Monasteries, church buildings will not be spared from Myanmar’s battle


Almost 100 non secular buildings have been destroyed in two areas and two states in Myanmar greater than a 12 months after the army seized management from the elected authorities and plunged the Southeast Asian nation into chaos and violence, in line with knowledge compiled by RFA.

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The 97 non secular buildings which have been demolished for the reason that Feb. 1 coup embody 15 Buddhist monasteries in Sagaing area, 5 Buddhist monasteries and one Christian church in Magway area, 62 Christian church buildings in Chin state, and 13 Christian church buildings and a mosque in Kayah state.

In some instances, troopers raided the non secular buildings and beat locals who had taken shelter there.

Residents of Sagaing area in northwestern Myanmar stated a number of Buddhist monasteries and Christian church buildings in Ye-U, Mingin, Yinmarbin and Khin-U had been burned down, whereas different monasteries had been destroyed in Ye-U, Tanze, Kalay, Myaung, Pale and Ayadaw townships.

Zaw Zaw, a resident of Pale township, stated Buddhist monks there are being fed by locals providing alms after army troops raided villages and robbed and torched their monasteries.

“They have been swearing on the Buddhist monasteries [and] fired a number of pictures into the air,” he stated. “They seized cell telephones from the monks on the gunpoint. Additionally they robbed civilians who took shelter within the monasteries of their cash, gold and jewellery.”

At any time when a army detachment entered Zaw Zaw’s village, residents remained behind closed doorways and didn’t go to the monastery to supply alms to the monks, he stated.

“Even Buddhist monks are on the run,” Zaw Zaw added.

Different civilians informed RFA that they’ve been appalled to see bullet holes and different harm from bomb blasts on Buddhist pagodas that function landmarks in lots of small communities.

Locals used to take shelter in monasteries when army models arrived of their villages, however now these locations are now not protected, they stated.

Troopers now not honor non secular buildings within the Buddhist-majority nation as a result of they solely wish to guarantee they keep energy, stated a member of the Folks’s Protection Pressure (PDF) in Yesagyo township in Magway area who wished to stay nameless for security causes.

“They’re a fascist, terrorist military,” he stated. “They now not venerate the faith. They don’t care concerning the well-being of the individuals. They don’t care anything. All they care about is upholding their energy and growing their wealth.”

“Additionally they prosecute and assault the individuals,” stated the PDF member. “They’ll do the identical factor to the sacred buildings of any faith. They received’t be reluctant to destroy anytime.”

Dawuku Catholic Church in Loikaw township, jap Myanmar’s Kayah state, seen in January 2022, was broken by artillery hearth from a army junta plane. Credit score: Citizen journalist

‘Horrible acts’

Largely Christian Chin state in western Myanmar has had 62 non secular buildings destroyed — the biggest variety of such of any single state or area for the reason that army takeover — together with 22 that have been burned to ashes, and 20 extra destroyed by artillery blasts, in line with the Institute of Chin Affairs, a human rights group.

“We really feel that that is results of missing respects on the individuals with totally different non secular beliefs,” the group stated in a March 22 assertion. “Many people have perceptions that they handled us this fashion as a result of they disrespect to individuals with totally different non secular beliefs. Dropping the mutual respect to different religions just isn’t acceptable, and assaulting the believers of various religions is violation of worldwide legal guidelines.”

The Rev. Dennis Ngun Thang Mang stated a number of the church buildings destroyed have been on hearth although there have been no armed conflicts of their neighborhood, and when he and different requested the army concerning the blazes, they claimed they didn’t know something about it.

Moreover, army forces arrested 20 Christian ministers. Whereas a dozen of the captives have been later launched, 4 stay in detention and 4 have been killed, the Institute of Chin Affairs stated.

In Loikaw, Demoso and Hpruso townships of Kayah state, three Baptist church buildings, 10 Catholic church buildings and a mosque have been destroyed.

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Demoso township, Kayah state, was broken by artillery and small arms hearth on Could 26, 2021, regardless of pleas a day earlier by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the archbishop of the Catholic Church in Myanmar, that troops chorus from attacking the nation’s non secular buildings. Credit score: Karenni Folks’s Protection Pressure

Navy commanders are presupposed to keep away from hitting non secular buildings throughout armed conflicts, stated a Christian non secular chief in Loikaw, who requested anonymity for security causes.

“Throughout the armed conflicts in Kayah state, many of the bombs from air raids and artillery blasts fell contained in the compound of the church buildings,” he informed RFA. “That’s why many church buildings have been destroyed.

“We don’t know why they did it,” he stated. “We strongly condemn their actions. We wish to attraction them to keep away from focusing on non secular buildings.”

The army regime’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, denied that military forces focused non secular buildings throughout armed conflicts.

“The Tatmadaw by no means focused any non secular buildings,” he stated, utilizing the Burmese identify for the Myanmar army. “There have been incidents of raiding them after we acquired credible info that terrorists have been hiding within the buildings.”

In instances the place monasteries and church buildings have been by chance hit by army hearth, troopers took the lead in serving to to restore them, Zaw Min Tun stated.

Aung Myo Min, human rights minister of the shadow Nationwide Unity Authorities, stated the U.N.’s Geneva Conference lays out pointers to guard non secular constructing amid armed battle.

“Non secular buildings and sacred locations are icons of non secular freedom,” he informed RFA. “They shouldn’t be assaulted or destroyed, even by society’s norms. However focusing on non secular buildings in armed conflicts and firing weapons at them are horrible acts.”

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


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