ASIA/MYANMAR - Truce in Chin State: displaced people begin to return to their homes, priests engaged in assistance

Monday, 21 June 2021 human rights   displaced persons   local churches   violence   cease-fire  

Hakha (Agenzia Fides) - After weeks of intense armed clashes, there is a truce in the Chin State between the regular army and local fighters of the "Chinland Defense Forces" (CDF).
This was confirmed to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Timothy Shing, a local Catholic priest from Mindat, in the diocese of Hakha, in the Burmese state of Chin, in eastern Myanmar. The priest, along with other parish priests, local Catholic religious and lay people, is committed to assisting the displaced who fled because of the fighting. In recent days, the priests of the local parish have issued a sincere appeal to end the violence, noting that "many innocent people are suffering and are desperate" and have asked for international help. "The army and resistance groups have agreed to a ceasefire, to allow civilians to return to their homes and allow the wounded and sick to be transported and treated in public hospitals", notes Fr. Timothy Shing. However, "the Burmese army does not allow non-governmental organizations and other entities to bring humanitarian aid. And the civilians who have chosen to return to their homes represent only 20% of the displaced persons so far, as they still fear for their safety and survival". Fr. Timothy Shing re-launched the appeal for "a definitive truce, in order to save the lives of civilians and protect women, children and the elderly", recalling that the humanitarian emergency is still ongoing. The priest shares the appeal of the Burmese Bishops for "the opening of special humanitarian corridors" and thanks Pope Francis for his attention to Myanmar and for the additional appeal, launched during the Angelus on June 20, for the protection of the suffering civilian population in the country. (PA-JZ) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2021)