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Refugees in their own country

A Christian Science perspective.

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According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 27 million people remain displaced by conflict inside their own homelands.

One heartbreaking story is that of the Rohingya people in Myanmar (Burma). Members of a Muslim minority, they are denied Burmese citizenship even though their families have lived in the country for centuries. Enduring the ravages of ethnic violence, the Rohingyas are prohibited from leaving designated areas for work, to forage for food, or to seek medical treatment. Identified as “eternal outsiders,” they are denied the rights of citizenship and human rights and are virtually forgotten by the world.

News of this situation jolted me out of my Western comfort. I could see how much I had taken for granted my rights as a citizen of a country such as Australia, which gives me protection from injustice and deprivation. But the thought of the untenable position of so many people as outsiders without a national identity challenged me to pray for a solution.

As the problem seemed overwhelmingly complex, I began my prayers by affirming that all of God’s children are under His loving government. Each individual as the complete expression of God has a unique place to fulfill. I was encouraged by the way Jesus rallied his disciples with the words, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). In other words, God’s power and presence would provide whatever was needed to find the solutions. This was a powerful way to begin my prayers.

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