.- On January 23rd a report entitled, “Carrying the Cross: The military regime’s campaign of restriction, discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma” will be published during a meeting of the United Kingdom’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma.
According to the website AsianTribune.com, the report is expected to identify a range of tactics used by the military regime to suppress Christianity and cites a document, allegedly from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which has been widely circulated in Rangoon with the headline "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma.” It begins: "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practiced."
The report will be presented by CSW’s Advocacy Officer for South Asia and author of the report, Benedict Rogers, and a delegation of Chin and Kachin activists from Burma will present evidence of human rights violations.
The report claims that Burma’s regime is "shaped by a fascist mentality with echoes of Hitler and the Nazis," found in the junta’s hostility towards ethnic and religious minorities. Citizens who do not conform to the regime’s version of Burman Buddhist nationalism – which, the report argues, is a "perverted and distorted form of Buddhism" – face "potentially serious consequences." The regime’s tactics range "from churches in Rangoon finding it difficult to obtain permission to renovate their buildings, to pastors in Chin State being killed," the report claims.
The report quotes a plea from six Christian organizations in 2006 that wrote a letter to the junta’s Senior General Than Shwe saying: "We simply cannot let things go on without doing anything. This is because Christian associations have been suffering, and we are feeling the pain deep in our hearts."
According to Rogers, “It is time that the United Nations Security Council pass a resolution on Burma calling for an end to the grotesque human rights violations perpetrated by the regime. We urge the United Nations to investigate the violations of religious freedom in Burma and to put pressure on the regime to change. Burma’s people, of all religions and ethnicities, have suffered in silence for too long.”
John Bercow, the Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma, stated, “As this report makes clear, all the people of Burma are suffering at the hands of this brutal regime, whatever their religion or ethnicity. But there can be no doubt that Christians are singled out for an extra dose of discrimination and barbaric abuse. CSW has made a unique and vital contribution to the campaign for freedom in Burma by publishing this evidence. The United Nations and the international community must now act to bring an end to the sadistic behavior of these dictators.”
“Carrying the Cross” has received praise from several leading public figures, with a foreword written by Baroness Cox, a member of the House of Lords who has visited Burma’s border areas many times, and preface by the former Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev. John Perry.