Myanmar: Government ethnically cleansing Kachin Christians in “second genocidal campaign”

MYANMAR – An investigative report has revealed that in isolated regions of Myanmar, which has been accused of carrying out a genocide against Rohingya Muslims, the Burmese (Myanmar) military has also been ethnically cleansing the minority Christian Kachin people.

Sky News’ investigative team managed to travel and document the situation in the remote Kachin state, where locals say that a “second genocidal campaign” is underway. It is reported that thousands of Kachin civilians, who are predominantly Christians, have been stranded in thick jungles, having to flee the heavy artillery bombing from the central army.

However, persecution of Christians in Myanmar is not new, and the violence detailed in the fresh report likely started at the same time the Rohingya Muslims suffered at the hands of the government.

In May 2017, the army stopped three Christians collecting firewood in Kachin State and took them into custody. Their bodies were found on May 28 – tortured and killed by the army.

Local government officials, especially those in rural areas, show bias towards Buddhist leaders. This means that Christians, who often happen to be both religious and ethnic minorities, are often discriminated against.

Even in predominantly Christian states like Kachin State, Karen State and Northern Shan, even well-established historical churches experience attacks. More than 100,000 Christians live in IDP (internally displaced) camps, deprived of access to food and healthcare.

In some instances, Buddhist monks have invaded church properties and built Buddhist shrines on church premises. The Buddhist, Muslim or tribal families of converts persecute new Christian believers, who are often ostracized from society.

Communities who aim to stay “Buddhist only” make life for Christian families impossible by not allowing them to use community water resources. Evangelical church groups experience opposition as well, especially those in rural areas of Myanmar.

Image: A Burmese (Myanmar) Christian (Credits: Open Doors USA).

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