Majority-Buddhist Myanmar is made up of eight major and eight minor ethnic groups, each of which hoped for autonomy after Burmese independence 70 years ago, and some of the world’s longest-running civil wars continue here. Operation World, a Christian missionary organisation, calls Myanmar “a deeply fractured nation on a political and especially ethnic level”. The conflict zones along the country’s borders are where most of Myanmar’s Christians live, including the Kachin and Karen ethnic minorities, which have faced years of government oppression. Meanwhile, the rise in the number of Muslims has provoked the Patriotic Association of Myanmar, locally known as Ma Ba Tha and led by influential Buddhist monks. Ma Ba Tha is not merely anti-Muslim, it is Buddhist nationalist, so Christians are not beyond its focus.

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Myanmar: Peace talks for settling conflict with majority-Christian ethnic groups

Myanmar: Peace talks for settling conflict with majority-Christian ethnic groups

Myanmar’s Peace Commission has held a meeting in China with the representatives of three ethnic armed groups fighting the Myanmar Armed Forces along the country’s northern border, AsiaNews reports. The  Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Arakan Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army are part of the Northern Alliance, which also […]

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Myanmar’s blocking of aid to Kachin ‘may amount to war crime’ – report

An elderly Kachin woman looks for shelter after fleeing fighting between Myanmar's army and Kachin rebels in December 2011. (Photo: World Watch  Monitor)

Myanmar has blocked humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of forcibly displaced people in the ongoing war in northern Kachin state – for over seven years – says humanitarian group Fortify Rights in a new report. “Consecutive governments and the military have wilfully obstructed local and international aid groups, denying […]

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US imposes sanctions on Myanmar for ‘widespread human rights abuses’

Since fighting flared up in Kachin state in April thousands of people have fled their homes and, like these women, found refuge in temporary shelters at church compounds in Kachin's capital Myitkyina.(Photo: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)

The US government announced on Friday that it had imposed sanctions on Myanmar for “widespread human rights abuses” against Christians, Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities, reports The New York Times. According to the Treasury Department the abuses against Rohingya Muslims in southwestern Rakhine state, forcing more than 700,000 to seek […]

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Myanmar: Peace talks resume but ethnic autonomy not on the agenda

Myanmar's defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves the 2016 Panglong Conference. (Photo: AUNG HTET/AFP/Getty Images)

A third round of peace talks are taking place in Myanmar this week between armed ethnic groups and government forces, but the military has ruled out discussions on the autonomy that ethnic groups crave. The six-day meeting, which has been dubbed the 21st century ‘Panglong Conference’ after the historic 1947 […]

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Myanmar: Army accused of destroying churches and turning them into Buddhist temples

Myanmar: Army accused of destroying churches and turning them into Buddhist temples

Myanmar’s military has destroyed about 60 churches in the past 18 months and turned a third of them into Buddhist pagodas in northern Kachin state, according to an American pastor who visited the region recently. “In the last 18 months, they have bombed 60 churches. Of the 60 churches they […]

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Myanmar: ‘400 villages destroyed, 150,000 people displaced’ in Kachin

An elderly Kachin woman looks for shelter after fleeing fighting between Myanmar's army and Kachin rebels in December 2011. (Photo: World Watch  Monitor)

More than 400 villages have been damaged or destroyed and 150,000 people displaced since the collapse of a ceasefire in 2011 between Myanmar’s army and rebels in northern Kachin state, reports Catholic website AsiaNews. In 2018 alone, 50 villages were abandoned and more than 7,000 people fled their homes, seeking […]

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