Forced Conversions Reported in Rakhine

06/14/2019 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) — According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, three Christians were forced to convert to Buddhism in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after village officials and local monks threatened to evict them if they refused.

Two Christian men were taken on May 24th by village officials to the local monastery where they were informed that Christians were not allowed to live in the village tract. They were then forced to sign a document verifying their conversion to Buddhism.

The following day, a monk summoned a different Christian man to the village’s administrative office where he was also forced to sign a conversion document upon threat of expulsion from the village. Later that afternoon, a public announcement was made to all eight villages in the tract that anyone caught communicating or trading with Christians would receive a $65 fine. Shortly after, a Christian who refused last year to convert was fined and has since left the village tract.

While this specific case has not been confirmed by a second source, forced conversions are not unusual. Although Burma purports to protect the rights of religious minorities, the reality is far from consistent with this narrative. Christians often report incidents where the authorities restrict access to the free practice of their faith and pressure to abandon their beliefs.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org. 

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