09/27/2017, 14.55
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In Rakhine, “Peace based on justice is possible”, says Card Bo

The cardinal defends Aung San Suu Kyi against criticism and pressures from the international community. He welcomes the proposals by Kofi Annan. Government investigations continue into the violence by the Islamist militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Card Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, issued a statement yesterday to the people of Myanmar and the international community about violence in Rakhine State, in which he says that “Peace based on justice is possible”; in fact, “peace is the only way.”

In his press release, the cardinal expresses all the pain of the Church for the victims of "a tragedy that should not have happened.” He also condemns what triggered the violence (attacks by Islamic militants against the military, and the latter’s aggressive response.

“We feel great compassion at the flight of thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Rakhine, Mro and many others [who] were also scattered, especially children.”

At the same time, he defends Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticised at the international level and pressured to condemn the military’s campaign against the Rohingya.

“As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has expressed her concern over all forms violence in her recent speech, we strongly advocate that aggressive responses without any embedded long term peaceful policies would be counterproductive.”

Islamic countries and various Western powers have criticised Ms Suu Kyi for her "silence", as well as her lack of moral leadership and compassion, deeming too little too late her public statement on the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

“[T]o lay all blame on her, stigmatizing her response is a very counterproductive measure. The circumstances under which her government took over, the multiple humanitarian challenges her government had to face during the short time, the continued role of military constitutionally imposed lack of leverage in security issues and scores of other challenges make her role a daunting one."

The archbishop of Yangon welcomes her reassurance about the protection of human rights in Rakhine, and her stated goal of seeing all refugees return and the development of the state. he equally considers "constructive" the proposals made by the Commission led by Kofi Annan.

"All of us need to move from a wounded past towards a healing future. Let the lessons of the past enlighten our future,” the prelate said.

Meanwhile, government investigations continue into the ongoing clashes that began on 25 August.

According to the government’s Information Committee, 84 people died in Maungdaw district, one of the hotspots of violence since the beginning of the crisis. The dead include Muslims, Hindus, ethnic Rakhine, Daignet, Mro and members of the Security Forces. Some 44 people are missing.

On Sunday, the military and Hindu residents in Yebaw Kya, a village in northern Maungdaw, said they discovered mass grave with 28 bodies. Another 17 were found the following day, near the village.

The government blames the deaths on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Meanwhile, the search for other bodies continues.

Union Minister for Social Welfare Dr Win Myat Aye, Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu, members of the National Human Rights Commission and senior military officers went to the mass grave sites on Monday and met with the relatives of the victims who confirmed the identity of 25 of the dead bodies so far.

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