The majority of the 1.7 million Kachin people living in Myanmar are Christian, mainly Catholic or Baptist. Due to their ethnicity and Christian faith, they have endured discrimination and persecution at the hands of Myanmar’s authorities for decades, as well as an ongoing military campaign against them.
The miliatry campaign has been going since 2011, when a 17-year cease-fire between the Myanmar’s military and the Kachin Independence Army ended, and the retired archbishop of Mandalay, Myanmar, Archbishop Paul Zinghtung Grawng, has warned that peace remains out of reach for the people of Myanmar’s Kachin state.
He added that the Kachin people are currently “very fearful” and have “little hope of peace” any time soon.
The violence and insecurity of the past five years have forced up to 120,000 Kachin from their homes into camps, which are often run by church groups.
Speaking to Catholic News Service in Ireland, Archbishop Grawng said the Kachin who are now in such camps “have no work and no security or permit to go back to their villages.”
“Some parishes have no villagers left, they are all in the camps for five years. There is no privacy. It creates all sorts of problems. There is a hopelessness. And the children’s education is suffering,” he said.
” … It is the army who is in control of the situation – the army doesn’t want peace, and so the fighting goes on. They have used planes to bomb some areas.” Grawng continued.
“The [new] government itself and Aung San Suu Kyi (are) very much for dialogue, but not the army. While peace talks are going on here, they are fighting there. And the people live in fear. They don’t see any hope of any peace coming soon. It is still very difficult now.”
- Pray for the Kachin people of Myanmar. Pray that they will find hope in their faith in the God who loves them, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit around them.
- Pray that the perfect love of Christ will cast out fear from the hearts of the Kachin people and for protection over these vulnerable people.
- Pray for the situation in the Kachin state, with the ongoing fighting and security issues. Pray for the army to be willing to seek a peaceful solution and for the ongoing dialogue with the government to bring peace and stability to this region.
- Pray for an end to persecution an oppression of the Kachin people, and that the new government will recognise their rights to freedom of belief and worship.
- Pray for the children on the Kachin people, for opportunities for education, for protection over their health and well-being in the camps, and for hope for their future, and the future of this people and region.
Psalm 10 vs 17 – 18: “O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear, to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more“