With rape and institutionalised mass killings escalating at an alarming rate against the Myanmar´s ethnic group, Rohingya, Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar disgraces these Rohingya victims with his shocking and irresponsible expression that ‘ethnic cleansing is not taking place against Rohingya’.
ERC reminds Cardinal Bo of what he said in the year 2016 in support to end the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims, whose struggles he called ‘an appalling scar on the conscience of my country’ “They are among the most marginalised, dehumanised and persecuted people in the world. They are treated worse than animals. Stripped of their citizenship, rejected by the neighbouring countries, they are rendered stateless. No human being deserves to be treated this way “he said. “Without [a solution], the prospects for genuine peace and true freedom for my country will be denied, for no one can sleep easy at night knowing how one particular ethnic group are dying simply due to their race and religion”
Pope Francis of Vatican, on several occasions has explicitly spoken openly in support of Rohingya. Dalai Lama and Pope Francis are of the very few non-Muslims being among highest religious authorities have shown such a strong support for the most persecuted ethnic minority in the world.
Because of Archbishop Charles Bo´s solidarity in the past with the sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims irrespective of their race and religion, Rohingya cheered and celebrated whole-heartedly when Pope Francis named Archbishop Charles Bo as the first cardinal of Myanmar on January 4, 2015.
ERC wonders if Cardinal Charles Bo has crucified the Rohingya Muslims surrendering his human conscience and a healthy mind to join hands with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Cardinal Bo is very much aware of the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya by the previous military government and its escalation under Daw Aung San Suu Kyi´s leadership. He must be aware of the UN ‘Flash Report’ based on interviews with more than 220 members of the Rohingya minority group who had fled from northern Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh since October 2016. Cardinal Bo, what do you call it if the Myanmar military deliberately destroys hundreds of entire Rohingya villages, carries extrajudicial mass killings? What do you call when Myanmar Military rape hundreds of Rohingya women and young girls to instil terror? What do you call when an astounding number of 75,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh in a month time after October 2016? What would Cardinal Bo call when among the detained Rohingya men after clearance operation are many juveniles, out of which at least 8 children have died while in custody? How do you explain the drastic reduction of Rohingya population from being 3 million decades ago to and less than half a million in Rakhine state now? Sadly, for you Cardinal Bo, for whatever reason, now you abruptly have diverted 180 degrees and is being pretentious not to see an ongoing ethnic cleansing. But!! To many around the world it is far more than ethnic cleansing. What Rohingyas are facing today is simply Genocide; Myanmar´s government and military intention to destroy a whole community, an entire race; the Rohingya of Myanmar.
It is not up to us to figure out as to why Cardinal Bo made such an unjust and deeply insulting statement. We request him to reconsider and withdraw his statement. Already severe damage has been done through this statement to his reputation and to the faith he belongs and to the humanity he exists in. But, it is still not too late. Only a UN led independent investigation can prove if Myanmar government and Cardinal Charles Bo are right of their claims. Hope Cardinal Bo will be working to bring an end to the Rohingya Genocide.
For more information:
Dr. Anita Schug
The European Rohingya Council