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The Pontiff Tells Juba Leaders, “The Future Cannot Lie in Refugee Camps”

Pope Francis called for peace Over the weekend as he met a group of several hundred South Sudanese people internally displaced by war at an event in the country’s capital Juba. “I want to renew my forceful and heartfelt appeal to end all conflict and to resume the peace process in a serious way,” the pope told the crowd gathered in the Freedom Hall. The pope’s visit to South Sudan came days after the 86-year-old held Mass for 1 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), another country grappling with poverty and strife. Francis’ trip to the DRC – the first papal visit since 1985 – came as the African nation is beset by armed fighting and a worsening refugee crisis. South Sudan has been in a civil war since 2013, and a 2018 peace agreement has yet to be fully implemented. The war has led to more than 4 million South Sudanese people – 65% of them aged under 18 – either fleeing the country or being internally displaced, according to the UNHCR.