Burma/Myanmar (MNN) — Escalated violence in rural Burma/Myanmar has resulted in a growing number of displaced Karen people, a tribal group that is 60 percent Christian.
Despite the world's largest resettlement program, Thailand's refugee population — numbering more than 100,000 — isn't going away. In just the last month alone, more than 4,000 ethnic minority Karen have crossed the border.
This influx was brought on by fighting between the Karen National Union and the Myanmar regime. In addition to the refugees in Thailand, the fighting has created nearly 500,000 internally displaced people in eastern Myanmar and resulted in countless atrocities against civilians.
President of Vision Beyond Borders Patrick Klein explains some of these atrocities. "Villages are being surrounded, and rockets are lobbed in. The Myanmar regime then goes in with machine guns and mows down whoever is still alive, and then the evidence is burned. There are reports they're also blockading villages so the people can't go out and get food; it is also reported that women are being raped and men are being set on fire while they're alive. And, they're actually poisoning the water supplies now."
Thousands of Karen have fled to Thailand, but that hasn't stopped Myanmar. Klein says, "We're hearing reports they're even lobbing rockets across the Thai border into the refugee camps, and Thailand is doing nothing to stop it."
While you may believe there's nothing you can do, Klein says differently. "When God's people pray, things begin to happen. So we'd like to call people to pray, and to get involved. [Americans] can contact their congressmen and let them know we know what's going on in Burma, and we would like to see this stopped."
Klein continues, "People are coming to know the Lord, but I know they're really struggling in Burma. The church is struggling inside Burma. People have felt like they're forgotten. But as Christians pray, the Christians in Burma will know that God is with them. And as word gets back that Christians are praying, it'll encourage them."
Vision Beyond Borders has been helping in Burma for years. They're most recent work has been to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis which claimed the lives of thousands, leaving many children orphaned. Klein says they continue to help build orphanages there to ensure that these children hear the Gospel.