ASIA/MYANMAR - The Bishop of Myitkyina: "New hope for peace with ethnic minorities"

Friday, 9 September 2016 religious minorities   politics   peace   justice   reconciliation   ethnic minorities  

Myitkyina (Agenzia Fides) - For some time peace and national reconciliation with ethnic minorities in Myanmar is an issue that is constantly on the political agenda: "Now, with the new government of the National League for Democracy, and after the national conference held in Naypyitaw in recent days, we hope that the process is put into practice", says to Fides Francis Daw Tang, Bishop of Myitkyina, in Kachin state in northern Myanmar, where a population of the ethnic Kachin, almost all Christian live. 24 delegates from the state, two of them Catholics, took part in the Conference.
"The question of the inclusion of ethnic minorities in the nation has been going on for at least 60 years and in recent decades there have been many obstacles and misunderstandings. Today it has reactivated a process of dialogue with the goal of national reconciliation, and this is already good news: it is a valuable opportunity for the entire nation", notes the Bishop.
After the conference, which did not end with a cease-fire, "it seems that it will take six months to determine the next steps and develop a road map" he said. The point, according to the Bishop, "is to ensure that, during this time, the military do not launch offensives in areas of conflict. Much still depends on the military: the government should ensure that abuses are not carried out and the dignity of all is respected", he notes. The ultimate goal, for the Church, is "to stop the conflict, establish lasting peace and guarantee equal rights to ethnic minorities, in the framework of a federal system", says Mgr. Francis Daw Tang
"In the diocese of Myitkyina we still have over 8 thousand displaced who cannot return to their villages. Caritas assists them, but we are also preparing for them the opportunity to cultivate the land, so they themselves can contribute to their livelihood", he says, expressing hope that "peace arrives as soon as possible, for the good of all". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 09/09/2016)