UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

Myanmar

Myanmar bishops call for cessation of hostilities

Church leaders decry conflict that has led to thousands of people becoming displaced amid Covid-19

Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Myanmar bishops call for cessation of hostilities

Residents who fled from conflict between the Myanmar army and the Arakan Army arrive at a temporary refugee camp at a monastery in Sittwe, Rakhine state, on June 29. (Photo: AFP)

Share this article :
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) has appealed to state and non-state actors to end hostilities and invest in peace in a nation which has been bedeviled with protracted civil wars.

The bishops have decried ongoing conflict that has led to thousands of people becoming displaced amid the global fight against Covid-19.

“Covid has proven to be a great challenge even for superpowers. Countries have invested all their energies in waging a mighty war against this lethal virus,” they said.

“As we are all together in this, only by unity we can win this challenge. War-torn countries are the most vulnerable,” the bishops said in a letter issued on June 29.

The letter was signed by bishops from 16 dioceses including Cardinal Charles Bo, Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang, president of the CBCM, and Bishop John Saw Yaw Han, general secretary of the CBCM.

The church leaders said they are saddened by the continued conflict in Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Rakhine states.

“People living in IDP [internally displaced person] camps are most vulnerable and their rights should be respected,” said the bishops. “In this regard, any kind of land grabbing should not be extended in IDPs’ land and ensure and restore their property rights in their places of origin.”

There are nearly 250,000 IDPs in the country, according to the UN.

The call from church leaders comes as fighting has intensified between the Tatmadaw (military) and the Arakan Army, a group that has been fighting for self-autonomy in Rakhine and Chin states since December 2018.

Thousands of people from 39 villages recently fled their homes to make way for clearance operations by the Tatmadaw.

The bishops said Myanmar has seen six decades of war with no winners. “Death and displacement of innocent people continues. War shows no de-escalation. Thousands of our innocent people suffer.”

The church leaders have urged the government and the Tatmadaw “rather than trying to prevail militarily” to find a “political strategy to address the grievances and give the communities renewed hope that electoral democracy can help them achieve their aspiration through peaceful means.”

“The coming elections are a great opportunity to invest in democracy. The elections offer a great hope that a representative political participation is possible and it is the only way ahead,” the bishops stressed.

“Just, equitable and inclusive solutions are possible through cessation of hostilities and willingness to dialogue in good faith.”

Myanmar has seen decades-long civil war since gaining independence from the British in 1948.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government took power in 2016 following a landslide victory in the 2015 elections, formally ending more than six decades of iron-fisted military rule in the Southeast Asian nation.

Suu Kyi has pledged to prioritize peace, but ongoing conflicts have undermined her efforts at bringing all ethnic armed groups to the negotiation table and cessation of hostilities.

Myanmar is preparing for its third general election in six decades in November — coronavirus permitting — which observers say is a landmark development for the country’s transition to democracy.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution