Displaying items by tag: Myanmar

Friday, 27 January 2023 08:19

Myanmar: Opium production at nine-year high

The production of opium increased sharply in Myanmar, reaching nearly 795 metric tonnes in 2022, nearly double the production in 2021 - the year of the military coup that plunged much of Myanmar into a bloody civil war that still continues. The UN believes the increase is driven by economic hardship and insecurity that followed the military takeover, and farmers in remote conflict-prone areas have had little option but to move back to opium. The region, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet - the Golden Triangle - has historically been a major source of opium and heroin production.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 January 2023 20:49

Asia: hotspots on the horizon

The war in Ukraine and the poor global economy have enabled dictators, regimes, and terrorists to take ad­vantage of the situation while the world’s attention was distracted. This will worsen in 2023, to the detriment of Christians. Ask God to protect China’s Christians as the crackdown on house churches accelerates. Pray for all the minorities in Myanmar, where the 2021 political coup has led to many attacks and bombings of churches. The internally dis­placed use churches as shelters. Iran has also taken the opportunity to crack down on churches, Christians, and Muslim-back­ground believers this year. Pray for Christian arrests and torture to diminish in 2023. Indian Christians need our prayers for an end to the anti-conversion laws being enforced in Hindu communities. Afghanistan has no national income and no natural resources, and all assets are frozen worldwide. Christianity is illegal. Those forced to stay or needing support to find safe havens need God's protection.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 20 October 2022 23:02

Global: digital repression

Governments are blocking swaths of the internet. Pro-democracy activist Ko Jimmy was executed after condemning Myanmar’s military coup online. Idamange Yvonne was sentenced to 15 years in prison for YouTube videos criticising Rwanda’s repressive president. Nicaraguan authorities sentenced journalist Miguel Urbina to nine years in prison for Facebook posts and tweets they deemed threatening to national integrity. Siarhei Tsikhanouski, who ran a YouTube channel criticising Belarus’s government, was jailed for 18 years for inciting unrest. These are only a fraction of the cases in an internet freedom survey by Freedom House, which stated, ‘The same rights protected offline should also be protected online. Human rights are restricted online in 70 countries and 2022 marked the 12th consecutive year of decline in internet freedom’. But it also found that when societies push back against repression, under the right conditions, they can win. Pray for the digital rights groups who research, advocate against, and bring strategic litigation cases to overturn repression online.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 09 September 2022 09:53

Myanmar: junta burning thousands of homes

The military junta continues to bomb civilians, and over 28,000 homes have been burnt down since the February 2021 coup. As order breaks down, soaring food prices cause a hunger crisis. Many are fleeing Myanmar if they get a chance. AMG has established a camp with over fifty homes for refugee families and two hostels for lone children. An AMG member met a young Christian woman at the camp who suffered watching her mother abused and scarred by her alcoholic father. Then her mother became a Christian and prayed fervently for her father. Miraculously, he came to Christ and left his drinking and drugs. As the military violence approached, her parents sent her across the border to safety. Myanmar females live in fear of being sexually assaulted by the military. One boy came into the hostel for lone children traumatised, always wanting to fight others. Now, his voice has been heard singing with other children. Pray for God’s protection over refugee camps.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 12 August 2022 10:22

Global: refugees

The UN expects five million people to flee Ukraine. The world was already facing the highest levels of displacement on record. The war in Syria killed 400,000 and destroyed healthcare, education, and infrastructure, forcing millions to cross treacherous waters to safety. An estimated 745,000 people crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh after violence erupted in Rakhine state. The rapid movement and huge influx of Rohingya refugees put massive strain on existing refugee camps like Cox’s Bazar and on the host communities who are supporting new arrivals. Every day 37,000 people across the world flee their homes due to persecution or conflict; 26 million people flee their homes annually due to climate-related disasters; and one in five refugee or displaced women are estimated to have experienced sexual violence. In this season of global recessions, pray for adequate financial donations to be given to agencies delivering life-saving aid to refugees. Pray for ample food, water, sanitation, blankets and shelters to reach the vulnerable.

