From July 27-30, 2021, IGE conducted a Religion and Rule of Law training for Kachin church leaders and seminary professors. The online training was held in partnership with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and Brigham Young University Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies. There were 38 participants from six different regions of Myanmar who attended the training despite the pandemic and ongoing conflict and unrest from the coup. The training was organized at KBC’s invitation to equip their church leaders on how to address the political turmoil in Myanmar, particularly as an ethnic and religious minority. The Kachin, who are mostly Christian, number about 1 million out of a total population of 54 million that is predominantly Buddhist. For decades they have endured attacks and other forms of persecution from the Burmese military.
International experts shared case studies from Japan, the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia, focusing on how those countries’ policies towards religious and ethnic minorities and lessons learned. One participant shared, “The lectures and presentations were very helpful to a country like Myanmar where we still have room to build understanding among different faith groups.”
This was the third (2019, 2020) Religion and Rule of Law training that IGE has partnered with KBC to convene. KBC’s Director of Leadership Training, Rev. Dr. Awng Nan, shared, "What we have learned this year was very practical and helpful to us because we have been under the coup since February and there has been no rule of law since then, but we had a chance to learn about the importance of the rule of law and the role of religion at the training...As Myanmar is also working towards achieving a federal democratic system and resisting the coup in any way possible, the case studies of countries who went through similar situations were insightful to us."