5 December 2007




Kelantan State, Malaysia: CHRO is deeply concerned for the well-being of one Chin woman and her four young children, who remain detained in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp in Malaysia’s Kelantan State. Tin Thluai and her children, Zung Thluai Men, age 1, Sonia Run Chin Par, age 3, Sui Dawt Par, age 9, and Lal Rin Mawi, age 13, were arrested and taken into immigration custody on 29 October 2007 shortly after being involved in a serious traffic accident that left two of the children with broken legs and the mother with severe head wounds.




The Immigration Department in Kelantan State has refused to release the family, denied UNHCR access into the detention facility, and prohibited visitation rights to the husband and father of the family. CHRO condemns these appallingly inhumane actions of the Kelantan Immigration Department and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the family.




Tin Thluai

Lal Peng, the husband and father of the family, is distraught over the continued detention of his wife and children. “I just want my family to be safe and together again. I was allowed to see my wife and two daughters when they were still in the hospital. My little girl was crying so much she couldn’t stop. Then I was told I had to leave and couldn’t come back or they would arrest me too.”




Lal Peng is a UNHCR-recognized refugee awaiting resettlement to the U.S. Despite his UNHCR status, the UNHCR has been unable to intervene in his family’s case. Lal Peng, himself, was only able to visit his family in the detention camp once before being barred from further visits. During that visit, his wife described the difficulty of conditions in the camp, “She told me that they are not given enough food. My wife is still breast-feeding our youngest child. But the others are going hungry. I tried to give them money for food but the guards would not allow it.”


Lal Rin Mawi, age 13

CHRO first reported this incident on 9 November 2007 when Lal Peng’s family along with 16 other women and children were first arrested and detained in Kelantan State. Sadly, the other 16 women and children were deported earlier this month to the Thailand border. Lal Peng’s family were spared deportation only because the severity of their injuries. Thirteen-year old Lal Rin Mawi has a broken leg and nine-year old Sui Dawt Par is in a partial body cast suffering from an upper leg injury and still cannot stand on her own. Lal Peng’s wife, Tin Thluai, has two sets of stitches in her head and deep cuts on her hand.








Sui Dawt Par, age 9

The callous actions of the Kelantan Immigration Department are not only disconcerting but also in violation of basic human rights, including specific protections for women and children contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Please join CHRO in their demands to the Malaysian government to:




· Immediately release Tin Thluai and her children, Zung Thluai Men, age 1, Sonia Run Chin Par, age 3, Sui Dawt Par, age 9, and Lal Rin Mawi, age 13;


· Stop further arrests and detention of women and children in Malaysia;


· Allow UNHCR access to all potential refugees, particularly vulnerable women and children, under their custody;


· Ensure visitation rights for family members of immigration detainees are protected.




Your letters can make a difference. Please show your opposition to the abusive actions of the Malaysian Immigration Department. Be a voice for all refugees living in Malaysia. Direct your communications and concerns to:




Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad

Minister of Home Affairs

Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D,

Federal Government Administrative Centre,

62546 Putrajaya

Tel: +60.38.886.8000

Fax: +60.38.889.1613




Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don, Director-General of Immigration Department

Director General Office

Immigration Department of Malaysia ,

Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2,

Federal Government Administration Centre,

62550 Putrajaya,

Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200′




Encik Che Baharom Bin Hamzah


Director of State Immigration


Kelantan State




Tel: +60.9.744.1644


Fax: +60.9.744.0200




Datuk Ishak Bin Haji Mohamed


Immigration Enforcement Director


Immigration Department of Malaysia


Tingkat 4, Blok 2G4, Precinct 2


Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan


62550 Putra Jaya




Tel: +603.8880.1297


Fax: +603.8880.1310

E-mail: [email protected]




9 November 2007




Kelantan State, Malaysia: CHRO recently received information that eight Chin women and 13 Chin children have been arrested and detained by immigration authorities in Malaysia’s Kelantan State on 29 October 2007. At least five of the children are under the age of 4.The arrests took place shortly after the van the women and children were riding in was involved in a serious traffic accident. They are currently being held in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp near Pasir Mas.




This most recent arrest occurred on 29 October 2007 as the Chin women and children were traveling through Kelantan State heading to join their families in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia’s capital city. On the journey to KL the van, in which the Chin women and children were passengers, ran off the road and slammed into a large tree. Five of the passengers were seriously injured in the accident, including four minors. Meanwhile, the driver of the van fled the scene of the accident.




