Christians among groups targeted by Myanmar armed forces

By June 3, 2019

Myanmar (MNN) — In a new report, human rights watchdog Amnesty International indicted Myanmar’s government of war crimes and called upon the international community to respond.

Amnesty claims military forces “have killed and injured civilians in indiscriminate attacks since January 2019… [and] carried out extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The army was reportedly acting upon government orders to destroy the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic Rakhine armed group.

As noted here, Christians were among the affected ethnic populations surveyed by Amnesty during its investigation:

Amnesty International conducted 81 interviews, including 54 interviews on the ground in Rakhine State in late March 2019 and 27 remote interviews with people living in conflict-affected areas. They included ethnic Rakhine, Mro, Rohingya and Khami villagers, belonging to the Buddhist, Christian and Muslim faiths.

(Photo courtesy of Open Doors USA)

According to David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, conflict between the military and armed ethnic groups is an ongoing “status quo” in Myanmar. He explains, “For the last few years, the Myanmar government has been lashing out at minority groups or groups that challenge its power.”

Entire communities find themselves caught in the fray. In some cases, believers become the target.

What does persecution look like in Myanmar?

Over the past four years, Myanmar rose from 25th to 18th on Open Doors’ World Watch List — a ranking of the top 50 nations where serving Christ is most difficult. Gospel workers describe the hardships Christians face in a dossier obtained here:

The intense and even increasing fighting in predominantly Christian areas like Kachin and northern Shan State should not be overlooked… Christians are being killed, detained and forced to flee to live with tens of thousands others in refugee camps in dire circumstances. As access to these regions is very limited, their situation goes widely unnoticed….

Believers mostly face persecution from the military, the dossier adds.

“Clearly, the Myanmar government wants to come against any group that’s going to challenge them or is seen as a threat to the society, and Christians are a very large group that they have persecuted,” Curry notes.


(Photo by Guilherme Romano on Unsplash)

“We have 100,000 Christians in Myanmar who were pushed out of their houses. They’re living in camps deprived of access to food and health care, and that’s because of their Christian faith….

“They’re facing massive persecution in Myanmar, and nobody’s talking about it.”

Click here to support Myanmar Christians through Open Doors USA, and share this story on social media to help spread the word. Most importantly, please pray for persecuted believers in Myanmar.

“Pray, first of all for their safety [and] for their provision because they’re often cut off from economic means. They lose their jobs when they become followers of Jesus.”




Header image courtesy of Open Doors USA.

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