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8/23/10 Burma (MNN) ― The United States officially backs a Burma “war crimes” panel and inquiry.

President Barack Obama supports the creation of an international commission that will investigate war crimes allegedly committed by the ruling military junta.

The announcement comes as part of an effort  to put Burma on a path to reform, to achieve credible elections as well as promote national reconciliation. However, their human and religious rights record has been questionable.

Wes Flint with Vision Beyond Borders says that’s because of a campaign targeting the Arakan, Chin and the Karen, many of whom are Christians. “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.”

As far as what kind of teeth an inquiry will have in stopping the wholesale murder of the Karen, Flint is not optimistic. He points out that “the UN has made promises of this sort in the past, as far as inquiries, but this has been happening for over 20 years.”

The impact of this could have an interesting effect on the harassment of the Karen. It comes in advance of the November 7 elections.

Flint says they’re already seeing an increase in the oppression against believers. “As the elections are coming soon, this increased persecution is going by unheard and unknown,” although Washington may also be considering tightening sanctions against the junta in an effort to short-circuit the campaign.  

In the meantime, refugees are still coming from Burma. “They’re fleeing across to the Thailand side for safety and refuge. But unfortunately, many of these children are in the jungle, and they’re in remote areas in the jungle where they have no provisions. There’s no clothing, there’s no blankets, there’s no mosquito netting.” 

Flint says VBB is responding to these needs. “We just shipped a container, and it arrived in Bangkok just a few days ago. It is loaded with Bibles and with clothing to help the Karen people. They’re living on what’s available in the jungle.”

More than the encouragement their team gets from the physical help, it’s important to pray for the believers. The hope of Christ sustains many of the Christians. Flint says, “Be in fervent prayer for peace, that the UN would step in and do their job, and that the Lord would have a victory through this terrible tragedy.”

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