(3-8 March 2018 | Yangon & Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar) Bishop Gunnar Stålsett [Honorary President of RfP International] visited Myanmar on 3-8 March to advance confidence building among diverse actors for peace, justice and reconciliation. Bishop Stålsett engaged with various national actors to: discern what, if any, outside assistance could contribute to bringing essential parties together in a long-term cohesive and sustainable dialogue; better understand the religious, ethnic, cultural and political factors that are shaping the present situation; discern consensual and/or conflicting agendas among religious leaders and other civil society actors; assess what specifically can be done by national civil society and faith groups to overcome the political impasse on various levels; explore ways to improve the humanitarian situation through dialogue and common action; and explore alternative diplomatic and track 2 approaches.
Bishop Gunnar Stålsett met with H.E. Cardinal Charles Bo [Patron of RfP Myanmar] and RfP Myanmar religious leaders; UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Knut Ostby and representatives of UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, ILO; Ambassadors of Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey and Indonesia; Mr. Roelf Meyer; former Minister of Defense in South Africa; and Lord Darzai of Denham, Rakhine Advisory Committee, ICRC, as well as key civil society leaders. The mission concluded with a meeting with H.E. Aung Sung Suu Kyi, State Counsellor.
The RfP delegation led by Bishop Gunnar Stålsett encouraged individuals and groups active in various ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts on the ground, strengthened the work of RfP Myanmar in its humanitarian and human rights engagement and developed new insights towards track 2 approaches.
Bishop Stålsett stated, “I am encouraged by the broad support of the Kofi Annan Report on Rakhine State. It is generally seen as a good road map and its recommendations should be supported by national religious and civil society organizations. It is, however, the urgent responsibility of the government to implement the many concrete proposals. Among these are proposals related to security, IDP camps, access to national and international media and humanitarian organizations. RfP International should work with RfP Myanmar to apply the spiritual, moral and social assets of religious communities to advance peace and reconciliation.” RfP Myanmar includes major representatives of the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu religious communities.
Bishop Stålsett was accompanied on his mission by members of RfP Myanmar and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino [International Deputy Secretary General of RfP].