by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) 20.6.2013
To the Leaders and the
People of Myanmar
We the Catholic Bishops
of Myanmar warmly greet our country men and women and the leaders, wishing
greater peace, brotherhood and prosperity to all.
Myanmar, our beloved
nation, is standing at the exciting juncture of its historical journey. Blessed
by Divine bounty of natural resources, mineral resources and human resources,
our nation is countered by the world today. We are a rainbow nation of diverse
As leaders of Catholic
community, drawn from various ethnic backgrounds, we rejoice with our country
men and women in the turn of events in the recent times. After long night of
silent tears, our nation wakes up to a dawn of hope. Hope is seen in the
expanding democratic space and parliament whre diverse views are discussed
without fear or favour, releases of political prisoners, lifting of media
restrictions and increasing access to human rights. The future has a promise.
We warmly welcome the reform measures of the government.
We are pastors
concerned with the holistic dignity of all human beings. As followers of Christ
who asked us to be at the service of the vulnerable people and see God in
service to others “When you do to the least of my brethren you do it to me” (Matthew
25:40), Church responds to the spiritual and physical suffering of the people.
Our observations are guided by the Catholic Social Teachings and inspired by
the Popes – Pope John Paul II who insisted that “if the world want peace let it
work for Justice” and the present Pope Francis observation: “Service is power –
Economic Justice is the integral to human dignity”.
In this spirit of our
commitment to the welfare of all our country men and women, on the occasion of
the National Bishops Conference of Myanmar, we wish to issue this statement.
We urge that this
promising start on a long march towards total freedom and human brotherhood
show greater sensitivity to the following emerging challenges of our new
We strongly urge all to recognize that
human asset is the greatest asset. Every human being has the God given right to
full development facilitated by free and compulsory education. The government
must ensure quality education for all. Historically the Church has contributed
towards education and health and we assure our whole hearted collaboration in
This nation has been wounded by a
refusal to accept the traditional rights and dignity of all indigenous groups,
who lived for generations in this country. The political attempts to recognize
their uniqueness, their right to self determination, and right to management of
resources were not sustained in Myanmar history, forcing agonizing suffering
through war, conflict, human trafficking, drug menace. This needs to end with
the hope nurtured by every citizen for dignity and fair play in this nation.
Genuine peace in this country will be built only on the acceptance of
indigenous communities as equal partners in the journey of democracy. These
communities have suffered heavily during non democratic era. We expect a fair
and just recognition as dreams of democracy dawns. We wish to live as brothers
and sisters in new nation.
We are saddened by the lack of political
will in ending ethnic conflicts, specially the Kachin conflict. While welcoming
the recent peace talk and futile attempt at cease fire in some area, we urge
the government to address the root causes of conflict, respect the right of the
internally displaced people and seek durable solution to all conflicts. This
nation belongs to all and a true federalism will bring lasting peace and
The glory of Buddhism as enunciated in
its shining principles of metta and karuna is amplified through works of
compassion, love for the vulnerable and welcoming all as brothers and
sisters. We strongly condemn the recent
violent activities of some fundamentalists indulging in mutual killing among
communities in Arakan, Lashio, Meihkthila and other places. We plead with all
the hard earned space for democracy and reform need to be guarded form all
fundamentalist forces that threaten to tear the fabric of his nation. Peace is
possible and the only way forward for this nation is the path of peace and
God’s blessing to this nation in natural
resources are to be protected and not opened to international exploitation. The
loss of land of the poor farmers, land concessions to corporate interests
marginalize the poor. We call upon affirming land rights to all.
Religious diversity is the strength of
this nation. Attempts to dilute this fundamental right must be resisted by all.
The government must ensure protection, promotions and fulfillment of religious
rights of all especially the minority communities. Specially it must promote
their cultural rights through allowing educational institutions.
Millions of our country men and women
are away from their homes as refugees, internally displaced people and illegal
migrants. Their silent tears and inhuman treatment in yonder lands cry out for
justice. WE urge the government to work towards return of all the refugees and
internally displaced people to their homes.
God has set his nation
on a divine destiny with all blessings. Despite the streaks of darkness, a new
dawn awaits this nation beckoning to fulfill its dreams of becoming a golden
land of opportunity for all. Our unity in diversity is a strength. We urge
leaders and people of good will of our nation to lead this nation out of
hatred, affirming the rights of the poor and the vulnerable, blessings and development
to all our country men and women.
Bishop John Hsane hggi