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 . . . Read More

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 . . . Read More

UN chief ‘personally concerned’ about return of Christians to Iraq and Syria

Tree and Arabic painting on the wall in Bashiqa, a town near Mosul in Iraq where Christians are slowly returning, saying: "Tomorrow will be more beautiful." (will be better) (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN’s Secretary General has stressed the importance of Christians returning to the areas from which they fled in Iraq and Syria. “I am fully convinced that after the stability of the situation in Iraq and Syria and the adoption of a certain political decision, it is very important to . . . Read More

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 . . . Read More

US religious freedom report shows ‘no progress’ in Myanmar

Displaced Kachin residents cross the Malikha river on 26 April to escape the fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government troops. (Photo: ZAU RING HPARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the countries criticised for their religious-freedom records in the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, launched yesterday (29 May) in Washington DC. The report references the violence against the predominantly Muslim Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, whose situation is still . . . Read More

Myanmar: 7,000 Kachin displaced as violence escalates

Displaced Kachin residents cross the Malikha river on 26 April to escape the fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government troops. (Photo: ZAU RING HPARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost 7,000 people belonging to the largely Christian minority group in Kachin, northern Myanmar, have fled their houses since fighting between the army and a rebel group flared up in early April, according to recent figures from the Red Cross. “It’s a war where civilians are being systematically targeted by . . . Read More

Myanmar: new peace talks announced during Pope’s visit

Pope Francis meeting Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Myanmar, Nov 2017 (Getty)
The third ‘Panglong Conference’ has been announced by Myanmar’s government during an official visit by Pope Francis, reports Catholic news agency Fides. Tabled for the last week in January, it will be the latest in a series of peace negotiations between armed ethnic groups and government forces. The original Panglong . . . Read More

Myanmar’s Christians hope Pope Francis will speak for them

Pope Francis is greeted by a child upon arrival in Yangon, Myanmar, on 27 November. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis landed in Myanmar today (27 November) to start his six-day visit to Southeast Asia, raising the hopes of Christians there that he will address the issues they face in the majority-Buddhist nation. Among those welcoming the Pontiff in Yangon were more than 7,000 ethnic Kachin from the conflict-torn state . . . Read More