ASIA/MYANMAR - Cardinal Bo: need to include migrants and displaced persons in the response to the Covid-19 crisis

Monday, 22 June 2020

Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Migrants and displaced people in Myanmar and throughout Asia face increasingly difficult situations: "They are often on the run, crowded together, and with inadequate health care", said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). Conflicts remain the main cause of forced migration in Asia, he noted in a message sent to Agenzia Fides, adding that "in Myanmar, war is still displacing tens of thousands of people who are now starving in the Rakhine and Chin States". The Cardinal launched an appeal, hoping that "any conflict that causes suffering of the people must be resolved through dialogue and a constructive search for peace".
Referring to the Burmese context and the entire continent, he added: "it is important to prioritize the long acknowledged principles of international law proper to civilized countries regarding the protection of forcibly displaced persons", recalling that "migrants and internally displaced persons in Asia must not face discrimination caused by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis". "It is important to include the needs of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons in all policies of response to COVID-19, from relief to economic aid for survival", he said.
"If humanity is divided, the pandemic crisis cannot be overcome. When no one is left out, it is possible to heal a planet. For everybody’s sake let us care for refugees. If people continue to be forced from their homes, we will remain a world in crisis", said the Cardinal, reflecting on the causes of the phenomenon.
"To end the health crisis, relieve the hunger and poverty induced by the pandemic, and to prevent the uprooting of people as refugees, the real causes of conflict must be addressed, military offensives halted, and displaced people allowed to return to their villages", said the Cardinal.
Finally, the Archbishop of Yangon launched a heartfelt warning to Asian political and religious leaders to "pay particular attention to the difficult situation of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and to help them with all the support they need". (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2020)