*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Myanmar Christians fear for future  

04 February 2021

Military coup could result in persecution, campaigners warn

PA

A soldier stands on guard outside a temple in Yangon, Myanmar, on Tuesday, the day after the country’s army seized power

A soldier stands on guard outside a temple in Yangon, Myanmar, on Tuesday, the day after the country’s army seized power

CHARITIES working on behalf of the persecuted Church have condemned the recent military coup in Myanmar, and said that it could worsen the situation for the nation’s Christian minority.

The army seized power on Monday, declaring a year-long state of emergency. They detained Aung San Suu Kyi, who led Myanmar’s elected government, and closed down TV channels, the internet, and banks.

The sudden putsch ended an 11-year uneasy transition towards democracy, which began in 2010 after decades of repressive military rule.

It appears to have been prompted by the defeat of the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party in elections in November (News, 20 November 2020); the new session of parliament, in which Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has a majority, was just about to open.

“In the last half-century, the military junta has been systematically persecuting Christians,” the communications director for Asia with Open Doors, Jan Vermeer, said.

Open Doors’ local partner, Brother Lwin (not his real name), said: “Military rule could mean reinforced power for the dominant religion. The military government of the past has always been protective of their Buddhist culture and tradition. This may have serious implications to the Church.

“We are expecting restrictions upon the Church to happen once again, though we are unsure of the extent and the form it will take as of yet.”

There are particularly large populations of Christians among the ethnic-minority Kachin, Karen, and Shan groups. The military and local Burmese insurgent groups have been persecuting them for decades, and some observers fear an intensifying of Myanmar’s campaigns against its non-Burmese minorities after the coup.

A senior analyst on Asia at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Benedict Rogers, said that the events of the past few days were “a desperate step backwards for Burma”.

The World Council of Churches and Christian Conference of Asia have written a letter to Myanmar’s churches, assuring them of their prayers and urging a swift return to “the path of democracy”.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)