CHRO

For Immediate Release
12 May 2021

Two Civilians Tortured to Death, Bodies “Cremated” to Destroy Evidence

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is deeply troubled and strongly condemns the torture and death of two Chin civilians by Tatmadaw soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 266 operating under the Tactical Operations Command based in Hakha, Chin State. CHRO is calling for a thorough and independent investigation into the deaths of the two individuals while in custody, as well as all allegations of systematic torture practices currently being used against civilian detainees at the LIB 266 military base detention centre located on Mount Rung.

Tler Ling, a 54-year-old local farmer was arrested by Tatmadaw soldiers on Sunday, 9 May having been accused of harboring members of the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) and for alleged possession of a traditional hunting rifle at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Hakha Town. A second victim, 27-year-old, Kham Bawi who had just arrived from his village and was staying with relatives in Hakha, was arrested separately on the same day. Both were taken to the Tactical Operations Command Center on Mount Rung where they were tortured and later died.

Initially the Tactical Operations Commander, Colonel Saw Tun told community and religious leaders that the two had succumbed to injuries sustained during their interrogations while on the way to Kalay Myo (approx. 200 kilometres away from Hakha) having been transported there for urgent medical treatment. This differed from accounts provided within the Monday edition of the state-run daily newspaper Myanmar Alin, which stated that the two had succumbed to heart disease. When community leaders pressed for the bodies to be returned to the families for proper burial according to Chin customary traditions, Colonel Saw Tun informed community members that the bodies had been cremated as 54-year-old, Tler Ling was discovered to have contracted COVID-19.

CHRO has raised grave concerns regarding the treatment of detainees and allegations of torture practices used by the Tatmadaw during interrogations and has documented serious bodily and psychological injuries inflicted on civilian detainees suspected of being involved in anti-junta activities since the February 1 coup d’etat:

“Accountability for such heinous crimes must go to the top of the chain of command. As the two highest-ranking army officials in Chin State, we hold Tactical Operations Commander Colonel Saw Tun, and Brigadier-General Myo Htut Hlaing, Deputy Commander of the Northwestern Regional Command as culpable for the deaths of Tler Ling and Khamh Bawi,” said Salai Za Uk Ling, Deputy Executive Director of CHRO.

For more information please contact:
[email protected]
Tel: +91 873 104 6827

For Immediate Release
1 May 2021

Burma/Myanmar Junta: Cease Systematic Use of Torture Practices in Military Interrogation Centers

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is deeply horrified and gravely concerned by allegations of systematic and widespread use of torture at military interrogation centers against activists and civilians arrested and detained by the military junta in Chin State.

Surviving victims of torture and eyewitnesses have described the practice of torture as almost ‘automatic’ once detainees are taken to the military interrogation and detention center at the headquarters of Tactical Operations Command No.1 under the Tatmadaw’s Northwestern Regional Command at Mount Rung in Hakha, Chin State.
Systematic torture practices are used by Burmese soldiers to extract information or forced confessions from people arrested for exercising their right to peaceful protest or other anti-junta activities, including for participation with the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM):

“Once inside the interrogation center, we are made to kneel down, hands tied behind our backs, blindfolded and forced to lie on our belly on the ground. That’s when the interrogation and beatings begin. Depending on how quickly the soldiers obtain the information they want, detainees are caned with up to 40 lashes, some detainees are made to dig holes in the ground to make them think that they are about to be killed and they are digging their own grave,” testified one former detainee who requested anonymity.

Torture is a prohibited act under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Moreover, under Article 7 (1) (f) of the Rome Statute, torture can be considered a crime against humanity “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack, with knowledge thereof, directed against any civilian population.”

As of May 1, more than 200 Chin civilians have been arrested by the junta, of which over 80 remain detained. The vast majority of those who have been released after their initial period of detention at the Tatmadaw base allege severe torture and other forms of degrading and inhuman treatment by the soldiers.

