“We urgently need the vaccine of peace. All Christians need to join together and hear the words of our Lord, ‘peace I leave you; peace I give you’,”, said Cardinal Charles Bo.
On January 18th, the first day of Christian Unity week, Bo, the Archbishop of Yangon in Myanmar, and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, called on Christians in the country to lead the way on unity after seventy years of war and the that have come from it.
“I commend the generous support rendered to the poor during these days,” said Cardinal Bo, adding that “unity is our strength and calling.”
“A seven-decade war is a pandemic. Thousands living in miserable IDP (internally displaced people) camps is a pandemic. Drug and looting of our resources is a pandemic. Generations lived through the unending wars,” Bo said.
A conclusion to the decades-long civil strife in Myanmar which has lasted decades is not in sight. Myanmar’s government have paid no heed to international calls to investigate human rights violations against the Karen, Rakhine, Shan and Kachin minorities, let alone cooperated with the UN Fact-Finding Mission investigating the genocide against the Rohingya Muslims, over 900,000 of whom remain in camps in Bangladesh. The military continue to ride roughshod over the country, ‘using sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and gang rape, against women, children and transgender people, to terrorize and punish ethnic minorities’, according to Human Rights Watch.
Seeking a peace-based on justice Bo urged his fellow Christians to see that “peace is possible; peace is the only way. As Christians let us struggle towards peace based on justice”.
“Let us come together around the altar of our sacred land and break the bread of peace. United God will give us the wisdom to transcend our differences and bless us with an unyielding quest for peace.”