During Holy Week the Faithful should keep Myanmar in their prayers as violent crackdowns on protests against a military coup have led to the deaths of hundreds of people, an Irish bishop has said.
Bishop Denis Nulty of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin said the situation in the country “concerns me hugely”. He asked Irish people to “remember our missionaries out there working in very difficult circumstances”.
Hundreds of protestors have been killed since Myanmar’s military Junta seized power in a coup on February 1. Saturday, March 27, saw the bloodiest day of protests with 114 people killed in 44 towns, according to a tally by local media.
Unarmed civilians and children have been killed.
“I would be very worried that innocent people are being killed, it’s terribly sad,” said Bishop Nulty. “It’s certainly not getting any more peaceful, the weekend has been the worst, Saturday was a desperate day. Let’s keep them in our prayers, that’s very important.”
Ireland must use its position on the UN Security Council to highlight the “desperate” situation in Myanmar, according to the bishop.
He commended Ireland’s “powerful peacekeeping record”, saying it’s well respected across the world. “Let us lead the voice of peace in these areas of the world like Myanmar… now that we’re sitting around a very powerful group, the security council, let us make our voice heard on these issues,” said Bishop Nulty.
In a statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney lambasted the Junta after the weekend’s violence and confirmed Ireland would use its position on the Security Council to help end the violence, saying “the role of the military in society is to protect its citizens, not to murder and terrorise them”.
“…the security forces have disgraced themselves and these actions leave another stain on the history of Myanmar,” he said.
“Ireland continues to stand with the people of Myanmar and will continue to work with our partners in Europe, in the region and at the United Nations, both in the General Assembly and as a member of the Security Council, to see an end to violence and to bring about a peaceful and democratic solution to this crisis.”