The international community has rightly called out the horrific ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state. But the Buddhist-dominated Burmese military has systematically attacked other religious minorities too, including Christians. After a recent lull in the mayhem, the country’s Christians now fear more violence and persecution.
“The Burma Army has already moved in hundreds of troops, dozens of heavy weapon systems and multiple mechanized vehicles in what appears to be in preparation for an imminent onslaught against the Karen people,” Ephraim Mattos, East Asia operations manager at the Nazerene Fund, told me. The four million Christians in Myanmar—previously known as Burma—make up about 8.2% of the mostly Buddhist population. They largely reside in the country’s peripheries and belong to ethnic minority groups such as the Karen, Kachin, Chin, Karenni, Lahu and Naga.
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The brutality against Kachin people has been especially gruesome. Some 130,000 Kachin, more than 90% of whom are Christian, have been displaced within their state over the past six months. “There has been the destruction of our churches, the desecration of our sanctuaries, the looting of our offerings, and violence including rape inside church property,” lamented Gum San Nsang, president of the U.S.-based Kachin Alliance. The monsoon season stopped the violence for several months, but its looming end has caused alarm.“The largest military campaigns occur after monsoon season. Especially during or around Christmas,” Mr. Nsang added. “Christians are now in fear of surprise violent attacks, including the arbitrary firing of artilleries at displacement camps and other civilian areas by the Burma forces. Prayers are served as our consoling mechanism.”
Jan 22, 2020A Myanmar-appointed panel concluded on Monday (Jan 20) that some soldiers likely committed war crimes against its Rohingya Muslim community but the military was not guilty of genocide, findings swiftly condemned by rights groups. The “Independent Commission Of Enquiry (ICOE)” released the results of its probe just ahead of a ruling on Thursday by the […]
Mar 22, 2019
Mar 21, 2019