ASIA/PAKISTAN - Churches in Pakistan: solidarity with Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and immediate truce

Lahore - Strong condemnation of the attacks suffered by the people of Rohingya in Myanmar, and full solidarity and closeness to the Muslim population: this is a declaration signed by the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan, Archbishop Joseph Coutts, and by the President of the National Commission "Justice and Peace" , Bishop Joseph Arshad. In the text sent to Agenzia Fides, Pakistani Bishops urged the leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be a "lighthouse of peace and the rights of Rohingya people" and appeal to the democratic government of Myanmar to "immediately cease all military operations in Rakhine state".
The statement sent to Fides also urges the international community and the government of Pakistan to "start dialogue with the executive of Myanmar to defend the human rights of the Rohingya and allow humanitarian organizations to access and bring aid to the affected communities".
The Pakistani Bishops underline the support of the values of coexistence and tolerance and assure the Rohingya Muslims of "intense prayers for their security and well-being, hoping that a peaceful solution can be found as soon as possible".
The text recalls that in Asia, in many cases, ethnic and religious minorities are victims of oppression and persecution, and expresses concern for more than 300,000 Rohingya who have fled from the conflict area and have found refuge in Bangladesh: "At least 20,000 people, including women and children, find themselves in a mountainous area without food and water", urging them to immediately provide the necessary humanitarian assistance.
Even Pakistani Bishop Humphrey Peter Sarfaraz, at the head of the Church of Pakistan, condemned "the brutal genocide of the Muslim community of Rohingya in Myanmar" and has asked for "oppressed Muslims to have the possibility to obtain nationality". The Burmese government "does not defend the cause of human rights and has no right to treat Muslims as animals and humiliate them", he added. "All believers must raise their voice for humanity, in defense of this innocent people", he concluded, appealing to Christians and Muslims all over the world.