Dialogue, Not Violence, Will Resolve Issues in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

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Last Updated (Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:49)

June 15, 2012


The Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY), the coordinating body of 27 national movements of the Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCAs) in the Asia and Pacific region based in Hong Kong, expresses deep concern for the loss of life, for those who have been injured, for the damage to people’s property and for those homeless and displaced caused by the recent conflict between two communities of Rakhine State in Myanmar. We pray for those who have lost their lives and their families, and we share the pain of the people who are suffering.


We believe that the current conflict should be seen as an opportunity to resolve the historic tensions and animosity between the two communities of and Rakhine State. However, this opportunity can only be seized if both sides are willing to sit at the same table and discuss the cultural, socio-economic and political barriers that separate them. We believe that both communities wish to live in peace, stable & fully in their own State. It is this common desire by them, and all people, that we wish to cultivate as a source of motivation to bring an end to the present violence and to work toward a lasting peace in the state.


The YMCA movement, as the largest and oldest youth organization in the world, has always been a proponent for peace and an advocate for justice in our communities. We sincerely urge all the conflicting parties to now restrain themselves and refrain from further violence in order to resolve the issues dividing them in a peaceful manner through dialogue and a spirit of reconciliation. While we acknowledge and have no illusions that this process will be easy, we earnestly encourage both communities in Rakhine State to take the difficult steps necessary to begin this journey to live together in peace.


We also request the government of Myanmar to continue its efforts to constrain and defuse the violence and to use its resources to create and nurture a just peace in Rakhine State through a process of dialogue. We moreover ask cross-border governments to provide humanitarian aid and shelter to those who are suffering from this violence and who now require the sense of safety that they can offer.


It is our heartfelt belief that the communities in Rakhine State should not be living in a climate of fear and violence. While we mourn the death & suffering of both communities, may the sacrifices of their lives be the seeds of peace from which lasting relationships of mutual respect and caring can be created between both of these communities of the human family.