ASIA/MYANAMAR - The Bishop of the Rohingya Territory: "It is urgent to respect human dignity and build peace"

Friday, 8 September 2017 religious minorities   ethnic minorities   violence   human rights  

Pyay (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation of the Rohingya today is very difficult to judge. There is no reliable news and the news that circulates differs, depending on whether it comes from the government, the Rohingya or other sources. What we can say is that we strongly hope for a peaceful solution that takes into account respect for the dignity and human rights of all": says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho, who heads the diocese of Pyay, in the west of Myanmar. Pyay is the diocese that covers the territory of the state of Rakhine, in the West of the country, where the population of ethnic minorities of Rohingya, of Muslim religion, is situated.
While news of violence and bombings on civilians continue to circulate, the Bishop notes that "the situation has become more complicated and deteriorated due to the presence of extremists who have fueled the conflict in recent years and have generated more and more violence".
"The Rohingya – says Mgr. Pyone Cho - are peaceful and friendly people. They arrived in Burma from Bangladesh in the British era and lived for decades with the Rakhine local population without any problems. Four years ago, the first turmoil began after the alleged episode of rape carried out by a Rohingya against a Rakhine girl. Tension increased rapidly also due to the intervention of Buddhist extremist groups and the conflict also become a religious conflict. The army had to intervene to control the situation. Unfortunately, division and hatred continued to habour, and even a Rohingya armed group was born and began carrying out attacks".
Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho concludes: "Now there is great difficulty for the refugees' conditions, for their lives. The area is completely closed and nobody can verify exactly what is happening. There are no Christians or Catholics in that area, and as a Church we cannot operate in any way. We can only pray and ask for respect for human dignity and peace building. This is what we also ask Pope Francis who we will welcome with joy at the end of November in Myanmar". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2017)