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Myanmar coup: 'Pray that people´s rights are respected'

by Kelly Valencia

Christians are being urged to pray for Myanmar´s population, especially for the religious and ethnic minorities, after the military took control of the country on Monday and arrested senior politicians including President Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The military group said they have taken control of the country for one year after the current government failed to act on their repeated claims of fraud in November´s elections, which saw Nobel Prize winner Ms Suu Kyi's party win a majority. 

Elections will take place after the one-year emergency ruling passes, the military group has announced. 

Speaking to Premier, Benedict Rogers, Christian Solidarity Worldwide East Asia advisor, said prayer for people´s rights is needed:

"It's likely we may see further arrests, and certainly a deterioration in the human rights situation," he said. 

"Pray for the role of religious leaders as well that they might be able to speak peace, reconciliation and truth to both sides.

"Pray for all the people of Myanmar. Especially for those among the ethnic and religious minorities because one thing the military has weaponized, very successfully over the years, is both ethnic nationalism and religious nationalism. So, pray that that doesn't happen and that the rights of all people but especially the religious and ethnic minorities are respected," he said. 

The Rohingya crisis caught the attention of the world as many Rohingya Muslims were forced to leave the country. 

Myanmar, previously known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces until 2011, when democratic reforms ended military rule.

Mr Rogers is hopeful the current situation could be reversed if the right international pressure is applied:

"The international community needs to respond really robustly and to make it clear to the military that this action is unacceptable, and that if they don't back down and enter into a dialogue with the pro-democracy groups then there will be really robust targeted sanctions, not broad based sanctions against the country as a whole, but sanctions against the military´s interests [and] the military´s enterprises."

World leaders have condemned the coup. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has highlighted the "unlawful imprisonment of civilians" while UN secretary general, António Guterres said the developments represent "a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar".

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