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ICC Note: Scattered attacks against the Kachin ethnic group in Northern Burma, which is believed to be more than 98% Christian, continue despite claims that the president has ordered a cease fire. The conflict against the Kachin has a religious dimension: one recent report documented that the Burmese army, pre-dominantly Buddhist, had torched 66 churches in attacks on villages since the summer of 2011. Meanwhile the army leaves Buddhist pagoda’s untouched. Tens of thousands of Kachin have fled their homes and sought refugee in camps and across the border in China. 
03/11/2013 Burma (WWW) – Christians around the world who’ve been praying for Burma have been warned against ‘euphoria’ over reform, while Christian and Muslim minorities remain under attack by the military.
Sunday March 10 marked the 16th anniversary of the Global Day of Prayer for Burma, which celebrated some progress towards reform, but warned that grave issues remained, especially the continuing attacks against the Kachin and Rohingya ethnic and religious minorities.
The Day of Prayer followed a new report claiming government troops have destroyed 66 churches in Kachin State in the north of Burma, on the border with China and India. The report, by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT), also claimed the military are using rape as a weapon of war. It said the Burma army had set fire to churches after the collapse of the ceasefire in Kachin State in 2011. A recent report by Amnesty International has condemned air-strikes against the mainly Christian Kachin.
Hkanhpa Sadan, the Joint Secretary of the Kachin National Organisation, told the prayer event in London that up to 100,000 Kachin have been driven from their homes. 75,000 had sought shelter in temporary camps along the China border. He criticised the UN for failing to bring in relief aid and said: ‘The people are living on rice and salt – that is the only nutrition they can get. The UN is not pushing hard enough to bring in humanitarian aid.’
He described the attacks as religious persecution: ‘When the Burma army come to the villages, they torch the churches but don’t touch the pagodas.’ He told World Watch Monitor: ‘They want us to be Burman, to be Buddhist, and to follow their orders.’ The mainly Christian Kachin are seeking autonomy within Burma, and say they are attacked for being both separatist and Christian.
Hkanhpa Sadan was sceptical about the claim that widespread reform is taking place in Burma. ‘We don’t see this as genuine. In Kachin State we haven’t seen reform at all. All the reforms seem to be centred on Rangoon and Mandalay, and aimed at the Burman [tribal] majority.’

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