Following the accident, the immigration authorities arrived and immediately took into custody all 21 Chin passengers for failing to have proper immigration documents. In fact, the women and children were traveling to KL to join family members, who are recognized refugees expecting to be resettled to a third country. Although United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been informed of the situation, they have indicated that they cannot intervene on behalf of the arrested women and children because they are not yet formally registered with the UN.




Commenting on the predicament, a representative of the Chin Refugee Center, a community-based organization in KL, said, “Now we have to try to do whatever we can do for our community members since the UN will not get involved. We must find a way to protect our women and children. Immigration detention is no place for a child.”




Currently all 21 women and children are being held in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp located in Pasir Mas in Kelantan. Three of the passengers who were injured in the accident were taken to the hospital for treatment. One girl, age 13, suffered a broken thigh while her mother had to have glass shards removed from her head. After their release from the hospital, they were returned to immigration custody.








CHRO is concerned by Malaysia’s consistent disregard for the rights and protections of Chin women and children living in Malaysia. Currently there are about 70 Chin women and children being held in immigration detention facilities throughout Malaysia. Pregnant women and very young children are not immune and many young mothers have been forced to give birth and nurse their newborns while under immigration custody. Chin women and children in Malaysia, including those with UNHCR documents, are at constant risk of being arrested, detained, and deported at the hands of the Malaysian authorities.




Under Article 27(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Malaysia is a signatory, Malaysia is responsible for protecting children from being arbitrarily deprived of his/her liberty. Malaysia has also agreed to abide by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. By continuing to arrest and detain Chin women and children, Malaysia has failed to uphold their commitments under international law.








CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to respect and uphold its international legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Please join CHRO in their demands to the Malaysian government to:


· Respect and protect the rights of Chin women and children living within Malaysia’s borders;


· Stop the arrest and detention of Chin women and children; and


· Immediately and unconditionally release all Chin women and children currently being held in its immigration detention facilities, including the 21 most recent arrestees being held in Kelantan;




Please direct your communications and concerns to:



Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad

Minister of Home Affairs

Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D,

Federal Government Administrative Centre,

62546 Putrajaya

Tel: +60.38.886.8000

Fax: +60.38.889.1613




Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don, Director-General of Immigration Department

Director General Office

Immigration Department of Malaysia ,

Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2,

Federal Government Administration Centre,

62550 Putrajaya,

Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200


Encik Che Baharom Bin Hamzah


Director of State Immigration


Kelantan State




Tel: +60.9.744.1644


Fax: +60.9.744.0200




Malik Zaliman Bin Deraman


State Immigration Enforcement Officer


Kelantan State




Tel: ( 609 ) 7475735

Fax: ( 609 ) 7434608




23 October 2007




Ottawa, Canada: CHRO commends Canada’s recent show of support for the pro-democracy movement in Burma by granting Aung San Suu Kyi honorary citizenship.




Last week, on 16 October 2007, the Canadian parliament overwhelmingly favored a motion put forward by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to bestow honorary Canadian citizenship on Burma’s most famous and beloved democracy leader. This tribute is the culmination of lobbying efforts by the Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), an Ottawa-based non-governmental organization dedicated to the democracy movement in Burma, and thousands of Canadians who supported the nomination petition for Aung San Suu Ski.




“We are very grateful to the Canadian people for their encouragement, solidarity, and compassion,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, the Executive Director of CHRO. “Canada has long provided a home and an ally to the people of Burma, and this most recent gesture is just one more demonstration of Canada’s belief in fundamental freedoms and basic human rights.”




Currently, Canada hosts thousands of refugees from Burma, including over 1,000 refugees from Chinland. Canada also serves as CHRO’s main headquarters.



The extension of honorary citizenship to Aung San Suu Kyi comes on the heels of brutal crackdowns against political and religious leaders last month following country-wide protests in Burma. Hundreds are believed to remain in detention facilities throughout the country. Aung San Suu Kyi also remains under house arrest. T




28 September 2007




The Chin Human Rights Organizations denounces the SPDC’s recent crackdowns and killings of peaceful protestors and religious leaders in Burma. CHRO also sends messages of support and encouragement to all the brave and courageous men and women of Burma who are currently rising up against the military regime. In support of the protestors, CHRO calls on the SPDC to lay down their arms, release the innocently imprisoned, and allow all those in Burma to live in peace and with dignity.




