Religions for Peace Advances Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar

On 28-29 March 2016, U Myint Swe, President of RfP Myanmar and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General of RfP International, visited Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar, the scene of major inter-communal violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in 2012. Further sporadic outbreaks since then have left scores dead and over 140,000 displaced.

RfP Myanmar members have been working in their respective communities in Rakhine State (Buddhists and Muslims) to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, especially children, affected by conflict.

Buddhists make up 60% of the population, which stands at 3.2 million. Muslims, including Rohingya, are about 30% of the population, and the remaining 10% consist of Chin and a number of small minority groups. The complex historical mixture, combined with inter-communal and interreligious conflict, extreme poverty, and underdevelopment makes reconciliation and peaceful coexistence harder.

On 30 March, RfP International and RfP Myanmar convened all relevant parties, including Buddhist Ma Ba Tha leaders, Rohingya representatives, and Christian and Hindu communities in Yangon to discuss concerns and work towards advancing a multi-religious consensus on a lasting peace with justice in Myanmar.

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Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace by working to advance multi-religious consensus on positive aspects of peace as well as concrete actions to stop war, help eliminate extreme poverty and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than ninety national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

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