ASIA/MYANMAR - Christian university students: "No" to meetings with the military, who commit violence against civilians

Wednesday, 16 February 2022 human rights   students   peace   civil society  

Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Under pressure from the Myanmar army, the Myanmar Council of Churches, MCC, an ecumenical body that gathers 11 Protestant Churches published a statement in the state newspaper in recent days, inviting all armed ethnic groups to attend a meeting with the Myanmar military to talk about national reconciliation, peace and development. The invitation, published on February 11, was not accepted and was not extended to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM), as confirmed to Fides Msgr. Noel Saw Naw Aye, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Yangon.
After this declaration, several associations of university students, such as the "Myanmar Student Christian Movement", openly condemned the position of the MCC, denouncing the fact that, in so doing, "the MCC supports the army of Myanmar which carries out actions terrorist and inhumane acts against unarmed civilians" and urging believers and MCC members to leave the organization. This declaration, the students observe, "demeans peaceful, unarmed youth protest for democracy and human rights" and places the MCC "on the side of evil, against faith in God who is good and merciful". In the face of student protests, the MCC issued a letter of apology, saying its "sadness to see and hear its embarrassed and outraged members". The Council suspended its participation in the meeting with the representatives of the army, which was held on February 12, with the participation of seven leaders of the ethnic armies. The story - commented Fides sources in Myanmar - shows how the military junta seeks the support of the Christian Churches to reduce the front of the conflict and bring the ethnic formations (including several populations with a Christian majority) to a "cease- fire" and at a negotiating table. "Above all - observes the source of Fides - the junta intends to show the Popular Defense Forces and the international community that it has the support of religious leaders and churches. But this is impossible to sustain, given the violence that the soldiers commit daily in places of worship, refugees, communities of the faithful" (JZ-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/2/2022)