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 . . . Read More

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 . . . Read More

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador
There is a strong link between religious freedom and the facilitation of women’s rights, according to the US Ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich. In an article for Fox News, Gingrich argues that “when religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened and societies flourish”. “Female victims of religious discrimination . . . Read More

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: ‘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

North Korea, China, Russia and Iran ‘forces of instability’

Tibetan Buddhists as well as Uyghur Muslims are among the minority groups that Chinese authorities are clamping down on. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US State Department has called North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran “forces of instability” in its latest set of country reports on human rights, saying they “violate the human rights of those within their borders on a daily basis”. The 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, published on . . . 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