Five Christians, who have been victims of persecution as a result of Myanmar's military dictatorship, recently filed a war crimes complaint in a Philippines court. Although these believers were originally from Chin state, they have emigrated to Australia, Britain, Canada and India. The alleged victims argue that a 2009 Philippine law obligates the country to prosecute war crimes committed elsewhere under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
The perpetrators named in this complaint include the head of Myanmar's ruling military council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, eight of his military commanders and a state minister. The complainants filed the request for prosecution on October 25th, and the government prosecutors have 90 days to either approve or dismiss the complaint.
The complaint states that members of Myanmar's military killed a pastor and two church elders in the town of Thantlang during September 2021. It also accuses the military of directing attacks against churches, and burning hundreds of houses that were located within the same town, between August 2021 and June 2022. In a press release, one of the plaintiffs, Salai Ling, stated: "We are a Christian people whose pastors are being murdered and whose churches and faith-based schools are being destroyed in a systematic campaign by junta forces. With this persecution of Myanmar's Christians continuing, we pray that our brothers and sisters in the Philippines will hear our cry and grant us justice."
Though the action taken by these Christians is unique, it demonstrates the desperation of the numerous survivors who were affected by the atrocities. Since the military coup seized control of the country in February 2021, at least 4,155 people have been killed, and more than 19,600 remain in detention. Many of the attacks specifically targeted Christians under the guise of uprooting rebel forces. For more reports on the persecution of believers in Myanmar, along with ways you can help, go to our country report.
Prayerfully uphold all those who are involved in this court action, including the prosecutors of this case, as well as the governmental leaders of the Philippines, asking the Lord to provide them wisdom and guidance. May He also work mightily in the hearts of those presently ruling over Myanmar, in hopes they will understand the serious ramifications of their destructive actions and turn to Him in sincere repentance. Also pray for the ongoing ministry of church congregations throughout Myanmar, that these persecuted followers of Christ will receive encouragement, strength and provision so they can faithfully meet the spiritual and practical needs of others in this war-torn country.