State Department condemns Myanmar’s military for burning churches and homes

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News


In a statement released on Sunday the U.S. State Department condemned the actions of Myanmar’s military for what the department said was “gross violations of human rights” in Chin State, a state within the nation.

Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, began attacking Chin State on Friday after it was revealed that the local militia known as the Chinland Defense Force killed a Tatmadaw member in the area.

Referring to the nation as its former name of Burma, the statement reads in part:

The United States is gravely concerned by reports of gross violations of human rights that Burmese security forces have perpetuated in Chin State, including reports that forces have set fire to and destroyed more than 100 residences as well as Christian churches. We condemn such brutal actions by the Burmese regime against people, their homes, and places of worship, which lays bare the regime’s complete disregard for the lives and welfare of the people of Burma. These abhorrent attacks underscore the urgent need for the international community to hold the Burmese military accountable and take action to prevent gross violations and abuses of human rights, including by preventing the transfer of arms to the military.

The statement also expressed worry about the Tatmadaw’s accelerated operations around the country and called for “the regime to immediately cease the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to inclusive democracy.”

International Christian Concern (ICC), a persecution watchdog, said in a statement that Thantlang, the village where the houses and churches are located, used to hold 10,000 people but now sits empty. It “will soon be consumed with fire” according to the watchdog.

Taking information from the Chin Human Rights Organization, ICC notes “that several religious buildings, including Church on the Rock, Presbyterian Church, and a building attached to the Thantlang Baptist Church, the largest congregation in town, have also caught fire.”

In February, the Myanmar military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi, the former democratic ruler of Myanmar, and dissolved the previous government after declaring the last elections to be fraudulent. The military has since declared a state of emergency and promised to resume democratic elections in 2023.

Localities in Myanmar have been resisting the military’s rule, a struggle which has led to multiple instances of the military burning down villages and even other churches.

Recently, the U.S. State Department also called for further investigation into a report from the AP detailing extensive torture of Myanmar citizens at the hands of the Tatmadaw.