ASIA/MYANMAR - Cardinal Bo to the government: "Stop violence, taking care of the poor is what is needed"
Yangon (Agenzia Fides) Myanmar - "I launch an appeal to the leaders of Myanmar to abandon arms and violence for dialogue with all communities, of every ethnicity and religion, to seek a peaceful solution to decades of conflict, and start a new trial of peace, justice, truth and reconciliation": this was stated by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of yangon and President of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Asia in an open letter published in early December and sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Cardinal urges the rulers of Myanmar to direct all their energy and efforts "to take care of poor and suffering people", in a nation that still bears the wounds of long years of conflict. Cardinal Bo reminded everyone that it is his duty, as a priest and Pastor, to speak in the name of the poor and the marginalized and the voiceless. "Now is the time to seek truth, justice, peace and reconciliation. I am a priest, not a lawyer or a politician, so I will not comment on current international legal initiatives. But I know that in order for there to be peace, there must be justice, and for there to be reconciliation, there must be recognition of the truth", he says.
The Archbishop of Yangon also addresses the international community to "keep in mind the well-being of all the people of Myanmar". "In particular, I urge the international community to ensure that, in the effort to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity, they do not inadvertently penalize those who are not responsible and must not punish all the people of Myanmar as a whole". And continues: "The international community must be careful not to take measures that could hurt the poorest. I encourage the international community to focus its efforts in a targeted manner on those who are directly responsible for perpetrating serious violations of human rights and serious injustices".
In the letter, the Cardinal also underlines the positive role of interreligious dialogue and the Church's commitment to peace, reconciliation and justice, while the country is going through a historical phase that "desperately needs healing". "For seventy years Myanmar has been torn apart by ethnic conflicts, dictatorship and religious nationalism that have led to horrific bloodshed, death, destruction, slavery and abuse", he recalls. "For too many decades Myanmar has been shut out of the world. In the last seven years some signs of hope and light have emerged, to be replaced by new dark clouds", he notes.
In the letter the Cardinal concludes: "Justice and peace go hand in hand, truth and reconciliation walk together. Myanmar needs the help of the world to walk the path of truth and forgiveness. I pray for my nation and for the international community, so that together we can walk hand in hand in the search for true peace". (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 2/12/2019)