ASIA: Response from the Christian Clergy in Sri Lanka to the Events in Myanmar
As a friend and as one who has visited your great country, and conscious of the historical and cultural links between Myanmar and Sri Lanka, I am immensely saddened to learn of the recent events in Myanmar. As a religious leader, I have to add my voice to the many protests that are being made globally against the repressive and heavy¬handed manner in which the Government has handled legitimate protests, particularly by the Buddhist monks. Several Buddhist monks have been killed, along with several civilians, and scores more injured across Myanmar. It is the inalienable right of people in a free country to dissent and express their protest against democratic restrictions and economic burdens heaped on them.
Your Government has been unjustly holding a democratically elected leader like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for many years. She has been a popular leader of non-violent resistance to the anti-democratic actions of your Government. The mass protests that are taking place in many cities, towns and villages like Yangon, Mandalay, Pegu, Sittwe and Pakokku now being led by Buddhist monks are due to the inhumane treatment meted out by the Government to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. You will no doubt appreciate that the moral stance taken by the Buddhist monks to boycott the military regime would not have been taken lightly.
As a fellow religious leader, I wish to express my solidarity with the commendable leadership provided by the Buddhist monks of Myanmar to this mass agitation. Your Excellency, please convey to your Government my grave concern at the brutal repression of legitimate protest. The protesters led by the monks need to be treated with respect and dignity and their dissent received in the right democratic spirit. I have no doubt that the crisis can only be diffused by the restoration of the democratic rights of the people and the recognition of the results of the democratic Election that chose Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to lead your country.
In view of the need to engage the people in this crisis, I am forwarding this to our sister Churches in Myanmar and elsewhere and to the media.
With Peace and Blessings.
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera,
Bishop of Colombo
# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.