Forced Labor Continues In Remote Areas of Chin State
Beginning January 5, 2000, ten villages in remote areas of Chin State were forced to construct a 20-mile motor road lingking Vuangtu and Ngaphaipi villages, an eye witness told Chin Human Rights Organization.
Section 2 Commander of Burmese Army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 269 stationed at Vuangtu village issued an order requiring 10 villages located in the surrounding areas of Vuangtu to contribute unpaid labor for the road construction. Headmen of the ten villages were summoned to Vuangtu army base where they were told to carry out the order.
The villages include:
1. Lelai (Lailen)
2. La-ao (La-u)
3. Khipilu (Khuapi lu)
4. Mifawko tla (Farkungtlang)
5. Locitae (Lungcuaite)
6. Ngephetae (Ngaphaite)
10. Ngephepi (Ngaphaipi)
In addition, 235 people from Khuabung village were ordered to particpate in the forced labor. Not only were the villagers ordered to bring with them their own tools and ration during their work period but also were ordered to birng an additional one tin (About 8 Kgs) of rice and other needs for the army guards who supervised the forced labor.
The road construction is part of the Border Area Development Project and extensive forced labor have been used in the process. Although the army claimed that the project is for the development of the area, the roads have been used only to ease movements and communication of the Burmese troops around the area.
Force Labor Used to Repair Army Camp
According to a reliable source, the Burmese army forcibly took 35 persons from Tawngla Lung Cawi village, Thangtlang township to repair the army camp at Sabawngte village from January 3, 2002 to January 16, 2002.
2nd Lt. Mya Myit Soe ordered the forced labor recruits to bring their own ration and equipments for during their two-week stay in the camp. They were aslo ordered to bring one chicken for the army. Dried fish, meat, salt and other spices that the villagers brought with them were confiscated by the Lieutenant.
The laborers who became sick as a result of two weeks of hard work had to travel a 20-mile journey to Mizoram State of India to get medical treatment as the army did not provide them any medicines.
Tawngla Lungcawi is a small village of 40 households. Out of these, two persons in every household were forced to participate in the forced labor.
The Sabawngte army camp is repaired three times a year and all villages in the surrounding areas are forced to participate in repairing the camp on a rotating basis.