A Joint Statement by ALL Forum to Religious Leaders in Asia

A Joint Statement by ALL Forum to Religious Leaders in Asia especially the FABC on the Myanmar People’s struggle for Democracy

Amidst the critical situation in Myanmar, we Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum stand in solidarity with the pain, torment
and struggles of the Myanmar people.

On the 26th of March 2021 ALL Forum jointly organised an interreligious webinar with a Burmese Buddhist monk, a
Catholic activist from Myanmar, The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and Lay Mission Institute
(LAMIN), in order to understand the critical situation in Myanmar and seek ways to support and build solidarity with
Myanmar people.

The Myanmar’s military till date continues to defy calls to end the fundamental human rights violations and “return to the path of democracy”. Until now more than 739 people have been killed since the beginning of the coup in
February. The UN’s special envoy on Myanmar has called for strong actions against the junta and has warned of a
possible “bloodbath” and the risk of civil war. The cry for a solution to the crisis is heard loud and clear in all its
urgency.

In a Buddhist majority country, we understand that it is immensely difficult for us Catholics and Christians of other
denominations to voice out our opinions against the Military Junta. But right now, in these tough times we cannot
stand back; Our sisters and brothers are brutally suffering from the unjust acts and crimes carried out by the
Myanmar military and police.

We need to voice out as Myanmar citizens and not as a religious minority. We should make use of this opportunity to unite interreligiously as one human family by getting rid of the preexisting religious and ethnic discrimination. Our
union with the Buddhists, other Christian denominations, Muslims, Hindus and the believers of various ethnic
religions strengthens our voice in denouncing the Military Coup and for working towards restoring peace among the
Myanmar people.

For this, we as Asian Christians support the Easter message of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, who on witnessing
painfully that “young and old, and even the children have been mercilessly killed on dark days,” expresses hope for a
resurrection by saying “Let the dreams of democracy buried for the last two months in the graves of oppression be
resurrected.”

We appreciate that the president of FABC also recognizes that “The struggle so far has drawn huge support from all
men and women of good will,” and encourages the youth to engage in “non-violent struggles” that “a new
Myanmar of peace and prosperity rise from the grave of hatred and darkness.”

We strongly believe that a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity could rise from the grave of hatred and darkness
only if the Christians participate in the struggle for democracy, being at the front line with all the people of goodwill. FABC could give the lead by exhorting Christians to work together with all Religious Institutions, Civil Society
Organizations and Indigenous Peoples for restoring peace in Myanmar.

As Pope Francis reminds us in the document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, that dialogue
“would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh
so heavily on a large part of humanity;” we feel with a sense of urgency that it is now or never that we as Asian
Christians act on fostering dialogue and develop strong bonds among the many religious and ethnic groups of
Myanmar.

Therefore, We, ALL Forum along with the undersigned organization members urge FABC to motivate the Catholic
Community and all the diocesan/archdiocesan leaders of Myanmar to be closely involved in the peaceful protests
against the Military Coup. We also request FABC to encourage its member bishops’ conferences all over Asia to
support and build solidarity with the people of Myanmar in whichever way possible within their means at this critical
juncture of their unfolding story of becoming a democratic nation

April 30th, 2021 ALL Forum

Organisations:

  1. Woori Theology Institute (WTI)
  2. Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Katolik Republik Indonesia (PMKRI)
  3. Euro Burma Office Foundation
  4. The Most Holy Trinity Monastery
  5. Lay Mission Institute (LAMIN)
  6. Share Mercy
  7. JusPeace
  8. Theological Institute for Laity (TIL)
  9. Indian Women Theologians Forum
  10. Indian Theological Association(ITA)
  11. Indian Christian Women’s Movement(ICWM)
  12. Rev. Irma Mepico (NCCP)
  13. Ms. Monika (Poland)

Download the statement here