The Burmese army has dropped a lawsuit it filed against a pastor from the Kachin state of Myanmar.
The lawsuit was filed against Pastor Hkalam Samson after he met with President Donald Trump at the White House in July, telling the U.S. president that oppression and torture were still common in Myanmar (also known as Burma) – and adding that there was no religious freedom in the nation.
But according to Gina Goh with International Christian Concern, the lawsuit has since been dropped. Not only that, the Burmese army also invited the pastor for talks.
"They kind of discussed the return of IDPs – internally displaced persons – and how to accelerate the peace process in Kachin state, and also the issue of religious freedom in Myanmar," she describes. "That's a very rare occurrence for something like that to happen."
ICC reports that the move to drop the lawsuit was not only praised but also a "clear signal" internationally that the Burmese military was making progress.
Goh, however, suggests that the Burmese army might have convened the meeting with the pastor just for the publicity.
"They might be trying to project an image that 'there is religious freedom after all and we respect that.' So, it remains to be seen whether or not this is a sincere gesture," says the ICC spokesperson.
Regardless, Goh says she's grateful that the pastor wasn't charged and that he was able to have an open dialogue about his concerns.