Myanmar will go to the International Court of Justice to rebut accusations of genocide against the Rohingya. The archbishop of Yangon calls on the government to "put away guns and violence" and on the international community “not punish the people of Myanmar as a whole”.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – This “is the time to seek truth, justice, peace and reconciliation,” says Card Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), in a statement released yesterday.
At the same time, he said that “I am a priest not a lawyer or a politician, and so I will not comment on the international legal initiatives that are underway.”
Yet, his statement is a clear reference to the case that awaits Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
The case began when Gambia, on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed a lawsuit on 11 November against Myanmar for the alleged genocide of the Rohingya minority.
State Councillor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi is expected in The Hague court to lead the country's legal defence and rebut the charges.
The main judicial organ of the United Nations announced that the first public hearings will be held from 10 to 12 December.
Given the situation, Card Bo issued an appeal to the international community to “Keep in mind the well-being of all the peoples of Myanmar as it considers the measures to take in pursuit of justice".
In particular, the prelate urges “the international community that in their effort to hold those responsible for crimes against humanity accountable, they do not inadvertently penalize those who are not responsible, and do not punish the people of Myanmar as a whole.”
In addition, he hopes that the world will “not to adopt measures which could hurt the poorest. I encourage the international community to focus their efforts in a targeted way on those directly responsible for perpetrating grave violations of human rights and gross injustices.”
In a similar vein, the cardinal appeals “to the leaders of Myanmar to put away guns and violence and to reach out in dialogue with all communities in Myanmar – of every race and religion – to seek a peaceful, political resolution to decades of conflict and to begin a new process of peace, justice, truth and reconciliation.”
In a recent open letter titled Reflections from the Asian Periphery, Card Bo had urged Myanmr’s government, military, civil society, ethnic groups and religious communities to end human rights violations, conflicts and religious tensions.
Lastly, “For the Church, justice and peace go hand in hand, and truth and reconciliation walk together. Myanmar needs the world’s help to go down the path of truth and reconciliation. I pray for my nation and for the international community, that together we might walk hand-in-hand in the pursuit of peace.”