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Human rights inquiry in Myanmar gathers energy

Human rights inquiry in Myanmar gathers energy

9/28/2010 Burma (MNN) ― The momentum behind a push to investigate Burma's (also known as Myanmar) crimes against humanity is growing.

Ten governments are now calling for the United Nations to set up a commission of inquiry over the junta regime's alleged use of rape as a weapon of war, forced recruitment of child soldiers, forced labor, torture and more.

As more on these allegations came to light, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand added their support since the United States backed the move in August. They join Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Mission agencies working in the country say there's an open campaign targeting the Arakan, Chin and the Karen, many of whom are Christians. Vision Beyond Borders' Wes Flint said in an earlier interview, "The Burmese army is not bashful about it: their goal is to exterminate the Karen people, to wipe them off the face of the earth."

The cost of ignoring the crisis is too high. Greg Musselman, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs Canada, agrees. "Christians are seen as being opposed to the government. You also mix in the state religion Buddhism, and then the Christians are targeted politically and also for religious purposes."

Without someone to stand for them, there is no possibility of justice. Will Burma cooperate because of the national elections next month, or will change simply be a façade? These are legitimate concerns. "Sometimes they're trying to appease those that are looking in. They're also saying, ‘How is this information leaking out?' It may make it even more difficult for the Christians there that are trying to go about their work as believers."

However, there's a side effect of the oppression that the regime may not be considering. On the one hand, Musselman says, "You have some that would be interested in Christianity and exploring what the Gospel teaches, but they see the persecution and so they're thinking, ‘No, I don't know if I really want to go there.'" On the other hand, "You've got others that are seeing the persecution of Christians and asking, ‘Why are they persecuting them? Why are they so harsh against these people that are followers of Christ?'"

The hope of Christ is what sustains many believers. Curiosity grows, and the interest often prompts questions about the Gospel. It's crucial that the persecuted believers be ready with an answer. "We need to pray for our brothers and sisters to be strong in the midst of persecution. There's murder, there's rape, there's intimidation, homes being burned down, businesses being destroyed."

Pray for ministry opportunities for Christians to share their faith with others. Pray that more Buddhists will see their need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Click here to find ways you can help.

[Mission Network News]

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