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Sign of the times: Suu Kyi discusses freedom with young Christians
Myanmar Christians talk freedom with Suu KyiSuu Kyi attends last week's Christian conference on nation building
- Thomas Toe, Yangon
- July 25, 2012
In its annual assessment of religious freedom in Myanmar, conducted last September, the US State Department noted â€śthere was no change in the governmentâ€™s limited degree of respect for religious freedom.
â€śReligious activities and organizations were subject to restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly,â€ť it added.
But following the opening of the new parliament in March last year and a subsequent series of reforms, young Christians in Myanmar should take a â€śgreater roleâ€ť in the development of the country, said Suu Kyi.
â€śThe most important question is: What do we want our country to be?â€ť Suu Kyi asked those gathered at the home of Yangon Archbishop Charles Bo.
There had been few opportunities for young Myanmar people in the past, said Archbishop Bo, meaning many had suffered from unemployment. This had led a large number of theÂ brightest young people to leave the country in search of work, he added.
He urged Myanmarâ€™s young Christians â€śto start running with confidence and take part in building the nation, whether in education, health or social development.â€ť
Whether or not young Christians participate in these types of activities will largely depend on how confident they feel in doing so, given the previous half a century of restrictions.
Shaung Shaung, a young Baptist woman attending last weekâ€™s conference, said Christians were starting to see tangible signs of greater religious freedom in Myanmar meaning their activities no longer needed to be kept underground.
â€śWe need to show our ability in the right way and not bury it in a hidden place,â€ť she told ucanews.com. â€śWe should work together to get involved in the right areas for the development of our country, regardless of what religion we are.â€ť
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