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Myanmar Facts

Score: 71/ 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Religious Nationalism
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 53,856,000
Christians: 4,342,000
Main Religion: Buddhism
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Win Myint

Profile of Persecution

Violence 66%
Church Life 70%
National Life 72%
Community Life 79%
Family Life 70%
Private Life 68%

Humanitarian and religious crisis

Over the last year, Myanmar Christians have seen their churches closed and burned as the Communist-inspired UWS Army performed acts of Christian persecution, detaining and abducting believers. The army holds immense power and has intensified its fight against insurgent groups, as well as ethnic minorities (which include Christians). More than 100,000 Christians live in IDP (internally displaced person) camps, deprived of access to food and health care. And radical Buddhist monks, generally tolerated by the government, have invaded church properties and built Buddhist shrines on church premises. Anyone deviating from the Buddhist heritage is regarded as an outsider and as potentially dangerous.

How Christians are suffering

In predominantly Christian states like Kachin State, Karen State or in Northern Shan, even well-established historical churches are being attacked. Fighting increased in 2018, adding thousands more to the IDP camps that are already ill-equipped to provide for the huge numbers of people. In daily life, converts are persecuted by their Buddhist, Muslim or tribal families and communities. Communities who aim to stay “Buddhist only” make life for Christian families difficult or impossible by not allowing them to use community water resources. Christians in rural areas additionally suffer from the brutal and almost forgotten long-term war the Burmese army is fighting against insurgency groups, especially in the north.

Examples

On January 31, 2018, two Christians disappeared in Mansi township in Kachin State, last seen in custody of the army. Their bodies were found in March with signs they had been tortured.

According to a report in July 2018, the Burmese army destroyed more than 60 churches in 18 months, including Christian schools.

In October 2018, the UWS Army detained almost 100 pastors and forced 40 Bible students to join its ranks in northern Myanmar’s Shan State. While 20 have escaped, 20, all women, remain (as of January 2019).

In the dominant Buddhist culture, converts are discriminated against in various ways. In one report, a teacher refused to give a Christian student a list of questions to prepare for tests that was provided to others.

 

Pray for Myanmar

  • Pray with persecuted Christian minorities in the predominantly Christian regions of Kachin State, Karen State, Shan State and in Northern Shan—that they would continue to build the church as they sense millions of Christians lifting them up.
  • Pray with the 20 young Bible students, all women, who remain in captivity with the UWS Army. Ask God to provide comfort, strength, protection and their safe return home.
  • Pray with Myanmar Christian women as they participate in discipleship workshops. Ask God to show them His Word in relevant ways.
  • Christian converts face strong pressure to recant their faith. Pray with these believers for courage in the face of persecution.

Stories from Myanmar

January 16, 2019

5 Major Trends Influencing Global Christian Persecution

The 2019 World Watch List report reveals five major trends that were significant role players in the persecution of Christians in the top 50 countries on the list. Read More

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August 3, 2018

1.6 Million Kachin Christians in Myanmar Trapped as Targets in Genocidal War

Some believe that the government is trying to wipe out the Kachin people because roughly 95 percent of them are Christians. Read More

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