Over the past several weeks, protests have gained momentum throughout Burma. Spurred by the sudden and arbitrary rise in fuel prices on 19 August 2007, thousands of monks and religious leaders took to the streets to engage in peaceful marches. Following the lead of the monks, protests have spread throughout the country. In Chinland and in other parts of Burma, the Chin people have joined calls for democracy and peaceful change in Burma.




Unfortunately, the peaceful demands of the monks and people have been met with unrestrained violence and aggression by the military regime. Starting two days ago, the regime have begun raiding monasteries, arresting and beating monks, shooting unarmed protestors, and committing extensive human rights abuses.




As a result of the regime’s reaction to the protests, many are believed to be dead and many more injured or imprisoned. Yesterday two elected Chin MPs, Pu Cin Sian Thang of the Zomi National Congress and Pu Thawng Kho Thang of the United Nationalities League for Democracy, were caught up in the raids when they were taken from their homes and put under arrest. There is no way to know the number of people who have become victims of the regime’s retaliation.




For decades the people of Burma have suffered brutal oppression, human rights violations, and severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms at the hands of the military regime. For too long the people of Burma have lived under severe oppression and military rule. Let this be the time for change in Burma!




To the people inside Burma, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Your struggles are not in vain- the world is watching.




To the SPDC and the Generals of Burma:


· Lay down your arms and let the voices of the people of Burma to be heard without obstruction


· Release all those innocently imprisoned, including the elected democratic leaders of Burma, Buddhist monks and religious leaders, and all others wrongly detained


· Engage in constructive dialogue with opposition parties, ethnic leaders, and others


· Allow the people of Burma to live with full and complete access to freedom, prosperity, and peace




To the International Community:


· Write or call your government officials and representatives and urge them to speak out against the military regime of Burma


· Show support for the protestors in Burma by joining or organizing protests in your area against the military regime of Burma




To ASEAN nations, China, and India:


· Burma is a threat to regional peace. Use your influence to affect positive change in the Burma


· Stop supporting the military regime through investments and trade


· Protect and promote the rights of refugees coming from Burma




For More Information Please Contact:




In Thailand: Amy Alexander, CHRO Regional Advocacy Officer, at Tel: 66-85-2302-609, email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



In N. America: Salai Bawi Lian, CHRO Director, at Tel: 510-332-0983, email: [email protected]




By: Amy Alexander


31 July 2007




Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: About 60 refugees and asylum seekers from Burma’s Chin State are now behind bars in Malaysia awaiting an uncertain future after immigration raids yesterday in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Lokeyew neighborhood. About 20 women and children and 25 UNHCR-recognized refugees are among those rounded up during the raid.




Almost half of those arrested yesterday morning are recognized refugees with valid UNHCR documents. Many are in the final stages of a long process to be resettled to a third country, with some scheduled to depart within the next couple weeks. Instead of boarding an airplane to begin a new life abroad, they now face the possibility of being loaded onto a lorry bound for the Thai border.




The raid began in the early hours of the morning yesterday in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Lokeyew neighborhood, where a large number of refugees and asylum seekers from Burma’s Chin State reside. This neighborhood was targeted just one month ago in a similarly-styled raid, which resulted in the arrest and detention of mostly women and young children.




The raid was conducted by Malaysia’s controversial RELA or the People’s Volunteer Corps, an untrained, volunteer civilian unit endowed with considerable enforcement powers. This year RELA has come under increasing criticism for its member’s reckless conduct and abusive actions during raids, not only by international human rights groups but also by organization’s within Malaysia’s civil society. In March, the Malaysian Bar joined the Malaysia-based human rights group SUARAM in calling for RELA’s immediate disbandment following repeated complaints of torture and other human rights violations.




Despite continued condemnation by members of the international community and human rights organizations, yesterday’s raid is one of a mounting number of recently conducted raids targeting the refugee and undocumented migrant community in Malaysia. Since the beginning of this year, several hundreds of refugees and undocumented migrants have been caught up in similar immigration raids.




Malaysia refuses to recognize or give any protections to refugees or asylum seekers living within its borders. Rather, Malaysia has been conducting operations to target undocumented migrants as well as refugees and asylum seekers since March 2005. In February of this year, Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad reaffirmed the government’s intolerance for the refugee population by criticizing the UNHCR for getting in the way of the operations of agencies such as RELA and the Immigration Department. The Minister further indicated that Malaysia “accepts UNHCR’s presence, but not their powers.”



Hundreds of thousands of Chins have been forced to leave their homes in Burma to escape severe ethnic and religious persecution committed by the military regime of Burma. They arrive in Malaysia in search of some sense of security. Currently, there are over 23,000 Chin asylum seekers and refugees living in Malaysia. Instead of finding safety, the Chin people are the constant target of harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. In addition, they are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations. With the UNHCR registration process closed since July 2005, obtaining refugee status or any protective documents from the UNHCR is difficult. As a result, life for the Chins in Malaysia is full of abuses and uncertainties.



Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: CHRO has recently been informed that just two days after Malaysia’s RELA forces rounded up and detained more than 200 refugees and asylum seekers from the Jalan Imbi neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian immigration authorities conducted a second raid, this time in Kuala Lumpur’s Lok Yew neighborhood. This second raid resulted in 42 more refugees and asylum seekers being sent to the already overflowing Lenggeng immigration detention facility.



Whereas most of the Chins detained during the June 25th raid are UNHCR recognized refugees awaiting resettlement to third countries, a majority of those detained during the June 27th raid are women and young children. From these two incidents alone, over 36 children, two pregnant women, and 19 UNHCR-recognized refugees who are within months of being resettled to third countries are now in Malaysian immigration detention facilities facing an uncertain future.




CHRO is concerned for the safety and security of all those who are detained in Malaysia. CHRO is particularly concerned for the two nine-month pregnant women, Tuan Zi (Chin Refugee Center File No. 354-05C08617) and Fam Tang (UNHCR File No. 03/MLS/08317), and the children who remain in detention despite their vulnerable positions, including:


1. Ngun Tha Lian, age 1 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

2. Tial Tim Rem, age 3 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

3. Van Lian Bawi, age 3 (File No. 354-05C08617)

4. Siang Hlei Sung, age 4 (File No. 354-06C03661)

5. Jumania Sung Tin Par, age 6 (File No. 354-06C03661)

6. Ngun Za Hlei, age 7 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

7. Cem Cem, age 7 (File No. 05/MLS/05503)

8. Tha Chin Iang, age 10 (File No. 354-06C03661)

9. Solomon, age 12 (File No. 05/00579)

10. Cung Uk Thawng, age 12 (File No. 04/07211)

11. Sui cin, age 13 (File No. 354-06C03661)

12. Philip, age 14 (File No. 05/00579)


Conditions inside Malaysia’s immigration detention facilities rise to the level of torture, with prisoners being given inadequate food, clothing, and accommodations, in addition to being subjected to verbal and physical abuse by the guards. Those arrested for immigration offenses are increasingly charged with canings, a serious penalty that leaves deep, permanent scarring. This situation is of serious concern for anyone in detention; however, for the numerous women and children, particularly pregnant women and very young children, the situation is critical.




The raids conducted by immigration enforcement agents during this past June are just two of a series of raids that have been conducted on an almost weekly basis since the Government of Malaysia launched operations targeting undocumented migrants in March 2005. For members of the Chin community, frequent raids and security abuses is an exhausting but unavoidable reality of daily existence in Malaysia. As expressed by Nani, a Chin refugee and volunteer with the Chin Refugee Center in Kuala Lumpur, “I’m really tired of this situation but [we] have to face whatever comes.”








By continuing to conduct immigration raids that target the refugee community and results in the detention, abuse, and deportation of large numbers of particularly vulnerable persons, Malaysia is in violation of basic human rights standards. Malaysia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a sitting member of the UN Human Rights Council, however, women and children in Malaysia, including pregnant woman and very young children, continue to be exposed to and unprotected from security abuses, hostile immigration raids, and increasingly violent crimes committed with impunity.




Under international human rights law, these violations should not have to be a part of daily existence for asylum seekers and refugees living in Malaysia. CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to:


· Discontinue immigration raids and RELA operations that target members of the refugee and asylum seeking community.


