BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF MYANMAR:

Burma, which has a total area of 678,500 square kilometers (262,000 sq mi), is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and the 40th-largest in the world.

Myanmar has some 56 million people, belonging to nearly 140 different ethnic groups. Seventy percent are Myanmar. A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Burma, the majority culture is primarily Buddhists and Burma. Theravada Buddhism flourishes and 89% of the country’s population is Buddhist, according to a report on ABC World News Tonight in May 2008. Christianity arrived in Myanmar in the 16th century together with the western merchants. About 5.6 %of the populations in Myanmar are Christians and out of that only around 748,379 are Catholics according to the official catholic directory of Myanmar 2011. Muslims make up 3.78 %, Hindu 0.51 %, Animists 1.21%. The country is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation. Human rights in Myanmar are a long-standing concern for the international community and human rights organizations. (SOURCE:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma)

Since 1948 Independence from Britain, Burma faces insurgency problems with different ethnic groups and fights have been going on between Government troops and different armed ethnic groups for decades. As a result, thousands lost their lives, homes and livelihoods and hundred thousand more landed in foreign countries as international refugees or along borders as internally displaced people.

The UN High Commission for Refugees says Burma is the fifth largest source of refugees in the world and will continue to be a major source until the needs of people with no choice but to flee are addressed. There are still systematic and widespread violation of human rights by the Burmese army and authorities. These include, but are not limited to: the rape of ethnic women and girls; the use of villagers as slave labor; the destruction or confiscation of land and property; forced evictions; beatings; torture; and extra-judicial killings. (Zetty Brake, www.newmatilda.com)

Long suffering causes people to become impatient and many lost their hopes in changing the government system through non-violent ways, such as dialogue for national reconciliation. We, as a Catholic mission believe in Love. Love of God and Love of people. It is our utmost duty to let the people feel God’s love and find peace in His Words and to understand and achieve national unity.

We believe as our Beloved Pope Benedict XVI said: “Where is God, there is future.” “Misereor” of Germany gave the news through Fr. Colum Murphy, a Columban missionary priest who had worked in Myanmar and was expelled in 1966. Despite many obstacles, the first Myanmar language was aired on November 13, 1978. The test broadcast of the service was on November 13, 1978.

Myanmar Language broadcasts daily from 6:00 to 6:27 in the morning and 6:00 to 6:27 in the evening Myanmar Time (UTC/GMT 6:30 hours).

Most listeners of RVA language services live around remote and mountainous areas with very poor infrastructures, such as access to transportation and telecommunication. Travel time from one place to another takes 5 to 10 times of other developing countries as remote area developments were never a concern for the government. Telephone, electricity and internet access are alien for most people. Out of 60 million populations, only 500 thousand can have access to internet. Most listeners are struggling villagers whose produce cannot reach to better pay consumers as farm to market hi-ways are rare. Even buying two batteries for their radio set alone is a great sacrifice. In most rural parishes, it takes several hours up to 5 days for the parish priest or catechist to reach some of the villages (barrios).

Due to variety and balance information, not only Catholics but also great numbers of Buddhist, Protestant, Muslims and Hindus draw attention to Myanmar service. Some are avid listeners for years and they even participate eagerly in regular listeners’ meetings. They regard RVA as a spring in the desert; nourishing their souls and giving hope and inspiration. RVA’s different languages serve as connection and memorabilia to those listeners from refugee camps and those who had resettled in the third countries. Understanding fully God’s preaching in their own language satisfies their spiritual needs and they feel as one with those they left behind. For them they use RVA internet website.

Since RVA is the only Catholic radio station in Myanmar, the people in the people in this country particularly the Catholic Church in Myanmar, is very grateful to Radio Veritas Asia for having been allowed Myanmar Service to be one among the 15 language services. We are very grateful to those donors, benefactors and funding agencies that have committed and made a lot of sacrifices to help the realization of our programs with which we reach to those deprived of fundamental human rights. What we call God is a Community, a Community of Three Persons. Therefore: In light of the Holy Trinity.