FREEHOLD, NJ (ABNS 11/21/23)—The Burma Advocacy Group, which is comprised of 25 civil society and religious organizations, visited Malaysia from September 28-30 and Thailand from October 1-6, 2023.
The objective of the visits, led by Rev. Dr. Roy Medley, Convener of the Burma Advocacy Group (BAG), was to assess the situation of refugees from Burma in both countries. The BAG delegation met with refugee community leaders, representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and staff from the US Embassy in each country. The delegation members also visited refugee camps.
In Malaysia, the BAG learned that 5,000 new refugees arrive monthly and require an increased rate of registration with UNHCR. In Thailand, the US and Thai governments have reached an agreement brokered by UNHCR to resettle as many as 70,000 refugees from the camps, with a targeted rate of 10,000 per year.
The Burma Advocacy Group requests the following:
- We ask the U.S. Department of State to increase resettlement of refugees from Burma who are in Thailand, Malaysia, and India, and to advocate that UNHCR increase the rate of registration. We also ask that the United States provide more humanitarian assistance.
- We ask that the United States continue to publicly voice condemnation of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the military in Burma and recognize, along with the Rohingya, the increasing number of the Christian minority and others who are being killed and displaced.
- We call on the United States to continue to seek the release of Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson and Rev. Thian Lian Sang, CDM participants, journalists and others wrongly imprisoned by the junta.
More about the Burma Advocacy Group:
The Burma Advocacy Group was formed by the American Baptist Churches to unite the voices of the Burma Diaspora Community in the United States for advocacy concerning humanitarian aid and other concerns. American Baptists have a relationship with Burma/Myanmar that reaches back more than 200 years, and the largest Christian body within Burma/Myanmar, the Myanmar Baptist Convention, is our partner denomination within the country. The Baptist Churches in Myanmar count over one million baptized adult members and are especially represented among the Karen, Kachin and Chin ethnic groups as well as many others.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.