Burma (MNN) — An international human rights group is calling attention to Burma. Worldwide Human Rights Group FIDH says President Thein Sein promised in July to release all of Burma’s political prisoners by December 31. However, at least 40 are still behind bars today.
Steve Gumaer, Partners Relief and Development co-founder, says broken promises are commonplace in Burma, but that can be a tough truth to face.
“You have to accept that the regime is lying; that the president is lying; that the changes aren’t actually happening: they are only promised changes that haven’t happened,” states Gumaer.
Since Sein was elected to presidential leadership in 2011, many media outlets and national leaders have touted Burma’s advancement toward democracy. Gumaer says the reported “progress” is a far cry from reality.
“Thein Sein and the regime continue to promise to the world community reforms and freedom and democracy for their population, while at the same time they…violate the very promise they made,” Gumaer says.
He highlights one horrific example from September. [WARNING: This report contains graphic descriptions.]
“I had one of these academics asking me to stop pointing out the bad things that are happening in Burma, and my answer to him was this blog,” Gumaer explains.
“With these things happening here and now to people who bear the image of God…it’s just morally offensive to me to not speak and to not act on behalf of the victims.”
Partners is doing what they can to help victims of unspeakable crimes in Burma. Learn more about their projects here.
After hearing the stories shared by their partners in Burma, the Partners “team has a stronger and deeper resolve than ever to equip the local people to help themselves,” says Gumaer.
For example, in Kachin state, Partners distributed food to 100,000 refugees for a short period of time.
“And then, instead of them depending on [us] for the next delivery, we help them by providing seeds so that in the areas they’re in, they can plant crops,” Gumaer explains.
He says the crops will only be temporary; government forces will eventually force the Kachin out of their refugee camp and into hiding, or to another location. But for the time being, Partners is enabling the Kachin to gain at least some form of dignity through self-sufficiency.
Driven by the Word of God, Gumaer says Partners will keep acting as Christ’s hands and feet to Burma’s ethnic people as long as they can,
God “says to give justice to the poor and the orphan, to uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute, to rescue the poor and the helpless, and to deliver them from the grasp of bad people,” says Gumaer, referencing Psalm 82.