Bishops, religious leaders mediate between warring parties

Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut said that a way to put an end to the current stalemate has to be found urgently as a coup is always considered negatively at an international level.

Thailand
May 26 2014, 1:46 PM
Bishops, religious leaders mediate between warring parties
A woman tries to help as an anti-coup protester is detained by a Thai police officer during a street protest in Bangkok on May 24.

Religious leaders of Thailand will offer to mediate between the warring factions and find a political solution to the crisis: said Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut of Nakhon-Ratchasima, President of the Episcopal Commissions for interreligious dialogue and for missions.

The seizure of power by the military and the proclamation of the martial law in Thailand are seen by Thai people as necessary after more than six months of instability and riots between pro-government and anti-government forces following the recent Supreme Court order for the prime minister’s removal citing abuse of power.

The bishop said that a way to put an end to the current stalemate has to be found urgently as a coup is always considered negatively at an international level. “Thai people have a profound desire for peace, justice and transparency."

Bishop Sirisut said that the contribution of religious leaders can be crucialin this delicate phase. "As Catholic Church, we took the initiative and in recent months, we have had big interfaith gatherings, with the presence of leaders of the five main communities, engaged in a solemn and intense prayer for peace. We will continue to do so, and in the next few days we will arrange a new meeting: the spiritual leaders get together to set an example and show a way of reconciliation to politics and to the entire nation."

He reiterated that the religious leaders want to promote an initiative of arbitration and mediation. "The parties must sit at a table and urgently find a way out of the crisis. In this way, even the military intervention will be temporary and the democratic process will soon be able to resume. Once an agreement is signed, the army will leave the scene and new elections will be held."

The Bishop is convinced that the political leaders will listen to the religious leaders as they represented the wishes, hopes, desires and values of the entire population of Thailand. “Dialogue is the only way possible. We are convinced that this is the time: religions can commit themselves. To Buddhists, who are sometimes sceptical about this type of action, we say: this does not mean to go in politics, but help a process of dialogue and act on the conscience of our political leaders," he said.

The political and institutional crisis had worsened since December, when Prime Minister Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called for early elections.

Source: Agenzia Fides

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