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Human rights inquiry in Myanmar gathers energy

By September 28, 2010

Burma
(MNN) — The momentum behind a push to investigate Burma's (also known as
Myanmar) crimes against humanity is growing.

Ten
governments are now calling for the United Nations to set up a commission of
inquiry over the junta regime's alleged use of rape as a weapon of war, forced
recruitment of child soldiers, forced labor, torture and more.

As
more on these allegations came to light, Canada, France, the Netherlands and
New Zealand added their support since the United States backed the move in
August. They join Australia, the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Mission
agencies working in the country say there's an open campaign targeting the
Arakan, Chin and the Karen, many of whom are Christians. Vision Beyond Borders' Wes Flint said in an
earlier interview, "The Burmese army is not bashful about it: their
goal is to exterminate the Karen people, to wipe them off the face of the
earth."

The cost of ignoring the crisis is too high. Greg Musselman, a spokesman for Voice of the
Martyrs Canada,
agrees. "Christians are
seen as being opposed to the government. You also mix in the state religion
Buddhism, and then the Christians are targeted politically and also for religious
purposes."

Without someone to stand for them, there is no possibility of
justice. Will Burma cooperate because of
the national elections next month, or will change simply be a façade? These are legitimate concerns. "Sometimes they're trying to appease those
that are looking in. They're also saying, ‘How is this information leaking out?' It may make it even more difficult for the Christians
there that are trying to go about their work as believers."

However, there's a side effect of the oppression that the regime may not
be considering. On the one hand,
Musselman says, "You have some that
would be interested in Christianity and exploring what the Gospel teaches, but
they see the persecution and so they're thinking, ‘No, I don't know if I really
want to go there.'" On the
other hand, "You've got others that are seeing
the persecution of Christians and asking, ‘Why are they persecuting them? Why
are they so harsh against these people that are followers of Christ?'"

The
hope of Christ is what sustains many believers. Curiosity grows, and the interest
often prompts questions about the Gospel. It's crucial that the persecuted believers be
ready with an answer. "We need to pray
for our brothers and sisters to be strong in the midst of persecution. There's
murder, there's rape, there's intimidation, homes being burned down, businesses
being destroyed."

Pray
for ministry opportunities for Christians to share their faith with others.
Pray that more Buddhists will see their need for a relationship with God
through Jesus Christ. Click here to find ways you can help.

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