butembi-Beni, Goma, Kasongo, Kindu, Uvira); Mbandaka (archdiocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro, dioceses of Basankusu, Bokungu-Ikela, Budjala, Lisala, Lolo, Molegbe); Lubumbashi (archdiocese of Lubumbashi, dioceses of Kalemie-Kirungu, Kamina, Kilwa-Kasenga, Kolwezi, Kongolo, Manono, Sakania-Kipushi); Kisangani (archdiocese of Kisangani, dioceses of Bondo, Bunia, Buta, Dungu-Doruma, Isangi, Mahagi-Nioki, Isiro-Niangara, Wamba); Kananga (archdiocese of Kananga, dioceses of Kabinda, Kole, Luebo, Luiza, Mbuji-Mayi, Mweka, Tshilomba, Tshumbe).
. Data on the exact number of the Congolese population are difficult to come by because a census has not been conducted for several years. Figures therefore vary from one source to another.
. Francis, “Préface”, in R. Mboshu Kongo (ed), Le Pape François et le “Missel Romain pour les Diocèses du Zaïre”, Un rite prometteur pour d’autres cultures, Vatican City, Libr. Ed. Vaticana, 2022, 3.
. Data provided by the Coordination nationale des écoles conventionnées catholiques, which reports to the CENCO’s Episcopal Commission pour l’education chrétienne (May 21, 2021).
. Cf. C. Makiobo, Église catholique et mutations socio-politiques au Congo-Zaïre. La contestation du régime de Mobutu, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2004.
. Cf. “Communiqué de presse publié à l’issue de la session extraordinaire du Comité permanent de la CENCO,” in CENCO (www.cenco.org/communique-de-presse-de-la-session-extraordinaire-du-comite-permanent-de-la-cenco).
. Cf. “Les prélats exigent de corriger les irrégularités”, in cath.ch (https://tinyurl.com/3knfb6bn), July 21, 2006.
. See “Jean-Pierre Bemba conteste les résultats de l’élection présidentielle congolaise”, in Le Monde (https://tinyurl.com/48z4422n), November 16, 2006.
. Cf. J.-P. Bodjoko, “DR Congo: ‘La Vérité sera toujours la vérité’, dit Mgr Utembi”, in Vatican News (https://tinyurl.com/mr8af5n2), March 2, 2019.
. Cf. E. De Jonghe, “Les Missions religieuses au Congo Belge”, in Congo 14 (1933).
. Cf. L. Besmond de Senneville, “Deux prêtres enlevés dans l’est de la RDC”, in La Croix (https://tinyurl.com/mryt97ew), July 17, 2017.
. See “DRC: un prêtre catholique assassiné après la messe par de présumés miliciens”, in Jeuneafrique (https://tinyurl.com/2hhvjckj), April 9, 2018.
. “DRC: libération du prêtre arrêté à Kinshasa”, in TV5Monde (https://tinyurl.com/yc4yr7ku), February 4, 2018
. See Human Rights Watch, “DR Congo: Les forces de sécurité ont tiré sur des fidèles catholiques”, (https://tinyurl.com/2r6hrtck), January 20, 2018.
. Cf. L. Larcher, “À l’ONU, Kinshasa accuse le Rwanda d’agression”, in La Croix (https://tinyurl.com/2p9asuu4), September 21, 2022. We would add, in this regard, that at the end of their extraordinary session of the General Assembly (November 7-9, 2022), the bishops of the DRC published the document “The Hour is Serious. Our Country is in Danger (cf. Neh 2:17)”, in which they urged Christians in all dioceses to fast, pray and make gestures of solidarity with the displaced people, but also to organize peaceful marches to say “no” to the balkanization of their country and to affirm that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country are non-negotiable.
. Cf. B. Giblin (ed), Les conflits dans le monde. Approche géopolitique, Malakoff, Armand Colin, 2016.
. Cf. J.-P. Bodjoko, “Depuis le Vatican, le Docteur Denis Mukwege crie un peu plus fort”, in Vatican News (https://tinyurl.com/yc48et77), May 23, 2019.
. “The Mapping Report was published on October 1, 2010: some 20 Congolese and international experts worked on it for a year, examining hundreds of serious cases of human rights violence that occurred in DR Congo from 1993 to 2003” (“Insieme a Mukwege per la pace in Rd Congo”, in Nigrizia, September 7, 2020).
. Cf. J.-P. Bodjoko, “La RD Congo fait ses adieux à l’ambassadeur italien Attanasio”, in Vatican News (https://tinyurl.com/yeyj6epe), March 3, 2021.
. See Banque mondiale, “République démocratique du Congo – Vue d’ensemble”, at https://tinyurl.com/52jxnfvj/, April 28, 2021.
. Cf. the fact sheet on the RDC on the UNDP website, at https://tinyurl.com/4ecdk96v
. See Banque mondiale, “Indicateurs et codes de la Banque mondiale”, at https://tinyurl.com/3a55w5ky
. Cf. A. Rusatsi, “South Sudan. Turbulent early years of independence”, in Civ. Catt. English Edition, February 2017.
. Cf. Banque mondiale, “Indicateurs et codes de la Banque mondiale”, op. cit.
. See Security Council, “Le Conseil de sécurité proroge jusqu’au 31 mai 2023 l’embargo sur les armes, l’interdiction de voyager et le gel des avoirs imposés au Soudan du Sud”, in UN (www.un.org/press/fr/2022/cs14908.doc.htm), May 26, 2022.
. For more information, see Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires Etrangeres, “Présentation du Soudan du Sud”, in diplomatie.gouv.fr (https://tinyurl.com/2ce3d747), May 20, 2022.
. Cf. “Soudan du sud: Le contexte économique”, in export.agence-adocc.com (https://tinyurl.com/3vzhehur).
. Cf. Francis, Quo firmiores, in www.vatican.va/apost_constitutions/document
. Cf. P. Mapuor Makur, “Missionnaires Comboniens au Soudan du Sud: Contribution à la construction de la nation, défis”, in aciaafrique (https://tinyurl.com/3kf2ksp3), January 23, 2020.
. Cf. P. Juma Wani, “Ne nous ‘ramenez pas à la guerre’: Les évêques catholiques du Soudan et du Soudan du Sud aux dirigeants politiques”, in aciafrique (https://tinyurl.com/4dzedwmy), April 16, 2022.
. Cf. S. Fath, “Les Églises, outil de médiation au Soudan du Sud”, in Observatoire international du religieux, No. 29-28, April 2019 (https://tinyurl.com/3265ezds).
. Cf. “Au Soudan du Sud, les évêques érigent la réconciliation en priorité de la nation”, in Vaticannews (https://tinyurl.com/2wm6mmru), April 19, 2020.
. Cf. “Soudan du Sud: inclure les religieux dans le processus de paix”, in Vaticannews (www.vaticannews.va/fr/eglise/news/2021-08/soudan-sud-eveques-processus-paix-reconciliation.html), August 1, 2021.
. See “Soudan du Sud: L’Eglise catholique inaugure un centre de la paix à Juba”, in Cath.ch (https://tinyurl.com/38526ua9), October 22, 2016.
. It should be noted that the Holy See has directly engaged, along with the other religions present in South Sudan, in negotiations between the belligerents, playing a mediating role. In 2019, Pope Francis invited Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to the Vatican for a spiritual retreat, at the end of which he knelt before them, imploring them to make peace. See also H.-H. Kibangou, “Hopes for South Sudan’s Government of National Unity”, in Civ. Catt. English Edition, September 2020.
. See “Sud Sudan”, at santegidio.org (https://tinyurl.com/5bm83z64), May 27, 2022.
. Cf. “Sud Sudan, proseguono i colloqui per la pace a Roma con Sant’Egidio”, ibid., July 19, 2021.