Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon (Rangoon) has defended Burma’s leader in the face of global criticism over the reported ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority.

Cardinal Bo said Aung San Suu Kyi, state counsellor, still represented the best hope that Burma (Myanmar) would emerge from a military dictatorship into a democracy.

He suggested that she did not have the power to stop the expulsion of the primarily Muslim Rohingya from the Buddhist-majority nation.

“As we know, her role has come under scorching criticism,” he said in a message to the 24th World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea in Taiwan last week.

“Her status is not official under the constitution,” he said, adding: “As long as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi continues, we have hope. She is a strong woman with strong principles.

“Despite the piercing criticisms of the international community, Myanmar depends on her for many compassionate responses,” he said. “Our perception is that she is trying to stabilise the fragile democracy. Democracy is hard-won and it took 60 years to reach where the country is.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection