Chin Human Rights Organization
Date: May 19, 2004
Burma’s Junta Guilty of Mounting A Campaign of
Ethnocide Against Chin Christians
Chin Human Rights Organization announces the release of a report entitled “Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma.” A compilation of facts gathered over the last eight years, the report exposes disturbing evidences of religious persecution against Chin Christians by Burma’s ruling military junta State Peace and Development Council. The report details cases of abuse by Burmese authorities toward one of the country’s major ethnic groups who are predominantly of Christian faith. The Chins inhabit a hilly region of Burma’s western frontier. Over half a million Chins are living in the Chin State and more than 90 percent of them are Christians. The total population of Chin living in the whole of Burma and neighbouring countries is estimated to number 2 millions. This report reveals that the military junta ruling Burma is mounting an active campaign to eliminate the Chin religion, culture and race as part of a policy to ‘Burmanize’ the country.
Since 1999, the United States has singled out Burma as a few countries in the world that violate religious freedom. This report adds yet more evidence to the fact that Burma’s ruling junta, despite its ongoing effort to portray itself as pursuing serious reforms on political and human rights conditions of the country by resuming the stalled National Convention, is responsible for discriminating and persecuting minority religious and ethnic groups in the country.
The 140-page report documents horrifying incidents of abuse by members of the Burma Army, often on direct orders of senior military officials, against Chin Christians. This report also reveals that there is an ongoing effort by the ruling military regime to force-convert Chin Christians to Buddhism, the country’s dominant religion.
The report says that military officials in high command often order the destruction of symbolic Christian crosses planted on mountain peaks by local churches. These crosses are then replaced with Buddhist pagodas or other Buddhist religious statues, often forcing Chin Christians to make human and financial contribution for the construction. This report demonstrates that Burmese authorities are also responsible for deliberately hampering efforts by Christian congregations to freely conduct their religious affairs by denying them permission to hold conferences and worship services and by subjecting Christian activities to strict and discriminatory regulations.
Religion is an important part of Chin society and culture. This report gives clear evidence that Burma’s ruling military regime State Peace and Development Council is responsible for conducting a policy of ‘cultural genocide’ or ethnocide against the Chin people, one of Burma’s distinct society. The report, however, carefully notes that members of the ruling regime, rather than Buddhist religion, are responsible for the persecution of Chin Christians.
For More Information Please Contact;
In Canada: Salai Za Uk Ling (Telephone): 807 577 4903
In the United States: Salai Bawi Lian Mang (Telephone) 510 595 1872
In Thailand: Victor Biak Lian (Telephone) (66) 782 539 41.
Online version of the report is available at
Chin Human Rights Organization
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