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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Myanmar: Christians struggle against discrimination
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¬†A bleak picture of life for Christians in Myanmar is described in a new report from Aid to the Church In Need out today. While only three per cent of the 47 million inhabitants of Myanmar are Christians, and of these around 600,000 are Catholic, the charity says they face daily discrimination for their faith. Most belong to ethnic minority groups, already facing persecution. The report says that since the military dictatorship came to power in 1962, they have clamped down on the small Christian communities while giving privileges to Buddhists. All Christian publications are subjected to strict censorship, and the import of Christian literature from abroad is prohibited. Foreign visitors are not permitted to sleep in church-owned buildings. Many dioceses of the country have to give detailed reports of all visits by people from abroad. Building permission for churches is only granted if they are sited in remote rural regions and away from roads. The report adds that often the only overseas contact Christians, have is through the Manila-based Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, which broadcasts in Burmese and also in the languages of two of the major ethnic minorities, Kachin and Chin. Over the past five years, the charity has supported the church in Myanmar with over £1.6million - to help them print religious literature, build churches and parish houses, and for the religious formation of sisters, novices and lay catechists.
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