At least 420,000 Muslim refugees fled Myanmar for Bangladesh. They are “without many dreams or hope for the future, except only to save their lives, so human an urge, from sudden inhuman atrocities.” “The love of Bangladesh should put pressure on Myanmar to open the borders, their conscience and their hearts to receive their brothers and sisters”.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Card Patrick D'Rozario has responded to the plight of the Rohingya, saying that the Church can be a “field hospital” for the Rohingya whose cry is that of humanity.
In a message released yesterday, the Archbishop of Dhaka, who is Bangladesh’s first cardinal, said that “charity is the first and foremost concern” in settling the current situation, which sees Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority in full flight from Rakhine State to avoid the violence perpetrated by the Myanmar military and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA ).
According to the latest information, at least 420,000 people have abandoned their homes and crossed the border into Bangladesh, mostly in Cox's Bazar, which Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited recently. At the end of her visit, despite the emotional charge from the stories of violence, she said that the refugees will have to return home sooner or later.
At present, the Catholic Church of Bangladesh is waiting for the authorisation to bring help via Caritas and "provide companionship of love and compassion to our brothers and sisters in need”. The cardinal’s full message follows.
Humanity is being attacked around the world, by so many people, in so many places and in so many ways.
The latest attack and crime against humanity is on the Rohingya in Rakhine state of Myanmar which has resulted in huge exodus of people numbering more than four hundred thousand, leaving their home land and entering into Bangladesh without much dreams or hopes for future, except only to save their lives, so human an urge, from sudden inhuman atrocities.
Attacks are there but humanity is not totally destroyed. As an example par excellence, Bangladesh has opened the frontiers to the influx of the suffering humanity. Bangladesh has not only opened the borders but also opened the hearts with love and compassion to the children, women, old, the sick, the wounded and even the thousands who are unborn. It is an example of motherliness of humanity which is manifested by the Prime Minister of the country, Sheikh Hasina, as well as by the people of the country. Bangladesh is doing what she can; from her out of poverty she is sharing her richness of human values, the treasure of our culture.
If not anything, at least the loving and compassionate gesture of Bangladesh should raise the consciousness of the world, make appeal to the consciences of entire humanity and exert an interior pressure for the Myanmar authorities, in order to turn to humanity without having the need of any political, religious, ethnic and historical calculations.
The love of Bangladesh should put pressure on Myanmar to open the borders, their conscience and their hearts to receive their brothers and sisters back to their home with assurance of their dignity, rights and safety. This way the humanity will once again be resurrected from the death which is explained away by so many secondary arguments.
The ethical and spiritual values do have power that the powerful do not know. The powerful ones either in Myanmar or anywhere in the world should learn this truth in order to serve the humanity.
The cries of the suffering Rohingya have reached our ears; our eyes have seen their miseries; our hearts have been touched with compassion. The Catholic Church in Bangladesh, through Caritas Bangladesh as NGO, is waiting with urgency for the permission of the relevant government agencies, to quickly go to the area to stand at the side of the victims and respond urgently by providing little food, clothe, water, medicine for their survival, and most of all to provide companionship of love and compassion to our brothers and sisters in need.
Thanks to the Holy Father Pope Francis, who has always sided with the Rohingya victims and he is with us. Gratitude to the International Caritas which is fully committed to stand at the side of the refugees through local Caritas Bangladesh.
In this present situation let the charity be the first and foremost concern. Let all of us, including the Church, be a field hospital, urgently responding to the urgent needs. Immediate charity is what is needed most. No other motives and issues should overshadow and make absurd the focus needed that is, concretely show our love, compassion, solidarity to the refugees, the suffering humanity in this part of the world.
Prayers of the local Church will always accompany those who are connected in one way or the other in the crisis, those who are concerned about the wellbeing of the suffering population, and those who go to serve these people. Let the cries of the poor rise to God who is One for all.
*archbishop di Dhaka
(Sumon Corraya contributed to this article)