Published in Worldwide

More than 5,600 civilians have been killed in Myanmar since the military seized power on 1 February 2021, according to an independent research institute, which called the death toll ‘unprecedented’ in the country’s history. This number includes those killed by security forces during anti-junta protests, in clashes between the military and pro-democracy paramilitaries, while held in detention, and in revenge attacks. At least 1,831 civilians were killed in shooting deaths; the largest number occurred in war-torn Sagaing region, where junta troops have faced tough resistance from the People’s Defence Force (PDF) paramilitaries. The clashes have displaced tens of thousands of residents since the coup. A PDF member claimed that those who report paramilitary movements to the military have been targeted because the opposition is ‘handicapped in manpower and weapons’.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 05 May 2022 23:44

Myanmar: soldiers deserting the army

People's Embrace is a Facebook page helping soldiers defect. The banner says 'Assistance to police and military personnel’. Myanmar is engulfed by an increasingly deadly civil war, which began when the Tatmadaw, the armed forces, seized power last year. Now, with hundreds of volunteers, an underground network armed with Facebook and Telegram accounts is helping disillusioned soldiers and police officers to defect. ‘We advertise on Facebook that those who want to leave should contact us on Telegram.’' said Mr Lay via an online link from an undisclosed location inside the country. With the Tatmadaw out to infiltrate their network, he is wary of divulging many specifics about how they operate, but several ex-Tatmadaw soldiers have broadly described how the operation works. These activities come with massive risks: if they were captured they would be executed. Myanmar's civil war has turned increasingly violent after the overthrow of the civilian government (NLD).

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 15 April 2022 04:31

Myanmar: Catholic Church raided by Tatmadaw

On April 8, in Mandalay, approximately 40 soldiers from the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) raided Sacred Heart Cathedral during Lent preparations searching for gold, money and ‘hidden weapons.’ They held scores of worshippers hostage for hours, including Archbishop Marco Tin Win. They claimed to have been tipped off about weapons being hidden in the clergy centre. When the vicar general of the Archdiocese explained that the only money they had was donations raised for the poor, he too was pushed into the cathedral. The ongoing assaults against churches and religious leaders should not be ignored by the international community. They intimidate Christians, they also occupy, desecrate, and loot churches across Myanmar.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 31 March 2022 21:51

Myanmar: over 100 Christian buildings destroyed

Since the 2021 coup which deposed Myanmar’s democratically elected government, the Burmese military has been attacking its own civilians. The junta that controls the government continues to destroy religious buildings with artillery attacks and airstrikes on civilian areas in the Christian-majority Chin state. Residents in some regions have formed militias to resist those destroying religious buildings (often used as shelters during attacks). In Chin state, over 35 churches and 15 other Christian-affiliated buildings were destroyed between February 2021 and January 2022. In Kayah state 12 churches were destroyed in the same period. In May 2021 the military continuously shelled Sacred Heart Church in the capital of Kayah state, killing four who were sheltering there and causing extensive damage. Myanmar’s cardinal published a plea to the regime, urging them to stop targeting religious buildings. The military ignored his request and are continuing to shell many more churches.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 March 2022 21:22

Africa / Asia: food crises

The Horn of Africa is in crisis with drought and food insecurity. 20 million are impacted or in need of aid; pray for the survival needs of both livestock and humans to be met after three failed rainy seasons back to back. In Somalia 4.3 million people are hungry, and people fear a repeat of the 2012 famine. In Ethiopia, the drought is compounding the humanitarian disaster of the war in the country’s north, while in neighbouring Kenya’s pastoralist zone, the loss of cattle is triggering raids and clashes between communities. In Myanmar farmers say the 2021 coup worsened food insecurity and is nothing short of a disaster. Humanitarian needs multiply and continue to spiral. One million people needed aid before the coup; now it’s 14 million. 500,000 people have been displaced since the coup, a quarter of the population is food insecure and violent new conflicts spread in a new wave of anti-coup militias. ‘There is fear everywhere’, one aid worker said.

Published in Worldwide
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