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National Council of Churches issues statement on the military coup in Myanmar

NCC calls on Myanmar’s military to ‘abide by the will of the people’ as expressed in the November 2020 elections

by the National Council of Churches | Special to Presbyterian News Service

“The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
Isaiah 32:17 NRSV

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. has been consistent in its history regarding the affirmation of peace with justice and reconciliation among peoples and countries, we denounce the military coup d’etat in Myanmar and stand with the people of Myanmar in their efforts to achieve peace, democracy, and freedom.

On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military arrested the civilian leaders of the national and state governments and announced a one-year “state of emergency.” The military arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s ruling party; Win Myint, the duly elected head of government; and several dozen other senior officials in early morning raids in the capital, Naypyidaw, where the officials were convening after the November 2020 national elections. The U.S. Department of State has confirmed that these National League for Democracy (NLD) officials won the election by a large margin. NLD officials and civil society activists were also arrested in other parts of Myanmar and telecommunications and the internet have been cut to stop the sharing of information within the country.

NCC joins with the American Baptist Churches, which has a large presence in Myanmar dating back 200 years, to declare support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and urge its military and all other parties to honor the outcome of recent elections and adhere to the rule of law.

NCC also calls for the home detention of the NLD officials, based on senseless charges, to be dropped. As the NCC’s President and General Secretary, the Rev. Jim Winkler, met State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi during a 2015 trip with the American Baptist Churches to Myanmar, we are especially concerned for her safety and ability to return to her work rather than a prison sentence for the possession of walkie-talkies.

The NCC calls for Myanmar’s military to abide by the will of the people as expressed in the democratic elections held on November 8, 2020 and to relinquish control of the government.

We support the Biden administration’s plan to analyze the United States’ current sanctions as it relates to Myanmar’s military leaders, and the companies associated with them, and take appropriate action.

As Myanmar has suffered the longest ongoing civil war for the past 60 years, we call for prayers of peace for the country. We also ask churches in the United States and around the world, as well as all people of goodwill, to pray for freedom and justice for all the people of Myanmar. May God guide them and give them strength.

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.

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