After the coup by the Burmese armed forces against the democratic government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Christian minorities fear violence and persecution.
Au Myanmar there are 4,4 million Christians out of a population of 54,8 million, according to theNGO Open Doors, which ranks the country 18th in its annual world index of religious persecution. As the armed forces seized power Monday February 1, the country's religious minorities, including Christians, fear being threatened.
This is what said to The Tablet, an anonymous local partner of Open Doors.
“Military rule could mean increased power for the dominant religion. "
“This can have serious implications for the Church. He said before adding that he expected "restrictions on the Church to occur."
For Julia Bicknell, Open Doors analyst, this is a "crucial moment for the future of Myanmar". She says it is "the country's religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians, who have the most to fear from the current crisis."
In a joint pastoral letter sent to theAgenzia Fides, the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia expressed their "deep concern at the current developments, in particular with regard to the abrupt resumption of the military government".
They urge a "rapid and peaceful" return to democracy by declaring that the people must be "fully respected and protected".
“We urge a swift and peaceful return to the path of democracy and we call for respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of religion or creed. All the people of Myanmar must be fully respected and protected. "
Religious leaders call in particular for peace and justice in the country.
“We pray that recent events do not lead to an escalation of violence and suffering for our country. "
Mathews George Chunakara, secretary general of the Christian Conference of Asia told Agenzia Fides that the military coup comes “at a time when the country is suffering the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decline of socio-economic standards and where poverty is advancing rapidly ”.
He also reaffirmed the support of the Asian Christian Conference for the people of Myanmar.
“The Asian Christian Conference has always upheld the values of democracy, justice and peace. At this time of destabilization and uncertainty about the future, we stand alongside the people of Myanmar and pray for the return of democracy to the country. "
Le Cardinal Charles Maug Bo, Archbishop of Yangon also sent a message to the people of Myanmar, to the army leaders who seized power and to the international community. In particular, he calls for the release of the representatives of the people.
“The elected representatives of our people belonging to the National League for Democracy have been arrested along with many writers, activists and young people. I urge you to respect their rights and release them as soon as possible. They are not prisoners of war but prisoners of a democratic process. You promise democracy: it begins with their liberation. "
Above all, the cardinal calls for a return to democracy in a long plea which encourages people not to give in to “violence” and to turn to God in prayer.
“Stay calm, don't give in to violence. We have shed enough blood. No more blood is to be shed on this earth. At this time, too fraught with consequences, I believe that peace is the only way and that peace is possible. There are always non-violent ways to express our protests. Let’s no room for hatred at this time when we are fighting for dignity and truth. May all community leaders and religious leaders pray and animate communities for a peaceful response to these events. Pray for everyone, pray for everything while avoiding occasions of provocation. "
Camille Westphal Perrier
Article originally published in February 2021.
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