Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Suu Kyi highlights ethnics' plight
Care for ethnic groups must be more than just a show, she saysInternally displaced Kachins have fled to this camp to escape fighting
- John Zaw, Mandalay
- July 26, 2012
Supporting a motion by a ruling-party member of parliament on upholding the rights of the countryâ€™s many ethnic groups, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said the move was necessary to guarantee true democracy in Myanmar following decades of civil war between minorities and the army.
â€śThe flames of war are not completely extinguished,â€ť she told MPs in Naypyidaw.
Although the government has initiated ceasefires and peace talks with key ethnic insurgent groups including the Karen National Union whose armed wing has waged the longest-running civil war in the world, recent riots in western Rakhine State have led to renewed accusations of ethnic inequality.
The UN has previously labeled the Rohingyas - a Muslim minority that has borne the brunt of violent clashes in Rakhine State - the most persecuted ethnic group in the world.
Although the by-election that saw Suu Kyi elected a member of parliament on April 1 was considered a key part of Myanmarâ€™s reform process, the government cancelled polls in three constituencies in northernmost Kachin State, due to clashes between insurgents and the army.
Ongoing fighting means the polls have still not been scheduled. Meanwhile, 70,000 displaced people remain in camps in Kachin State and across the border in Yunnan Province, China.
Tu Ja, the former head of the Kachin Independence Organization, the political wing of the insurgent army still fighting state forces, said Myanmar needed a second Panglong agreement to assure rights for minorities, a reference to the 1947 federalist deal between Suu Kyiâ€™s father Aung San, the then leader of the country, and Kachin, Shan and Chin ethnic leaders.
â€śIf we really want peace in this country we must collaborate with the ethnic groups and work together,â€ť said Tu Ja, who is also an independent MP.
Bauk Ja, an MP from the National Democratic Force, the party which splintered from Suu Kyiâ€™s National League for Democracy ahead of the 2010 general election, cautioned that it remained unclear whether or not the government and lawmakers were serious about guaranteeing ethnic rights in Myanmar.
â€śIf we donâ€™t have transparency and genuine attitudes, ethnic rights may not be achieved in ethnic regions,â€ť she said. â€śIt could just be a show for the international community.â€ť
The US government has said peace in ethnic areas of the country is a one of a handful of conditions that the reformist government must achieve before remaining sanctions â€“ including a ban on Myanmarâ€™s imports â€“ are fully lifted.
Rohingyas face 'genocide': house speaker
Groups press Myanmar on citizenship
Kachin refugees protest arbitrary arrests