World faith leaders express solidarity with Myanmar people

Myanmar Text Caption alt
Myanmar Text Caption

Religions for Peace, which Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Bo serves as co-president, has condemned all actions that subvert the democratic will of Myanmar’s people and voiced solidarity with the people of the Southeast Asian country.

The international organization, comprised of Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu leaders, has appealed to Myanmar’s military for “the immediate release of political detainees, the restoration of civilian governance and the continued advancement of peace and reconciliation efforts in Myanmar.”

A report from UCA News said the interfaith leaders said the future belongs to the people of Myanmar, whose voices were heard as they elected their leaders.

“The collaborative work of the religious leaders in Myanmar is a testament not only to their courage and beliefs, but as long as they may continue to serve shared well-being, this work serves as a testament to the genuine goodwill of those who govern,” the leaders said in a statement on Feb. 2.

They called for the restoration of civilian governance, acts of mercy and accountability in delivering on the responsibilities to realize “peace and reconciliation in a country whose people have already suffered long and valiantly.”

Christian leaders in Asia have also called for a swift and peaceful return to the path of democracy and appealed for human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of religion or belief, of all Myanmar’s people to be fully respected and protected.

“It is with profound concern that we follow the current developments in your country, especially the abrupt resumption of military rule, overturning the outcome of 2020 elections, the detention of key political and pro-democracy representatives and the escalation of the national situation to the state of emergency,” the World Council of Churches and Christian Churches of Asia said in a joint pastoral letter on Feb. 3.

“We pray that you will be strengthened and supported in your ministry and witness for peace, justice and human dignity. In a spirit of solidarity, we offer you the assurance of our continued prayers and support,” the letter said.

The Feb. 1 coup led by military chief Min Aung Hlaing brought the arrest of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, several National League of Democracy officials, activists, writers and monks.

On Feb. 3, Suu Kyi was charged under the export and import law after police found walkie-talkies in her residence in Naypyitaw, according to media reports.