CHRO

CHRO works with a variety of private and institutional donors and agencies. We also receive supports from diaspora Chin communities and faith-based organizations from different countries around the world. A list of current and past funding partners and organizations may only be provided on request due to the sensitive nature of CHRO’s work.

CHRO Facebook Cover

What is CHRO

Posted by Chin Human Rights Organization on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Chin Human Rights Organization works with local, national, regional and international groups on a range of issues. At the Chin State level, CHRO works with a variety of local partners and has built strong relationship with academic institution, media, civil society, religious and community-based organizations from across the nine townships in the State, as well as  groups based outside of neighboring regions, including Sagaing, Magwe and Rakhine State.

CHIN STATE

  • Future Stars (Tonzang)
  • Tedim Youth Fellowship (Tedim Township)
  • Falam Youth Association (Falam)
  • Thantlang Youth Association (Thantlang)
  • Chin Youth Organization – Matupi (Matupi)
  • Chin Women’s Development Organization (Kanpetlet)
  • K’Cho Chin Women’s Organizaion (Mindat)
  • Chin Women’s Organization (Paletwa)

In Hakha, CHRO works with groups based in the capital, including Chin Civil Society Network & Chin Media Network

NATIONAL

Myanmar Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Nationalities Network

CHRO is a founding member of the Myanmar Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Nationalities Network, a 28-member alliance working on indigenous rights issues from across the ethnic states and regions in Myanmar

Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma

CHRO is an affiliate member of the Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma), a Thai-Burma border-based group consisting of human rights organizations working on documentation and advocacy. The network maintains a common data-base of documented incidents of human rights abuses from across the country.

REGIONAL

AIPP member organizations

Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact

CHRO is a member the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and currently sits on its Executive Council. AIPP is a regional organization founded in 1992 by indigenous peoples’ movements. AIPP is committed to the cause of promoting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights and articulating issues of relevance to indigenous peoples. At present, AIPP has 47 members from 14 countries in Asia with 18 indigenous peoples’ national alliances/networks (national formations), 30 local and  sub-national organizations. Of this number, 16 are ethnic based organizations, six (6) indigenous women and four (4) are indigenous youth organizations and one (1) organization of indigenous persons with disabilities.

Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network

CHRO is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. APPRN is an open and growing network consisting of more than 434 civil society organizations and individuals from 29 countries committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific region. We do this through information sharing, mutual capacity building, and joint advocacy.

INTERNATIONAL

CHRO is a Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2018.

PROGRAMS

CHRO’s activities are centered on four principal program areas. Each of our programs is headed by a Program Director, who manages and oversees projects and activities under that particular program. The four programs are as follows;

  • Human Rights Documentation Program
  • Human Rights Education and Freedom of Religion or Belief Program
  • Indigenous Peoples Development Program
  • Peace, Development and Democratization Program

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTATION PROGRAM

European Parliament DROI testimony on Religious Freedom

CHRO testifies before the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights on the state of religious freedom in Myanmar/Burma 2013 – Brussels

Posted by Chin Human Rights Organization on Saturday, June 11, 2016
Using its own documentation of facts and incidents on the ground CHRO conducts advocacy at national and international forums, including at the EU

Human rights documentation is at the heart of CHRO’s work since our very inception in 1995. Documenting human rights situation in Burma, especially under the previous military junta, entails great risks for personnel working in the frontline to collect information on the ground. Under the extremely hostile environment, CHRO field personnel clandestinely monitor and document human rights situation in western Burma. Information and data collected from the ground are then verified, collated, published and disseminated to the outside world to inform the international community about the situation facing the Chin people. CHRO documentations serve as the primary source of information about the situation of Chin people for the international community, as well as, provided the principal basis for our advocacy efforts for the protection and promotion of human rights in Burma for the past 25 years.

HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF PROGRAM

Chin Christian University (CCU)

CHRO’s approach to human rights education is two-folds: teaching of formal human rights education at learning institutions on the one hand and grassroots human rights awareness programs through short-term training, on another. In partnership with the Chin Christian University (CCU), the privately-run higher learning institution based in Hakha, CHRO has been running a human rights course as part of the official curricula for the last four academic year. Under a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CCU, undergraduate students from different academic fields are taught a human rights course, which includes topics ranging from basic human rights, freedom of religion or belief, business and human rights to international human rights standards and mechanisms, as well as human rights advocacy and their practical application in local and international contexts using specific case studies and examples. CHRO is working to expand the teaching program to other educational institutions in Chin State.

