ASIA/MYANMAR - Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Myanmar in the Year of Peace

Thursday, 4 May 2017 human rights   justice   peace   reconciliation   diplomacy   politics   ethnic minorities   religious minorities  

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The Burmese Church which declared 2017 the "Year of Peace", "the Holy See and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar have jointly agreed to establish diplomatic relations", reports a note of the Holy See Press Office. The decision came after the meeting in the Vatican held today, 4th May, between Pope Francis and leader Aung San Suu Kyi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of Burma.
Bishop John Hsane Hgyi, at the head of the diocese of Pathein said: "We are happy for this decision, for the positive evolution and for the steps towards change. There is some trust in the people. One should consider that the current executive has been in power for only a year and it takes time to see changes especially regarding complex issues. We also thank leader Aung San Suu Kyi for her commitment. People have confidence in her and there are so many people of good will who are working for the common good of the country".
With regards to priority issues, the Bishop notes: "One of the main challenges is to resolve conflicts with ethnic minorities: fighting between the army and rebels continues. On May 24, a national meeting will be held in Yangon for the signing of a ceasefire. We hope all the different ethnic groups can join and is a real step towards national reconciliation. All peoples in Myanamr and all religions want peace: today the nation needs an effort on behalf of everyone to turn page and reach peace. "Even on the delicate issue of rohingya Muslims in the south of the country, "the Catholic Church expresses the utmost solidarity for their suffering and desires solutions that respect human dignity and human rights, according to criteria of peace and justice", the Bishop notes.
Bishop John Hsane Hgyi adds: "As Catholic Bishops' Conference in Myanmar, we proclaimed 2017 Year of Peace, and we have asked the faithful in all dioceses to pray in a special way, to fast, to make sacrifice, and to raise awareness for peace in the nation. We are currently promoting seminars and conferences on the subject of reconciliation in different dioceses and will continue throughout the year, also seeking the collaboration of other religious leaders".
Among the crucial points, according to Mgr. John Hsane Hgyi, "one concerns the Constitution: in fact, today we still have the military at the head of some government departments and, until the fundamental Charter does not change, this situation remains an obstacle to the path of genuine peace".
Another challenge is "fighting poverty and working seriously for economic development, which thrives in a peaceful, fertile national context for everyone's well-being". "We have noticed important steps and we continue to look at the future with hope", concludes Bishop Hsane Hgyi. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 4/5/2017)

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