· Immediately and unconditionally release all refugees and asylum seekers currently in immigration custody, particularly women and children.


· Cooperate with and work in conjunction with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to protect the inherent rights of refugees and asylum seekers.


· Respect and uphold its international legal obligations to protect and promote the human rights of all people living within its borders.




CHRO also calls on the international community to join our efforts. Please write to or contact the following Malaysian officials in support of our demands:


Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security

Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia

Perdana Putra Building

Federal Government Administrative Centre

62502 Putra Jaya

Selangor, Malaysia

Tel : + 60 3 8888 6000

Fax : + 60 3 8888 3444


Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad


Minister of Home Affairs


Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D


Federal Government Administrative Centre


62546 Putra Jaya


Selangor, Malaysia


Tel: +60 3 8886 8000


Fax: +60 3 8889 1613


Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don


Director-General of Immigration Department


Director General Office


Immigration Department of Malaysia


Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2


Federal Government Administration Centre


62550 Putrajaya


Selangor, Malaysia


Tel: +60 3 8880 1000


Fax: +60 3 8880 1200




Dato’ Ishak Mohamed


Enforcement Director of Immigration Department


Director General Office


Immigration Department of Malaysia


Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2


Federal Government Administration Centre


62550 Putrajaya


Selangor, Malaysia


Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200





Ten Years After Winning Nobel Peace Prize


For Immediate Release


Aung San Suu Kyi urges end to Canadian investment in Burma because of dictatorship’s human rights abuses, collaboration with heroin traffickers


OTTAWA, December 7, 2001. Ten years ago on December 10, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s democracy movement, won the Nobel Peace Prize for her remarkable non-violent struggle against one of the world’s worst military dictatorships. Today, she continues her struggle, while waiting for her chance to take the office she legally won, in a landslide general election, more than a decade ago.


Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming victory in her country’s democratic elections in 1990. But instead of handing over the reins of government, Burma’s military rulers illegally nullified the election results and kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest where she has spent most of her time since 1989.


In the ten years since then, the military regime has earned continuous international condemnation for its widespread use of forced labour, its violent campaign against ethnic minorities, and its complicity in the multi-billion-dollar heroin trade. As a result, the dictatorship is an international pariah with few friends.


But in spite of these abuses, the dictatorship remains firmly in power. An important reason for this is that only one country, the United States, has imposed sanctions against investing in Burma. With no firm rules prohibiting investment in Burma, companies from most countries, including Canada, are free to choose for themselves.


In a video smuggled out of Burma in 1999, Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the people of Canada, thanking them for their continued support of Burma’s democracy movement. She also repeated her call for Canadians not to do business in Burma, stressing that “investment only benefits the military authorities and their allies…we do not think that investment in our country at this time can do our country any good.”


She has a good point. Foreign companies investing in Burma are usually steered into joint ventures with state-owned enterprises, which are run by the generals. Some Canadian companies have heeded Aug San Suu Kyi’s urging to cut business ties with the Burmese military dictatorship. These companies include Wal-Mart Canada, Sears Canada, and The Bay.


However, many other Canadian companies continue to do business with the Burmese military. One of these, Marshall Macklin Monaghan (MMM) Ltd. of Toronto, helped to build the Mandalay airport, even though the military forcibly relocated villagers who lived near the site, and forced other local villagers to help build the road to the airport.

Another Canadian company, Ivanhoe Mines, which is in a 50-50 partnership with the dictatorship in the largest foreign mining operation in Burma, is a likely beneficiary of the regime’s use of forced labour. Testimony from local villagers indicates that the military forcibly relocated people from a total of eight villages in order to make way for the Monywa mine.


Although the Canadian government officially discourages investment in Burma, in reality Ivanhoe receives generous tax incentives for the Monywa mine operation.


Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for sanctions against the dictatorship echoes that of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and others, in their successful struggle against the South African apartheid regime. Last November, the International Labour Organization (ILO) called on its members, which include Canada, to review their connections with Burma to make sure they are not helping to perpetuate the system of forced labour there. Reports to the ILO say that it is impossible to carry out business in Burma without benefiting from or perpetuating the country’s distinct brand of slavery to which hundreds of thousands of its citizens are subjected each year.


