Churchmen from Rohingya territory has expressed deep sorrow over violence and atrocities being committed in the area. Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho, from Diocese of Pyay has called for an urgent need of peace in the territory, saying the situation had become more complex. Rohingya minority is settled in the state of Rakhine falls within the jurisdiction of Pyay Diocese.
Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho in a statement sent to Fides maintains that: “The situation of the Rohingya today is very difficult to judge. There is no reliable news and the news that circulates differs, depending on whether it comes from the government, the Rohingya or other sources. What we can say is that we strongly hope for a peaceful solution that takes into account respect for the dignity and human rights of all.”
Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho is of the opinion that meanwhile the military offensive and strikes on civilians continue: “the situation has become more complicated and deteriorated due to the presence of extremists who have fueled the conflict in recent years and have generated more and more violence.”
“The Rohingya are peaceful and friendly people. They arrived in Burma from Bangladesh in the British era and lived for decades with the Rakhine local population without any problems. Four years ago, the first turmoil began after the alleged episode of rape carried out by a Rohingya against a Rakhine girl.
Tension increased rapidly also due to the intervention of Buddhist extremist groups and the conflict also become a religious conflict. The army had to intervene to control the situation. Unfortunately, division and hatred continued to harbor, and even a Rohingya armed group was born and began carrying out attacks,” Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho stated.
The area has been completely cordoned off and current situation is not known. Further shedding light on the escalating crisis Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho said that: “Now there is great difficulty for the refugees’ conditions, for their lives. The area is completely closed and nobody can verify exactly what is happening.
Still and all, he was sure that there were no Christians in the area clarifying: “There are no Christians or Catholics in that area, and as a Church we cannot operate in any way.” Reflecting upon the current desperation and upcoming Papal visit he said: “We can only pray and ask for respect for human dignity and peace building. This is what we also ask Pope Francis who we will welcome with joy at the end of November in Myanmar.”
In line with estimates, more than 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar by crossing into Bangladesh over the past two weeks. The Rohingyas- a minority Muslim group have been living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State for centuries. In 1980s their citizenship was snatched from them by then military government.