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Holy See

Myanmar Cardinal Bo: ‘It Is Time to Heal, Not to Open New Wounds’

Myanmar is a nation of promise and we all must help it to fulfill that promise. This is at the heart of the message of Salesian Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon (Myanmar), which His Eminence has provided to ZENIT on Oct 12, 2018, and can be read in its entirety below.

Cardinal Bo also stressed in his message: “It is a time to heal, not to open new wounds.”

Myanmar is emerging from decades of military rule after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the 2015 elections and has taken office.

The Muslim minority of the Rohingyas is considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted. According to data from the Arakan Project, a humanitarian organization defending Rohingyas rights, since 2010, some 100,000 members of the minority have fled Burma (Myanmar) by sea. Violence between radical Buddhists and Rohingyas has left, since 2012, more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced.

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From the time of colonization, through the Second World War, the people  of Myanmar lived through many challenges. When Independence came the wounds of civil conflict  and external threat  opened. It is continuing to fester. For long decades conflicts, displacements and unsafe migration wounded our nation.

It is time to heal, not to open new wounds.  From 2010, the streaks of hope broke in the horizon.  A full-fledged  democratic  government took over in 2016.  Peace making was its urgent mandate.  Democracy is yet to be robust. It is still at its infancy.   In the hands of Daw Aung San Sui Kyi the people of Myanmar invest their hope for a country of peace and prosperity.  They hope she will fulfill her mandate by bringing  understanding among the civilian government, army and the Buddhist clergy together for durable peace.

It is a time to heal, not to open new wounds. For  a durable peace and prosperity, the role of the army is very important in this country.  The civilian government and the army need to work together to make this country a nation of hope for millions.

The way forward is to  accept the role of  all stakeholders in the durable peace and resolution of all issues. Like in many countries, the army can play a major constructive role in the transition to democracy.   I earnestly request all our friends to recognize this reality and help the people of Myanmar in resolving their problems.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference, (CBCM), Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) and Myanmar Evangelical Christian Alliance (MECA) and Myanmar Christ’s Mission Cooperation on 23 August 2018 stated that: “ In this present situation, we feel that destructive elements, undue pressures and disturbances are hindering the Peace Building among the different entities and Union’s strides towards building a Democratic Federal Union.”

Also, I had expressly mentioned in Seoul – Korea  on 4th September, in a Press Conference: that extreme terms on Myanmar like, genocide, ethnic cleansing, sanctions, ICC would not assist us for our journey towards Peace and Democracy. Understanding our delicate situations, we need cooperation and accompaniment by the international community.  Myanmar is a nation of promise.  Let all of us help to fulfill that promise.  Let us move forward.

+ Cardinal Charles Bo

   Archbishop of Yangon 

[Text of Message provided to ZENIT by Cardinal Bo]

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