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Burmese Diplomat defects to U.S.

July 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Burma, newsletter-asia, Persecution

Kyaw Win, the second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, D.C.

Kyaw Win, the second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, D.C.

Burma (MNN) ― A high-level Burmese diplomat has defected to the United States, fearing democratic change in his country is stillborn.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kyaw Win is seeking asylum. The Burmese junta repeatedly rejected his efforts to build bridges with the international community, labeling him “dangerous.”

Information from the Associated Press confirms this move came about because of his stand on reform issues relating to democracy, human rights, and individual liberties. The second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, Win supported an investigation into human rights abuses against the ethnic minorities and warned against continued oppression.

Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says the timing is interesting. “What I’m reading is that a lot people are defecting from the military. The soldiers don’t want to go into these villages and kill any more people. They’ve been forced to do it by the government, and I think people are starting to stand up and say, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this. This is wrong, and we will not.'” That’s about 15% of the military that seem to be of the same mind as the former Ambassador Win. 

Vision Beyond Borders partners with a ministry in Thailand that works in the refugee camps. Klein says they’re “openly sharing the Gospel with these people. A lot of the Karen are coming to Christ because they see that it is the Christians who are really coming to their aid.”

VBB ministry partners estimate that roughly 40% of the Karen are Christians. They’re also the ethnic minority and are in the government crosshairs.

We asked Klein why the junta decided to eradicate the Karen. He explains, “They’re living on land that the government wants because there are a lot of natural resources there. There’s gold, there are gems and timber. Now, they’re putting in dams because China needs hydro-electric power. Instead of compensating people and relocating them, it’s easier to just go in and wipe out whole villages.”

Aside from the obvious physical aspect of this genocide, there is also a spiritual side. Klein says, “From what I’m hearing, the generals are very involved in the occult, listening to astrologers and all these people, and they [the military] are just going in and wiping out the Christians.”

Other reports coming to Klein’s ears are worthy of war crimes investigation. Klein explains, “We’ve heard stories of [the military] going to the Buddhist children, giving them arms, and turning them against the Christians, [then] having the Buddhist kids go in and shoot these Christians indiscriminately.”

Win says the military is on a campaign to silence “the voices seeking democracy, human rights, and individual liberties.” That’s no surprise, and it creates a backdrop against which hope shines brightly. As people are drawn to the hope of Christ, Klein says he’s confident the Gospel will also spread. He shares about the commitment of a village evangelist they met on a recent trip. “He lost both of his hands and both of his eyes in a landmine that blew up in his face. Yet, he still goes around the village, sharing the Gospel with Buddhist people.”

Pray for the strength of Christians to stand firm in their faith, despite the lawlessness around them. Pray that freedom will come to Burma. Pray for ministry opportunities for Christians to share their faith with others.

– mnn

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