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Asian Christians alarmed over Myanmar Covid crisis, rights violations

Christian Conference of Asia says military mismanagement is worsening the health situation

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 17, 2021 07:41 AM GMT
Asian Christians alarmed over Myanmar Covid crisis, rights violations

Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment bury a suspected Covid-19 victim at a cemetery in Taungoo district in Myanmar's Bago region on Aug. 7. (Photo: AFP)

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) has raised serious concerns over Myanmar’s worsening Covid-19 crisis amid rights violations by the military.

The executive committee of the CCA, which represents churches and economical councils in Asia, expressed its anguish over the potential for massive insecurity and threats to peace in the coup-hit country.

The Covid-19 crisis is spiraling out of control under the mismanagement of the junta, according to a CCA report released on Aug. 16.

The CCA held a two-day online discussion on how Asian churches can take coordinated action for effective international advocacy as the people of Myanmar need protection from systematic rights violations by a junta that wields political power illegally.

They also discussed ways to address the disastrous developments in Myanmar and how to deploy advocacy to pressure the junta to retract from its continuing attacks on the people and return to democracy as per the will of the people.

Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the CCA, in his report to the executive committee, said: “The people of Myanmar are facing the ravaging hit of Covid-19 along with battling an unstable political situation created by the military junta.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, Myanmar people have faced arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and killings in custody

“Myanmar faces one of the world’s highest fatality rates relative to its population, yet it is probably an undercount, something which the military junta has implicitly acknowledged.”

He also shared information with members about joint initiatives of the CCA and the World Council of Churches as an ecumenical response to Myanmar's crisis.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, Myanmar people have faced arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and killings in custody.

Nearly 1,000 people including more than 70 children have been killed and at least 5,000 remain in detention.

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Hostilities between the military and ethnic armed groups and civil defense forces in Kachin, Kayah, Karen and Shan states have displaced more than 200,000 people, who have taken refuge in churches, relief camps and jungles.

Citizens lack access to proper care in a virtually collapsed healthcare system.

The junta-controlled Health Ministry reported 182 Covid deaths and 2,706 new cases on Aug. 17, taking the total numbers to 356,985 infections and 13,445 deaths.

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