Religious Rights Advocacy group, CSW has today joined Burma Human Rights Network and 112 other organisations and individuals in writing to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “personally lead high-level efforts” to address increased violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) which have been observed in Myanmar/Burma since the coup of 1 February 2021.
The letter raises concerns regarding increased hate speech towards Christians and Muslims in the country, and highlights the cases of Pastor Cung Biak Hum, who was shot dead on 18 September, Pastor Thian Lian Sang, who is currently held in custody after his arrest on 16 September, and of the Mohnhyin and Butaryone Street Mosques, both of which were raided on 3 June in Mohnhyin city.
Signatories to the letter write: “The Burmese Military must end all hostilities against religious minorities, release all religious and political prisoners, step down from power, and allow the democratically elected government to resume.”
They reiterated calls for a global arms embargo and targeted sanctions on the military and their enterprises, encouraging Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “lead high-level efforts to increase diplomatic pressure on the junta and mobilise countries in the region to deploy their influence to end the military’s violence and repression.”
Kyaw Win, Executive Director of Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN), said: “Religious-based ethno-nationalism is the root cause of all the problems in Burma and the military is using the oppression of religious minorities as a free ride to establish their absolute authority. It is time for everyone, regardless of our background, to stand up against oppression. The differences in our beliefs do not mean that we should be divided but that we have different perspectives and advantages that together contribute to the greater good of humanity.”
Benedict Rogers, CSW’s Senior Analyst on East Asia and author of three books on Myanmar, said: “So far the human rights community’s repeated calls for action regarding the ongoing crisis in Myanmar have met with disappointingly insufficient action. Verbal condemnations and the sanctions imposed on the Tatmadaw thus far are welcome, but there remains a need to take this further, including through the establishment of a global arms embargo as a matter of urgency.”