Although Burma is thousands of kilometres away, literally on the other side of the planet, Canadians pay a heavy-and direct-social price because of the failure to impose comprehensive sanctions against the military dictatorship. According to the RCMP, most of the heroin imported to Canada comes from Burma. In spite of strong international pressure to stop the heroin trade, the Burmese generals allow convicted drug lords to live freely and even to launder drug money through state-owned banks.


The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, launched fifty years ago, signaled the beginning of the end of Japan’s military expansion in China and Southeast Asia. Four years later, the defeat of the Japanese empire heralded a hopeful new era for the people of the region. And yet, over fifty years after Japan’s defeat, Burma still suffers under a dictatorship every bit as harsh and arbitrary as the Japanese occupation. And, like the Afghan Taliban regime, it is universally known as a corrupt and brutal collection of thugs who condone, and even profit from, the sale of heroin to the west.


As people across Canada prepare to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Aung San Suu

Kyi, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, they will also reflect on the inconsistency of Canadian policy toward rogue states.


At a time when the international community is working to strengthen money-laundering laws to fight terrorism, the military regime in Burma still makes it possible to launder profits from the drug industry. And notorious Burmese drug lords, indicted in the United States, continue to live freely and comfortably under Rangoon’s wing. Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters across Canada call for her immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other political prisoners in Burma. When this happens, there can be tripartite dialogue between the NLD, Burma’s military regime, and ethnic minority representatives.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African Nobel Peace Laureate and a prominent opponent of the former apartheid regime, has urged the international community and fellow Nobel Peace Laureates to salute and support Burma’s democracy leader and the people of Burma in their non-violent struggle for human rights and democracy.


Canadians will join Burma supporters all over the world in marking this important anniversary. There will be celebrations in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Friends of Burma, Ottawa, (613) 237-8056.





October 3, 2001


Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is deeply saddened and grieved by the sudden and untimely passing of Pu John Mantling Cinzah on 3rd October 2001 at George Washington Hospital.


Pu John Mangtling Cinzah has been a member of Advisory Board of CHRO, and had been giving us unwavering support throughout the most difficult times. He had been helping us with editing Rhododendron Newsletter since its initial stage of publication.

A Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs of the Union Government of Burma, Pu John Mangtling Cinzah was one of the first Chin nationalist to courageously lead resistance against the military junta, and firmly stood to defend justice, democracy and human rights in Burma.


His uncompromising belief in freedom and justice, his revolutionary leadership, and his selfless sacrifices for freedom, democracy and human rights have inspired us, the succeeding generations to follow the path that he had laid up.


We offer our most profound respect and honor to him as a Chin nationalist, who stood steadfast in his belief in freedom until his last breath. His death is an irreplaceable loss to all of us who admire his conviction and contribution to the cause of freedom and humanity.


The example that he had set for us will always exhort and remind us to continue the struggle until we attain freedom, peace, justice and human rights to which Pu Mangtling Cinzah had dedicated his entire life.





Regarding Chin Refugees in India



PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 20/40/00 UA 234/00 Possible forcible return of asylum-seekers 8

August 2000

INDIA Ethnic Chin from Myanmar




Scores of ethnic Chin are reported to have been forcibly returned to Myanmar from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, and handed over to the Myanmar armed forces. Hundreds more are reportedly detained and facing deportation. Amnesty International is concerned that many of those who have been detained may have well-founded fears of persecution and possibly torture in Myanmar, and are not able to claim asylum in India.




Up to 50,000 ethnic Chin from Myanmar are estimated to be living in Mizoram, which borders on Myanmar. At least 87 were reportedly forcibly returned on 4 August, and several hundred more were reportedly detained in the past few days. The authorities claim the Chin are illegal immigrants and are working illegally.




Among those detained are reported to be relatives of a member of the political opposition in Myanmar. Amnesty International believes that they would be at risk of torture and imprisonment if they were deported.




There are fears that there will be further arrests and deportations, and many Chin have reportedly gone into hiding.




Those detained are reportedly held in several jails and police posts in the state, under the Foreigners Act (see below), which makes no provision for refugees and does not allow those detained to seek asylum.








