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US government report on ‘pervasive’ Christian persecution in Burma

South Asia

US government report on ‘pervasive’ Christian persecution in Burma

A leading US government body will this month highlight religious freedom violations in Burma against both Christians and Muslims.

Two reports are to be released by US Commission on International Religious Freedom at the National Press Club, Washington DC on 13 December at an event focussing on religious freedom violations in Burma.

The two reports that are to be released at the event are Hidden Plight: Christian Minorities in Burma and Suspended in Time: The Ongoing Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.

The first report “highlights the pervasive and longstanding persecution and discrimination Christians face that have persisted, often unreported, for generations.” The second report “details the persecution of Rohingya Muslims’ resulting from government-directed abuses and/or government indifference to discrimination and violence that has killed hundreds, displaced thousands, and destroyed hundreds of religious properties since 2012.”

Other than opening remarks from US Commissioners, the event will also feature Rachel Fleming, independent human rights research and activist, and author of Hidden Plight: Christian Minorities in Burma; Susan Hayward, Director – Religion and Inclusive Societies at the United States Institute of Peace and Tina Mufford, Senior Policy Analyst.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) links Burma’s projected positive growth rates, its flourishing foreign investments and its “increased stature on the global stage” with the persecution, discrimination and the denial of basic rights that many of its religious and ethnic minorities face at the hands of state and non-state actors.

Burma’s positive trajectory will not be sustainable unless its leaders reverse decades of ill-treatment of religious and ethnic minorities and protect their freedom of religion or belief,” the release by the USCIRF states.

Earlier this year in April, the USCIRF in a statement released on the occasion of the Thingyan Festival, a traditional multi day Buddhist festival culminating in the New Year for the people of Burma, had urged the new government in Burma to end religious freedom abuses in the country.

 

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