“The systematic use of torture was common practice under the previous military regime and well documented by CHRO. We condemn the use of torture against Chin civilians and call on the junta to stop the practice immediately,” said Salai Za Uk Ling, Deputy Executive Director of CHRO.

For more information please contact:

[email protected]
Tel: +91 873 104 6827

 

For Immediate Release
29 April 2021

CHRO Demands Accountability for Killing of Youth

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) condemns the shooting and death of Felix Thang Muan Lian by the Tatmadaw and demands accountability for the soldiers responsible for the death of the 22-year-old university student from Tedim Township.

On 27 April at approx. 10 p.m. Felix was riding his motorbike on his way to a local gas station where he worked as an attendant when Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 269 based in Teddim, opened fire without warning:

“This is a shameful act of cowardice by the soldiers involved, committed with the full knowledge and confidence that they can act with impunity. There was no standing order such as a curfew prohibiting the public to be travelling at the time in question, which would have explained but not condoned the actions of the soldiers in question. This shows a clear and premeditated intent to kill and we demand full accountability,” said Salai Za Uk Ling, Deputy Executive Director of CHRO.

Since the February 1 coup d’etat,  there has been at least 28 Chin civilians killed by Tatmadaw soldiers.

For more information please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +91 873 104 6827

Download PDF available here: PR_29April2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 APRIL 2021

CHRO WELCOMES FORMATION OF NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT (NUG) OF BURMA/MYANMAR

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) today welcomes the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) – a representative body made up of parliamentarians duly elected from the 2020 elections. The formation of NUG represents a historic milestone in the struggle for freedom, human rights, equality and democracy for all the peoples of Burma/Myanmar.

CHRO wishes to take this opportunity to congratulate all the duly elected members of the NUG and send our best wishes as they strive to provide new direction of leadership for a wounded nation that still finds itself in the midst of chaos, bloodshed and immense grief. All the peoples of Burma/Myanmar regardless of ethnicity, religion or political affiliations, should now stand united firmly behind the NUG and boldly move together to confront the junta leaders to deny them the legitimacy and capability they need to gain effective control of the rein of government through illegal and violent means.

The peoples of Burma/Myanmar have never come closer to realizing their aspirations for federalism and democracy in nearly the last three quarters of a century than this momentous time. And the formation of the NUG at this particularly significant time provides vitally important impetus towards political self-determination, peace, prosperity and democracy. The NUG must now seize this historic opportunity to learn from past mistakes of successive governments, civilian or military, to focus on addressing the root causes of structural injustices in order to forge a truly united front that can chart a new course towards ethnic political equality under a federal political framework.

“With the NUG having now emerged to provide a credible and brighter alternative to the ever darker and destabilizing prospects presented by the junta, the international community has a unique opportunity and obligation to collectively recognize the NUG as the only legitimate government of Burma/Myanmar,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of CHRO.

Burma/Myanmar’s future now hangs in the balance. The country’s peaceful democratic future is woven into the need to promote and strengthen the ideals of federalism, civilian supremacy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and the rights of minorities It is high time to reject in its totality the Tatmadaw’s unrelenting quest for eternal domination over Burmese/Myanmar politics and to seek a new beginning with a new and rebuilt military as a truly respected and professional institution whose sole mission is to defend and protect all the peoples of Burma/Myanmar. Towards this end, it is high time for those in the military and members of the uniform services to break ranks and shift their allegiance to a more hopeful future provided by the NUG than that promised by leaders of the junta, whose sole interests lies in entrenching their oligarchy and enriching their immediate family members.#

For more information please contact:

Email: [email protected],
Tel: +91 9362 297958

PDF Download Available here: For Immediate Release_17 April_2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 APRIL 2021

Junta Escalates Gross Rights Violations in Campaign to Exert Control in Western Burma/Myanmar

New documentation of human rights violations published today by CHRO finds that since the February 1 coup, as many as 21 Chin civilians have lost their lives, including a mother and her teenaged daughter who were gang-raped and killed by Burmese soldiers in Kalay Township, Sagaing Region while at least 179 have been arbitrarily arrested by the junta security forces to date. As many as 67 people are still being detained and are facing various criminal charges, including under Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code.

