Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - "It is urgent to stop any form of violence on the Rohingya population. It is dramatic that, with fighters coming from abroad, a new conflict front in the state of Rakhine is being opened. The government and the army of Myanmar must realize that aggressive responses, without any political solution, will eventually turn this situation into a disastrous conflict. Myanmar has many other urgent issues to deal with: poverty reduction, strengthening democracy, building the state": is the appeal launched by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo through Agenzia Fides, who speaks of the crisis that the country is facing, less than two months before Pope Francis' visit to Myanmar (27-30 November).
The Cardinal tells Fides: "Today there is a phobia towards Muslims in the country due to hate speech and social media. Through social media, hate speech spreads quickly and false news soon becomes an element of truth. In addition, the people of Myanmar are very influenced by what is happening elsewhere in the world. This climate does not help solve the crisis with the Rohingya".
"In this context - the Cardinal notes - the Church does not remain silent. We are working to bring some understanding among the various actors, at a social, political and religious level. The Church supports the fundamental rights of all, including the Rohingya. In Myanmar, other minority ethnic groups of Christian religion (such as kachin, kayah and karen) continue to be in conflict with the army and are subject to being displaced. Burma Bishops support the dignity of every man and the good of all peoples".
With regard to the Rohingya situation, the Cardinal recalls that "the laws of 1982, which denied citizenship to Muslims, were adopted by a military and non-democratic government. As Christians, animated by compassion and justice, we have called on the government and others to deepen the allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocide".
"The Church reaffirms the rights of every person in the country and will continue to ask, for the Muslims in the state of Rakhine, a dignity that includes citizenship", he notes, highlighting that "today, dialogue is the only way forward. Peace is possible and peace is the only way".
On the upcoming visit of the Pope, Cardinal Bo concludes: "I am sure it will be an extraordinary moment of grace for the little flock of Burmese faithful in a Buddhist country. The Pope’s visit is an apostolic and pastoral trip. He comes, at the invitation of the government, to encourage peace and harmony". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2017)