On the other hand, CHRO provides short term tailored human rights training for various groups and communities in villages and rural areas affected by decades of human rights abuses. The rationale being that when people are equipped with the awareness and knowledge of their rights, the are more likely to be able to effectively defend their own rights.

One of the primary human rights issues facing the Chin people for generations have been violations of the right to freedom of religion amounting to persecution under the military regime. Over 90 percent of the Chin people are Christians and have faced discrimination on the basis of their religious identity in a country that is predominantly Buddhist. Today, under a new semi-democratic civilian government, the Chin people still face discriminatory policies and institutional practices that prevent them from enjoying religious freedom. The majority of Christians in Chin State and Chin people living in Rakhine State, Magwe and Sagaing Regions face severe restrictions on constructing or renovating places of religious worship, legal ownership of religious land and properties and proselytizing of Christianity.

IAccording to a CHRO September report, Christian communities in Chin State were still unable to own land registered for religious purposes; instead they used private or individual names to register the land and build houses of worship. A local official said high-ranking government officials in Chin State chose to conduct official visits on Sundays to disrupt church services.

International Religious Freedom Report for 2019
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

CHRO with members of the UN Permanent Forum & Ministry of Ethnic Affairs Myanmar

The internationally accepted term “Indigenous Peoples” in Burma context pertains to ‘ethnic issues.’ Since the very beginning, CHRO has participated and engaged in the international processes relating to indigenous peoples at the United Nations in Geneva. From the time of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples under the Sub-Commission on Human Rights, CHRO has actively participated in the larger indigenous peoples movement and was a part of the deliberation process for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). As an active member of the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), CHRO now regularly participates at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. In 2016, CHRO started establishing a working relationship with the newly-formed Myanmar Ministry of Ethnic Affairs in conducting capacity-building for senior members of the Ministry and leaders of indigenous human rights groups from the different ethnic states in Myanmar. In 2017, CHRO co-organized with the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs the country’s first ever “Policy Dialogue on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar,” which was participated by a range of national and international stakeholders, including grassroots indigenous representatives and the UN Country Team. CHRO also helped the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs in drafting its by-laws by conducting two rounds of multi-stakeholders’ consultations, which was hailed as the first ever open multi-stakeholders’ consultation process in developing an administrative law in Myanmar. CHRO also works in close partnership with the Myanmar Indigenous Peoples’ Network, a 28-member coalition, which it co-founded in 2014 in order to collectively advance the rights of Myanmar’s ethnic peoples from across the country. As a leading organization on indigenous peoples’ rights in Myanmar, CHRO also works on Climate Change and environmental issues, as well as, land, natural resources and territorial issues as they relate to the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

CHRO at UN Press Conference in New York

#CHRO shares panel at UN Press Conference in New York reflecting on the 16th session of UNPFII and National Policy Dialogue in Myanmar.

Posted by Chin Human Rights Organization on Thursday, August 10, 2017
CHRO at a UN Press Conference in New York alongside UN Rights Experts

PEACE, DEVELOPMENT & DEMOCRATIZATION PROGRAM

A joint delegation of CHRO, IOM and LIFT meets with members of the Chin State Government

