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.”
Sep 25, 2020Seeking a solution to the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh has called for solidarity and cooperation with each other to achieve peace and security in Asia, making it a harmonious region of lasting peace and common prosperity. “We believe that peace and security in Asia can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation, where all states coexist peacefully […]
Sep 01, 2020