The former President of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Reverend Dr Hkalam Samson, was reportedly arrested at Mandalay International Airport in Myanmar/Burma on 5 December as he attempted to travel to Bangkok, Thailand.
Rev Dr Samson, who now serves as Chairman of the Kachin National Consultative Assembly, is one of Myanmar’s most prominent and outspoken Christian religious leaders, and a courageous defender of human rights. In April 2021, just over two months after the military coup in Myanmar which overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected civilian government, Rev Samson issued an appeal for prayer for Myanmar, together with the current General Secretary of the KBC.
Rev Samson, who served as President of the KBC from 2018-2022 and previously two terms as General Secretary from 2010-2018, is an internationally respected advocate for religious freedom and human rights in Myanmar. In 2019, he travelled to Washington, DC to participate in the International Religious Freedom Ministerial Conference, where he was among religious leaders from around the world who met with the United States President in the White House. In November 2018, he visited London together with other religious, human rights and civil society activists from the Kachin, Shan and Ta’ang ethnic nationalities in northern Myanmar, where he met senior British Parliamentarians and officials.
CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia Benedict Rogers said: ‘CSW is deeply troubled by the arrest of such a prominent and internationally respected religious leader in Myanmar, and are very concerned for his well-being. We call on the Myanmar authorities to release him immediately, and we urge the international community to demand his unconditional release and ensure his well-being.’
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