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

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

Thai Buddhist calls for action against nationalism

A Thai Buddhist has called for Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand to halt the rise of nationalism, intolerance and hate speech. “It’s very dangerous, much more dangerous than weapons,” said Sulak Sivaraksa during a recent panel discussion on the Channel NewsAsia programme Between The Lines. As World Watch Monitor reported in . . . Read More

USCIRF says Myanmar must ‘control’ its military

A new, critical report on religious freedoms in Myanmar by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom says the major challenge facing Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is “bringing the military under civilian control”. The report says the Burmese Army, which, due to constitutional provisions, is beyond civilian control, has . . . Read More

Freedom of religion among Myanmar’s ‘biggest challenges’

Freedom of religion among Myanmar’s ‘biggest challenges’
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Myanmar’s first Catholic Cardinal, at the UK Parliament in London, 25 May, 2016. World Watch Monitor   Myanmar’s first ever Catholic Cardinal has said protecting freedom of religion or belief for all is among the “biggest challenges” facing his country as it adapts to life after . . . Read More