A total of 30 activists and campaigners, including nationally famous celebrities, are facing outstanding criminal warrants for their arrests with shoot-on-sight orders issued against many of them. The whereabouts of seven police personnel who were arrested and detained on charges of desertion remain unknown. They are feared to have been severely tortured while in military custody.

Torture practices used in military detention and documented by CHRO include the routine use of caning, resulting in severe wounds. Many detainees who are now awaiting trials or have now been released reported that they were caned as many as 40 times with wooden sticks during their initial period of detention at Tactical Operations Command military base on Mount Rung, in Hakha.

“We are gravely concerned by the junta’s increasing use of terror tactics to intimidate the Chin public. This has included taking hostages in an attempt to coerce family members wanted by security forces for their peaceful protest activities to come out of hiding,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of CHRO.

On 7 April, the Burmese military arrested and detained Rev. Bual Sang and his son Pastor Cung Lian Thawng in attempts to force Salai Robinson, the former’s son-in-law, to turn himself in to the police in connection with his alleged involvement in helping to ship goods containing self-protection gears meant for protesters to use during protest marches.

In a separate incident in Tedim on 11 April, Rev. Khup Khen Pau and his wife were detained by junta’s security forces in a similar attempt to coerce their son Do Suan Pau, a civil servant who participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement, to come out of hiding. In both instances, the police and military soldiers raided the homes of the Christian religious clergymen.

For more information please contact:

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +91 9362 297958

PDF Download Available here: Press Release_14 April 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 APRIL 2021

Junta Arrests 171 Chins since Coup As Crackdown Intensifies

Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) today published an updated list of ethnic Chin individuals who have been arrested and arbitrarily detained over the last two months since the coup de’tat on 1 February 2021. The list is a compilation of reported cases of arrest ─ both within and outside of Chin State – which CHRO has been able to confirm, and contains the status and whereabouts of detainees.

The updated list shows that as of 2 April 2021, a total of 171 Chin people have been arrested at various points and in different places, of which 112 have been released with or without charges. Of these numbers, 11 have been put on trial while 48 are awaiting charges. Half of those who have been put on trial have been charged with Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code.

“We remain extremely concerned about the arbitrary nature of the ongoing arrests and detention, which are now accelerating quickly with security forces now operating as if they have no bounds and arresting anyone they see on the streets,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization.

CHRO is particularly concerned by the alleged use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, especially during their initial stage of detention before they are transferred to police custody from the army base. CHRO is calling on the junta to immediately release all those it has detained since 1 February and to refrain from any further arrests and detention.

BACKGROUND

Chin Human Rights Organization continues to condemn the Burmese military junta’s systematic use of arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians as part of a broader campaign to intimidate the public and silence dissent. Since the coup de’tat on 1 February, the self-styled State Administration Council (SAC) military junta has made scores of arrests beginning with government leaders and members of the Election Commission. As public protests widen, the junta resorted to targeted arrests and illegal raids on private homes, as well as indiscriminate and arbitrary arrests and detention of ordinary civilians on the streets.

For more information please contact:

Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +91 9362 297 958

PDF Download Available here: For Immediate Release_2 April 2021

16 February 2021

The Honourable Scott Morrison
Prime Minister of Australia
Canberra, Australia

Dear Prime Minister Morrison,

Through the kind introduction by our very good mutual friend Senator Dean Smith, I had the privilege of meeting you at your office in Canberra in December 2018, as part of a delegation of Chin community leaders from different parts of Australia who came to speak to you to thank you in person and to talk about their situation there.

I now write to you with a deep sense of urgency and great expectation to draw your attention to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Burma/Myanmar following the military coup on 1 February 2021. The events following the coup de’tat have witnessed massive display of public opposition and bold civil defiance in the face of brute force of the Tatmadaw, which is notorious for their long history of gross human rights abuses against the peoples of Burma.

On the surface, the crises facing Burma/Myanmar now may seem like a mere power struggle or a contest of ideologies between democracy and dictatorship. Burma’s still unfinished long road ahead towards democracy is to be understood with the structural injustices and grievances long suffered by ethnic and religious minorities in historical context. Sustainable peace, stability and democracy will only take firm root when there is a federal constitutional arrangement accommodative of and agreeable to all the ethnic states in Burma. It is for this reason that strengthening democratic and civic institutions and entrenching the ideals of civilian supremacy and the rule of law must be supported and promoted in parallel with addressing the aspirations of self-governance for the ethnic nationalities within a federal constitutional framework.

The ways in which the Burmese military has responded to peaceful protests, civil disobedience campaigns and general strikes have been roundly condemned by the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Council and the larger international community. We applaud the strong statement by the Australian Foreign Minister condemning the coup and calling for the release of high-profile leaders and detainees immediately following the coup. We are also highly encouraged that Australia, through its Embassy in Myanmar, has been among the key foreign diplomatic missions in Yangon at the forefront of sounding alarms and taking a firm stand on the side of all the peoples of Myanmar.

The people of Burma cannot afford another decade of living under a military dictatorship. This has been voiced loudly not just on the streets of Burma, but in capitals around the world, including in Australia. Last week, the United States took the initiative to impose tough unilateral sanctions against the coup leaders in Burma. We believe that Australia under your leadership can and should take similar measures to lead a coordinated, effective and decisive global response to the situation in Burma by:

  • Introducing targeted economic sanctions aimed at crippling the economic infrastructures of the junta
  • Rallying international public opinion on the invocation of the UN doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and
  • Suspending and redirecting all existing Australian official bilateral aid programs towards supporting civil society organizations’ efforts to strengthen democratic and human rights development in Burma.

Yours sincerely,

Salai Bawi Lian Mang
Executive Director
Chin Human Rights Organization

PDF Download Available here: CHRO_Letter_Prime Minister Morrison

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 Feb 2021

Since 1 Feb 2021, there have been 45 politically motivated arrests of the Chin population in Rakhine and Chin States. On 1 Feb, 9 members from the democratically elected government were arrested in the middle of the night including the Chief Minister, Ministers of Immigration, Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Social Affairs and Planning and Finance. Furthermore, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the house were arrested and remain detained. Held at the tactical command in Hakha, the condition of the elected representatives remain unknown.

On 10 Feb, the junta then initiated a wave of arrests of 24 Union Election Commission (UEC) members representing all townships in Chin State and taken to military bases across the state. As protests began, a number of civilians have also been arrested for exercising their right to peaceful protest. On 4 Feb, police arrested four youths and an elderly man in Hakha who were charged under the Penal Code’s 447 specifications on causing “mischief” as they engaged in the nationwide 8 p.m. protests against the coup. As they were detained all were forced to sign confessions at the police station and were given 8-day prison sentences under the legislation.

On 9 Feb, a further 6 youths from Ann Town, Rakhine State were arrested for engaging in peaceful protests in response to the military coup. They have been charged with Art. 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law and are remanded in custody. They could face up to three years in prison under the legislation.

The detention of Myanmar/Burma’s elected leaders held incommunicado and without the right of habeas corpus is unacceptable. Furthermore, authorities should immediately end arbitrary limits on freedom of expression, information, peaceful assembly, and association which currently poses grave threats to the liberty of all citizens in the country currently protesting the actions of the military junta.

For further information please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +95 (0) 9781843341

3 FEBRUARY 2021
IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Statement by Chin Human Rights Organization on the Myanmar Tatmadaw’s Coup d’etat in Burma/Myanmar

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) unequivocally condemns the actions of the Tatmadaw which staged a coup d’etat on the 1 February 2021. This action sets the country on a dangerous course of backsliding from the path towards democratization.

Read More

To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles