Statement on the 2023 International Religious Freedom Summit
February 9, 2023
Washington, DC — This year’s International Religious Freedom Summit (IRF Summit) was held from January 31-February 1, 2023, in Washington, DC. CAM has been a Summit Partner for the past three years and prepared a new report to support its presentation, Two Years After the 2021 Military Coup: The Worsening Situation of Christians Across Burma. Chin youth advocate Esther Par presented the report on February 1, highlighting key cases of religious persecution such as the detention of Reverend Dr. Hkalam Samson, a Kachin pastor, and the burning of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Sagaing Region.
On Feb. 1, CAM briefed officials from the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, the Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration, the Burma Office at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Office of Global Criminal Justice on religious freedom in Burma.
CAM issued the following recommendations at the IRF Summit:
- Urging the Biden Administration to designate atrocities against Christian minorities, especially the Chins, as war crimes and crimes against humanity, consistent with the designation of crimes targeting the Rohingya ethnic and religious minority;
- Urging Congress to conduct a Fact-Finding mission to the India-Burma border area and Thai-Burma border area related to the protection and humanitarian needs of IDPs and refugees from Burma and related to the atrocities committed by the Tatmadaw.