Near a Catholic Church, Kachin State, 2006

For a different perspective on issues in northern Burma, a new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide is definitely worth a look. It is sometimes forgotten that many Christian groups – of many denominations and ideologies – have maintained a steady focus on human rights abuses in Burma at times when others have looked away. Some Christian organisations’ tactics and rhetoric may be questionable but, in general, their commitment, compassion and advocacy are deserving of much wider acknowledgement.

In some of the wilder areas of highland Burma where I have been, the only groups defending the dignity of ordinary people, and providing a range of basic social services, are Christian. Many are doing remarkable, and largely unsung, work. Whether because they are Christian, or for a multitude of other reasons, it is clear that many of these Christians do suffer special treatment. As I wrote back in August, the targeting of minority faiths, and their believers, adds to the litany of profound misjudgments made by Burma’s rulers.

These misjudgments have consequences. For a long time now, Christianity has been a key aspect of resistance in many non-Burman areas of the country. The faith provides refuge from Burmese Army aggression and much needed links to the outside world.