Catholic charity says Burmese Christians facing severe discrimination
Burmese Christians continue to face heavy discrimination according to a report released yesterday by representatives of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
However the charity said it is still possible to travel abroad for study and in the year 2000 some 60 seminarians, religious sisters and catechists were in fact able to do this.
Around 3% of the 47 million inhabitants of Burma are Christians and of these some 600,000 profess the Catholic faith.
Aid to the Church in Need suggested the political motivations on the part of the military dictatorship benefited the majority Buddhist population.
It's statement reports: "The use of certain religious terms in the printed media is reserved for the Buddhists alone. At the same time all Christian publications are subjected to strict censorship, the report continues. And the import of Christian literature from abroad is prohibited."
The charity said that the Manila-based Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, broadcasts not only in Burmese but also in the languages of two of the major ethnic minorities, the Kachin and the Chin. It claimed the success of these broadcasts can be measured by the large number of its listeners among the Kachin who have already converted to Catholicism, an Asia expert of the charity pointed out.
Over the past five years Aid to the Church in Need has supported the Church in Burma, with contributions towards needs such as the printing of religious literature, the construction of churches and parish houses, and the religious formation of sisters, novices and lay catechists.
Aid to the Church in Need