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Archbishop of Yangon calls on Myanmar government to seek peace

12 September 2017 | by James Roberts

'Peace is possible. Peace is the only way,' says Cardinal Bo

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of  Yangon, has called on the Myanmar Government, the army “and others” to seek a peaceful solution to the conflicts blighting the country. “Peace is possible. Peace is the only way,” he told the Tablet in an email this week.

More than a quarter of a million Muslim Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state since 25 August, when clashes between the military and militants intensified, according to the spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, William Spindler.

“The events of recent weeks are a great sorrow to all especially to the Muslim Rohingyas,” Cardinal Bo said. “It is exacerbated by the militant attacks of a few individuals. Violent options by anyone deeply affect thousands of innocent, poor people, who are suffering and being displaced.”

Cardinal Bo called for national unity and effective citizenship regulations. “We have raised our voice for regulation of citizenship all over Myanmar,” he said. “Internationally growing Islamophobia unfortunately influences the minds of people. Myanmar people need to treat all people as their brothers and sisters.”

Cardinal Bo added that Myanmar faces many ethnic challenges. “Kachins, Shans, Karens and many other ethnic communities are displaced,” he pointed out.

Pope Francis met the de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Vatican in May and is to visit the predominantly Buddhist nation in November.

This week, the Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi, his fellow Nobel recipient, begging her to stop the violence. “I am...breaking my vow of silence on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya," he wrote in an open letter.

PICTURE: Rohingya refugees walk to a Bangladeshi border guard post in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, on 10 September after crossing by boat through the Bay of Bengal 



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