Myanmar’s prominent Catholic Church leader has appealed to the international community to be patient with Myanmar as the nation is passing through a delicate phase, and to continue helping it in its transition to a fully-fledged democracy.
Patience with pace of democracy
Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon said peacemaking is Myanmar’s urgent mandate, while democracy is still in its infancy and needs time to be robust.
His appeal came in a statement on September 10, in the wake of a scathing report last month by an independent fact-finding team appointed by the United Nations’ top human rights body, that demanded the prosecution of Myanmar’s military leaders who it accused of systematic crimes against ethnic minorities in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states.
Heal, not open new wounds
"In the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi, the people of Myanmar invest their hope for a country of peace and prosperity," Cardinal Bo said, adding, "Myanmar history is a wounded history. It is time to heal, not to open new wounds."
"Extreme terms like genocide, ethnic cleansing and sanctions will not assist us in our journey towards peace and democracy," the cardinal said. "The way forward is to accept the role of all stakeholders in the durable peace and resolution of all issues."
The 69-year-old cardinal said the civilian government and the army need to work together to make Myanmar "a nation of hope for millions."
"I earnestly request all our friends to recognize this reality and help the people of Myanmar in resolving their problems," he said.
Cardinal Bo, the nation’s first cardinal, is a staunch campaigner for reconciliation in Myanmar, where peace negotiations with ethnic armed militias are ongoing and the Rohingya refugee crisis is still unresolved.
He has defended State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in her efforts to foster democracy by working with the military despite calls for her to be stripped of her Nobel peace prize for staying silent about persecution of the Rohingya. (Source: UCANEWS)