KBC Leaders Meet Trump, Seek Help with Federal Transition

Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, president of the Kachin Baptist Convention, also thanked Trump.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Leaders of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) met with senior US government officials, including President Donald Trump, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to request support for Burma’s transition to “genuine” democracy and federalism.

The delegation led by KBC president Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson was in the US capital to take part in a meeting organized by the US State Department to promote religious freedom worldwide.

Dr. Hkalam Samson told Trump that there was no religious freedom in Burma and that oppression and torture were still common in the country, where fighting between ethnic armed organizations and the government army continues despite a return to civilian rule.

“We ask the American government to focus on ethnic people and ethnic leaders to get genuine democracy and genuine federalism,” he said as he spoke to Trump at the White House on Wednesday.

Trump met with 17 survivors of religious persecution from 17 different countries at the White House as part of his administration’s efforts to promote religious freedom.

“Religious freedom is fundamental to human rights. America will stand for religious freedom. If people don’t have religious freedom, those people will also lose other rights. It’s dangerous. Freedom won’t be perfect without religious freedom. America will try to support it,” he said with the group, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, standing behind him.

The meeting was also attended by Sayar Lan Jor Gam Seng, who was arrested for his role in helping journalists cover clashes in the Mongkoe area of northern Shan State in 2016.

Three days of meetings were held in Washington from July 16 to 18.