ASIA/MYANMAR - Religious leaders ready for mediation: ASEAN intervention is requested

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 civil society   religious leader   peace   reconciliation   coup   human rights   politics  

Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Burmese religious leaders of all faith communities, united in the "Religions for Peace-Myanmar" organization, declare themselves "ready to continue the Consultative Forum on Peace and Reconciliation in Myanmar, as an open space for dialogue, when the conditions are acceptable, so that all parties can meet and come together". Such is the availability in matters of mediation expressed in an appeal released by Religions for Peace Myanmar, sent to Fides. The Forum is chaired by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Catholic Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
During this phase, marked by street protests and episodes of repression that led to the arrest of more than 600 demonstrators, religious leaders address in particular "a strong appeal to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) as a regional body committed to promoting peace, stability and prosperity to urgently offer its good services to Myanmar as a member state". The ASEAN Constitutive Charter, it is recalled, "commits its members to democracy and human rights, the rule of law and good governance. Now is the time to step up service to the people of Myanmar, including all ethnic minorities before it is too late", hope the religious leaders, calling for ASEAN's direct involvement.
"It is with deep anguish that Religions for Peace Myanmar and Religions for Peace International, on behalf of all its regional and national organizations - reads the text sent to Fides - implore all parties concerned to change the sad turning point of events on the streets of Myanmar. Much blood has been shed this month. Religions for Peace is on the side of the people of Myanmar in their search for the sacredness of life. We strongly condemn the bloodshed of innocent people". Religions for Peace brings together leaders from different faith traditions, who promote "a world without war and violence". "Working in Myanmar, we have appreciated the progress of peace and democracy over the past decade. We nurtured great expectations of a nation built on these foundations". The recent turn of events through the contestation of the election results and the seizure of power by the military "has fragmented the nation". That is why religious call on all parties concerned to "work for peace". "A nation that has suffered for a long time can be healed only through dialogue and not through violence in the streets". Social and political tensions come when "the poor of this country, who already have to face many challenges including that of the pandemic, the loss of their means of subsistence and food insecurity, urgently need peace to to survive".
Religions for Peace Myanmar, joining the Buddhist organization "Ma Ha Na" in asking for peace and also with the appeal of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM), hopes: "We ask everyone, in particular the army, to return to the negotiating table to establish a dialogue, address open issues and reconcile the nation". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021)