Peace, development and democratization are all inter-related issues in Myanmar today. These issues are becoming even more relevant for the Chin people after the signing of the bilateral ceasefire between the Chin armed group Chin National Front (CNF) and the Myanmar government in 2012, which saw the beginning of a new environment of peace and relative calm after 24 years of armed conflicts in Chin State. Because of long-term neglect and discrimination by successive governments, Chin State has lagged far behind in all aspects of development, including basic infrastructures such as road and transportation systems, education and healthcare facilities, becoming the poorest of all regions of the country within a span of less than three decades. By 2014, 73 percent of the population lived under poverty line, which is three times higher than the national average, according to the United Nations. Systematic human rights abuses such as forced labor and violations of religious freedom against the largely Christian population has led to the exodus of over a fourth of the total population out of Chin State since 1988. But the new environment under a semi-civilian democratic government has also paved a way for new development and economic opportunities in the State. At the same time, new opportunities for foreign investments have created a situation in which new human rights concerns have emerged due to the lack of effective safeguards and issues of access to justice and remedial mechanisms and measures. A human rights approach is therefore needed to ensure that all developments and other measures designed to mitigate poverty in Chin State meet the minimum standards of fairness. Cross-cutting with these issues is the rights of indigenous peoples and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which is at the center of CHRO’s work around indigenous issues under the Indigenous Peoples Development Program.

Based in the state capital Hakha, and with the financial support of the multi-donor group Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT Fund) and in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), CHRO is currently working on a project to address labor and migration issues under the Peace, Development and Democratization Program, which is being implemented in all of the nine townships in Chin State.

As of June 2022

CHRO is governed by the Board of the Directors whose primary functions are to provide guidance on the strategic and policy direction of the organization, provide oversight on finance and budget, and advise the Executive Body and Management on major program initiatives. The Board is headed by a chairperson who is elected from among the members on a rotating basis. The Board meets twice a year (One physical and one online). Current members of the Board are as follows;

  1. Amy Smith
  2. Benedict Rogers
  3. Victor Biak Lian
  4. Salai Bawi Lian Mang (Ex-Officio)
  5. Rachel Fleming (Chairperson)
  6. Salai Za Uk Ling (Board Secretary)
  7. Chris Lewa
Board Meeting

The new Executive Body consists of the Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, Operations Director & Finance Director.

The Management Team is made up of the four unit managers of each program division, Head of Finance and Head of Admin and Human Resources.

CHARTER OF THE ORGANIZATION

CHRO works with a variety of private and institutional donors and agencies. We also receive supports from diaspora Chin communities and faith-based organizations from different countries around the world. A list of current and past funding partners and organizations may only be provided on request due to the sensitive nature of CHRO’s work.

CHRO Facebook Cover

What is CHRO

Posted by Chin Human Rights Organization on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Around 500,000 Chin indigenous people live in the northwestern area of Chin State in Burma/Myanmar. More Chin live in areas outside of Chin State, such as Arakan State, Sagaing, Magwe, Bago, and Rangoon Regions. The Chin self-identify as indigenous people, and are ethnically and dialectally very diverse. Despite such diversity, the Chin are unified through a shared history, cultural heritage, geographical homeland, traditional practices, and ethnic identity. The missions of the American Baptist Church starting in the late 1800s served to further unify the Chin people through religion. In a country that is predominantly Buddhist, the Chin are 90 percent Christian. Many communities continue to practice traditional forms of animism, while a small minority in Chin State follow Buddhism.

Chin State is one of the most underdeveloped and isolated regions in Burma/Myanmar, with inadequate road infrastructure, communication systems, healthcare and education facilities, electricity and running water. Over 70 percent of the Chin people live below the poverty line. Shifting cultivation is the primary subsistence livelihood for the largely rural communities of Chin State, who account for over 90 percent of the population.

In spite of a ceasefire agreement in effect in Chin State since 2012, CHRO continues to document serious human rights violations. An estimated 150,000 Chin are still seeking refuge in India and Malaysia.

Mission

CHRO works to protect and promote human rights through monitoring, research, documentation, education and advocacy on behalf of indigenous Chin people and other oppressed and marginalized communities in Myanmar.

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chro_welcome_1

chro_welcome_1Chin Human Rights Organization is working to protect and promote the rights of the Chin people. Decades long violation of the rights of women and children, forced labour, political suppression, racial discrimination religious persecutions committed by the Burmese military regime results extreme poverty and thousands of Chin to flee from their home country in search of survival.

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Founded in 1995, CHRO is the primary rights-based advocacy organization for the Chin people and has worked with Chin communities throughout the world continuously since the very beginning. Over the years, CHRO has nurtured working relationships with the Chin, developed the institutional capacity, and become a trusted voice of the Chin people and a leading and respected human rights organization for Chin communities throughout the world.

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To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles