Max Gassis is the emeritus bishop from the El-Obeid diocese in the Nuba mountain area of Sudan. He is appealing to German and EU leaders to protect the region and his people, 'our brothers and sisters in humanity.'
Bishop Max Gassis is in Europe to meet with politicians and diplomats in Germany and EU parliamentarians in Brussels.
DW: What are you going to tell the diplomats and members of parliament about the situation in the Nuba Mountains?
Bishop Max Gassis: I am going to tell them that we are the forgotten people. Here we have a government that is killing its own people. Let us do something to save an entire ethnic group from being washed away by the Khartoum regime.
What do you want the diplomats and members of parliament to do to end the conflict?
I have always suggested three solutions. The first step: The government in Germany, which has a lot to do in Sudan, should put pressure on Khartoum so that they stop the aerial bombardments of innocent people. The second step is to allow the movement of relief goods by land or by air. If Khartoum wants to allow things to come only via Khartoum, our people will say ‘no.' They should open the corridors from South Sudan, from Uganda or from other African countries. This way our people will feel that this is clean help coming. Number three is to put pressure on both the regime in Khartoum and the liberation movement [the SPLM North rebels fighting Sudan's army] to sit down as civilized people and to tailor a solution to bring justice and peace to the people.
What do you think of media reports that Germany plans to increase cooperation with Sudan on border security issues to stem the flow of migrants coming to Europe?
We know about torture. We know about the suffering of people at the hands of the government in Khartoum. And now we are spending millions of euros so that President Omar Al-Bashir can establish a camp to stop the flow of refugees. Who will guarantee that? Secondly, they are going to supply him with surveillance instruments to detect the movements of refugees. Do you think that Omar Al-Bashir is going to use it for that purpose?
Or is Omar Al-Bashir going to use it against the movement of liberation armies in Darfur, in the Nuba Mountains or in Blue Nile? What are the guarantees? There are no guarantees. I think we are gambling here. There will be a lot of suffering for my people in the Nuba Mountains, in Darfur and in Blue Nile.
Why is the international community paying so little attention to the situation in the Nuba Mountains?
Because the Nuba Mountains have nothing to give to the international community. But we have people. People are the greatest gift that God gave humanity. We have people who can play an important role in the international community. We must also remember that the Nuba Mountains are rich in oil and minerals. But because nobody ever developed this area, it is still there. Nobody is paying attention to it. But we should pay attention, especially to the people. These are our brothers and sisters in humanity. If we neglect them, we are responsible in front of Almighty God.
The interview was conducted by Daniel Pelz.