Aid group warns of violence against Christians, sees glimmer of hope in Myanmar

Church in Myanmar St. Matthew Catholic Church appears gutted by fire, allegedly set by government soldiers, in eastern Myanmar on June 15, 2022. | Credit: Screenshot from KNDF Facebook video

A humanitarian aid group has warned of a rise in violence against the persecuted Christian minority amid the bloody civil war in Myanmar. At the same time, there are signs of hope, a project leader for Christian Solidarity International (CSI) told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. 

“Violence against Christian communities has increased enormously since the military regime ended the short-lived hybrid government agreement,” Selina Biedermann said, highlighting the dire situation of what the U.N.’s chief investigator for Myanmar has called “systematic violence” following the 2021 coup.

Biedermann detailed the intensifying suppression faced by Christians, who mostly hail from ethnic minorities like the Karen, the Chin, and the Kayin.

“Like the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group, they are subjected to cruel ethnic-cleansing campaigns,” she told CNA Deutsch.

Amnesty International has called for the recent attack on a Christian church to be investigated as a war crime. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) condemned the military’s “indiscriminate” airstrikes on civilians on Feb. 7.

The military junta is ramping up efforts to suppress opposition, UCA News reported, including the conscription of men aged 18–35 and women aged 18–27 into the armed forces.

This move shows the military is on the back foot, the ABC in Australia reported.

Cautious optimism 

Biedermann noted a lack of attention in Western media, attributing it to the dominance of other interests and conflicts overshadowing Myanmar’s crisis, such as the war in Ukraine. 

CSI’s work in Myanmar, particularly in the Sagaing region, involves providing humanitarian relief and supporting long-term livelihood projects for internally displaced persons.

Biedermann shared hopes for cautious optimism, citing behind-the-scenes efforts by global powers to pressure the military toward negotiation. 

“Over the past year, China and the United States have been working together to pressure Myanmar’s military dictatorship,” she revealed, suggesting the potential for peace if the military engages in honest political dialogue with ethnic minorities and pro-democracy groups.

As reported by Voice of America, the exclusion of Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc’s leadership in 2026 signals international disapproval. Still, Biedermann stressed that increased pressure is essential for a democratic future. 

“It is precisely this international pressure that urgently needs to be increased,” Biedermann concluded, calling for global action to support Myanmar’s path toward democracy and inclusivity.

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