Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Thousands of civilians are fleeing their homelands and millions of them are dying of hunger. The violence therefore primarily affects innocent people, above all older people, the disabled, children, women and the sick, who are often handicapped when fleeing. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar commented on this serious internal situation on the margins of its Plenary Assembly, held in Yangon from June 7th to 10th.
As Fides learned, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Bishops' Conference, which brings together the bishops of the country's 16 dioceses. "The bishops are very grateful to the priests, deacons, religious, catechists and volunteers who are trying to support and assist the faithful and civilians fleeing to safer areas," read the statement released at the end of the bishops' meeting. Likewise, the bishops encourage the faithful to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees, regardless of their faith, origin, place of residence, ethnicity, culture or political affiliation. Following the Church's social teaching, the Catholic Bishops' Conference will continue to forge relationships with the various Catholic communities around the world and with associations "ready to help the civilian population of Myanmar who are facing immense hardship as a result of the current political and social conflict ", the message said. Citing common values and goals such as peace, justice and reconciliation, the Burmese bishops appeal to all those responsible, as well as to political and military leaders, to organize and provide basic humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants. "Human dignity and the right to life cannot be negotiable," the statement said, asking "to respect and give value to every human life, and to respect and preserve sacred places and religious buildings, hospitals and schools". Despite the difficulties that have persisted for more than a year, the bishops' statement also recalls a perspective of faith and hope: "We believe that with God everything is possible. That is why we encourage the ecclesial communities in every possible way to create peace and we ask in particular, to pray constantly for peace, celebrating a Holy Mass for Peace on the first day of every month and praying the Rosary for Peace in Myanmar every evening". A UN report on the situation in Myanmar since the coup in February 2021, published in March, also complained that the military in Myanmar had committed "systematic human rights violations, many of them war crimes and crimes against humanity". According to NGO figures, more than 1,929 civilians have been killed, 11,000 arrested and more than 800,000 are internally displaced as of February 2021, according to UNHCR. (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/6/2022)