“We, the representatives of all religions living in Myanmar, appeal to political leaders, military and armed groups, to seek the path of reconciliation and peace as a common good of all the people”. So writes Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in an appeal signed together with the main Burmese religious leaders.
The message is concerned especially about the condition of the Rohingya Muslim minority originally from Rakhine State, in the west of the country, but whose members are scattered in many refugee camps around the country.
In recent days there have been increased clashes between the army and what is called “a militant group of Rohingya Muslims.” On 14 November, government sources reported the death of at least 30 Rohingya militants.
According to “Asia News,” the security forces have cordoned off the area of Maungdaw, in Rakhine State, bordering Bangladesh, and prevented the entry of humanitarian aid and independent observers. Since the beginning of October, about 60 Rohingyas and 17 government soldiers have died. The army continues to go from village to village and observers of “Human Rights Watch” report at least 430 Rohingya refugee houses set on fire for no reason. It is the worst violence in the state since 2012, when there were hundreds of victims.
Other civil conflicts persist in the complex mosaic that makes up the Burmese people. There are more than 130 ethnic groups in the country. In the north, in the state of Kachin, on the border with China, the army is fighting with the rebels of the “Kachin Independence Army” and in the east with the ethnic minority in Karen State.
Despite the fact that a peace conference was held last August in Panglong, regarded as the most important in the country since 1947, the message of the religious leaders says that “the nightmare of war continues. There are more than 200,000 internally displaced persons. New conflicts are added to the old ones. The presence of refugees leads to a proliferation in the trafficking of human beings, and the phenomenon of drugs and violence threatens to explode in the communities. Internal conflicts have caused chronic suffering to thousands of people, hindered human development and created much animosity.”
The appeal therefore concludes: “Myanmar needs only one religion today: that is peace. It is our common religion […]. We are brothers and sisters.”
Source: Info ANS