Ethnic minorities commonly face torture and ill-treatment in Myanmar. The Chin, who are mainly Christian, have also been subjected to massive forcible relocation, forced labour and religious persecution by the mostly Buddhist Myanmar authorities. Churches have been destroyed, pastors have been arrested and harassed, and thousands of Chin civilians have been forced off their ancestral lands by the Myanmar army. The Chin live in both the Chin State of western Myanmar, which borders on India and Bangladesh, and the Sagaing Division of Myanmar.




Thousands of Chin civilians have been forced to work on infrastructure projects, including roads and dams. There is a small armed opposition group in conflict with the central Myanmar authorities, the Chin National Front.




Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, it is a member of the UNHCR’s Executive Committee, and hosts several large refugee populations, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans and Afghans. Any refugee who enters India without authorization is considered an illegal immigrant, and can face up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine under the Foreigners Act of 1946. Moreover, India denies the UNHCR access to most refugees, including those in Mizoram, and does not permit outside scrutiny of the situation facing some refugees.




India is bound by the principle of non-refoulement, which obliges states not to forcibly return anyone to a country where they would risk serious human rights violations. The principle of non-refoulement is binding on all states, and is absolute under Article 3 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which India signed in October 1997.





Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters in English or your own language:




– expressing grave concern at reports that scores of ethnic Chin have recently been deported from Mizoram to Myanmar;




– calling on the authorities to immediately halt any program of deportation and abide by the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, which is considered to be a rule of customary international law;




– calling on the authorities to immediately put in place a fair and satisfactory asylum determination system which will allow those who have a well-founded fear of persecution to claim asylum;




– urging the authorities to ensure the safety and protection of all ethnic Chin from Myanmar in Mizoram;




– urging the Indian government to allow the UNHCR access to Mizoram.






Pu Zoramthang Chief Minister of Mizoram Aizawl

Mr George Ferndandes Defence Minister Ministry of Defence






Mr Lal Krishna Advani Minister of Home Affairs

and to diplomatic representatives of India accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 19 September 2000.




Regarding Chin Refugees in India





For immediate release

August 17, 2000


For more information contact:

Sidney Jones (NY) +1 212 216 1228 (w); +1 718 788 2899 (h)

Gary Risser (DC) +1 202 612 4342 (w); +1 301 949 1966 (h)

(New York, August 17, 2000)


Human Rights Watch today called on India to halt expulsions of ethnic Chin refugees to Burma where many could face persecution from the Burmese military. The Chin are an ethnic and religious minority in north-western Burma.


According to local sources, police in the Northeastern Indian state of Mizoram are preparing to deport another group of Chin this Friday. Last week authorities turned over more than one hundred Chin to the Burmese army along the border and have detained more than 1,000 others pending deportation. The Indian government claims the Chin are illegal immigrants.


“Any wholesale deportation to Burma without safeguards for protecting genuine refugees is unacceptable,” said Sidney Jones, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “The general level of repression in Burma should be enough to justify those safeguards. But when the deportees belong to an ethnic minority, and the Burmese army is conducting counterinsurgency operations near their homes, protection becomes absolutely vital.”


The Indian government should give the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees immediate access to the detainees, she said, so that anyone with a valid fear of persecution could make a formal claim for refugee status.


At the moment, not only is there no presence of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, but there is even concern that local officials may be ignoring the applicable law, which requires that any potential deportee have a judicial hearing.


Mizoram State borders on Burma’s Chin State, where the Chin National Front (CNF) has been fighting the Burmese government since 1988. Anyone the government suspects of having links to the rebels can face arbitrary arrest, detention, and, at times, torture. Villagers are subject to forced labor, forced portering, and religious persecution, as many of the Chin are Christians.


Though some ethnic minority Chin have been in India since the 1960s, most of the Chin refugees now in India fled there to escape abuses after 1988, when the Burmese government violently cracked down on the pro-democracy movement. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Chin now live in Mizoram alone. Since the Chin have no access to relief assistance, they are forced to survive by seeking work, particularly around Mizoram’s capital, Aizawl. Work as migrant laborers exposes Chin refugees to arrest and expulsion for illegal entry.


The Indian government has not signed the 1951 U.N. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, nor does it have any domestic refugee law. The Foreigners Act, under which the Chin are being expelled, makes no distinction between illegal immigrants and refugees. The Indian government is, however, bound by the international principle of non-refoulement which prohibits the forcible return of refugees to situations in which they would be subject to persecution and where their lives and freedom could be threatened.



To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles