Rhododendron News




Burmese Soldiers Arrested A Female Pastor in Chin State

February 28, 2001 ,Ottawa


Chin Human Rights Organization received a report that pastor Grace from Rinpi Baptist Church, Haka township was arrested by the Burmese soldiers from Haka, the capital of Chin State on February 13, 2001. She ( the pastor ) is now detain in Haka army camp.


Pastor Gracy was accused of supporting the Chin National Front CNF by giving accommodation. Last year, Pu Hoi Mang the eldest brother of pastor Grace was arrested by the Burmese soldiers and sentenced him to a two years jail term with hard labour. Pu Hoi Mang was accused of supporting the Chin National Front. Pu Hoi Mang is now serving his jail term at the Kalaywa concentration camp.


Under increasing military rule, the Chins are currently suffering many of the same abuses as other ethnic groups living along the border region of Burma. However, a specific characteristic of the human rights abuses suffered in Chin State is religious persecution.


Ethnic Leader Arrested In Burma


New Delhi, March 26, 2001


A prominent ethnic leader closed to Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested recently in Burma, despite the talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta had been going on since October last year for the possible return of “political stability” in this military-run country. Reports reaching here said that Mr. Gin Kam Lian, Secretary General of the Zomi National Congress (ZNC) was arrested on 19th March at Mawlamyine, Mon State in southern Burma by the junta’s security forces.


Dr. Kenneth who worked as financial secretary of the ZNC disclosed this in an interview with Mizzima News Group today. “He was very closed to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We don’t know why he was arrested and his whereabouts now”, said Dr. Kenneth.


“It is absolutely unjust to arrest Mr. Gin Kam Lian. He is a known ethnic leader working closely with Amaji (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi)”, commented Dr. Kenneth.


Mr. Gin Kam Lian had been actively working in the Committee for Representing People’s Parliament (CRPP), which was formed in September 1998 with the representatives of political parties that had won in the 1990 elections in Burma.


The Zomi National Congress (ZNC) won two parliamentary seats in the elections but the junta cancelled the party registration in 1992.


Burmese junta has not made any announcement on the arrest of Mr. Gin Kam Lian. The junta has also arrested the president of ZNC Mr. Cin Sian Thang in 1999.


[Source: Mizzima News Group ( ]


Being An Elected MP In Burma


March 4, 2001


He was one of the rich persons in the town a decade ago. But things have changed dramatically since the multi-party elections were allowed to be held by the ruling military junta in 1990. Now, he is struggling hard to survive with his tiny tea shop, facing daily harassment of the military authorities. The guilt is nothing but being an elected Member of Parliament from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.


The NLD party led by the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won in a landslide victory, securing more than 80% of the parliamentary seats in the May 1990 election. He was one of the winning MPs, elected with overwhelming votes against the military-backed National Unity Party (NUP).


His name is U Maung Kyun Aung, above 60, an NLD MP from the Rathae Taung Township Constituency No. 1 in Rakhaing State.


There were two members of parliament in the township, one U Thar Noe was elected from Rathae Taung (2) from the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) and the other was U Maung Kyun Aung from Rathae Taung (1) from the National League for Democracy (NLD). U Thar Noe fled the country in 1995 and now takes shelter in India as an exiled MP.


The ruling junta, known as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), refuses to honour the verdict of the people and never allows to convene the people’s parliament even though it is already more than ten years after the elections were held.


U Maung Kyun Aung has faced and continues to face the regular harassment, intimidation and threat by the military intelligence (MI) personnel in the town. He was initially offered bribe by the junta’s agents but later detained when he turned down their offer.


After the release, since 1998, the MI Unit 18 has been forcing him with various methods to resign both from the MPship and from the NLD party.


But, he consistently refuses to bow to these pressure. The consequences are that the military intelligence personnel have been disturbing whatever business he does, the government-sponsored Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) members threatening the local people not to do any business with U Maung Kyun Aung. They had, indeed, troubled the local people who did business with the NLD-MP.


As a result, once-a-rich U Maung Kyun Aung lost his wealth and has reached to a point where he has to open a small teashop in his hometown for survival. But, that still doesn’t make him free from the troubles. Recently, his son was sentenced to six-month prison for “destabilising the security of township.” One or two members of the local intelligence unit and the USDA everyday come and sit at his tea shop not because they like his tea very much but to put the words around that the customers would be troubled if they continue to come to the teashop. The customers are threatened they would be even charged. And now, many dare not to come. But, U Maung Kyun Aung continues to stand on as a NLD-MP in this town of South-western Burma.


[ Source: Mizzima News Group ]


Night Watch Duty By Civilian Persists In Town In Chin State


Since mid 1997, civilians in northern Chin State’s Thantlang town have been regularly forced by the Burmese Army to do night watch duty. The duty does not spare even lone widows, according to information received from Thantlang.


The civilian sentry duty was enforced in 1997 by the Army in the wake of the National Student Sport Festival in Hakha to ensure security in the urban areas. Thantlang town is divided into seven blocks in which one sentry post is built in each block where four civilians from each block have to do the sentry duty every night. This duty goes on a rotating basis and lone widows who can not perform the duty by themselves have to hire one able person for Kyats 80 per night. A mandatory fine of money is imposed on those who fail to do the duty, said ( name omitted for security reason ) who is a student in Thantlang. The duty starts as soon as it is dark and lasts until dawn. The soldiers are conducting a regular and surprise check during the night to ensure people are doing their duty carefully. If they found out that someone is dozing off while on duty, the soldiers severely beat and punish that person.


Households who can afford to pay Kyats 10,000 to the Block Peace and Development Council are exempted from the duty for one year. Block PDC members themselves are required to do separate duty every night at each Block PDC Office. Though the citizens of Thantlang are greatly disappointed over the forcible duty imposed on them, they are left with no choice but to continue to perform the duty as they are afraid of the army authorities.


How Polio Vaccines Are Given In Chin State


Nurses who give Polio vaccination to children across Chin State are surprised at the abrupt termination since January 2001 of a customary practice of paying Kyats 50 to every child receiving the vaccination. Under the auspices of UNICEF, polio vaccine has been given to children in Chin State once every year accompanied by cash award of Kyats 50 to the vaccinated child. Nurses have told the parents that they are wondering how the payments have been stopped-whether the money have been embezzled by persons in charge of the program or whether the UNICEF itself has terminated it, said one person coming from inside Chin State.


In the past years, doctors used to allocate the polio vaccine along with the cash money to be given to the vaccinated children, to nurses who are giving the vaccination. However, to every ones surprise, the practice of paying cash award was stopped this year. The program is being undertaken under the supervision of Deputy Health Assistant Director of Chin State and at township levels, Township Medical Officers are responsible to manage the program. The TMO is responsible for holding a meeting with nurses in the second week of December every year where he allocates the vaccine to the nurses for distribution. It is learned that the nurses did not dare to question the issue of cash award during the meeting with the TMO last December. More than 15 nurses are operating under the program in the township of Thantlang alone. On 14 January 2001, one nurses told the villagers of ( village name omitted ) about the termination of cash award while giving over 30 children! the vaccination along with one other nurse, said one person coming from Chin State.


Army Authorities In Chin State Imposed Levy On Farmers


Name Laipa ( Name change )


Age: 40


Sex: Male


Ethnicity: Chin


Occupation: LPDC chairman and farmer


Marital Status: Married with 4 children


Address: ++++village, Falam Township, Chin State


Date of Interview: 14/01/2001


Some months ago, Township Peace and Development Council chairman in Falam summoned a meeting where he invited all Village PDC chairmen in the township and informed us that the government would no longer allow shifting cultivation in the area with immediate effect. He told us that anyone continuing the shifting cultivation would be arrested and imprisoned and that the shifting cultivation would be replaced by wet cultivation. We all pleaded to him that since most people do not have fields to do the wet cultivation without the current shifting form of cultivation, we would have nothing to eat and would all die. He said that he would allow us to continue the shifting cultivation under one condition-that everyone doing it would pay Kyats 60 to the authorities.


Therefore, for the year 1999-2000 every household pays kyat 60 each to the authorities in return for their permission. There are 10 villages in the Zahau village tract all of which have to pay the same amount to the authorities. They are Haimual, Thipcang, Hnathial (a), Hnathial (b), Zawngte, Ngailan, Seilawn, Sih Ngai, Tlang Kawi, Leilet village.


There are 40 households in our village and we paid Kayts 2,400 altogether regardless of the household is a widow. For the year 2000-2001, we were told that we have to pay another Kyats 60 per household. We have already cleared the site for cultivation, but if we do not pay the money then we would not be allowed to proceed. We are also fearful of arrest and imprisonment.




Burmese Refugees In India To Go Hungry


Fear of possible starvation looms among Burmese refugees in India after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Office in New Delhi announced in mid January that it will stop assisting them with monthly subsistence allowance of Rs.1400 per person, about US$30.


The announcement, which the refugees responded with great disappointment, came with the cited reason of ” the low availability of UNHCR budget allocation for its mission office in New Delhi for the year 2001 resulting from scaling down of financial contributions by potential donor countries”.


Although the refugees are informed that the termination of Subsistence Allowance payment will come into effect in April 2001, there are some refugees such as Salai Aung Cin Thang who had already been terminated his allowance. The UNHCR will, however, continue to assist those extremely vulnerable individuals such as single women and children.


More than 800 Burmese nationals are registered refugees under the mandate of UNHCR in New Delhi. The number constitutes only a few in an estimated 40,000-50,000 Burmese refugees in India who could manage to come to the capital city to claim UNHCR’s person of concern status. Most refugees are ethnic Chin from western Burma who fled serious human rights abuses including forced labor, rape, summary killing and religious persecution by the military regime in their home country. They are mostly Christians and have been subject to religious and racial persecution by the military junta, which came to power in a bloody coup in 1988.


Concentrated mainly in the western suburban area of New Delhi, the refugees live in cheap-rented accommodations from the local landlords. They have no other means of supporting themselves and are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance provided by UNHCR to cover their basic needs such as food and shelter. The Government of India does not recognize them as refugees, though it has issued residential permit to those already recognized by UNHCR, which is to be extended every 6 months.


Locked between persecution at home and poverty in their country of asylum, the refugees have been over the years, faced with extreme social problems including health, education and above all, integrating into the local community. In July 2000, many refugee families were evicted from their houses by their landlords when the UNHCR delayed payment of monthly subsistence allowance to them for about 2 months. Already impoverished, it is predictable that once the UNHCR stops paying them allowance in April, they will face an even more serious problem such as homelessness and starvation.


According to UNHCR, it has three available options in finding solution to refugee problems, voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement to a third country. The refugees are now asking that they be resettled to a third country such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as it is the only solution left to address their plights. However, UNHCR is insisting that resettlement is the least preferred solution and is contingent entirely on those countries to accept the refugees.




Burmese Refugees Write To Kofi Annan For Help


New Delhi, March 17, 2001


Burmese refugees have appealed to United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan to intervene in the difficulties they are facing in India. The All Burmese Refugees Committee (ABRC), in a letter today, states that the Burmese refugees living in Delhi have been facing problems and difficulties in their stay in India and the local police has failed to provide necessary protection for their security and lives.


The letter has narrated details of recent events where some local people beat the refugees in Delhi for wrongly accused acts and the police failed to give protection to the Burmese refugees.


According to the refugee committee, on 13th March, a group of local people in Mehrauli, south Delhi, beat some Burmese refugees living in the area, accusing the refugees of “kidnapping” an Indian child.


The local police, instead of giving protection, beat the refugees again both on the spot and in the police station. At least two Burmese refugees were badly beaten, said the refugees committee. Later, the police filed a FIR against Mr. David Ral Bik, 18, for allegedly kidnapping the Indian child. The police sent him to Tihar Jail in Delhi the next day.


The Burmese refugees committee denied the accusation. “The (Indian) child was just playing with one of our children that morning. There was no such kidnapping”, said Mr. Mang Lian, General Secretary of the refugees committee.


The refugees committee has allegedly that the local police force has failed to give necessary protection to the Burmese refugees in Delhi whenever such situation arises.


At present, there are nearly one thousand refugees from Burma living in Delhi. Most of them are Chin nationals from Burma. The All Burmese Refugees Committee (India), one of the refugees’ groupings, has appealed to the UN Secretary General to intervene in the matters relating to the Burmese refugees in India to ease their hardship and problems.


[ Source: Mizzima News Group ]






Secret Negotiations – The Myanmar Mentality


Kanbawza Win


If it is “Government for the people of the people by the people,” then why on earth be secretive seems to be the logical hypothesis of the secret negotiations going on between the Burmese military Junta and the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi followers of the pro democracy forces. Is there something to hide? Or is it Myanmar is negotiating with a Myanmar and leaving out the ethnic groups? These are just some of the soul searching questions with which the people of Burma have been racking their brains with little or no answer. The people listen to the news reports, rumors, speculation and jokes. It is already nearly half a year that the so-called secret negotiations had been going on between the two sides and up to day nothing substantive has emerged. Are we expected to have blind faith in the negotiations?


Even though we visualize that the talks between the two antagonists are serious and significant, no one knows the substance of the talks except Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Generals. There have been no official announcements and even the Burmese media controlled by the Generals has not reflected their views and are tight lipped. Why?


The major concern is that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy nymph, is the only person involved from the pro democracy group while her Executive Committee including U Tin Oo, U Aung Shwe, U Nyunt Wai and so on, are barred from participation. Why? Is it because the Generals construe that their bullying tactics will pay off? We are afraid that there are more questions than answers regarding these so-called secret negotiations. On the other hand if Gen. Khin Nyunt reports to China and General Maung Aye to India about the progress of the reports why are we left in dark for after all this is an internal Burmese affair, as according to the logic of the Junta.


The only thing with regard to this is that there is no substantive political agreement has been reached up to this time. Nothing has been announced. Then what is all this secret negotiating all about? No laws have been repealed and this explicitly means that a handful of those who were already released can be re-arrested and tortured again. This does not includes the fate of thousands of political prisoners like Min Ko Naing, Daw San San Nwe and the likes who are rotting in Burmese jails. Neither do we see any law enacted to ensure basic human rights and democratic principles. If it is genuinely a step by step approach negotiations must at least show some progress as time goes on.


In the meantime, forced labour has been going on unabated. According to an ILO document there are over 800,000 Burmese subjected to forced labour at any given time. Many children are forced to work in infrastructure projects under the banner of voluntary labour while others have to eke out their living in sweatshops. There has been forced relocation of people from their native homes. These people were forced out to make way for government projects and sent to unhealthy places with no running water or sanitary system. Ethnic cleansing has been going on with might and main in the ethnic inhabited area while religious persecution and religious riots are very much encouraged and initiated. Moreover there is not the slightest attempt on the part of the military government to curb the gross human rights violations committed by the Burmese soldiers against the civilians.


What more proof is wanted than the Junta was not at all serious about these negotiation when it launched a major offensive against the dissidents, both to the pro-democracy forces of the border area and the ethnic freedom fighters. Their goal is complete annihilation and in their zeal to implement it the Junta forces have crossed the border into Thailand in hot pursuit resulting in the clashes with the Thai armed forces. Like in any military operations fleeing refugees and forced portering were common. The porter to walk in front of the soldiers so that they will be the first to be blown up in case of land mines. Lack of mechanized division and manpower has compelled the Burmese army to recruit women porters who become slave labour during the day and sex slaves at night. The more military operations there are the more forced labour, portering, rape, pillaging of villages and other gross human rights violations will occur.


The Junta has to be judged by its actions and not by its words and these actions clearly spell out that it is just stalling for time with these secret negotiations in order to strengthen their grip on the country and preventing any international action against them.


The only solace from this “Hush Hush Negotiation” is that the Junta, after a dozen years has realized that the pro democracy forces led by Daw Suu and the NLD could not be annihilated as they have previously boasted and vowed to do. Now they are being forced to find alternatives if they are indeed serious about solving the problems, which they are now facing. The moral authority of Daw Suu over the entire Burmese people coupled with international backing is too much to handle for the Junta. Hence, they have embarked on this dialogue which everybody hopes will eventually lead to national reconciliation and solve the Burmese problem. With this end in view, the regime has taken a few minor steps to relax the political atmosphere and possibly explore the potential for further international development assistance. But hopes spring eternal in human breast. Still, it is important for the people to be pragmatic and must be able to see the situation correctly, to wei! gh the pros and the cons.


Unlike the leading Asian nations of China, India and Japan that want the status quo or the Association of Southeast Nation’s Constructive Engagement Policy which clearly encourage the Burmese Military Junta, the West and the United Nations and its related agencies the ILO have spoken a language which the Junta clearly understands and it has borne fruit in terms of these secret negotiations. Now we would like to advice the international community to continue to speak in the same language to compel the Junta to bow to the people’s will. We would like to see both the European Union and the US take the necessary steps as well, to broaden the substance of the talk by including the ethnic representatives. At the same time they must be ready to administer more punitive actions and further sanctions if the Junta endeavours to trick the people of Burma and the international community. We must bear in mind that the Generals, like their mentor U Ne Win are very wicket ! crafty, evil and tyrannical.


On the other hand the Junta is not completely monolithic. There are several well-known hard-liners that are opposed to the talks and still harbour the idea that they alone are patriotic and that they should be the monarchs of all they survey. The latest episode of the helicopter crash in the Salween river of the Junta’s No.4 man, General Tin Oo and the cabinet ministers, including the supreme commander of the Southeastern division, Thura Sit Maung demonstrates the power struggle going on among them. In military Burma, almost every major accident has been orchestrated to make and appear that the liquidation of that particular person were an unfortunate incident. Those power maniacs will stop at nothing. Nor will they hesitate at killing their own lieutenant in such a way as to appear as if it is an accident when ever their position is threaten.


We would like to echo the session of International Confederation of Free Trade Union’s (ICFTU) which has over 120 million workers for solidarity, and ensure that the ILO continues to take action against the Burmese Junta. The ILO should follow up with the Ministry of Labour of every member country inquiring of what responses has been given to the ILO resolution and what measures they have taken to implement it. This is because we understand that thorough research by the ILO throughout these years has come up with the conclusion that it is virtually impossible for any foreign firm, company, government or other institution, to conduct any trade or other economic activity with Burma without providing direct financial support to the military Junta. Both the ILO and the ICFTU have confirmed that any commercial or economic links with Burma perpetuate or extend the system of forced or compulsory labour.


All this indicates that the Junta is not sincere in its negotiations with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The very nature of “Secret Negotiations” means they have something to hide from the public. How can a Myanmar power negotiating with another Myanmar can speak about the Non Myanmar (ethnic groups) when xenophobia and chauvinism runs deep into the Myanmar veins? This is the type of stereotyping perhaps as their cult, history and traditions reinforced such attitudes but to suggest the ideas are inherent I think is a mistake. Experience for nearly half a century even prior to the Burmese military take over has made the non-Myanmar groups wary of these under-table negotiations. Maybe it is high time for the ethnic groups and the international community to acknowledge that the only way to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, gross human rights violations and narco producing is to let the ethnic groups go their own way, if the spirit of the Union is absent in the Myanmar! group. This will be going against the very grain of the “Panglong Spirit” and the vision of the architects and the founding members of modern Burma. But this disintegration of the Union, like former Yugoslavia, is far better to be than one group over-lording it over and bullying the other group in perpetuity. At least the Burmese generals contributed to this situation and the day will sadly come eventually when there is no other choice.


Burma’s basic problem is rooted in ethnic conflict among the people who don’t want to share the same national identity; and if in this secret negotiations ethnic representatives are not included nothing will improve because Myanmar and Buddhist chauvinism is dominant. Conventional human rights have at times worsened discrimination in Burma by inadvertently validating stereotypes of the aggressive intruders and the meek, innocent victims. A chance must be given to the people to confront their own prejudices about the races inhabiting Burma and the history of their interaction. The people of Burma must confront their feelings about their neighbours with a view of reconciling the wrongs of the past and coexisting peacefully in the future. Ethnic nationalism must be distinctly distinguished from beneficial patriotism. Racial, religious, and linguistic discrimination must be replaced at all level by a willingness to understand and accommodate each other.


What authentic proof is there that this “Secret Negotiations” when all can witness so far is a ploy to stall for time to prevent the ILO resolutions from being implemented. We fear that this may be just a fanciful juggling act to entertain the Burmese people and the rest of the world.

(The author is a visiting Professor at the Faculty of International Development Studies, University of Winnipeg Cum Research Fellow at the University of Manitoba at the Institute of Humanities, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)




Burma Army And Forced Recruiting Of Child Soldiers Salai Kipp Kho Lian Burma gained independence from the British in 1948. In 1962 the Army took over the state power and abolished the then existing parliament democracy system. In 1988 there was a nation-wide democracy uprising against the military dictatorship led by the university students. The uprising was brutally crushed by the military (about 10,000 peaceful demonstrators were massacred nation-wide) and many students joined the ethnic rebels that have been fighting against the central government since Burma’s independence. The students set up an armed movement called All Burma Students Democracy Front at Manerplaw, the Headquarters of the Karen National Union. Even though many ethnic rebels have striked cease -fire agreements with the military regime the KNU, ABSDF and some other ethnic rebels continue their armed struggle.


Since the said 1988 uprisings was crushed the military junta planned to expand the army from the 200,000 up to 400,000. But the post-1988 generations of young people are so disillusioned with the military regime that they instead have sympathy with the students and ethnic armed groups.


Moreover, the masses are dissatisfied with the military’s failure to hand over the state power to the 1990 election-winning party, the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. (The said election was initiated by the military regime itself, which promised to honour the results of the elections. But it refused to hand the political power to the above-mentioned party which had won more than 80 % of the votes.


As the army could not get enough volunteers willing to join the army they started to demand quota from each town and village tracts to recruit young people to join the army. Since no one wants to join the army the township and village tracts authorities have to bribe young people by offering K 20,000 to K 30,000 if they would join the army. Because of dire poverty people have no other choices, so some accept the army’s officer just to run away after the military training. As such the army also started to kidnap young people and children – many of them are still ten years old – and force them to join the army. Soldiers who could trick more children into joining the army are rewarded with money or other privileges. ( The soldiers who could trick or kidnap children to join the army are given Kyats 1000 for each child while the monthly salary of an infantry soldier was merely Ks 750,- (that was before 1999). [The military regime has now raised the junior soldier! s’ salary to K 5500.- since 1998/99]


Below are some of the privileges of the trainees and soldiers:-


– Criminals or juvenile delinquents who have committed any crime (except murder and rape) will be freed from any punishment once a contract – to stay in the army for at least ten years – has been signed. Murderers who joined the army are freed from punishment after the four-month military training. (Usually new recruits are forced to sign the contract the moment they enter the training camps);


– Deserters who want to avoid punishment can re-join the Army as new recruits under a new name. They only need to provide their previous serial numbers so that the officers could delete them from the list.


Children of ten years old, or who are still too young to go through the military training are stationed to work at the kitchen at the army barracks to make sure they are well-fed and become strong enough and ready for military training. Children who complain about their being kidnapped or who strongly expose their unwillingness to remain in the army are locked up in a kind of jail they call “special rooms” day and night except during the training courses. Some children who speak out aggressively against their conditions are locked up with iron chains at their feet.


If anyone runs away during the training the parents are arrested and locked up in the Army until their children return to the training camps.


The Army also drafts juvenile delinquents from juvenile prisons in Rangoon. The child soldiers are not well-fed during the training and a lot of restrictions are imposed on them. Moreover, most of the time they are forced to do hard labour jobs inside the army compounds. The military trainings are mere parade and a few days of lectures on arms and ammunition. As a result the child soldiers are ill-trained in military skills and faced a lot of difficulties in the front-line. Once these children in the front-line they are free from all restrictions imposed on them during the training and feel free to break any law. Especially those from the juvenile prisons are notorious for their indiscipline and cruel behaviours towards civilians at the front line as they are now well- equipped with arms and have the army’s protection from punishment by the police.


Once they are in the front-line these young soldiers are not given their full monthly wages. As they do not have enough money they start looting the fouls and properties of villagers. The army officers are offered portions of anything looted and the more they could offer their officers the more privileges they get. However, in due course these young soldiers become unhappy with their own situation and are always looking for chances to run away.


During the training (after the salary raise in 1998/99) the trainees are officially paid K 3000.- monthly salary. But they could draw only K 1000.- The rest of their salaries are deducted by officers for expenses like uniform, or for the wooden boxes they got from the army, life insurance, fund savings for celebration to be held when the training is over (which never take place), etc., etc. Moreover, every now and then the soldiers are ordered to torture or kill villagers whom the officers may accuse them of rebel sympathizers, most often without any hard evidence. So the young soldiers are very unhappy with the army. They have more sympathy for the rebels and civilians, especially since the 1988 mass-uprisings.


[This report is compiled for the Rhododendron News by Salai Kipp Kho Lian of the CHIN FORUM INFORMATION SERVICE based on personal account of a Burmese ex-child soldier, who wish to remain anonymous.]




The Most Common Causes Of The Chin People’s Exodus


Hre Mang, Hartwick College, New York




As the implementation of the Independence Agreement was impeded, the Chin people’s inherited land was divided into three parts. Apart from the Chin State, the other parts were annexed to Sagaing division and Magwe division. The Chin people are approximately 2.5 million in number. There are many sub-groups among the Chins – Zo, Lai, Kuki, Lushai, Matu, Khumi, Asho, etc. There are nine district centres – Tidim, Tawnzang, Falam, Haka, Thlantlang, Matupi, Kanpalet, Paletwah and Mindat. The people who called themselves “Zomi” occupied Falam, Haka and Thantlang Districts; the Matu people occupied Matupi District, Asho and Khumi people occupied Mindat, Kanpalet and Pletwa Districts; and in Magwe and Sagaing divisions different sub-tribes of Chin people occupied the land. There are many different dialects that the Chin people speak. There is no common official Chin language, but Falam (Laizo) is used for broadcasting radio programmes. 80% of the total population are! Christians, the rest are animist, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. The Chin State is mostly hilly area. Only in Magwe and Sagaing division are there plains which can be used for cultivation.


There are no national highways connecting the important places in Chin State. It is connected to the central part of Burma by small roads. Therefore, there is no common place for the Chin people to meet. Moreover, there has been no daily or periodical newspaper circulating within the State. There is also no radio station within the State. There is only the Chin program, which is broadcast from Rangoon, the capital city of Burma. This program is 30 minutes everyday – and is the official mouthpiece – 15 minutes are for the news, and the other 15 minutes for songs. Burmese is the official language, and there is no Chin common language that all the Chin people can understand. The literacy rate is very low. While Burma is among the poorest countries of the world, the Chin State is the poorest state in Burma.


1) Political turmoil and bad administration


For several decades, against the will of the Chin people, the Burmese military regime has been controlling the Chins and their inherited land. In 1988, there was a public demonstration by Chin students, workers and the general public against the military regime. But when the military regime brutally oppressed the pro-democratic movement, thousands of Chins left their motherland to escape from the hands of the oppressors. Though the Chin revolutionary movement had started before 1988, the 1988 country-wide pro-democracy demonstration was the most significant event in recent decades in which the Chin people strongly protested against the military regime. This demonstration led to many people being killed, and to thousands leaving their country and seeking refuge in other countries.


Under the military regime, all the important administrative posts are controlled by army officers, even at the district and village level, where only the Chin people live on their inherited land. Any army officer has more authority, and is superior to any village president, or the head of the community. These army officers directly controlled the public administration. As a result, all protesters and supporters of democracy were wiped out under martial law. The armed forces, who are not bound by any laws, treat the local people brutally. Thus, the Chins live in constant fear of the armed forces and without any political freedom within their own country.


Especially in rural areas, under fear of the armed forces, people do not want to be involved in any aspect of public administration where they have to deal with the armed forces. Any community leader or administrator has to cater to the demands of both the Burmese army and of the underground insurgency group. Many village heads have been condemned with imprisonment, without having undergone the proper legal procedure for helping the underground group.


At the same time, the head of the community is the agent of the insurgents for collecting taxes and whatever else they demand from the public. The people actually pay tax twice, once to the Burmese army, and once to the insurgents. When the Burmese army comes to know about it, the head of the village is usually put into jail. Hence, the local people do not want to get involved in any administrative capacity, and the army forces somebody whom they can use as their administrative agent to become the head of the community.


The army violates the Chin people’s rights and dignity by their actions. The people are obliged to do anything that the armed forces demand, like portering, forced labour and material contribution etc. Especially in the villages, the army also oppresses the people; murders, rapes, tortures and persecutions are common. Not only does the government not initiate any development projects for the people, it does not even allow them to do any development work for themselves. In such a situation, the society becomes disorganised and the people fear the armed forces. They are unable to work towards their progress. This has caused many of them to leave their country and seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Though they are homeless and live as illegal immigrants, they prefer their exiled lives, as they have escaped fear and hunger in their hometown.


Throughout the political and economic crisis in Burma, the bad administration has affected public education. Since 1988, there has been no proper educational programme. Schools, colleges and universities have been closed from time to time. Due to the sharp political contentions between the military regime and the public, the schools could not be run efficiently. Due to poverty, teachers could not concentrate on their duties. The teachers and lecturers earn meagre salaries, which are below their minimum basic expenditure. There are many private tuition classes started by the lecturers. For students to pass their examinations, it is necessary for them to attend these classes, but the poorer class students cannot afford the fees. As a result, many people could not let their children continue their education, and many of the children are demoralised. Even the students who can meet the higher costs cannot hope to work for the military regime, because the employme! nt opportunities are very limited and the wages are meagre. This situation crushes all expectations of the young people. As a result, the people have remained without adequate education, and most of the Chin refugees are not highly educated.


2) Forced labour


Forced labour has caused thousands of people to leave their country. It consumed the energy, money, materials and time of the Chin people, and was detrimental to their dignity and welfare. Forced labour is used for road construction, army camp construction, hydroelectric project, pottering….? and trench-digging. Not only men and women, but also animals (horse, buffalo etc.) and vehicles are also demanded by the army for their service.


Whenever the construction of roads or railways, or maintenance work was undertaken, the people are asked to give their services without being given any wages. People have to go and stay at the location of the work, and carry their own supplies for the duration of the work. At the location, the army guards them with guns.


As the strength of the army has been increased, many new army camps are opened and some old camps are expanded in the Chin state. The surrounding villagers have to bring materials for construction, and give as much labour as demanded. They also have to dig trenches within and around the army camps. The Burmese army called forced labour “Luk Aa Pi”, which means “offering service by free will”. Actually, the villagers offered their service against their own free will and due to force, which is in Burmese “Atin Luk Aa Pi”, meaning “forced labour”.


In many places, people don’t get time to work for their own livelihood because of the forced labour. Moreover, they still have to pay taxes and give materials and goods to both the military regime and the ethnic insurgents. They have no social security or medical aid. If anybody refuses to obey the orders of the army, or demands his or her rights, he or she is put in jail. Though many are not actually shot down, most of the people are oppressed and suffer economic ruin. As a result, many of them leave their country.


3) Democratic Movement


Since 1988 Chin students, workers and public have agitated for the Burmese pro-democratic movement, which has cost thousands of lives, and caused the exodus of thousands. Since the tumultuous public demonstration of 1988, many Chins left their home town and fought for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Some have joined the violent division, while others have joined the non-violent course for the promotion of democratic rule. Thousands of refugees are in India and other countries.


Within and outside Chin State, many have been agitating and fighting for self-determination of Chin people and for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Whoever supported the Chin national political movement, the Burmese army crushed them and punished them with endless imprisonment. The Burmese army has been trying to uproot all political activists working against them. There are many who have been in jail for the political movement, and even Chin pastors and religious leaders are also imprisoned on suspicion, without being allowed to undergo the proper judicial procedure in court. Among the Chin political parties and organisations, the prominent ones are the Chin National Front, Chin National Council, Chin National League for Democracy. The Chin political parties and organisations join hands with other democratic fronts of all ethnic groups for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Politically, Chins stand for self-determination and for re-establi! shment and reunification within the Federal Union Country, which is possible only with the resurrection of the Panglong agreement.


4) Human rights violations


As mentioned above, though the natural resources are more than enough for the Chin people to manage and survive within their inherited land, thousands of Chins have left their motherland and sought refuge in India and other neighbouring countries. This is due to the political turmoil and bad administration of the military regime, forced labour and human rights violations by the armed forces, ethnic and religious discrimination, and economic ruin under the military regime. Naturally, Mizoram state of India, where Chin people have sought refuge, has no better resources or means of cultivation, or any additional development project, but the governing system made it different from their inherited land. Some people escaped from the point of the gun and imprisonment, while some others from economic ruin and moral depression. Whatever the exiled Chins may claim about themselves, or however they are treated in their exile lives, the reason for their leaving Burma is! not merely for a better living standard, but to escape from life-threatening situations. Others who do not know how to or cannot move to other parts of the world have stayed within their motherland, where the darkness of moral depression covers the land. In fact, the Chin people leave their own country not because it is naturally bad, or the place of their exile is good, but because they want to escape the brutal oppression of the ruling military regime. And according to the survey, almost all the Chins in Mizoram state will go back to their motherland when the military regime steps down, or is replaced by a democratic federal government, where the people rule.


Geographical Background


Chin state is located in the western part of Burma, along the international boundary between Burma and India. Besides the present Chin State, some parts of the Chin people’s inherited land are annexed to Magwe and Sagaing divisions. The Chin people’s land was cut in the west by Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram states of India, in the north and east by the Sagaing division, in the south-east by the Magwe division, and in the south by Arakhan state. Almost all areas of Chin state are covered with hills; in Magwe and Sagaing division and in southern Chin there are plains. The mountain peaks are high, the average height being 8700 feet. Arterawtlang (Victoria) is the highest peak at 10,400 feet. In the southern and some lower areas, the high peaks are between 2000 and 4000 feet high. The climate is not extreme, except at the top of the hills. The monsoon lasts from May to October. Average rainfall for the year is between 70 inches and 170 inches. In summer, the temper! ature ranges between 17 to 29 degrees centigrade and in winter temperatures are between 3 to 24 degrees centigrade. Due to the difficult geographical terrain and lack of development, no national highway crosses the Chin state. Only in Sagaing division the national highway crosses the Chin people’s inherited land, connecting the state with Mindat. Mindat has better connections with the central part of the country, and other towns can be reached by a path which can be traversed only by foot, and which is difficult for vehicles to go on. There is no means of air or sea travel within Chin state. Due to the difficult geographical terrain, the rivers of Chin state cannot be used for transportation.


There are various sub-tribes of the Chin people, occupying different regions. In the northern part of the Chin people’s inherited land, which is presently included within Sagaing division, Naga-Chin and Kuki-Chin occupied the land. The Naga tribe lives in Naga Hills, which connects with Nagaland state of India. And to the south of Naga Hills, the place called Kabaw valley is occupied by Kuki and some other tribes. This connects to Manipur state of India. The national highway crosses into India through the Kabaw valley, through Moreh town to Imphal, the capital of Manipur state. Below Kabaw valley is the Kale valley where mixed Chin sub-tribes live. The Kale-Kabaw valleys are mostly plains and are rich in agricultural products.


In the south of Kale-Kabaw valley is located the Kankaw valley which is occupied by Yaw Chin and some other Chin sub-tribes. From the Kankaw valley to the southern area of Asho, other Chin sub-tribes inhabit the land.


Within the present Chin state, starting from the north, specific tribes inhabit the respective districts. The people who call themselves ‘Zomi’ i.e. Paite, Sihzin etc, live in Tidim and Tawnzang districts. And in Falam district live the people who call themselves ‘Laimi’, such as Laizo, Tlaisun, Zaniat, Sim, Jahau, Hualngo etc. And in Thlantlang and Halka districts Zotung, Zophei, Lakher, Cinzah etc. call themselves ‘laimi’. In these three districts, Falam, Haka and Thlantlang, the people call themselves ‘Laimi’. Though there are different dialects, the people are able to communicate well with one another using their own dialects. Coming to the southern part of Chin State, Matupi district is occupied by Matu and other sub-tribes of Chins. And in Mindat, Kanpalet and Paletwa districts, Asho, Cho, Khumi and other sub-tribes of the Chins live. Compared to northern Chin state, the southern part of the state lacks roadways for transport. Between southern and nort! hern Chin state there is no road fit for vehicular traffic, but only foot-paths; to this day people go by foot to the southern or northern part of the State. Therefore, there has been no socio-cultural exchange between the south and north. This has caused a lack of understanding between the Chin people.


Each of the Chin sub-tribes has its own region. Since times of unwritten history, each of the Chin sub-tribes has lived by itself with its own tribal chief within its own independent territory. Before the British colonisation, historically there were constant wars between the tribes and sub-tribes. S such, they did not have an opportunity to develop a common language with which all Chins could communicate with each other.


The most common ways


Naga-Chins, who originated in Naga Hills of northern Sagaing division, which extends into Nagaland state of India, Kukis and some other tribes go to Manipur state of India through the border trade road, which crosses from Tamu of Sagaing division to Moreh, and then to Imphal, the capital city of Manipur state. This border trade is an important road by which smugglers, business men and women cross the country. In Manipur state, there are some tribes of the Chin people : Kukis, Paite, Zomi, Hmar, Kom etc., who welcome the Chin refugees and immigrants. The refugees from Tawnzang and Tidim districts of Chin state go to Manipur state where the same sub-tribes live, who were annexed to India in the time of the British.


There are foot-paths which cross the border from Twanzing and Tidim districts of northern Chin state to Manipur state and Mizoram state : Phaisat-Hengtam, Aisih-Sialsih, Vanglai-Sialsi, Khuavum-Beheng, Haichi-Beheng, Pangmual-Kangkap, Suangbem-Sinjol; and these are foot-paths to Mizoram state : Haichin-Minbung, Selbung-Vaikhawtlang, Tuimang-Khuangphah, Bapi-Hnahlan, Dankhan-Hnahlan, Khawzimte-Tlangsam. Moreover, there is a small vehicle road from Tawnzang of Chin state to Bualkot village of Manipur, and one from Tidim of Chin state to Champhai of Mizoram. This road crosses the border to Tio village in Falam district of Chin state and then Zokhawthar of Champhai district, which are located by the side of Tio river, along the boundary.


From Falam of Chin state, there is one motorable road which passes through the above-mentioned border villages – Rihkhawdar in Chin state and Zokhawthar in Champhai district – and then reaches Champhai of Mizoram state. There are some foot-paths which connect Falam district of Chin state and Mizoram state (naming Chin state villages first and Mizoram state villages second) : Khawthlir-Bulfek, Surbung-Lianpui, Satawn-Vaphai, Leilet-Vaphai, and Farkawn Ngailan-Khankawn.


The following are some footpaths from Thlantlang district of Chin state to Mizoram state : Tlanglo-Farkawn, Zangtlang-Thakte, Dawn-Thakte, and Lungreng, Ralpel-Nagarchip, Lungler-Thingsai, Bungtlang-Bualpui, and Mullianpui, Siallam-Thaltlang, Belbar-Niawhtlang, Tluangram-Lungbun, Zephai-Ainak, Ngalang-Ainik, Lungchawi-Chakang. And some footpaths from southern part of Chin state are : Darling-Chapui, Hlungmang-Chapui, and Khopai. There are also some footpaths, which are not maintained properly, but are used for travelling to Mizoram.


There are two entrances to Chin state from the central part of Burma – The first one is from Kalemyo to Chin state crossing Tidim in one way and Falam in another way, both of which meet at Tio villages of Falam district at the border, to Champhai district of Mizoram. The second entrance way to Chin state from the central part of Burma is Mungzua-Kankaw-Haka, which reaches Thlantlang. There is only one motorable road that properly reaches Mizoram and touches the Mizoram vehicle road at the border; which is both from Falam and Tidim to Tio river. This is the main way by which the Chin people travel to Mizoram. Besides this, in Chin state, there is one border trade road from Sagaing division, which crosses the Chin people’s inherited land, and goes to Manipur state of India. This is the biggest and most important road for Indo-Burma border trade and most of the smugglers and business people use this.


Most of the refugees from Sagaing division, and northern Chin state Tidim, Tawnzang and Falam districts go to northern part of Mizoram. And those of Haka, Thlantlang, and southern part of Chin state Matupi, Mindat, Kanpalet, Paletwa go to southern part of Mizoram state. Though there is no motorable road crossing the border in the southern part, people go to Mizoram by foot.


The distances from the district centres of northern Chin state to the Indo-Burma border are below 100 miles; from Tawnzang and Tidim around 40 miles, from Falam 60 miles, from Haka around 70 miles and from Thlantlang around 40 miles. In the southern part, Matupi is the nearest to Mizoram state. While Mindat and Kanpalet are located close to the central part of Burma, they are far from the Indian border compared to the northern district centres. Paletwa, located at the Southwest of Chin state, has poor ways and means of transportation. Therefore, there are only a few refugees and immigrants from southern people of Chins in Mizoram, compared to the northern peoples. Most of the Chin refugees are from northern and central part of Chin state and from Sagaing division.




For entering India, there are several check gates in the border area, but foreigners’ entry is not totally restricted as India is a democratic country. Moreover, due to the facial similarity between Chins and Mizos, it is very difficult to identify foreigners. In the police stations, there are cases registered against the foreigners for being in Mizoram without legal documents. There is no legal document issued to the Chins, such as temporary visiting permit or residential permit. But the Chins don’t have much difficulty in entering Mizoram state. According to the State Home Minister’s report, 901 Burmese were deported to Burma during 1999. Moreover, hundreds of Chins are stopped and pushed back everyday from Champhai, which is the main entrance to Mizoram for Chins.


From 1988 to 1994, there had been a refugee camp in Champhai, which is 20 kms from the Burma border. But that is no more. Thereafter, there have been no refugee camps or registration offices in Mizoram state. Hence, refugees seek their own shelter using their own means.


According to the Chin tradition, begging is a shameful act. As such, even as refugees, the Chins do not beg or ask for help from the Mizoram people, but try to survive by their own means.


As mentioned above, most Chin refugees from Sagaing division, Kukis and some other Chin tribes go to Manipur state of India, especially to Lamka district of Manipur state. Lamka district was originally owned by the Chin people. And from Tidim and Tawnzang districts of Chin state, people also go to Manipur, which is geographically and ethnically close to the land and the people.


People of various sub-tribes from Kale Valley of Sagaing division, Tidim, Tawnzang and Falam districts of northern Chin state go to places in northern Mizoram such as Champhai and Aizawl districts. The people from Tidim and Tawnzang who call themselves ‘Zomi’, speak the same language as that of the Zomi language in Mizoram and Manipur. There are some tribes in Mizoram state that are the same as Zomi tribes of Chin state. Falam people easily speak Mizo language because Falam language is close to Mizo language. Moreover, Hualngo tribe of Falam speaks the same Mizo language of Mizoram state. Falam people call themselves ‘Laimi’, but there are several sub-tribes such as Laizo, Tlaisun, Zangiat, Sim, Zahau, Hualngo etc. Likewise, there are sub-tribes among the Zomi – Paite, Sihzin etc.


Most of the people from Haka, Thlantlang and Matupi districts go to middle and southern part of Mizoram i.e. Saiha, Lunglei, Lawngtlai districts. In the villages of the border area, there is a concentration of Chin refugees, since most of the refugee families settle there so that they can easily get the kind of work (farming and cultivation) they are already familiar with. According to a council member of a border village in Champhai district, there are 60 Chin refugee families in one particular village. In some places, the local people share their land with the refugees for cultivation. As there is no refugee resettlement programme, nor a registration office that restricts the movement of the refugees in Mizoram state, many people move around the state wherever they can get jobs for their survival. The refugees and the local Mizo people do not use the term ‘refugee’, since they find it strange. Also, for the sake of their own security, the refugees try to b! e assimilated by the local Mizo people as soon as they settle within Mizoram.



VOL.IV No.I JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2001 Interview With Lieutenant Colonel Biak To

The life and views of a veteran Army and Police Officer


( Rhododendron Note: Lieutenant Colonel Biak To a B.A graduate from Mandalay University, enlisted as a private in the Burmese Army on 17 November 1973 after he found out that his movement as leader of Haka University Students Association was closely monitored by the notorious Military Intelligence Service (MIS). It was the time when a new constitution for Socialist authoritarian regime was being drafted in Burma and the authorities were in full alert to crush every possible hindrance to the progress of constitutional making process. After going through different levels of military training with a number of postings in different parts of Burma including one in the Light Infantry Battalion (101) under Divisional Command 77 stationed in Wa area, he became a Captain in 1984.


In 1990, he shifted from the Army to Police service on a rank-to-rank basis, becoming a police inspector. Being an educated man with adequate service experience, he was promoted Major in 1994. And by 1998, he became Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Police Regiment.


In 200, for the reason that was never made clear to him, Lt. Colonel Biak To had his position stripped off from him. Much to his surprise, he was fired with a fine of Kyats 15,9000, which he had to pay apparently without knowing why.


In the following disclosure to CHRO, Lt. Colonel Biak To revealed how he was discriminated and unfairly treated by his superiors in the Army and Police simply because of his religious and ethnic identity. He also explained his views and perspectives involving the various aspects of problems facing Burma.)


CHRO: How was your life during your service in the Burmese Army and Police?


Lt. Col. BT: My father was Rev. Lal Hnin. He was one of the first Chin converts into Christianity. So, I was grown up in a good Christian family. I finished high school from Haka State High School and graduated from Mandalay University in 1972.


I was a weight lifter and healthy young man. I would like to become an army officer. Therefore, after my graduation from university, I applied for Military Officer Training School. However, because I am a Chin ethnic nationality, my application was not considered. So, I joined the army as a private on November 17,1973. I tried very hard to please my superiors in performing my duties. I was promoted to Lance corporal in February l976 and corporal in October of the same year in 1976. Because of my work performance, I was allowed to join Officer Training School in 1979 in service. Then I became second Lieutenant in April 1980. That means it took me almost 8 years to reach this level while other Burmese Buddhist graduates could attain this level of rank just one year after their graduation from a university.


The vast majority of the ranking officers in the Burmese Army are Burman Budhists. As a result, I was always discriminated against the dominant Budhists for my being an ethnic Chin Christian. For example, the non-Burman soldiers were selectively assigned in the front line to fight against the Karen rebels, saying that we were brave and loyal. The ethnic soldiers were, in fact, respected as the most brave and hardy fighters in the Burmese Army. As ethnic minority soldiers, we enjoyed virtually no rest time and were never given permission or leave to visit our relatives. The most frustrating thing was when we returned from a successful operation or captured enemy positions, the Burman soldiers who remained in the camps all the while and did not participate in the actual combat got promoted, while we, the actual fighters were neglected for promotions. A Burman officer with less educational background and service experience would become a Colonel while I remained as a Captain. Our superiors would always encourage us to become Budhists so as to be considered for promotions, but we always chose not to be promoted than abandoning our faith. An ethnic soldier would not be promoted to a position higher than Major regardless of his service years and how many times he had been transferred.


There is no difference in the Police either. We were repeatedly told to convert to Buddhism if we really aspired for promotions. This also tended to be a mere deception. A close friend of mine, Thein Lwin, an ethnic Shan Christian converted to Buddhism for want of promotions but was never promoted. He just ended up being cheated of his faith.


On July 10, 2000, I gave a speech to the police parade mentioning my being a Chin Christian and son of a pastor that from childhood, I never wanted to tell lies, steal or misbehave and that I wanted everyone to do likewise. Four days later, on July 14, I received an order saying that I have been dismissed from the police.


CHRO: Do you know the reason why you were laid off?


Lt.Co. BT: I still have no idea on what exact account I was dismissed. The order came all of a sudden without any formal procedures. Under normal circumstances either a preliminary inquiry or departmental inquiry should have been conducted before a government service could be tried for any misconduct or violations of rules. There was not any such thing happening in my case. At the time of my dismissal, I was the only person holding a B.A degree among officers of my rank in the entire nine Police Regiments in Burma. In fact, I should have been the first one to be considered for promotions. Obviously, the authorities did not want to see a Chin Christian holding high position that they made a pre-emptive move to dismiss me without any apparent charges. It just did not end with my dismissal. In an attempt to prevent me from leaving the country, the authorities disqualified me from being eligible for a passport in seven years. However, I was able to obtain a passport under a fake name and secretly managed to sneak out of the country. I have a wife and three children remaining in Burma. I am constantly worried about them because if the authorities found out my absence, they would be subject to harassment and persecution.


CHRO: As a middle rank police officer, can you tell us about the prison conditions in Burma? Under what conditions do the prisoners commonly live?


Lt.Col. BT: Prison conditions differ from one another. In a major prison like Insein prison, different inmates receive different treatment depending on the severity and importance of their case. Inmates serving political sentence would receive better treatments in terms of food and facilities so as to look good before foreign agencies that might come to assess the prison conditions. All the prisoners in general, are not adequately receiving food and medical attention. In some cases, prisoners mostly depend on their relatives who brought them food from outside. Prisoners having no relatives around have to stay hungry. There are nine hard labor camps across Burma in which inmates have to work on government’s agricultural projects and road construction etc. This usually happened under serious conditions and beyond the prisoners can endure. There is no medical treatment available for them unless their relatives can send them money to guy it. But the jail officials would always take the money for themselves. The number of death in prisons is dramatically increasing everywhere. People are so much afraid of being ended up in the country’s prison that they are fleeing the county each day.


CHRO: What is the nexus between the military regime and drug?


I do not know much about the drug. Drugs come mostly from the area controlled by Wa militants, which had signed cease-fire agreement with the SPDC. This drug involved mostly stimulant tablets and fewer amount of cocaine. There are more than 50 such refinery machines operating in Wa area. These drugs are transported and smuggled out to Thailand from where they are transported again to other countries.


CHRO: How would you describe your views with regards to the present military regime and the country’s problems in general?


What appears to be the main problem with the present military regime is a notion that they can stay in power as long as they can cheat the people. They do not seem to care about what is going on around the world other than their own ideological belief. They have sold off all the country’s natural resources including teaks and gemstones and pocketed it for themselves. Huge amount of money is spent on military hard wares and equipments. They projected some money on building bridges and dams, which they boasted them in the State-controlled Television broadcast and newspapers as the unprecedented achievements that ever happened only under their reign. They believe that no one including the UN can interfere with the internal matters and that they will run the country as they like.


What military regime has in mind is only the benefits and welfare of their own families while the people at large are being pushed to the point of starvation. Prices are skyrocketing day after day and year after year. A person could live easily on 3.15 kyats a day earning in the 1960s. But today, kyats 300 cannot even survive a person. Inflation rate is fast becoming high because the government had allowed former Drug lord Khunsa and his associates to launder their drug money in the country, which involved large scale buying of properties and land across the country.


The question of democracy seems to be still far away. The military officials have enjoyed very much the taste of being in power that they will never want cede it again. They do not even attempt to understand what democracy really is. The cry of ethnic minority for self-determination and federalism means some sort of separatism or independence movement to the military junta. All their intention and attempts are only to suppress any kind of elements they deem a threat to them. Their targets have constantly been the NLD and Aungsan Suukyi. They are now trying to expand the arm force on a daily basis. More than thrice the numbers of normal recruits are now in the Defense Studies Academy in Maymyo. Because the junta has held everything so tight that without any assistance or effective pressure from abroad, I think the question of democracy is still not within reach.


Burmese Soldiers Stole A Church’s Solar Plate


Burmese soldiers led by Lt. Kyaw Min of Light Infantry Battalion ( LIB ) 266 in Vuangtu camp, Thantlang township, Chin State stole a solar plate and a 12-volt battery from Lawngtlang (B) village on October 13, 2000. The soldiers, who said they were running out of battery, asked the headman of the village to find a solar plate. The headman, Lian Rem ( name change ), told the officer that the village didn’t have a solar plate, but unfortunately, the officer saw one that was being charged in the sunlight, and he told the headman to pick it. The headman explained that that was the property of a Church. The officer threatened him and forced him to take the solar plate which he would take for nothing.


The villagers expected that they would get it back the next day, but the platoon commander Lt. Kyaw Min asked them to send two porters to carry the solar plate and the battery to his camp to be his property. It worths over Ks. 100000, including the labor charge. The solar plate was donated to the Church by Lawngtlang natives working in Malaysia. Vuangtu and Lawngtlang are villages in Thantlang township, Chin State.


The soldiers in Vuangtu camp had been reported to have the practice of taking properties from business people who come and go through Hlamphei, Khuabung ‘A’ and Lawngtlang ‘A’.


In July 2000, they took 70 heads of cattle from smugglers and sold them in the villages for their own pocket. They also seized 15 horse-loads of goods which the owners never got back. In addition, the soldiers asked the village headmen to help them cover what they did to the smugglers. When the headmen denied, they were threatened and disturbed by the Burmese soldiers in several ways. The name of the headmen are hidden for security reason.


Burma Orders Christians In Chin State Not To Celebrate Christmas

Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 23 Dec 00


The SPDC State Peace and Development Council army has ordered major cities in Chin State, where over 90 per cent of the people are Christians, not to hold any grand Christmas celebrations and some villages are not even allowed to hold any celebration at all. New Delhi based DVB Democratic Voice of Burma correspondent Thet Naing filed this report.


Begin Thet Naing recording The SPDC frontline troops summoned people from Haka and Thangtlang Townships in Chin State and told them they were not allowed to hold any Christmas ceremony and prayer meeting. They went from village to village and told them if they wanted to hold any ceremony they are to hold it in a simple and discrete manner at their homes. Although the chairmen of the village Peace and Development Councils and pastors argued that Christmas is a very auspicious feast for Christians and requested them to allow Christmas celebrations the column commander of the SPDC forces refused and said that if they hold any such ceremonies rebels from the Chin National Front, CNF, could infiltrate and that is the reason such ceremonies are not allowed.


He continued to say if the chairmen and pastors deliberately hold any such Christmas feast in defiance of the order, the village chairmen and pastors will all be arrested and recruited as porters. They also threatened them that the people from southern China State will work as porters carrying things up north and people from northern Chin State will work as porters carrying stuff down south. A villager from Longlei Village in Thangtlang Township, who arrived recently in India, said that the Chin Christians are angry at the junta’s threat and they are now undecided whether to hold the Christmas celebrations and also worry about what will happen to them if they are forcibly taken as porters for celebrating the feast. The SPDC has ordered only low key celebrations ward-wise in Haka, Falam, and Tiddim in Chin State. End of recording


Supply Wood Or Pay Fine


Each block of villages in Paletwa area, Southern Chin State, were forced to supply wood of 75 cubic feet per block. The defaulter Hemapi block had to pay the fine of Ks. 60000 to Major Zaw Tun, the battalion commander of Sinletwa. The Battalion, Light Infantry Battalion LIB 538, issued an order that each of the 18 blocks in the surrounding area must saw the wood and send to him. The villagers were cheated that the wood would be used for building boats for the convenience of the public.


In October 2000, the Platoon commander Kyaw Kyaw Oo of LIB 538 ordered the villages of Pathiantlang (Upper and Lower), Sia Oo, Hemate and Hemapi to supply 150 cubic feet each as a punishment for having moved the villages two years ago.Major Zaw Tun sold the wood to traders in ThuraAi for Ks. 1000 per cubic feet, only for his own pocket. It was learnt that he issued the order after the ThuraAi traders gave him the advice to do so, and offered a good deal. In the transaction, the traders were given the right to reject wood with flaws, in which case, the villagers were told to supply “good wood.”


In remote areas like Sinletwa, not every village has people who know how to saw wood. Shortage of tools is another problem. Some villages had to hire wood men for Ks. 500 per person per day. Maung Tin Aye and Kyaw Thein of ThuraAi, Tun Win of Sinletwa, and Aung Tun Hla of Sweletwa were reported to have purchased the wood from Major Zaw Tun.


Soldiers who had a temporary camp in Sweletwa, Sinowa and Puahhmung demanded 2 persons from each block, to serve in the camp. The villagers serve in the camp as slave labours, doing whatever they were told including night sentry.


Villagers of Para, Tlopi, Hemapi, Hemate, Pintia, uppper and lower Pathiantlang, Mau, Salangpi and Arakan villages near Saiha held a meeting on September 17, and decided to report the deeds of the camp commanders to higher authorities. Each household in the whole area contributed Ks. 100 for the expenses of those who would go for the reporting to plain Burma.


UNHCR To Cut Monthly Allowance To Burmese Refugees In India


New Delhi, January 16, 2000


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in India has informed the Burmese refugees in New Delhi that it would not be possible to continue to provide monthly subsistence allowances (SA) to all refugees due to the level of UNHCR voluntary funds available for the year 2001. Although UNHCR officials have not announced when exactly the SA will be cut, it is now talking with the representatives of Burmese refugees to evolve alternatives such as loan schemes and skill-related training for the refugees.


In recent two meetings held on 14 December and 15 January, 2001 with representatives of Burmese refugees, UNHCR officials cited the reason of SA cut as low availability of financial contributions from donor countries for this year. As a result, while UNHCR (India) had received the budget allocation of US $ 1.6 millions last year, only US $ 1.2 millions is allocated for the New Delhi Office for the year 2001. Moreover, 20% of the allocated budget for this year is again to be frozen as some donor countries might not fully contribute their promised amount.


“With this in mind, the further extension of monthly subsistence allowances to all refugees would not be possible beyond UNHCR present financial commitment”, said UNHCR in a latter sent out to refugees’ representatives. Marie-Jose Canelli, Officer Incharge, signed the letter. It claimed that UNHCR (India) spent 40% of last year’s budget amounting to US dollar six hundred thousands only for the SA of Afghanistan and Burmese refugees in India.


UNHCR provides monthly Subsistence Allowance of Indian Rupees 1,400 (US $ 30) per person to most of the Burmese refugees in Delhi. There are around 800 Burmese refugees living under the mandate of UNHCR in India. The Government of India has, since late 1999, issued Residential Permit (RP) for the UNHCR-recognized Burmese refugees and the permit is to be renewed every six month.


UNHCR is now seeking the active involvement of the Burmese refugee community in activities geared towards improving their self-reliance, from planning to execution. It has advised the Burmese refugees to set up various Committees, which would work on the projected activities towards welfare and self-reliance of the refugees. It is, however, to continue to provide SA, through its one of NGO partners in Delhi, to the extremely vulnerable individuals and would continue to subsidize refugee children’s access to education.


Burmese refugee community in New Delhi responded the news with dismay and urged the UNHCR either to continue the monthly Subsistence Allowance or resettle them in the third countries such as USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


“We are shocked to hear the news of SA cut. Going back to our own country means imprisonment for life and death for us”, said Elvis Ceu, an ethnic Chin national from Burma. Except some, many of the Burmese refugees are not interested in self-reliance activities as they said it would be very difficult for them to work in India. However, for UNHCR, “resettlement” is the least preferred solution as it entirely depends on those countries to accept the refugees.


Source: Mizzima News Group (


Burmese Seeking U.S. Asylum Held In Custody, Limbo In Guam

By Fredric N. Tulsky

The San Jose Mercury News, January 23, 2001


GUAM — In the past several months, more than 700 Burmese people have fled the repressive regime back home and made their way to this small Pacific island, hoping for refuge in the United States.


Instead, they have found themselves trapped.


They got in thanks to a visa loophole designed to encourage tourism in the U.S. protectorate. They stayed because what they came for was political asylum in the mainland United States. But with a backlog in the system and no asylum officials in place on the island, the refugees are marooned,waiting months, or years, for the U.S. Justice Department to consider their pleas.


Their treatment reveals yet another way in which the U.S. asylum system fails to protect vulnerable refugees. The Mercury News previously reported that the asylum system is marred by gross disparities in the outcome of cases depending on which administrative judge hears the case, and whether the asylum seeker is represented by a lawyer.


The Burmese refugees stranded on Guam are living crowded by the dozens in small private houses. Not eligible for work permits or government aid, they survive on handouts from church groups. Most are left to pursue their asylum claims on their own, unable to afford the few local attorneys willing to help.


Thirty-eight others fared even worse: They have spent months locked up in the Guam Detention Center because they answered honestly at the airport when asked if they intended to seek asylum in the U.S. or to stay in Guam for just 15 days and return home. Under detention, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, have been separated for months. A pregnant woman was kept in isolation in a cramped, locked cell for four months because officials feared that she might be carrying tuberculosis and were afraid — because of her pregnancy — to conduct a chest X-ray.


Last week, a delegation of church officials, accompanied by Mercury News staff members and interpreters, arrived to document the conditions. The Guam governor, after meeting with representatives from Church World Service, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and local church officials, protested the situation to Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials in Washington.


The INS had taken the position that the visa-waiver program rules meant they could neither release those in custody nor permit others to travel to the mainland United States. This week, INS officials said the agency has agreed to ease its stance and release the Burmese in custody in Guam, and will consider permitting them to relocate to the mainland United States while their asylum claims are pending.


The change in policy brought immediate, if cautious, reaction. “The detention of this group of people, who were not given a chance to even apply for release, was inappropriate,” said Matthew Wilch of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service in Baltimore, who was part of the group. “But we remain concerned about the large number of people who fled persecution and remain stranded on the island.”


A U.S. territory not much larger in area than the city of San Jose, Guam is situated thousands of miles closer to Asia than any other place where U.S. immigration law applies.


That has made it a target not just for Burmese. In recent years, Chinese smugglers trying to transport laborers from Fujian province have used Guam as a route to the United States. Guam officials fear signs of a new effort in several recent incidents in which fishing boats have pulled close to shore and left Chinese passengers to swim to the island. Two such passengers died offshore earlier this month, apparently mauled while trying to swim over the rough coral reef, and then attacked by sharks.


The Burmese first trickled into Guam, but over the past six months, the numbers swelled; hundreds of Burmese came, including doctors and engineers, pastors and teachers. They came seeking political and religious freedom and telling stories of arrest and torture for practicing Christianity or demonstrating for democracy.


They arrived with valid passports but nothing more. Since 1986, Burma, also known as Myanmar, had been among the countries whose residents did not need visas in order to visit Guam. The visa-waiver program was established to attract Asian vacationers to the island, which suffers from a double-digit unemployment rate.


Most of the Burmese got through the airport, but then found nowhere to go.


Sa Tin Lai, 32, was a pastor for the largely Christian Chin community of Burma until he fled to Guam last November. Lai said that he became politically active in college, and was involved in the 1988 student uprisings.


Lai said that he was arrested and held for 25 days and interrogated day and night about the student movement. During the questioning, he was slapped, and had a gun held to his head. He described being forced to crawl on his knees over sharp rocks, and being fed rice mixed with sand.


After his release, troubles continued for Lai, who received a degree in theology in 1999. He finally fled when the church deacon warned him that his life was in danger because he angered military officials by repairing the water-damaged church.


When he arrived in Guam, Lai had no idea where to go. A taxi took him to a local hotel. Staffers there put him in contact with the Chin Christian Fellowship, which arranged for him to stay with four other Chin asylum seekers in a one-bedroom house.


On another part of the island, a group of 41 Chin men crowd into a four-bedroom house. There is little furniture; the front room, barren, is used for prayer and for sleep. The men pass the long waiting hours outside striking a ball across the front lawn with a makeshift wooden putter into a white cup in the ground.


Thomas Mung, 25, is one of the youngest of the group. The son of a political activist, Mung said he was arrested and beaten for his own political activities as a student. He later produced a magazine, angering military officials again, and eventually fled. Like many of the Burmese refugees on Guam, Mung said that he borrowed money in the summer and paid a broker to arrange his transit out of Burma through Thailand to Guam.


“When I arrived, I said to a taxi driver, `Please tell me where the Burmese people are,’ ” Mung said. Asked what comes next, he said simply, “I cannot return to Burma.”


Mung and his housemates depend on handouts. As they traded stories near their makeshift putting green, Deacon Frank C. Tenorio of the Catholic archdiocese arrived in a truck, bearing bags of rice. He said he brings food and old furniture when he can to four houses where Burmese live; he has taken eight other Burmese into his own home.


“Men are not supposed to cry,” said the deacon, as his eyes filled with tears. “But I am so moved by them; they have been through so much pain. I wish I could do more.”


There is little doubt that Burma is a country filled with atrocities committed by the ruling military government. The annual U.S. State Department report cites an “extremely poor human rights record and longstanding severe repression of its citizens.” The military has ruled since 1962 but the situation has worsened since 1988.


Burmese people — particularly those from the certain ethnic groups – have been subject to arrest, rape, even death at the hands of military officers, the State Department reports.


As a result, Burmese asylum seekers have fared far better than most once reaching U.S. territory. Nationwide, Justice Department statistics analyzed by the Mercury News show, about 55 percent of Burmese applicants won their asylum cases from 1995 through 1999 — a success rate more than twice that of applicants from other countries. The law, in accordance with international convention, offers asylum for people who have a well-founded fear of persecution if sent back home, based on their race, religion, national origin, membership in a social group or because of their political opinion.


Neither asylum officers nor immigration judges are based in Guam, leaving the department struggling to keep up with the growing number of asylum seekers.


More than 500 asylum applicants have not yet had hearings, and scores more Burmese have not yet submitted their asylum applications. One woman, 23, said she fled her homeland after she was threatened with military arrest because of her political activism; she arrived in Guam in 1998, and is still waiting for a hearing before an asylum officer.


None of the scores of asylum seekers interviewed outside of custody last week had lawyers. “Nobody can afford one,” said Dan Baumwang, an engineer and member of the Christian Kachin ethnic minority, who fled Burma last year. “Many thought when they got here they were finished.’


Baumwang, who was educated in London, lives with 23 other Kachin people in two adjoining two-bedroom apartments. On a nail on his wall are the tales of seven compatriots, written in their own hands, in their own language.


He provides them copies of the asylum application, and translates their statements. Baumwang said he had not even suggested to the asylum seekers that they should try to find any documentation to support their testimony; they were afraid to take any political or religious materials with them.


“I don’t know how they would get such things,” he said.


Under the tourism promotion program, most of the Burmese refugees were waived through the airport when they arrived. The INS officer in charge of Guam, David Johnston, said that he instructed the airport inspectors not to profile arriving foreign citizens based on ethnicity if they had valid passports.


But several dozen were stopped because they stood out, such as the 21 Burmese who arrived on the same flight on Oct. 3. Although they did not know each other, a broker had arranged their passage together.


The group was sent for detailed questioning by airport inspectors. One after another, they said freely that they were hoping to apply for asylum and stay in the United States. Their honesty was costly. They were sent to jail.


Johnston said the regulations gave him no choice: Burmese who did not intend to return home within the 15-day limit of the visa-waiver program were violating the rule and had to sit in custody until they were granted asylum by an administrative immigration judge.


They are held at the Guam Detention Center, where INS detainees make up roughly half the prison population, said the warden, Francisco Cristosomo. The men live in two large, air-conditioned barracks built in 1999 in response to a flood of Chinese boat people.


A third barracks sits empty. It was built to house women, but with just 11 Chinese and six Burmese women in custody, prison officials said it is more efficient to hold them in jail cells. They live with the local prison inmates, sometimes as many as four to a cell the size of a walk-in closet.


One of the women is an ethnic Chin, whose father was a Christian pastor. She said she was arrested in Burma in 1993 after she spoke against the government within earshot of an army officer. She said the officer then beat and raped her. She fled to India but last year, when she no longer felt safe there, she returned to Burma.


She continued her political activity and heard that the military officer was after her once again, so she fled to Guam. When she arrived, she tested positive for tuberculosis in a skin test. Because she was pregnant, officials were afraid to take an X-ray. Instead, they kept her in isolation.


But when the church group toured the prison last week and found the woman, they were alarmed by the effect of months of isolation. The Rev. Jerry Elmore, pastor of the local University Baptist Church, offered to sponsor the woman himself, so she could be released from custody to his care.


Officials balked. But a day later, she was released and given a chest X-ray. “I am happier,” she told a reporter who toured the facility the following day. “But I still feel weak and afraid in this place.”


In October, Robert A. Underwood, the island’s non-voting congressional representative, asked INS officials to drop Burma from the visa-waiver program. He said he feared that the Burmese asylum-seekers could cause the entire program to be curtailed. Citing “law enforcement and national security interests,” the Justice Department dropped Burma from the program as of Jan. 10.


That change is what made officials more receptive to releasing the Burmese refugees already on Guam, said Wilch, the Lutheran advocate for asylum seekers. With Burma off the program, he said, the INS could release the asylum-seekers without worrying that Guam would become a magnet.


`It worked out perfectly in terms of timing for the people there,” said Wilch. But, he added, “that still leaves one unanswered concern: What about the people who are still in Burma? We have no answer for that.”


Ecumenical Group Led By Church World Service Secures The Release Of Asylum Seekers From Burma


January 30, 2001, NEW YORK CITY – An ecumenical group composed of staff from the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Chin Freedom Coalition traveled to Guam the week of January 15 to advocate for the release of 39 asylum seekers from Burma detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The ecumenical group worked with the Governor of Guam, the INS and churches already supporting the asylum seekers from Burma to secure their release, which began Monday, January 29.


The 39 asylum seekers of Chin ethnicity fled their country to escape religious persecution and ethnic cleansing by the military regime of Myanmar (also known as Burma). For the past six months, they have been detained by the Department of Corrections since their arrival in Guam.


“The compelling nature of their claims is what brought me here,” explained Matt Wilch director for immigration and asylum concerns at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “So far, the grant rate of this group is 95%. These are people fleeing torture, rape, and scorched earth tactics against their communities all because they insist on practicing their Christian faith and promoting democratic ideals. They deserve our protection and quick relief.”


The ecumenical group toured the prison where the 39 asylum seekers were detained, made pastoral visits to their quarters, visited other asylum seekers living on the island and met with ethnic organizations working for the release of the detainees. “We feel that these refugees face unnecessary hurdles in the asylum process,” remarked Rev. Joan Maruskin, Washington Representative for Church World Service. “They live in terribly cramped conditions and wait for months to have their claims adjudicated by the INS. We want to bring these problems to light and help the refugees find solutions which will lead to their safety and ability to reestablish their lives.”


The delegation began its efforts on Guam by meeting with the church groups who support the more than 800 asylum seekers from Burma already living on the island while they await the adjudication of their claims. Only two lawyers are available to process the claims of asylum seekers on Guam, so the wait is long. A coalition of Protestant and Catholic groups has provided the refugees with food, shelter, clothing and other assistance as they go through the asylum process.


Delegates met with the Governor of Guam, Mr. Carl T.C. Gutierrez, on January 18 to enlist his support for the refugees’ release. The Governor commended the group’s efforts and the efforts of Guam’s church groups to support the refugees. He then sent a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters to ask for the group’s release to the community and quick adjudication of their asylum claims.


The ecumenical delegation included Rev. Maruskin, Helen Morris and Adijatu Abiose, Esq. of Church World Service; Matt Wilch of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; Zo T. Hmung of Chin Freedom Coalition; and Dr. Donoso Escobar of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Rev. Euford from the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention.


Contact: Church World Service (212) 870-3153 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (410) 230-2791 01/30/01



By Richard Zatu


Can you identify a Chin national in the streets of Yangon, Mandalay or elsewhere? Chances are that you can’t. However, you’ll be able, most of the time, to tell an Indian or a Chinese by the colour of his skin. But it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to differentiate other racial groups of Myanmar from another by appearance since we all have similar skin colour and roughly the same body build.


One way to know a certain national is by the clothes he wears. Some people will know a Chin national by the “Chin” longyi, htamein or jacket he puts on or the “Chin” Shan bag slinging over his shoulders or the “Chin” tie in his neck. But this could be deceptive for anyone can buy these and wear them. A pair of trousers is more common among the Chins than other ethnic groups in our country. But this is not an accurate or proper way of finding out who is a Chin. More and more Chins, especially government employees, are clad in the Burmese pasoe and taikpon and an increasing number of people in Myanmar are putting on a pair of long pants. This means that you cannot identify a Chin national, or any other nationals for that matter, with the clothes on their backs. But it is often one of the many ways by which to recognize a racial group.


Older Chin males have the lob of their ears perforated for wearing an earring. This was one good way of identifying a Chin. But younger Chins have stopped the practice. So perforated ears is no longer a sign of our Chinness.


The identification marks mentioned above are mostly physical and are therefore easily recognizable. But there are many other ways in which the Chin people could be identified.


For example, a good way to recognize a Chin is by hearing someone speaks one of the many Chin dialects. But of course there’s always an exception to the rule. People of other racial groups may also speak Chin if they had lived in Chin State long enough.


Still another method to find out the identity of a Chin is by hearing someone speak Burmese or English with a Chin accent. But one has to be familiar with the accent first.


One sure way to know a Chin is to understand that he has a Chin name since no other racial group will adopt one. But one has to be familiar with Chin names first.


Although an overwhelming majority of the Chin people are Christians, no knowledgeable person ever identify a people by faith. And it will be impossible to know a person’s faith unless you ask him and he tells you. But the knowledge of the faith of a person by asking or by any other ways often helps other persons to know the former’s identity.


Of course there are many more ways of identifying a Chin or members of other tribal groups – like the food he eats, the songs he sings, the customs he is required to follow. But these are not easily perceived unless one interacts or mixed with the people in question.


All these means that the Chin person is difficult to recognize because he has little identifications marks.


So if you meet a Chin young man with a Burmese name wearing a pasoe and a taikpon or a T shirt and a jean and doesn’t know any Chin dialect and speaks to you in perfect Burmese or in English with a Burmese accent, you won’t be able to know that the young man you are speaking to is a Chin. Such young men and women can be seen everywhere.


The above mentioned examples are not the only means by which people can recognize a Chin or other racial groups. If a certain ethnic group is well represented in the government, the military, the professions, business, in music or even in sports, their presence will still be felt and they will still be visible among other racial groups. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the Chin people. Time was when there were Chin ministers of government, Chin Ambassadors, Chin high ranking military officers, well-known Chin boxers, footballers, tennis players. But this is history now. We can say we are no longer as visible as before.


Globalization makes the countries of the world more and more like each other in every respect. Larger economies and more advanced civilizations are encroaching upon other smaller economies and less developed civilizations. States and cultures are unable or unwilling to stem the tide.


Some languages like English and French, especially English, have mostly replaced native tongues of a large number of nations. It has become the lingua franca of many countries and the second language of many more others. It has become the language of diplomacy, commerce and science. English has become the international language of choice. This is a phenomenon in which internationalization threatens other cultures and identities.


Similarly and more easily, larger population and more advanced culture and language within a single country can absorb or edge out smaller ones. Myanmar is no exception. Most of our brethren in Myanmar have now the same faith, the same mode of dress with the Burmese majority, the same culture and have now largely adopted Burmese language and names. So they are more or less like the Burmese and have mostly lost their identity.


Compared to other racial groups in our country, we might say that the Chin people still could retain much of their identity. We can say this because, unlike other states, Chin State is the only state in Myanmar where nearly all its inhabitants are the people that bears the name of the state. Unlike other states and divisions, it is the only state where most of its inhabitants are Christians. Unlike other states, it is the state where Burmese is not widely spoken. Unlike other states, with the exception of Kachin State, it is where the ethnic names as opposed to Burmese ones are given widely. Unlike other states or divisions, it is the state where western (make this international) attire as opposed to Burmese dress is most widely worn.


But in recent past, the Chin people, like our brethren before us, came in droves to live and settle down in Yangon, Mandalay, or elsewhere. Like our brethren we have and will be adopting the cultures, languages, and mode of dress of the Burmese majority. The Chin young men and women have already and are going to marry outside of their race since they will be mixing with people of other ethnic groups. Chances are that their children will have non-Chin names and will speak no Chin. They will have nothing to do with the Chins. They will be assimilated with others, and we will be assimilated. This is a natural process. We can’t stem the tide.


In this way we as a people will lose much of our identity in the not-too-distant future if the present trend continues. And the trend is likely to continue. It is beyond our control. Or is it? Source: “Thinking about Christianity and the Chins in Myanmar”, Yangon, March 1999, Pp 92 – 94.


US Refugee Policy Should Include Persecuted Christians in Annual Admissions

Persecuted Karen, Karenni, and Chin Christians Not Allowed


Refugee resettlement embodies America’s humanitarian tradition. In a time of increasing tension and conflict, it is essential that America’s door remains open to victims of violence and intolerance who have no other place to go.


The legal basis of the refugee admissions program is the Refugee Act of 1980, which defines a refugee in words that closely track those of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: “a refugee is a person who is outside his/her country and is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of a well-founded fear that he/she will be persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” The Act also allows the President to extend this definition to certain persons still resident in countries he specifies.


Christians Overlooked


Unfortunately, several persecuted communities in Burma with strong historical ties to the U.S. have been overlooked by this policy. The Karen, Karenni, and Chin people are systematically persecuted by the Burmese military government. A very high percentage of these people are Christian and are oppressed because of their ethnicity and faith. These people were our allies in the 2nd World War and fought side by side with our soldiers to repel the Axis forces. They were promised by the British that they would have their own homeland after the war, but it never happened. After the war the Burmese majority–who sided with the Axis–engaged in a policy of ethnic cleansing that continues to this day. The situation deteriorated greatly in 1988 when the military took over the government. The Karen, Karenni, and Chin have been fighting for survival for nearly fifty years, and could be considered the “forgotten people.”


Currently more than 100,000 Karen, Karenni, and Chin men, women, and children live in refugee camps in Thailand and India. Thousands more are internally displaced in the Burmese jungle. These internally displaced individuals are cutoff from outside assistance and live one step ahead of roving Burmese soldiers.


In FY 1998 the ceiling for refugee admissions from East Asia was 14,000. In the first seven months of that year, some 4,400 refugees arrived in the U.S., only 86 were from Burma. Most of these were ethnic Burmese.


In FY 1999, 10,204 refugees entered the United States from East Asia. The majority of FY 1999 admissions were from Vietnam. Again, most, if not all the Burma admissions were ethnic Burmese.


Time for Change


It is time for the United States to remember our forgotten allies and specifically include the Karen, Karenni, and Chin refugees and displaced persons in the annual admissions from East Asia.


Please Contact your Congressional Representatives in Washington today.


Source: Christian Freedom International Website



Rev. Dr. Chum Awi


The genealogy of the Chin, according to the linguists, stems from Sino- Tibetan which is one out of three language groups, i.e., Altaic, Indo-European, and Austro-Asiatic. Sino-Tibetan gave birth to Tibeto- Burman which in turn gave birth to Tibetan, Yi( Lolo ), Pui( Minchia), TuChia, Hani( Woni), Lisu, Lahu, Nasi(Moso), Chingpo(Kachin), Chiang( Chin), Nu, and Tulung ( see Encyclopedia Britanica). Early writers, both British and Americans, mentioned the name of the Chins as Khang, Khiang or whatsoever. The words Chin, Chiang or Khiang were romanization of the original Chinese word ” Yin.”


The Chins are found in India, Bangladesh, and in Burma. There are Chins who live in plain areas and those who live on mountains have a word “zo” to describe places which are high and cold. Some Chins are propagating “zo-mi” as their original name. In fact, the genetic word “Chin” comes from the Chinese word “Yin” which means man. In the Pinyin romanization, “Yin” becomes ” Chin.” Thus, we have China as the country of the Yin people. culturally and traditionally, the Chins have many kinds of similarities with the Chinese. Sine 1889, the year in which the British empire annexed the Chin Hill, there were British political officers and American missionaries who have closely worked for the Chins. Some of these officers have remarks on the culture, way of life, attitude, habits, body structure, etc., of the Chins.


The ”Chin today are widespread in several other countries mainly because of their ill – feeling against the prevailing military rulers. It is necessary to introduce the Chins to other people for the purpose of mutual understanding and interpersonal relationship. To serve this purpose, this article depicts the remarks made by the British political officers and the American missionaries. The first person who made a remark on the Chins was Rev. Arthur Carson who lived and worked for the Asho- Chin in Thayer Myo. In his letter dated January 19, 1888 to the headquarters office of the Baptists in the United States of America, he wrote: There are so many dialects that we can never hope to know and use them all. Our hopes for the future are high. We find them naturally a superior people to the Burmans. They are not quarrelsome, may easily be taught to be independent and manly, and has a sense of gratitude for favors received. They have good mind and hearts capable of great love. Yet, they are just as capable as enmities as of friendships. The greatest evil we will have to meet among them is temperance.


A British medical officer Major Newland who himself married a Chin woman in Hakha town wrote a book called A Practical Handbook of Lai Dialect ( 1895). In his book he wrote: A Chin id manly and independent fellow. He has not the cringing, fawning habits of his neighbours the Burmans . He always considers himself the equal of anyone. This independent spirit is the only favorable quality of a Chin. He would be a fine fellow but for his drinking habits. Carey and Tuck, who expedited the Chin Hills, wrote volumes of book which they entitle The Chin Hills ( 1896). In their entitled one can find the following verses:


The slow speech, the serious manner, the respect of birth and the knowledge of pedigrees, the duty of revenge, the taste for and the treacherous method of hospitality, the clannish feeling, the vice of avarice, the filthy state of the body, mutual distrust, impatience under control, the want of power of combination and the continued effort, arrogance in victory, speedy discouragement and panic in defeat . . . The Chin Hills are peopled by many clans and communities, calling themselves to be distinct and superior origin . . . Owning firstly to the want of a written language and secondly to the intermiable inter-village warfare, has split up and resulted in Babel of tongues, a variety of customs, and a diversity of modes of living . . . Except in the prosecution of warfare, robbery is practically unknown. A.S. Reid in his book Chin -Lushai land observed the culture of the Chins as:


Owning no central authority, possessing no written language, obeying but the verbal mandates of the chiefs, Hospitable and affectionate in their homes unsparing of age and sex while on war path; Untutored as the remotest races in central Africa, and yet endowed with an intelligence. Rev. Dr East, a medical missionary to the Chin in the 1890s, called the Chins as ” splendid people.” His remarks is bases on what he found the existence of God in the hearts, words, and attitudes of the Chins. His diary was compiled in a book form and called it Burma Manuscripts (1910). He wrote: I was led to believe that these people had no knowledge God, no word of love, no word of home. However, I could not accept that ideas as I very thoroughly believe in racial unity and that God made all man out of one blood. It is a certainty that the Chins believe in the God of Heaven as Creator. This knowledge is universal among them.


Rev. Dr Strait, an American Baptist missionary to the Chins stationing in Hakha, did not accept the idea that the Chins are so civilized. Rather. he praised the social system of the Chins as well as the skills of women who could weave a high quality silk showls, garments etc., still keeps the Chins silk showls as a valuable thing of the family. Rev Dr J.H Cope, who served the Lord for the Chins associating with the British administrators during 1908 till 1938, mentioned that the Chins have been living in a higher civilization in the past. He indicated that the living situation on the hills makes constant deterioration of the prevailing culture. He wrote a book called Awakening of the Northern Chins. In his book he wrote:


There are evidences that these people once had a higher civilization. This is seen from the fact that they are completely clothed and do not appear ever to have been headhunters or cannibals. There is even a tradition of a written language. They differ from many hill tribes in that violent crime is rare polygamy not very common, women more respected, and warfare carried on less brutally than in many hill districts . . . After reaching the hills they quickly spread out in little villages in the narrow valley and many dialects soon developed.


Rev. Sowards, Secretary of American ( Burma) Baptist Missionary Society during 1950s prophesized that the Chins will make great contributions to the whole of Burma. He played a leading role in the forming of Zomi( Chin) Baptist Convention and a theological in 1953. School and Hospitals opened for the Chins by British governors and American missionaries opened the eyes of the Chins in many ways. The British administrators recruited the Chins for their army because they knew that they were faithful and dutiful. Today, the Chins are working hard for their seif identity, self- determination, self- dependency, and self-reliance. The only thing that they need to gain the above is freedom which can bring chance for them.


Back Cover Poem


Rhododendron Land Awakened

Salai Kipp Kho Lian


Along the mountainous stretches of the Western Yoma,

And the surrounding vast lowland valleys;

Along the Manipur and the Chindwin rivers,

Tis the homeland of the Chin people.


Truth and Freedom do we treasure,

Loyalty and Courage our trademark;

Yea, truly, we are one stock of people-offspring of the same family.


Firmly upholding our traditional stance for peace,

and with renewed shall we march forward;

Towards a prosperous new land we have yet to see.


The sacred ‘Rih’ lake symbolizes our heart,

But life remains as rough as the Manipur river;

Where cries of suffering have never ceased.


The river Manipur unleashed-gushed into the tranquil ‘Rih’,

The resulting angry storm and its thunderous roar;

And the new generation is born;

Behold a land of peace and prosperity!


Salai Kipp Kho LianCo-Translated by Liana Suantak from original Burmese version




1. Write to your MP, Congressman and Senator Expressing your concern at reports of the persecution of the Chin people in Burma.


2. Write Indian and Mizoram governments urging the authorities to ensure the safety and protection of all ethnic Chin from Burma in Mizoram.


3. Urge the Indian government to allow the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR access to Mizoram.


How you can help:


Chin Human Rights Organization depends on concerned people like you. Make your check payable to Chin Human Rights Organization and you will receive Rhododendron Human Rights News letter. Help CHRO continue to play a lead role in documenting human rights situation in Chinland and Western part of Burma.


Chin Human Rights Organization

50 Bell Street N # 2

Ottawa, ON K1R 7C7





New Delhi, 1 February 2001: Fear of possible starvation looms among Burmese refugees in India after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Office in New Delhi announced in mid January that it will stop assisting them with monthly subsistence allowance of Rs.1400 per person, about $US30.


The announcement, which the refugees responded with great disappointment, came with the cited reason of ” the low availability of UNHCR budget allocation for its mission office in New Delhi for the year 2001resulting from scaling down of financial contributions by potential donor countries”.


Although the refugees are informed that the termination of Subsistence Allowance payment will come into effect in April 2001, there are some refugees such as Salai Aung Cin Thang who had already been terminated his allowance. The UNHCR will, however, continue to assist those extremely vulnerable individuals such as single women and children.


More than 800 Burmese nationals are registered refugees under the mandate of UNHCR in New Delhi. The number constitutes only a few in an estimated 40,000-50,000 Burmese refugees in India who could manage to come to the capital city to claim UNHCR’s person of concern status. Most refugees are ethnic Chin from western Burma who fled serious human rights abuses including forced labor, rape, summary killing and religious persecution by the military regime in their home country. They are mostly Christians and have been subject to religious and racial persecution by the military junta, which came to power in a bloody coup in 1988.


Concentrated mainly in the western suburban area of New Delhi, the refugees live in cheap-rented accommodations from the local landlords. They have no other means of supporting themselves and are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance provided by UNHCR to cover their basic needs such as food and shelter. The Government of India does not recognize them as refugees, though it has issued residential permit to those already recognized by UNHCR, which is to be extended every 6 months.


Locked between persecution at home and poverty in their country of asylum, the refugees have been over the years, faced with extreme social proble







– Junta Orders Burning Of 16,000 Bibles, Halts Church Construction

– A Reflection By An Eyewitness – Pu Do Thawng; Chin Political Prisoner

– List Of Civilians Charged With “Unlawful Association Acts”

– How The Burmese Soldiers Behave In The Village


– Chin And Other Burmese Asylum Seekers In Guam Face Crisis



– An Appeal To SPDC From Catholic Bishops & Council Of Churches In Burma



– Ethnic Political Crisis In The Union Of Burma








Junta Orders Burning Of 16,000 Bibles, Halts Church Construction


In June 2000, the SPDC officials in Tamu ordered 16,000 copies of the Bible to be burned in Tamu, Sagaing Division that borders India. These Bibles, which were seized last year by the Burmese Army, are in Chin, Karen and other ethnic languages. Leaders of the Council of Churches in Tamu area are approaching the Burmese military regime not to burn the Bibles. An appeal was also made in early July of this year by the Myanmar Baptist Convention, the organization that represents all Baptist Churches in Burma, to the top SPDC officials in Rangoon. As of today, they received no reply from the Army.


Early 1999, the Burmese Army also seized 30,000 copies of Bible written in Chinese language and which had been kept in the military store rooms in Kaley Wa, Sagaing Division. Every church member was afraid to claim these Bibles. In May and June, 2000, the Military Intelligence of the Burmese Army ordered all church building construction in Tiddim area of Chin State to stop. The buildings included the Evangelical Baptist Church in Myoma Quarter, Faith Bible Theological Seminary in Lawibual Quarter, Sakollam Baptist Church, and Lawibual Baptist Church. During first week of July 2000, worship services at the Lai Baptist Church at No. 41 U Aung Min Street, Ward 2, Mayangone, Bayint Naung Post Office, Yangoon, Myanmar, was prohibited by the authority. Most of the Chin people in the Rangoon area attend worship services here.


At present, the congregation is worshipping at Myanmar Institute of Theology at Seminar Hill, Insein near Rangoon. The church has been closed since June 2000 in spite of church leaders requests for reopening.




(Religious Persecution In Chin State)


At mid night on 16. May 1994 the Township Law and Order Restoration Council (TLORC) of Tonzang (Chin State), with the co-operation of the Township Police Force burnt down a cross on top of the hill over looking the town, which was set up by the Catholic congregation there. TLORCs of every township in the Chin State had the order from the State authorities (SLORC) in Haka to dismantle all the crosses. At that time the Baptist Church and other Christian denominations had already dismantled their crosses (set up at the same location) on their own as they did not want to defy the order from the authorities.


This tradition of setting up crosses on top of the hills has been started around the 1970s throughout Chin State, when the Buddhists started to build pagodas on top of the hills with the encouragement by the military government. As the vast majority of the Chin people are Christians they do not want their landscape to be filled with pagodas. As such they started to set up crosses on hilltops around the country before the Burmese authorities could build pagodas. In fact, there have been Buddhist pagodas in almost every major town in Chin State since more than forty years ago [after Independence & the Chin joined the so-called Union of Burma] and this has been tolerated as there are some Burman Buddhists, who are government servants stationed in Chin State and a few Chin converts as well. In the case of the Catholic Church in Tonzang, the Catholics did not want to dismantle their cross as it had been set up with catholic rituals such as blessing and pouring of the holy water by the Priest. At first the TLORC in Tonzang was reluctant to pull down the Catholic’s cross by themselves even though they knew that the Catholics were not going to do it on their own.


The conflict between the Church and the local authorities started when the TLORC recruited a forced labour for the construction of a road for the hydroelectric power project near Tonzang. The town’s people were aware that the Chin State authorities had allotted some amount of budget for the construction of the said road. But the TLORC simply wanted the money for themselves to line their own pockets and thus forced the people to labour without any wage. Three town elders, who happened to be Catholics, wrote a complaint letter to the State authorities in Haka about the corruption and some TLORC officials were transferred as a result. The entire TLORC officials were so angry with this incident and as a result they now came to see the Catholics as dissenters. In retaliation the TLORC and the police force burnt dawn the cross as mentioned above. Furthermore the police arrested four Catholic elders for three days on the ground that they were responsible for defying the State authorities by refusing to dismantle the cross.


After three days they took them to the court and appeased them not to bring this case any further to the higher authorities and declared the case closed. Nevertheless, one of the elders was sent to Rangoon to complain about the incidents of pulling down crosses in Chin State. But the Deputy Minister Col. Aung Khin of the Interior and Religiuos Affairs Ministry did not take the complaint seriously and instead said that he would see when the case would be put up to him by the TLORC of Tonzang. (NOTE: An eyewitness who was in Tonzang during the incident compiles this report for CFIS. His name is withheld according to his wish).




Name:U Do Thawng, elected MP, NLD

Constituency: Kalemyo (1),

Sagaing Division

Born in: 1940

Place of Birth: Bo Kyone village, Falam Township, Chin State.

Parents: U Lian Hnuna (late) and Pi Thang Mani, 90.


Charged: 7-years under Article 5 (j) of the 1950 Emergency Provision Act.


Sequence of family arrests U Do Thawng is currently under detention in Mandalay Prison. He was arrested by Military Intelligence (MI) at midnight of May 21, 1996 while preparing to attend the sixth anniversary of National League for Democracy (NLD) to be held at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence. He was detained for two weeks at No (17) MIS, Kalemyo and was tortured the whole night of May 27.


The MIs seized a number of books published inside and outside of Burma from his place. He was then sent to Mandalay Prison without informing his family members. The junta sentenced him 7-years imprisonment. The case number is- MYN/87. U Do Thawng’s eldest son Za Dawla was arrested in Homalin Township, upper Chindwin and was sentenced two years. Za Dawla, father of three children, was detained at Kalemyo Police station for one year without any trial before he was sent to Madalay prison. He was released in April 1998. Soon after the father was arrested, his two other sons, Dr Ro Ding (now NLD/LA) and Dr Lal Lawm Thanga (Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo- Norway) fled to India to escape from the MIs. The junta, in the press conference held in September 1996, alleged them of collaborating with the exiled goverment, NCGUB and opposition groups to create social unrest in Burma. Party activities U Do Thawng was elected from Kalemyo Township constituency-1 in the 1990 general elections. He was then democratically elected, within the party, to represent Sagaing Division NLD to Burma junta’s National Convention that was started in 1993.


Because of his commitment to forward NLD’s stand for a political dialogue to the Convention, Burma junta expelled him from the list. As part of the party’s future plans, he met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in November 1995 and February 1996 along with other NLD MPs from Sagaing Division. His residence in Kalemyo became party office and meeting palce for Township NLD. However, following his arrest the party signboard and flags were pulled down and removed by the local authorities. Some 19 NLD members in the township were arrested and charged along with U Do Htaung under Article 5 (j) of the 1950 Emergency Provision Act. They all are still in Mandalay prison. It was learned that he has given his signature of mandate to the NLD’s further exclusive plans. Kalemyo Township, with a population of more than 400,000 is situated in the Kale valley and borders to Chin State. Eastern half of Kalemyo is dominated by Burmans and the west by Chins. Prison life His wife, Pi Lal Than Sungi, 60, is allowed to visit him twice a month for an hour in one visit. They are not allowed to speak in their own Chin language but are made to speak in Burmese in prison visit. They do not speak in Burmese at home. Only family members are allowed to visit him.


U Do Thawng was put into the dark cell for a week in November 1998 for refusing to sit in prison-position while the authority was passing by. After representatives of the International Committee for Red Cross, ICRC, were allowed to visit Burma prisons, the authority provides him enough rice and water to cook but he still has to be provided with curries from outside. Since they cannot afford transportation charges to Mandalay, family members of 19 NLD prisoners from Kalemyo contribute money and send one eligible person to visit and provide food to them. After a series of argument with the prison officials, he succeeded to celebrate Christmas in prison in 1999. He was once infected with tuberculosis and still has to get follow-up treatments. He is also suffering from ischaemic heart disease, which allowed him to retire after serving 25 years in the health department. Reasons of previous arrest U Do Thawng passed his 3-year Medic Training in Rangoon in 1962 with the highest mark in the country and was conferred Gold Medal. He was studying in Rangoon when dictatorship creator General Ne Win staged the 2nd military coup. From 1963-1971, he worked as Rural Health Assisstant in Thantlang, Matupi and Kanpalet Townships of Chin State. In 1971, he was arrested along with other prominent Chins by so called Burma’s Revolutionary Council led by General Ne Win. The arrest was due to the signed boycott letters stating that the newly drafted constitution in 1971 by the Council was too centralized and dictatorial. The Unitarian constitution was enacted in 1974 and hundreds were arrested again. In the critical moments in 1971, U Do Thawng addressed to the Kanpalet Township people’s gathering, saying “If you could move Mount Victoria of Chin State to Magwe Division, the Chins would join with the Burman unitary”.


U Do Thawng spent two years in Myingyan Prison from 1971 to 1973 for his involvement in the protest. After his release, he was banned from posting in Chin State and was forcibly transfered to the Sagaing Division. From 1973-1989 he worked as Health Assistant in Mawlike, Kale and Homalin Townships of Sagaing Division. According to the rule and regulation of Health Workers Department, Health Assistants should work at least three years in the same area. However, due to his criticism on the ruling one-party, Burma Socialist Programme Party, he was interuptedly transferred to different areas in his three year internship. He decided to retire from civil servant and joined NLD party in 1989. Family members: Lal Than Sungi, 60, spouse (1) Mr. Za Dawla, graduated in Maths, father of three children in Burma. (2) Dr. Ro Ding, son, Veterinary Surgeon (Exile in India) (3) Dr. Za Sing, son, General Physician in Burma. (4) Dr. Lal Lawm Thanga, son, Dental Surgeon (Exile in Norway) (5) Mrs. Khawtin Siami, graduated in Geography, mother of one in Burma (6) Ms. Lal Tan Puii, single in Burma.



(Note: The following list is from just one area in Chinland)


The following civilians, most of them are from Thantlang area, Chin State were accused of supporting Chin National Front. Thus, they were arrested, tortured and sentence to long term imprisonment by the Burmese Military Intelligence Service MIS in 1999. The Burmese military charged them with ” Unlawful Association Acts”. This law could be applied generously to put suspected people long term jail sentences with hard labour. Chin National Front is an armed resistance group fighting with the ruling Burmese military junta.


1. Mr. Thla Hup, 42 years old member of village Peace and Development Council in Bungkhua village was arrested on 06.01.1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo, Sagaing division.


2. Mr. Sui Cung , 16 years old high school student was arrested on 06.01.1999. He was sentence to 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo. Mr. Sui Cung was arrested on behalf of his father Pu Than Rawl, the village headman of Bungkhua village. Pu Than Rawl was accused of supporting CNF and arrested by the Burmese soldiers. He escaped from military detention in Lungler army camp and fled to India. Mr. Than Rawl is now under UNHCR protection in New Delhi.


3. Mr. Chum Ling, 48 years old village headman of Fungkah was arrested on 06.01.1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


4. Mr. Za Mang, 48 years old farmer from Fungkah village was arrested on 06.01.1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


5. Mr. Lal Ling, 24 years old farmer from Fungkah village was arrested on 06.011999. He is now serving 6 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


6. Mr. ZaHnin , 32 years old was arrested on 06.01.1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


7. Mr. Tial Awr 38 years old village headman of Tlangpi was arrested on 16 July 1999. He is now serving 12 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo. He was accused of being responsible for disappearance of a Burmese soldier near Tlangpi village while patroling.


8. Mr. Lian Hram, 36 years old member of village Peace and Development Council was arrested on 16 July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


9. Mr. Thawng Ceu, 34 years old from Tlangpi village was arrested on 16 July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


10. Mr. Duh Lian, 34 years old from Tlangpi village was arrested on 16 July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


11. Mr. Za Uk, 58 years old from Tlangpi village was arrested on 16 July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


12. Mr. Zion, 45 years old pastor was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


13. Mr. Peng Thang, 18 years old high school student from Tlangpi village was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail terms with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


14. Mr. Ngun Chawng, 28 years old farmer was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kaleymyo.


15. Mr. Ral Lian Kap, 31 years old Local Peace and Development Council’s clerk was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


16. Mr. Ngun Hu, 43 years old from Tlangpi village ws arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term in Kalaymyo.


17. Pu Al Bik, 48 years old trader from Thantlang was arrested on 13. 11. 1998. He was first inhumanly tortured by Military Intelligence for two weeks without providing food. He is now serving 7 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


18. Mr. No Lal Ling, 53 years old chairman of Township Peace and Development Council was arrested in June 1999. He was severely tortured by MIS and now he is serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


19. Mr. Run Cung, 35 years old farmer from Thantlang was arrested in June 1999. He was severely tortured by MIS and now serving 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


20. Mr. Sang Khar, 36 years old was arrested in October 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kangaw.


21. Mr. Khing Muang, 32 years old was arrested in October 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term in Kangaw.


22. Mr. Van Hmung, 34 years old clerk of Township Peace and Development Council was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


23. Mr. Ral Luai , 42 years old member of Township Peace and Development Council was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


24. Mr. Ceu Hnin 35 years old from Thantlang town was arrested in July 1999. He was so severely tortured that all his front teeth were knocked out. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


25. Mr. Ni Ling, 32 years old from Thantlang town was arrested in July 1999. He was severely tortured by the MIS. He is now serving two and a half jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


26. Mr. Lal Thio, 36 years old from Thantlang town was arrested in July 1999. He is now serving 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


27. Mr. Bawi Uk, 32 years old from Thantlang town was arrested and severely tortured by MIS in July 1999. He is now serving 5 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


28. Mr. Za Lian, 36 years old from Haka town was arrested and severely tortured by MIS in July 1999. He is now serving 2 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


29. Mr.Chan Kung, 42 years old from Thantlang was arrested and severely tortured by MIS in October 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


30. Miss Dawt Thluai, 28 years old from Haka was arrested and severely tortured by MIS in October 1999. She is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


31. Mr. Zo Kim, 32 years old farmer from Sopum village, Thantlang township was arrested in October 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


32. Mr. Dawt Lian, 33 years old from Haka was arrested in October 1999. He is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


33. Miss Ni Cia, 29 years old teacher from Cawngthia village, Thantlang township was arrested and severely tortured by the MIS on 5.12.1998. She is now serving 3 years jail term with hard labour in Kalaymyo.


34. Mr. Sa Tin Ral, 68 years old village headman from Bapi village, Tonzang twonship was arrested in October 1999. He is now serving 2 years jail term in Kalaymyo.




The following information is provided by Mr. Van Khum, 40 years old farmer from Thinghual village, Thantlang township of Chin State. A strength of 15 soldiers led by Lieutenant Myo Swe of Company No.4 entered our village and stayed for 6 days. The commander asked me a pressure cooker as a gift. When I told him that we did not have one he was angry that he almost threw a cup at me. He angrily entered our bedroom and rummaged around saying that there must be some things CNF had asked me to keep. He asked two baskets of rice and 8 chickens promising to pay for those.


The whole villagers had to gather rice and chicken. But, Lieut. Myo Swe did not pay for those. The soldiers made the villagers, young and old, to fetch water and took bath. Lt. Myo Swe said that it was our village’s turn to construct army camp at Tui Bual village but as it was time for cultivation it would be a good idea to give him 10,000 Kyats instead of labour. We thus had to give him ten thousand kyats. LIB-274 of Mindat Battalion was stationed at Tui Bual village. In their 6-day stay the soldiers stole dried meat and eggs of our villagers and made the nearby villagers of Tikhuangtum and Tahtlang to provide them with one basket of rice and 4 chickens each. All of us suffer a lot because the soldiers came to our village twice a month and did the same thing to us. Besides, the villagers do not have time to work for cultivation as they have to keep watch the soldiers.




Aizawl, December 7, 2000

Mizzima News Group


The authorities in Mizoram State evicted villagers staying on Indo-Burma border from their village for a new Indo-Burma border trade route. Some houses were bulldozed by the authorities as the owners refused to move to the government-allocated new site. Mizoram state government issued an order on October 20 for the villagers in and around Zokhutthar village in Indo-Burma border to move to a new location by the end of November. The government has planned to rehabilitate the villagers in the new location, called Phulmawi Village, which is about two furlong far from Zokhutthar.


However, most of the villagers refused to relocate themselves in the new village, alleging that the government is not providing necessary compensation and arrangement. Therefore, total 120 villagers of Zo Khuttha village recently filed a petition with the court and the Mizoram Bench of Guwahati High Court last week stayed the eviction of 104 Indian villagers for two weeks. Most of these villagers continue to stay in Zokhutthar as they wait for the government’s response. The rest who ware not able to prove their identity as Indian citizens are, however, not included in the High Court stay order. Moreover, the stay order does not include the villagers staying on “no man land” situated between the border pillars of two countries. The state authorities bulldozed two houses in the area last Friday. The Mizoram State government, through Border Road Organization (BRO), is planning to start the construction of some buildings related to border trade in Zokhutthar village. The new trade route, apart from current Tamu-Moreh border trade route, is to connect Rih in Chin State of Burma and Zokhutthar in Mizoram, crossing Tio stream. The government of India has offered to construct a bridge across Tio stream for facilitating the border trade between India and Burma.




Chin And Other Burmese Asylum Seekers In Guam Face Crisis (October 28, 2000)


I. Guam-Only Visa Waiver Program Burma is listed in the Guam-Only Visa Waiver program and therefore, citizens from Burma are allowed to enter Guam territory under tourist status for a 15-day period. As of October 9, 2000, there were 280 asylum seekers from Burma, mostly from Chin State in the northwestern part of Burma, which borders India and Bangladesh. According to information dated October 27, 2000 from Guam, there are currently 420 asylum seekers living in Guam. Upon arrival in Guam, asylum seekers may submit their applications to the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Asylum office in California. If they are granted asylum status by the INS, they are allowed to live in Guam or the mainland U.S.


II. Statistical Analysis of Asylum Seekers in Guam ? -53 asylum seekers being detained by the Department of Corrections (DOC) (Male-46; Female-7) -367 asylum seekers are not in the DOC (Male-293; Female-74) ? -189 people have submitted applications to INS. -37 people have conducted interviews with Asylum officers. -24 asylum seekers are currently employment in Guam Ethnic Groups: Chin, Kachin, Karen, and Burmese (Burmans).


III: Asylum Seekers in Two Statuses There are two groups of Asylum seekers in Guam. 1) DOC Currently, there are 53 asylum seekers held in the DOC. These people claimed asylum status at the Airport in Guam upon arrival from Burma. Sometimes, they have to work outside the DOC without pay in such jobs as cleaning or cutting wood. They are detained until they can appear before a judge for their case review. There is only one judge, who usually comes to Guam from Honolulu, Hawaii. Therefore, it takes time to process these cases. While residing in the DOC, the DOC receives, per detainee, a $100.00 a day from INS for a total of $5300.00 a day. Currently, there are only two asylum attorneys available to provide legal representation to those who are in the DOC. The fee for legal services, per person, is approximately $2500.00. Therefore, the asylum seekers find it difficult to pay for legal services. Since there are no pro-bono lawyers or “legal clinics” available in Guam, if an attorney is desired, one must be hired. 2) Asylum seekers not in DOC Asylum seekers who are not in the DOC often live together. Since most do not speak English, they need interpreters for their cases and for interviews. If asylum officers grant them asylum status, they will be able to live either in the U.S mainland or in Guam. Denial of their application initiates an appearance in court to plea their case. This is often difficult due to the financial considerations of hiring an attorney.


IV. Case Status Asylum cases in Guam are under the jurisdiction of the US INS California Service Center in Laguna Niguel, CA. Therefore, all asylum application forms must be sent to the California Service Center for processing at which time the asylum office in California sends asylum officers to Guam to process the cases. In early October 2000, two officers were sent to Guam where only 37 out of 189 pending applicants were interviewed. According to Asylum officials in California, asylum officers may not be able to make their next visit to Guam until early 2001. Therefore, all current asylum seekers will have to wait until then for their initial interview. Three cases that were submitted in August 1998 are still waiting processing.


V. Concerning Asylum Seekers from Chinland Asylum seekers from Chinland provide the following information. Forced Labor


1. Boeing 747 Airfield The Burmese Army has been planning to build an airfield at Surbungtlang, only 7 miles from Falam town Chin State, since 1992. This airfield was reportedly to be used for better communication between Chin State and other parts of Burma. However, reports claim that in reality, the Burmese Army planned this airfield to combat the activities of the Chin National Front. In this plan, forced labor of villagers from 87 villages in Falam town-ship worked this high mountain to create an airfield. Many asylum seekers from Falam town-ship participated in this airfield construction. Because of a lack of water for workers, the Army suspended construction in 1996 but may resume construction soon. 2. Kaley-Haka Motor Road In March and April of 1998, there was a national student’s festival held in Haka, the capital of Chin State. In preparation for the 1998 festival, motor roads between Kaley and Haka were prepared as many Burmese Army high-ranking officers planed to participate at the festival. It is approximately 120 miles between Kaley Myo and Haka. Villagers between these two towns were forced to work at least one week per family.


3. Tamu-Kaley-Kaleywa Motor Road Since the border trade agreement took place between India and Burma in 1994, the India government has been providing construction of a road from Tamu to Kaley Myo. The Burma town of Tamu borders Moreh town of Manipur State in India. Construction of the road now being complete, India has been working on Kaley Myo and Kaley Wa road. Asylum seekers from Kaley Myo area say India BRTF had been directly working for Burma. In July 2000, a Chin girl was killed secondary to Indian road construction. There was no action taken after reporting the case to higher authorities. About 70 Indian construction machines, driven by Indian people, have been working in Kaley Myo and Kaleywa. Civilian cars are also forced to provide assistance to Indian people.


4. Kaley- Kankaw Rail Road Project: During 1994-1996, villagers from Tongphila, Pinlong, Tahan and other villages along Kaleymyo and Kankaw village worked on construction of a railroad to connect the two towns. Villagers were forced to work from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, while staying in portable camps. About 10 people died from Malaria and lack of medical treatment. Labor Camps Chin people, used to work on motor roads and other construction projects, are held in labor camps by the Burmese Army. The following is a list of Labor Camps. (This is not an all-inclusive list, and it is difficult to know the exact number of prisoners in the camps.) Place of Labor Camp Number of Prisons/Laborers Zawng Kawng ( Kalay Falam Road ) 40 Var ( Kalay Falam Road ) 72 Tlang Zar ( Haka- Falam Road ) 100 Zo Khua ( Near Haka ) 55 Others Issues There are many others issues such as violation of religious freedom. For example, a Christian cross, erected at Lumbang Baptist Church in Lumbang village, was destroyed by the Burmese Army. Chin girls, targeted for marriage by members of the Burmese military, are used in combat against activities of the Chin National Front. Many fled because they supported the CNF. Forced porter work for the Burmese Army is another widespread abuses.


VI. Recommendations


1) The U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service


(a.) Asylum cases in Guam need to be handled more expediently. Asylum seekers should be allowed to travel to the mainland US and change their venue of address. (In the case of those who have relatives or who could provide necessary assistance.)


( b.) Asylum seekers should not be detained in the Department of Corrections. Those who entered with proper documents, and are held in DOC, should be released. These asylum seekers do not fall under the Expedited Removal Categories.


2) The U.S Resettlement Agencies Baptist Churches and other religious organizations are currently providing food, clothes, etc. Resettlement agencies and other advocacy groups should provide assistance to them.


3) State Peace and Development Council The Burmese military regime known as the State Peace and Development Council must stop human rights abuses, which have forced refugees to flee to Guam. The SPDC must engage in a tripartite dialogue with the National League for Democracy and ethnic groups.






From Myanmar Catholic Bishops And The Myanmar Council Of Churches September 24,1999 Yangon, Myanmar


May the Peace and Grace of Jesus Christ and God be with you!


A. The Myanmar Catholic Bishops Conference and the Myanmar Council of Churches were formed with the objectives of all Christians in Myanmar to work for Christ’s Mission.


B. The Myanmar Catholic Bishops Conference, an organization comprised of 13 Bishops, has been working hard leading 12 Catholic regions.


C. The Myanmar Council of Churches, a leading national Christian ministry, is comprised of 13 members of national Christian denominations that are affiliated with 9 other prominent Christian organizations such as the Young Women Christian and the Young Men Christian Association. The leaders, as well as the members of these organizations, under the above two major organizations are all citizens of Myanmar.


D. Although both of the two major organizations are cooperating with other organizations around the world, they are freely operating in their own cause.


E. The Myanmar Catholic Bishops Conference and the Myanmar Council of Churches are working for human developments for the benefit of the mission and the country. They establish hospitals, clinics, and schools that are basic necessities for a peaceful society; and selfless doctors and teachers are sacrificing in the good cause. Until today, they have established such things as a hospital for leprosy, school for the deaf, school for the blind, school for elderly care, school for orphans and are providing their best possible care for the abandoned and refugees.


F. They are also working with their best possible efforts for better environments, efficient transportation, welfare and developments of the lives of young people, women, and children.


H. To be able to undertake the above mentioned mission responsibilities, the Myanmar Catholic Bishops Conference has formed the “Peace and Justice Commission” and the Myanmar Council of Churches has formed the “Reconciliation and Peace Commission.” The basic Biblical principle of the Commission is as follows:


I. Being faithful believers of the peaceful God, who governs with everlasting love, we believe that as we are responsible to build and prosper the virtues that will end conflicts and promote justice and peace, which has always been desired by the people, we will carry out this task so long as we are alive. (Biblical References: Hosea 2:4; Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 2:14-16).


II. We would like to present the hardships and obstacles we have faced while undertaking these tasks in recent years to the national heads. Prohibition of Christian evangelical works in some states and townships, expulsion of mission workers, prohibition of worship services, arrests and persecutions, forced renunciation of Christian faith, and destroying of Christian crosses have been encountered. In some states, repairing of Christian buildings was not allowed. Permission for building was not allowed or permission was delayed. For Christians, crosses are very important because they are the symbols of sacrifice and service for human beings. Therefore, a place for worship and a place for erecting Christian crosses are of prime importance. In publication of Christian literature, some words and vocabularies were not allowed or were restricted by the censorship board. This restriction can consequently lessen the warm relationship among religious organizations.


Due to the above obstacles, Christians have no peace of mind. Therefore, with the aims of building a new developed and modern country by joining hands in unity with all ethnic nationalities and Burmese, we would like to request and present to the national leaders to solve the above mentioned obstacles. Also, in the future, we will present the needs and difficulties to you as necessary. The Myanmar Catholic Bishops Conference and the Myanmar Council of Churches would also like to state that on the basis of love and justice, we would always try to build a long lasting reconciliation and peace.


May the grace and peace of the ever-lasting God bestow upon our national leaders and our motherland! Amen!






(The following paper is presented by Zo T. Hmung at a Seminar Organized by the Council for Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA) October 25, 2000


Approximately, Burma has a population of 48 million people. Of those 48 million, 68% are Burman, and the rest, 32 %, belong to the ethnic groups such as Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shan, etc. This statistics are only the estimated statistics as there is no proper documented information available inside Burma. The ethnic people have their own religions, culture, and languages.


There are different religions such as Buddhism, Muslim, Christianity, and Hinduism. Burmans belong to the majority religion, Buddhism where most of ethnic Chins and Kachins are Christians. The ethnic political issue is important to Burma’s politics. Because in order to put an end to civil war, which has spanned over half a century in Burma, the ethnic political crisis must first be resolved in accordance with the full consent of the ethnic minority people. Therefore, Burma’s political history, especially how the minority and the majority groups came to live together under the Union government, needs to be addressed. The Formation of the Union Government: To be more precise, I will take an example from Chin history, as I am an ethnic Chin.


In 1886, the British annexed Burma and ruled together with India, from India, known as the British-Burma. At that time, Chin territory was an independent territory with its own political administration, culture, religion, and language, without any outside political interference. Ten years later, in 1896, the British occupied Chin territory and ruled together with Burma and India from India. Before the British’s occupation, Chinland had lived independently since time immemorial. In 1937, for administrative convenience, the British divided her administration into two parts known as British-Burma and British-India. Chinland was ruled from British-Burma. On December 20, 1946, Mr. Clement Richard Atlee, then Prime Minister of United Kingdom of Great Britain, proposed granting independence to Burma at the House of Commons.


As a result, Aung San, who led the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), was invited to London to speak on ways to transfer to independence. Unfortunately, the Labor Party government in London had not invited any representatives from the ethnic groups, even though the ethnic people had voiced concern that Aung San could not represent their will concerning their future status with the British government. The British ignored the complaints of the ethnic groups and asked Aung San to gain consent of the Frontier Areas (Frontier areas means ethnic peoples). This unfortunate lack of representation became part of the impetus for the ethnic political crisis that is so evident today. If ethnic groups were given self-determination to choose their own destiny by the Labor Party government in London, today’s political histories would be very different from today’s ethnic political crisis in the Union of Burma.


The AFPFL had the right to represent the Burmans only, not the ethnic minority groups. AFPFL representative Aung San, for the interim government of Burma, and Clement Richard Atlee, for the British government, signed an agreement on January 27, 1947, for Burma to become an independent country within a year. The second step of political strategy for Aung San was to convince the ethnic groups to join the interim Burmese government during the transitional period, and to later form the Union government based on equal footing of all Union members. In order to convince the ethnic minority to join the interim government of Burma, the AFPFL’s campaign message was to gain independence from the British first, and then to form a Union government together. This campaign message of independence became powerful and convincing as the British had been ruling them for more than half a century. Everyone wanted to gain independence from the British colonial rule. Within a month of Aung San’s return from England to Burma, representatives of Burma led by Aung San, along with representatives of the Chin, Kachin and Shan, signed an agreement popularly known as the Panglong Agreement at the Panglong Conference in Shan State on February 12, 1947. February 12 became Union Day in the Union of Burma and is observed as an official holiday in Burma. This clearly indicates how these different groups came together to form the Union country.


The Preamble of the Panglong Agreement said: “The members of the Conference, believing that freedom will be more speedily achieved by the Shans, the Kachins, and the Chins by their immediate cooperation with the Interim Burmese government” (See the Panglong Agreement). The basic concept of each state administration in federal system of government was evident in the Panglong Agreement. Article 5 of the Agreement said, “full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas is accepted” (See Panglong Agreement). A common interest, aimed for mutual benefits, had gathered together the Burmans and the ethnic people to form a Union government. Based on the Panglong conference, the Right of Secession was enshrined in the 1947 Union Constitution, Chapter X. This Right of Secession meant if one of the Union government members did not find benefits, or if they lost benefits within the Union government, that member had the right to depart from the Union government. In my opinion, as the proposed Union belonged to different groups with different territories/countries, the name of the government should not be Burma. It should have a different name, one that could represent all Union members.


Therefore, the Union government, according to the Panglong Agreement, was of the Union government of the Panglong signatories, which was based on trust, faith, and mutual benefits. Kio Mang, a Chin representative from Haka town, Chin State, said he singed the Panglong Agreement because he trusted in Aung San. The spirit of the Union and a trust of each other mattered to the Union-founding members. A Lack of Federalism in the 1947 Union Constitution After the Panglong Agreement, the AFPFL election followed in April. In this very first election, there were 255 seats; 210 seats were for Burmans and only 45 seats went to ethnic groups. Like today’s National League for Democracy (NLD), the people mandated AFPFL, led by Aung San, as it was the party that took lead in the independence struggle for the Burmans. The above seats indicated that the Burmans could control the government and drive the Union government in their own way. Chances for the ethnic groups at the central government level were almost nil. However, it was the transitional period and the priority was about independence from British within a year. My assumption is that the ethnic groups did not focus on the importance of the election. In June 1947, Aung San led the drafting of the Union constitution for the future Union government, in accordance with the Panglong Agreement, to be a federal system of governance. Unfortunately, Aung San and his cabinets were assassinated on July 19, 1947, only one month after drafting had begun. U Nu headed the AFPFL continuance of the Union constitution drafting by appointing Tin Tut, Sir Ba U, E Maung, and Kyaw Myint. All were Burmans educated in the law school of Cambridge. U Chan Htoon was appointed as a constitutional adviser. No ethnic group participated in this constitutional drafting process. This process began the question of federalism in the Union of Burma. U Chan Htoon himself admitted that the Union Constitution did not represent the spirit of Union, which was federalism. He said: “Our constitution in theory federal, is in practice unitary”. (Tinker, Hugh; “The Union of Burma” :London, 1967, p. 30). On September 24, 1947, the Union Constitution was adopted, becoming effective on January 4, 1948, the date that Burma gained independence. The Union Constitution was not even federal in theory; it was both unitary in theory and practice.


In a unitary system of government, the government is centralized wherein the federal state’s powers are placed under the central government’s direct control. I would like to take an example from Chin Special Division to show the relationship between the federal state and the central union government. For Chin Special Division, the President of the Union government appointed a Minister for Chin Affairs from a member of the Union government, upon nomination by the Union Prime Minister. The Union Minister member designated as a Minister for Chin Affairs was the head of the government. The power of the Minister’s administration for Chin Affairs was subject to the approval by the Union government in all state affairs such as education, culture, etc. Therefore, the Minister was under the direct control of the central Union government. There is the Chin Affairs Council comprising of all members of Parliament elected by the Chin people. The Chin Affairs Council’s function was simply to aid and advise the Minister for Chin Affairs in matters such as recruitment, postings, and transferring civil services. Therefore, they too were under direct control of the central Union government. Moreover, there was no provision for passing bills or the right to legislation of the Chin Special Division in the 1947 Union Constitution. This is called a system of centralized government putting every powers in the center. As such, the Chin people and Chin territory were in the hands of the Burmese. (See: 1947 Union Constitution, Part V: Section: 196, 197, 198). Another example is of the Kachin State. Like Chin Special Division, the Kachin had a State Council and a State government. The Minister for Kachin Affairs was the head of the government. Members of the State Council had partial right to pass bills of the state. The problem was, the bills should be presented to the President for approval, and should be subject to the President’s signature, in order to come into existence. And the State can only recommend the passing of the law to the Union parliament. (see Part II- 166-170 of 1947 Union Constitution).


Therefore, both in Chin Special Division and Kachin State, all powers, both in State and central government, went to central government. In federal system of government, the State Council or the federal state should be given full authority to function independently, especially in the case of Burma as it consists of different groups. The federal state should have had the right to legislation, especially in school, police, press, and other individual state affairs. In addition, the constitution should provide for the right of passing bills. Neither the Union government nor the central authorities should control or impose her authorities to federal state council or the state government. Even in the local government, there should be self-government, as there are many different dialects and cultures. The federal government’s role should be in the matters of monetary issues, taxation, foreign affairs, communication, and federal armed forces. All these were absent in the Union Constitution of 1947. Therefore, the AFPFL, led by U Nu’s constitution of 1947, aimed to control all power in local, state, and central government. The Burman majority enjoyed all authority from top to bottom and bottom to top. In summary, the 1947 Union Constitution betrayed Aung San’s Union as well as the Panglong Agreement. This constitutional crisis led to ethnic groups meeting in Taungyi on February 25, 1961 and submitting a proposal of federalism to parliament. Unfortunately, General Ne Win took power from U Nu, the Prime Minister of the Union government, claiming non-integration of the country on March 2, 1962. The ethnic issues continued to worsen. General New Win’s Policy of Burmanization and Ethnic Cleansing Right after his military coup, General Ne Win began using a policy of Burmanization, also known as assimilation, that means making all ethnic groups into Burmans. He abolished the 1947 Constitution and ruled by guns. It was now forbidden to teach or learn ethnic languages in the universities and colleges. Burman cultural dress, such as Taihpung and Longkyi, became the official dress in offices and schools. In Chin State, there is not a single college or university. As result, many Chin people could not pursue higher education and became uneducated. Chins who attended the Mandalay University and Rangoon University were indoctrinated in Burman cultures. This is a calculated assimilation policy of Ne Win to assimilate all ethnic groups into Burmans. As a last resort, more ethnic minority groups took up arms against Ne Win’s dictatorial rule leaving families, relatives and friends behind in an attempt to regain their inherent rights and to safeguard their freedom. Ethnic civilians do not escape the Burmese Army’s eye either because the Burmese Army regards them as supporters of the ethnic armed forces. They are subject to torture, imprisonment, and arbitrary arrest along with forced relocation.


In order to escape the Burmese Army’s persecution, ethnic groups have fled to other countries for safe haven. The Revolutionary Council, from 1962 to 1974, and the Burma Socialist Program Party, the one party system, did not satisfy the majority of Burmans either. The Military regime not only failed the economic policy of the country, but also spent approximately 40% of the national income for the defense budget in order to strengthen the armed forces to fight against the ethnic armed forces. It had been used for ethnic cleansing activities. Selling her rich natural resources, such as hardwood to neighboring countries including Thailand could not solve the economic crisis. To bail out of the economic crisis, the only choice left was applying for the Least Developed Country status. In 1987, Burma became one of the ten poorest countries in the world. One of the main reasons for the 1988 uprising was freedom from the Burmese dictatorial rule, which included economic freedom, cultural freedom, educational freedom, etc. After the uprising, the regime doubled armed forces along with the doubling of opium production. Production of opium became one of the main sources of income for the Burmese Army. Most of opium production had been taken places in ethnic areas such as in the Wa area of Shan State. This has not only been a threat to Burmans and the ethnic groups, but also to the international community. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1999, released by the Department of State in March 2000, describes Burma as follows: “Burma has been, and continues to be, one of the world’s largest producers of illicit opium. Burmese opium production doubled in 1989”. (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1999 released by the Department of State in March 2000, P. 5). The Burmese military regime regards the ethnic minority groups as the enemy. Two months ago, on August 7, 2000, the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) released a four points statement condemning the burning of Chin Christian’s churches, houses, school buildings and live stock. The fourth point of the statement said: “In Burma today, under the rule of the military dictators, if you are not a Burman Buddhist you are discriminated against. The military dictators regard you as an enemy.” (Central Executive Committee, National League for Democracy, Statement 124 (8/00), 7 August 2000, Rangoon). This statement truthfully highlights the crux of the political crisis in Burma. For non-Burman groups, and those who oppose the SPDC, life in Burma is full of fear.


Two weeks ago, I was in Guam interviewing an estimated 280 refugees from Burma, mostly from Chin State on human rights issues. One thing that strikes me most concerns Chin girls. I was told that the Burmese Army is targeting Chin girls for marriage. These girls, and their families, obtain more opportunity by marrying members of the Burmese Army, and in the same way Burmese soldiers who marry Chin girls are promoted in rank. Chin women who married Burmese soldiers later received military training at the Football ground in Haka. They are then used to combat the activities of the Chin National Front. These Chin girls are used for both purposes of assimilation and attacking the Chin people. A high school teacher at Haka town, Chin State told me another painful story. One day the Army Captain came to his high school classroom saying that he needed the most beautiful girl in the classroom. Shortly thereafter, a Chin girl was taken to his house where it was later discovered she had been raped. Her family said they were afraid to report the rape to higher authorities knowing there would be no action taken and the family would surely be accused of lying. These acts committed crimes against humanity. Chin State, my State, is a restricted area. Chin-Americans could not travel to Chin State to visit their relatives. Foreigners are also not allowed to visit Chin State. In Chin State, approximately 10% are Burman, they are the Burmese Army and their families. Not less than 90% of the population is Chin people. Ten percent of the population holds power over the will of 90% of the population. The U.N Human Rights Commission’s Rapporteur Rajsoomer Lallah’s report on Burma, released on October 16, 2000, said that the worst violence committed by the Burmese Army was against ethnic minorities.


This is about ethnic cleansing. According to the report of the U.S Committee for Refugees 2000 World Refugee Survey, at least 200,000 refugees from Burma live in Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, and other countries. Approximately, up to one million people are internally displaced. (US Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey, 2000 Page 133). These figures provide a clear picture.









































Since 1962, Burma has been ruled by a military regime, which has used widespread repression to maintain its control. The National League for Democracy led by Nobel-Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won 82% of the votes in the 1990 elections, but the junta refused to hand over power to the elected government.


In its policy of “national unity”, the military government are forcibly assimilating the diverse ethnic peoples of Burma into mainstream Burman culture. As a result, many ethnic groups are fighting for self-determination, and the Burmese Army is using the most brutal counter-insurgency tactics to suppress any opposition.


Burma’s human rights record is one of the worst in the world, and this is reflected in the strong resolutions adopted year after year by the United Nations, and the ILO has expelled Burma because of its systematic practice of forced labour.


The Situation In Chinland:


Chinland is situated in the North-West of Burma, adjacent to the India States of Mizoram and Manipur and to the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Chin areas in Burma encompasses Chin State as well as other Chin inhabited plains in Sagaing Division, Magwe Division and Arakan State. It is mostly remote hill country, consisting of a few trading towns and hundreds of small isolated villages.


The total Chin population both inside and outside of Chinland is estimated at about two millions, and a large majority has converted to Christianity over the last century. Most Chins are farmers, growing rice, corn, and vegetables.


Many parts of Chin State have only recently been brought under effective Burman control. Prior to the nation-wide pro-democracy uprising in 1988, only one Burmese battalion was stationed in Chin State. At present, as many as 10 battalions are operating in the area. Consequently human rights abuses against the civilian population increased dramatically. All the battalions are reported to be using villagers as porters to carry their supplies and ammunition over mountains. The villagers are also routinely ordered to carry out forced labor on new roads and army posts as well as to provide food and money to soldiers. Under increasing military rule, the Chins are currently suffering many of the same abuses as other ethnic groups living along the border region of Burma. However, a specific characteristic of the human rights abuses suffered in Chin State is religious persecution. Many Chin people have fled to the India border States and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh to escape forced labour, military harassment, as well as a range of other human rights abuses. Because of the military’s increasing demands for money and labour, many families who were previously self-sufficient can no longer survive.


Due to inaccessibility, the international community is generally unaware of the human rights situation in Chinland even though the Chin people are suffering the same levels of abuses as groups in Burma’s other conflict areas.






Chin Human Rights organization (CHRO) is a non-governmental non-profit organization. It was formed in 1995 by a group of Chin activists who began monitoring the human rights situation along the borders with India and Bangladesh. At present CHRO fact-finders are actively documenting human rights in most parts of Chin State, as well as other Chin inhabited areas of Burma and among the Chin refugee population in India and Bangladesh. CHRO is also promoting human rights among Chin people inside Burma and in exile.


CHRO is a member of the Asia Indigenous People Pact and is regularly attending the sessions at United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations and United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Information gathered by CHRO was used in International Labour Organization reports, US Department of States’ annual reports on International Religious Freedom and most of the information on Chin State in the report “All Quiet on the Western Front? (The Situation in Chin State and Sagaing division)” published in January 1998 by Images Asia, Karen Human Rights Group and Open Society Institute’s Burma Project.


CHRO is operating three information centres in the region: Bandardan in Bangladesh, New Delhi and Aizawl, Mizoram State, in India. These collection centres are currently gathering testimonies and field reports, and forward them to the CHRO team in Canada for translation and publication of the “Rhododendron” human rights news bulletin.


CHRO aims:


(a) To promote Human Rights and democratic principles among Chin people.


(b) To empower the people, especially the victims of human rights violations, who have been suffering so long under the Burmese military regime;


(c) To provide accurate and reliable information about human rights situation in Chinland to the international community.




The Rhododendron Human Rights News Bulletin CHRO publication Rhododendron Newsletter can be found on the Internet:

Salai Bawi Lian Mang


Chin Human Rights Organization








1. Between the townships of Kalemyo and Minkin (Sagaing Division) there is a long narrow row of hills under the jurisdiction of the Western Division which is the dwelling place of the Auk-stan Zomi Chin people. This place was invaded by military Kha La Ya battalion commander with 17 of his soldiers and 22 members of the USDA on 2 June 2000. They pulled down the houses in the village claiming that this area was within the demarcated Kya-bin forest land. When the villagers cried and begged them not to destroy their houses the soldiers disdainfully responded by setting fire to the broken down houses and property of the villagers. The villagers had to run away with whatever could be saved dragging and carrying the young and the old. They took shelter in the church.


2. Because of this dastardly inhuman behaviour the Zomi Chin people lost three churches, 63 houses and about 600 livestock (chicken and pigs). A total of about 300 are now homeless and penniless. Prior to that, on 10 January 2000, the authorities burnt down the Ah-ma-ka village school which had a staff of 4 teachers and a student population of 67. To this day the children have no school to attend.


3. Auk-sa-tan village on the hill was founded in 1969 with 80 households and a population of 300. They live peaceably and simply,cultivating crops on hill sides and cutting wood. Our information is that this is a Christian village.In March 2000 the Minkin authorities had given notice that this village was to be vacated the latest by 2 June 2000. Other Burmese villages existing in this demarcated area have not been moved. We have been given to understand that this is a deliberate move out of spite against the Zomi village because they belong to the Chin ethnic group and are Christians. Now, these people cannot grow any crops and have to take shelter in neighboring villages or go deeper into the forest and live in temporary huts made with branches of trees exposed to wind and rain. Children have no food and many are sick


4. In Burma today under the rule of the military dictators, if you are not a Burman Buddhist you are discriminated against. The military dictators regard you as an enemy. They offend and disregard the provisions of Articles 12 and 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence etc. and Article 18 which gives everyone the right to freedom of religion. We bitterly condemn them for their despicable behavior and attitude and demand that action be immediately taken against those offenders of the law.



Central Executive Committee

National League for Democracy

No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road

Bahan Township, Rangoon

7 August 2000.

Statement 124 ( 8/00 ) ( translation )






On the 7th July, 2000, Chairman of the Tamu township authority Captain Khin Maung Myint and his group went to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the village of Tin-ka-ya which is about 6 miles from Tamu (Sagaing Division). He summoned the village chairman U Htaung Kho Yan and other leaders including U Htan Lein (Mission School teacher) to a meeting. After that Captain Khin Maung Myint insolently stepped up on to the pulpit with his army boots , a place that is regarded with great reverence by the Christians who normally take their shoes off as a mark of respect. He shouted rudely “With whose permission was this school opened. Where is the permit?” The church elders very courteously explained that in 1976 together with the school for religious teaching the school to teach the basic reading and writing skills was opened.


Captain Khin Maung Myint refused to accept any explanation given by them. His attitude was that of an adversary. He ordered U Htaung Kho Yan and U Htan Lein to stand up in front of him and beat them both on their backs and faces with the special offertory bags used by the church. Not content with doing that he drew his revolver out and pointed it at their heads one after the other. Then he took two bullets out boasting haughtily ” These bullets are for you Chins”. He went on punching and kicking them. He smashed the chairs and tables and other paraphernalia (bibles and sound system) on the pulpit and spat out vile expletives against the Chin people and the Christians. The expressions he used are extremely odious that they cannot be repeated. It damages one’s character and dignity. He then had both U Htaung Kho Yan and U Htan Lein arrested and locked up at the Tamu police station. On 10 July 2000 he ordered the closure of all the Christian schools in the township. News of this was published in the foreign media on 15 July. This caused him to fly into a rage. U Pa Jya Kin, the pastor of the church was arrested and locked up in the police station where the torture and persecution could be compared to the fascist torture chambers. In addition, as a punishment, all the villagers of Tin-ka-ya were made to plough the ten acres of land, which was his private property.


The military dictators are constantly proclaiming that there is freedom of worship, but the above clearly proves that this is not so. It also reflects their attitude towards the ethnic minority groups. They are steeped in the belief that they are superior. They lord it over all the smaller ethnic groups. This is so very transparent. Moreover, every kind of pressure is applied to non-Buddhists and the right to freedom of worship is denied to them. This we see very clearly with our own eyes. 6. The National League for Democracy vigorously and emphatically denounces · this behaviour and attitude of the military dictators in the treatment of the national groups, · in the bullying tactics to bind them with fear and terror, · in their disregard for the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 on ” freedom of religion”. We urge them to take effective action as required by law against those who have no qualms about flouting the law and cavalierly brutalize others.




Central Executive Committee

National League for Democracy

No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road

Bahan Township, Rangoon

7 August 2000

Statement 126 (8/00) (translation)





(Hundreds of Chin Refugees Trapped in the Island of Pacific)

September 30, 2000


Chin Human Rights Organization CHRO had learned that about three hundreds Chins are taking refuge in Guam, a small island in the Pacific Ocean which is the United States’ territory. They all claimed that they fled from the merciless persecution of the ruling Burmese military regime State Peace and Development Council SPDC in their homeland.


The refugees include men, women with various backgrounds such as Church leaders, politicians, doctors, teachers, lawyers, traders, students and farmers. They are seeking refugee status in United States and waiting to be determined their case by the United States Immigration and Naturalisation Service US INS.


Some of the refugees are charged with illegal entry and detained by the authority of Guam on their arrival. Many more are surviving in the island with the help of local Churches and Chin communities around the world. Last week, one of the refugees Mr. K … ( name omitted ) who is under detention in Guam had called CHRO office in Ottawa to explain the situation of Chin refugees in the island. ” I am lucky among the refugees because I am in detention and I do not need to worry for food and shelter. But those who are surviving in the island have problems for their survival, they are facing shortage of food, shelter and even clothing” he said. Mr. K….was Church Council Chairman of Thantlang Baptist Church which have more than 3000 members and the biggest church in Thantlang township, Chin State. He was accused of supporting Chin National Front CNF and arrested twice by the military regime. Chin National Front CNF is an armed resistant party fighting against the ruling Burmese military regime to restore democracy and self determination. Mr. K … said that ” we have nowhere to go, we faced rampant human rights violations in our own home. We can’t even conduct worship service without their ( the military authority ) permission. The people are living in constant fear of the Military Intelligence Service MIS. Even if we fled to neighbouring countries there is still no safety. We could be arrested at any time and send back to Burma”. Last month Indian authority had arrested hundreds of Chin refugees in Mizoram State and deported to Burma.


A glance at background situation:


The story of Mr. Pu Al Bik, an influential trader and a good man from the town of Thantlang is one good example that how the military junta in Burma made to flee people from their home. Pu Al Bik was accused of supporting CNF in 1996 and sought to arrest by the MIS. Thus he fled to Malaysia and stay there for two years. His family and relatives bribed a good deal of money to the authority in Thantlang for Pu Al Bik safe return. After taking a good deal of money, the authority of Thantlang guaranteed Pu Al Bik safe return. Thus, he came home from exile to reunite with his family in 1998. But his dream was not long lasted. Soon after he got home, the MIS summoned him to their camp. There, he was put in the dark room without food and inhumanly interrogated and tortured for two weeks. During the two weeks interrogation, no one was allowed to see him.


After two weeks of interrogation, Pu Al Bik was charged with Unlawful Association Acts and sentence to seven years jail term with hard labour and sent to Kalaymyo, Sagaing Division. Just before he was sent to Kalaymyo, the relatives were allowed to see him. At that time his face was black and badly swollen. He couldn’t even eat or walks due to torture. The story like Pu Al Bik is no longer strange among the Chins under SPDC regime. The military junta has massively increased its military deployment in Chinland, creating an atmosphere for the systematic abuse of human rights. Religious persecutions and portering for the Burmese army is especially rampant across Chinland. Other human rights violations reported are: forced labour, relocation, extortion, rape, arbitrary arrest and killings. There was only one Burmese army battalion stationed in Chin State before 1988. At present more than 10 battalions of Burmese army are operating in Chinland.


According to CHRO document, at least 20 persons from Thantlang area alone were badly tortured by the Military Intelligence Service MIS in last year and they are now serving long term imprisonment with hard labour. They all are accused of supporting the movement of opposition party. Due to rampant human rights violations committed by the Burmese military regime in Chinland, a bout 50 thousands Chins are taking refuge in neighbouring countries. Hundreds of Chins are now fleeing from their home as far as a small island in the Pacific Ocean in search of a safe heaven.





NEW YORK, Sept 5 (AFP)


The United States claims in a new report issued Tuesday that Myanmar’s junta shows no sign of diverting from a long trend of discriminating against religious minorities.


The report on International Religious Freedom accuses junta troops of destroying holy sites in areas populated by some of the country’s myriad ethnic minorities. “Security forces have destroyed or looted Buddhist temples, churches and mosques in ethnic minority areas,” said the report. “Government security forces continued efforts to induce members of the Chin ethnic minority to convert to Buddhism and prevent Christian Chin from proselytizing by highly coercive means.”


The report also says there is “credible evidence” that officials and security forces compelled people to donate labour, or money to build, renovate or maintain Buddhist monuments. “The Government calls these contributions voluntary donations” and imposes them on Buddhists and non-Buddhists” the report said. Evidence also existed of severe legal, social and economic discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya minority in the western state of Arakan, the report said.


“There were credible reports that Muslims in Arakan state continue to be compelled to build Buddhist pagodas as part of the country’s forced labour program. These pagodas are often built on confiscated Muslim land.” The United States is a constant critic of Myanmar’s military government and a strong supporter of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar was one of five countries on which were slapped with symbolic US sanctions for alleged religious intolerance late last year.








Name of interviewee: Sawi Thanga

Age: 45

Sex: Male

Nationality: Chin

Date of interview: 25 August, 2000

Place of interview: Aizawl, Mizoram

Sawi Thanga left his home village Tuingo of Kalemyo Township, Sagaing Division in 1997. He now earns a living as labour of wood cutting works in Mamit District (Aizawl West District). He was arrested and deported to the border river and managed to return back from the border.


JAC Mission: When was you arrested?


Sawi Thanga: I was at a teashop near Aizawl Market when the policemen arrested me. I was here to buy daily needs. It was on 1st August. I was taken to police station and put me in lock-up for one day. The magistrate convicted me the next day and sentenced me for 20 day imprisonment. My jail term was to over on August 20 but as it was Sunday, I was taken out on August 18. I was immediately made to board a bus and set off for Tio.


Mission: How many of you?


Sawi Thanga: We were taken in 3 private buses. There were 27 people in our bus. So, I think we would be about 80 people altogether. Two armed policemen escorted each bus.


Mission: When did you reached the river?


Sawi Thanga: We had dinner at Seling village. We reached Tio river early morning of August 19. The policemen forcefully made us cross the river.


Mission: How many of you crossed the river?


Sawi Thanga: I am not sure how many people really crossed the river but I think about 20 people had crossed. They boarded a boat that was pulled from the shore.


Mission: Was there any Burmese soldiers at the other side?


Sawi Thanga: Yes, there were some soldiers and a few immigration personnel watching us.


Mission: How could you manage to escape?


Sawi Thanga: I had a feeling that I would be arrested if I cross to the Burma side. So, when the policemen were busy taking video and photograph of those who were boarding a boat, I could manage to sneak among the local peoples who were closely watching us.


Mission: Did you hear about the news of those who crossed the river?


Sawi Thanga: I heard hear-say that they were taken to Falam and sentenced 3 years imprisonment with hard labour.






Name: Vai Lian Zing

Age: 47

Sex: Female

Ethnic group: Chin

Date of interview: 9 September, 2000

Place of interview: Aizawl, Mizoram


Vai Lian Zing is wife of Hmun Nei Thang, age 53, of Falam, Chin State. Her husband was arrested on July 31, 2000 at their rented house. He was deported on August 19 and arrested by Burmese authorities.


Mission: What do you do in Mizoram?


Vai Lian Zing: My husband was a Burma policeman. As his salary was insufficient he quit his job. We then opened a small variety store in Falam. Since our store business was not good we decided to start crossed-border trading. It is our first trip. We reached Aizawl on June 26. Since we cannot receive money from the buyer of our goods as we expected we rented a room so that we can save hotel rents.


Mission: When was your husband arrested?


Vai Lian Zing: Policemen along with a few YMA members came to our place on July 31 at around 5 in the evening. As I was not feeling well and lying on my bed, the policemen arrested my husband and four of our visitors.


Mission: What happened then?


VaiLian Zing: He was put in lock-up for one day and was sentenced 20 days imprisonment. I could have visited him in jail seven times but I was not allowed to talk with him. I was only allowed to give eatables to him through a jailer.


Mission: When was he deported?


Vai Lian Zing: On August 18 at 2 in the afternoon, he was taken out of jail along with other Burmese. They were made board a bus. I was not allowed to talk nor give anything to him. I was aware that the buses were heading for Tio river.


Mission: Did you hear about your husband then?


Vai Lian Zing: I do not hear anything about him except the fact that he was arrested by Burmese authorities at Tio and taken to Falam. I need to be here to wait for the money.


Source: Joint Action Committee reports







Agence France Presse

August 7, 2000, Monday

SECTION: International news



Indian troops have arrested more than 150 Myanmar nationals in the past week as part of a new campaign of “zero tolerance” towards illegal immigrants, senior officials said Monday.


Most of the arrests took place in the far northeastern state of Mizoram, where officials say Myanmar drug smugglers and gun runners are taking advantage of the porous border.


“The problem is indeed very serious and we are taking all possible steps to push back the illegal Burmese infiltrators”, Mizoram Home Minister Tawnluia (eds:one name) told AFP by phone from the state capital Aizawl. “Since last week, we have arrested at least 150 people—most of them drug peddlers or involved in other criminal activities in Mizoram,” Tawnluia said.


“Over the years, we have pushed back lots of illegal immigrants and this new trend of Myanmar nationals trying to vitiate the atmosphere will not be tolerated.”


According to police sources, most of the infiltrators sneak into the border districts of Saiha and Champhai in eastern Mizoram before making their way to Aizawl. “The Myanmar nationals and the Mizos share lots of things in common, like identical features, which makes the task of the security forces difficult,” said one senior police official.


“Some of them belong to the same Mongol stock as those of the Mizos and many of them speak the same language as well.” Pressure groups and political leaders have expressed serious concern over the amount of drugs being smuggled across the border.


The problem of drug addiction in Mizoram has assumed alarming proportions in recent years, with needle sharing among intravenous drug users accounting for a sharp jump in the number of HIV-infected youths.


“The infiltrators are bringing with them hard drugs like heroin and marijuana which they can sell at a reasonable profit in Mizoram,” the police official said.





21 August 2000


At 6:30 AM August 19, 2000, All India Radio, Aizawl station broadcast that 82 Chin refugees have been deported to the border river of Tio on 18 July 2000. Reliable sources confirm the handing over of these refugees to the Burmese Army at Tio River, the border of India and Burma. An eyewitness at Tio River reports that the refugees were handed over to the Burmese Army stationed in Rih Khawdar Village of Falam town-ship, Chin State. Rih Khawdar village is located 2 miles from the Tio River.


It is believe that the Burmese Army will send the refugees to Kaley Myo jail. Since there is only Army court in Burma, it is difficult to know how long these refugees will serve time in the Prison or Labor Camp. Information in Aizawl reveals that the arrests and deportations continue. This is the third time in this month that Chin refugees seeking refuge in Mizoram State has been deported. On August 3, the Indian authorities deported 87 refugees from Burma to the border. On August 8, the Indian authorities deported 27 Chin refugees to the border for the second time in the month. The authorities of Indian ignored the appeal of International Institutions such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, United States Committee for Refugees and other institutions and individual to stop deportation. So far Indian Government has been deported 196 Chin and other refugees from Burma in this month.





August 23, 2000.



The following information is from CHRO field monitor in Mizoram State of India regarding the 82 refugees deported on August 18, 2000. The India government handed the refugees over to the Burmese Army at Tio River, then the Burmese Army, on August 21, 2000, handed over 23 of these refugees to Burmese police. The Burmese police escorted them to Falam town in Chin State where they will appear before the Burmese Army. Since the refugees have no Burmese Identity Cards, they will ( likely ) be subject to severe punishment that will include time in Prison Labor Camp in Kaleymyo, Sagaing Division. This is the third deportation of Chin refugees to Burma carried out by India totaling 196 refugees deported. The arrests continue in Aizawl and in other towns such as in Lunglei.





27 August 2000



Chin Human Rights Organization received a report that the Mizoram authority continue the arrest and deportation of Chin refugees in the town of Aizawl, Lunglei and Lawngtlai. On 23 August 2000 Mizoram police deported 18 Chin refugees from Lunglei jail to the border town of Hnahthial.The other group 36 Chin refugees from the town of Lawngtlai were deported to the border village of Vombuk ( Indian side ) on 25 August 2000. Now India had already deported 250 refugees from Burma in this month. Indian authority handed 23 refugees to the hand of Burmese police on 21 August 2000 and the Burmese authority sent them to the town of Falam, Chin State. CHRO learned that Mizoram police arrested 6 more refugees in Aizawl on 25 August 2000.The arrest of refugees from Burma is continue in the towns of Aizawl, Lunglei, Champhai,Lawngtlai and Saiha of Mizoram State.








On August 18, for the third time in less than three weeks, the Indian authorities forcibly returned a group of Burmese Chin refugees to Burma. According to U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) senior policy analyst Hiram A. Ruiz, the Indian government’s actions are “a clear and inexcusable case of refoulement (the forced return of refugees).” Ruiz adds, “Forcing these refugees back into the hands of a regime known for human rights abuse against ethnic minorities demonstrates the Indian government’s gross disregard for the UN refugee convention and the basic human rights of refugees.”


Since late July, when the Indian authorities began arresting ethnic Burmese Chin refugees in living in Mizoram state in Northeast India, refugee advocacy groups have called on the government of India not to forcibly return the Chin to Burma. The Indian authorities have ignored these pleas. They deported 87 Chin on August 3, another 27 on August 8, and, most recently, 82 on August 18. Hundreds of Burmese Chin refugees remain in Indian jails. USCR first wrote to the government of India about the Chin on August 3. At that time, USCR expressed concern over reports that local authorities in Mizoram State had detained hundreds of Burmese Chin and were planning to deport them. USCR said, “Many of these persons fled to India because they feared persecution in Burma…. Deporting members of this group to Burma could constitute refoulement.”


The Indian authorities did not respond. On August 12, USCR wrote again to the Indian government. We said, “Deporting members of this group to Burma could…put their lives at risk. The Burmese authorities are known to have arrested, and according to unconfirmed reports by Chin human rights groups, killed other Burmese Chin whom your government has forcibly returned to Burma in the past. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to refrain from forcibly deporting these refugees.” The Indian authorities did not respond. Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, it is a member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee, and hosts several large refugee populations, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, and Afghans. However, the Indian government does not recognize the estimated 40,000 Burmese Chin who have fled to Northeast India over the past decade as refugees. It has not permitted the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit Mizoram in order to ascertain whether the Chin would fall under its mandate. Because the Chin fled Burma for reasons similar to those of Burmese who are considered refugees in other countries, however, USCR considers them to be refugees. In the past, UNHCR has also said that the Chin in Mizoram might qualify as refugees.




Memorandum To The Hon’ble Chief Minister,

Government Of Mizoram

Date: August 9, 2000


We are writing this regarding the ongoing arrest of hundreds of Chin refugees from Burma and handing over of several of them to the hands of the Burmese military regime by the Government of Mizoram. Since gaining Independence from the British in 1948, Burma enjoyed 14 years of parliamentary democracy till it was abolished in a military coup in 1962. Since then, Burma has been ruled by successive military dictatorships under various names. The country began to face its worst situations after the new military dictatorship came to power through a bloodshed coup under the name of State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), now transformed itself as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).


We, the Chin people had never been ruled nor conquered by outsiders and had enjoyed freedom under our own administration until the advent of the British colonists. Chinland voluntarily joined the Union of Burma in 1947 through the historic Panlong Agreement, which guaranteed equality among the constituents of the Union. However, the Chin people have to face the worst ever racial, religious and political discriminations and other human rights violations at the hands of successive military dictatorships after the abolishment of democracy and the 1947 Panglong Accord. The rampant human rights violations and discriminations committed against the Chin people have forced many of them to flee to take refuge in the neighbouring Mizoram State of India. We would sincerely like to express our deepest gratitude to the State Government as well as the people of Mizoram for extending helps and taking care of these hapless expatriates for the past many years. We have learnt that there is a growing concern over the use of illicit drugs within Mizoram State. We also learnt that the Chin refugees are being held responsible for the spread of drugs in Mizoram. Burma under the present military regime has been branded by many countries including the United States as being the second largest opium and heroin producer in the world.


The main source of the drug influx into the State is obviously from a clique of Burmese military junta that has been doing an open drug trade with the world’s infamous drug lords who are enjoying safe haven under its protection. We support the initiative of the government of Mizoram to severely punish those responsible for these crimes under the existing Indian laws. Simultaneously, we are deeply concerned over the continuing arrest, detention, torture and handing over of innocent Chin refugees to the Burmese junta. We are also extremely concerned over the fate of those who have already been handed over to the junta. We, therefore, demand the government and the people of Mizoram to continue extending their sympathetic and humanitarian help to the Chin refugees who had escaped persecution in Burma to punish those committing such heinous crimes as drug trades under existing laws to discontinue arrest and handing over of innocent Chin refugees to the hands of the Burmese junta.


The cause of refugees influx from Burma is due to the lack of democracy and the existence of military dictatorship, which is a real threat to regional stability. We believe that these refugee problems can be solved only when a democratic government is restored in the country. We would like to earnestly appeal to the international community and the Indian Government in particular, to extend their effective support for democratization in Burma.


Yours sincerely,


Joint Action Committee





Canadian Friends Of Burma’s Letter To High Commissioner Of India


H.E. Rajanikanta Verma

High Commissioner of India

10 Springfield Rd.

Ottawa, ON

Fax: (613) 744-0913


Excellency: We are writing on behalf of Canadian Friends of Burma, a national non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting democracy and human rights in Burma. We are extremely concerned that since July 25, 2000, hundreds of Chin and other refugees from Burma have been arrested, detained in Mizoram and some even deported. We strongly urge you to reconsider these actions which only compound the suffering of refugees who have already faced severe hardships.


We are sure you know that the people from Burma who have taken refuge in Mizoram have done so to escape the repression and persecution they face in Burma under the military junta. In Burma’s Chin state for instance, along with religious persecution, there have been mass instances of forced labour, looting of homes, and rape of women by the army. Under these circumstances, handing people over to the Burmese military regime will likely result in the returnees’ imprisonment, torture and possible death.


According to reports, the arrests and detention of hundreds of people has taken place mostly in Aizwal and the refugees have been denied permission to see their relatives or to take their belongings. We also have reports that roughly 87 Chin refugees have already been deported and that a 25-year old Chin man, Mr. Lalrichana, died while being detained in the lock-up of Aizawl central police station on August 3, 2000.


As you must know, 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.


It is to India’s credit that for years your Government has shown compassion to the refugees, especially the Chin refugees, by allowing them to seek shelter in Mizoram. We urge you to reconsider these recent actions, which not only run counter to international laws but are inhumane and devoid of compassion.


We look forward to your reply.




Corinne Baumgarten


Program Director

Murray Thomson


Canadian Friends of Burma

145 Spruce St.#206

Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6P1

Canada Tel: 613-237-8056 Fax: 613-563-0017

email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


cc: Mr. Atal Behari vajpayee

Prime Minister of India South Block

New Delhi 110001

Fax: +91-11-301 9817


Mr. L. K. Advani

Home Minister of India

North Block

New Delhi 110001

Fax: + 91-11-3015750


Justice A. N. Varma

Chairperson National Human Rights Commission of India

Sardar Patel Bhawan

Parliament Street

New Delhi – 110001


Pu Tawnluaia

Hon’ble Home Minister

Government of Mizoram,

fax: 91 11 301 2331


Pu Zoramthanga

Mizoram Chief Minister

fax no: 91 389 322 245

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy,

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs




The Speech In A Plea To Stop Deporting Chin Innocent Refugees delivered by Pu Lian Uk (MP) at the demonstration in front of the Embassy of India in Washington DC, 8/11/00


Mister Ambassador and Staffs of the Embassy of India,


We come here in front of your Embassy to present our plea through you to the President and the Prime Minister, to the Home Minister of India and to you.


We are the Chin Community who are in political exile in Washington DC area due to the persecution of the Burmese military regime in our home country, the Union of Burma, to which we are supposed to belong to.


India is one of the largest democratic countries in the world and a nuclear power like United States of America. We there fore expect to have mercy like United States of America and the United Nations on people who seek shelters as refugees in your country due to persecution of Burmese military dictatorship .


We therefore absolutely protest India government arresting and forcibly deporting and handing over the Chin people and other citizens of the Union of Burma who seek shelters as refugees in your country into the hands of the Burmese military regime who are world known to be one of the most repressive regimes in modern history.


We know that this Burmese belligerent regime is running the country with the money of the sale proceeds of illegal drugs. We are against drug dealers as much as we are against this Burmese military dictatorship who are responsible for producing illegal drugs as only second to the world most drug producing countries. We are not against the Indian government charging with criminal law in the Indian courts those drug dealers in whose hands drugs are seized.


But we are totally against the Indian government arresting and forcibly deporting and handing over innocent Chin people and their children as well as other Burmese citizens in several parts of North East India , especially in Mizoram State due to the persecution launched in their home country by the Burmese military dictatorship .


We know that United Nations through UNHCR has given much attention to the affairs of people who fled their home countries and seek shelters in other countries due to the persecution.


India is now accepting the UNHCR opening their office in New Delhi. So, India as a leading nation and a possible candidate to be a member of UN Security Council is expected to treat people who seek shelters in India as refugees according to the UN policy on refugees.


We therefore present this plea of ours here that the government of India should stop arresting and deporting and handing over into the hands of the Burmese military dictatorship the Chin people and other citizens of the Union of Burma who seek shelters as refugees in Mizoram State and in other parts of India .


Thank you,


Lian Uk

Member of Parliament-elect(1990)

In political exile, USA.







Letter To Swedish Foreign Minister


Minister Anna Lind

Minister of Foreign Affair

Government of Sweden

103 39 Stockholm

Tel- 08-723 11 76

Fax- 08-405 10 00



Subject: An Earnest Plea for Your Immediate Intervention in the Arrests and Deportations of the Burmese Refugees in India.


Dear Madam,


I am writing on behalf of the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD), a political party in exile dedicated to promoting democracy and human rights in Burma.


I am extremly concerned about the arrests and deportations of Burmese refugees, mostly Chin ethnic nationality, from Mizoram State of India. Since July 25, 2000, the Mizoram State authorities began making arrests and deportations of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Burma, including representatives of All Burma Democratic Front and U Than Sien, a Member of Parliament of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in exile. U Than Sein, however, was released on July 29, but where U Than Sien’s daughter and son-in-law are, who were reportedly arrested with the MP, is still unknown. Mr. Lalrinchan, 25 years old Chin Chrsitian, died after 7 days of serving detention, or what they called “lock-up”, in the central police station of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State, on August 3, 2000.


The first group of refugees, 87 Chin Christians, were deported to Burma on August 6, and another 25 on August 8, 2000. More than 1,000 refugees are still detained to be deported. As you already know, present military junta in Burma can best be described as one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes in the world. In fact, the present military junta is just a continuation of General Ne Win’s dictatorship regime, which came into power in order to suppress a nation-wide peaceful demonstration for democratic change in September 1988. They paved their way to power by killing thousands of innocent lives on the streets of our country. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Burmese students, politicians, human right activists, ethnic leaders and even ordinary civilians – whose lives are apparently threatened by the terror of this regime – are forced to flee from our beloved native country. While many thousands of refugees are fleeing to Thailand, many more are taking shelter in Bangladesh and India.


According to the Chin Human Rights Organization’s report, at least 50,000 refugees, mostly Chin ethnic nationality, are currently taking shelter in Mizoram State of India. The Mizoram State is situated in North-east India, and bordered to Chin State of Burma. Thus, most of the Chin refugees who are suffering both political and religious persecutions in their native country, have fled to Mizoram State for safe refuge.


In addition to the Chin refugees in Mizoram State, there are some 8000 Burmese refugees residing in New Delhi. Although the Indian government is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, India nevertheless is a member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee, and generously hosts several large refugee populations.


However, after signing border trade agreement between the Burmese military junta and the Indian government in the month of February 2000, the Indian authority has changed their attitude towards the Burmese refugees. Mr. Tawnluaia, Home Minister of Mizoram State, therefore is quoted in Aizawl newspapers saying that “the police will continue the arrest and deportation of refugees from Burma till every single one of them is deported”.


The Chin Human Rights Organization, the Chin Freedom Coalition, the Chin Students Union, Amnesty International, the Human Right Watch, the U. S. Committee for Refugees, the Canadian Friends of Burma, Burma Group in Uppsala and many other Burma support groups around the world have expressed their concern and asked the Indian government to cease the arrests and deportation of the Chin refugees. Regardless of international communities’ opinion and the plight of the Chin refugees, the Indian government still is preparing to deport all the refugees from Mizoram State, according to the Rhododendron News, reported on August 17, 2000.


I therefore earnestly beg for your immediate intervention – not only on behalf of the Swedish government, but also on behalf of the European Union as Sweden soon will be holding the chairmanship of the EU – the arrests and deportations of the Chin refugees from Burma in India.


Madam, please make your voice for the voiceless people from Burma, so that they may enjoy justice and their own basic human rights as a living human being.


Thank you so much for your consideration.




Dr. Lian H. Sakhong, Ph.D.


Secretary General, Chin National League for Democracy (in exile)


CC: Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee

Prime Minister of India

South Block

New Delhi 110001

Fax: +91-11-301 9817


Mr. L. K. Advani

Home Minister of India

North Block

New Delhi- 110001

Fax: + 91-11-301 5750


Mr. Zoramthanga

Chief Minister

Mizoram State of India

Aizawl, India

Fax: +91-389- 322 45





Mr. Tapan K. Bose


The Indian government deal with at both political and administrative level. The result is that treated that under the law applicable to the aliens. In the case of refugees protection, the constitution of India guarantees certain fundamental rights, which are applicable to non-citizen. Namely, the rights to equality( Article 14 ), the rights life and personnel liberty (article 21) and the freedom to practice and propagate their own religion (article 25). Any violation of these rights can be remedied through recourse to the judiciary as the Indian Supreme Court has held that refugees or asylum seeker can not be discriminated against because of their non- citizen status.


The National Human Rights Commission of India ( NHRC ) has functioned effectively as a watchdog for the protection of refugees. The commission has approached the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution and obtained protection from the Chakma Refugees when their life and securities was threatened by local politician and youth leader in Arunachal Pradesh. Relief was granted by





Rhododendron News

























(Rev. Dr. Chum Awi)




1. ECOLOGICAL SYSTEM AND RENEWABLE ENERGY IN CHIN STATE (provided by Chin Research and Development Society)








On June 26, 2000, Chin Human Rights Organization’s (CHRO) field monitor Mr. Zothang and two other villagers, Pu Zadun (32 years old ) and Mr. Siamhmingthang (24 years old) of Bungkhua village, Thantlang township, Chin State were killed by Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battlalion LIB 266 of Lungler army camp.


According to the traders, the incident took place around 10 AM local time.


The Burmese army came to the village and surrounded the house while Mr. Zothang of CHRO was talking with the villagers. Mr. Zothang tried to escape as soon as he saw the army, but he faltered and was captured by the army.


He was shot dead near a bush shortly after they arrested him. After that the two villagers Pu Zadun and Mr. Siamhmingthang were arrested and shot dead in the same place.


CHRO was formed in 1995 by a group of Chin activists to document human rights violations committed by the Burmese military junta in Chin State and the North Western part of Burma.


This is the second time that a CHRO member was killed by SPDC while collecting information in the field. In April 1998 Salai Michael Enzapau, Secretary of CHRO was killed near the India-Burma border village of Parva.



A 29-year old Chin woman farmer named Pi Sai Sung, was arrested by a group of Burmese soldiers led by Captain San Lwin from Light Infantry Battalion 266 on June 26, 2000 in Bungkhua village of Chin State. She was accused of having a relationship with CHRO field monitor Mr. Zothang who was killed by the Burmese soldiers on the same day.


She was taken (on foot) to Thantlang town which is 28 miles away from Bungkhua village. According to the villagers, the soldiers covered her mouth with rags and forced her to walk the whole way wearing only her bra and underwear.


Meanwhile Pi Sai Sung’s husband continues to be detained by the SPDC authorities in Kalaymyo jail. He was accused of supporting the Chin National Front (CNF) and arrested in July 1999.


Their two children, an 11-year old daughter and a 5-year old son are being looked after by villagers.


Mr. Zothang was arrested and killed on the spot, along with two villagers Pu Zadun 32 and Mr. Siamhmingthang 24, while he was taking a rest and chatting with the villagers at Pi Sai Sung’s house.


SPDC soldiers buried the dead bodies of the victims and planted landmines near their graves. The villagers appealed to the soldiers and finally got permission to take the dead bodies of Pu Zadun and Mr. Siamhmingthang and rebury them at the village cemetery. But the Burmese soldiers refused to clear the landmines they planted at the grave of Mr. Zothang of CHRO.


In addition, Capt. San Lwin and his troops stole Kyats 24,000/- from Pu Mang Hlun and a tape recorder from Pu Chan Hre of Bungkhua village.



On 12 June 2000, the CHRO received a report from a reliable source that the Burmese military junta, the State Peace and Development Council, issued an order to demolish the United Pentecostal Church located on Cherry Street in downtown in Haka, the capital of Chin State.


In addition, a church pastor Rev. Tin Hei has been placed on trial in a Chin State court. The report was confirmed by a Rangoon pastor from the same denomination who is now studying in the United States. The pastor said that the people spent a good deal of money to obtain permission from the authorities to build the church, which they constructed only after they received permission from the Ministry of Religion. The church building was completed in 1999.


In January 1999, six pastors including a woman minister were arrested for erecting a cross on their mountain top in the town of Thantlang, 20 miles from Haka. In addition, in July 1999, two pastors from the town of Thantlang were arrested for conducting a Church council meeting without the army’s permission.


On 9 September 1999, the United States’ Department of State, in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, released its first Annual Report on Religious Freedom. The report provides accurate documentation of the Burmese Army’s systematic violation of religious freedom in Burma. The United States’ State Department has designated Burma, along with China, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan, as one of five countries of particular concern for violations of religious freedom.


Over 90 percent of Chins are Christians and religious persecution is a major concern in Chin State.


Background Information:


The Burmese military regime continues persecution of Chin Christians and the killing of innocent Chin villagers in Chin State in the Union of Burma. On June 13, 2000, Chin State authorities of the SPDC in Haka, the capital of Chin State, summoned Rev. Tin Hei, a pastor of the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) and ordered him to discontinue the construction of the UPC building on Cherry Street.


The building is comprised of three floors, one for the church, the other for the Haka UPC District office, and the third for the pastor’s quarters. When a Students Festival was held in Haka on April 25-28, 1998, Chin Christians were forced to construct the bleachers and seats so that SPDC leaders could watch the games in comfort. Chin villagers were forced to manually gather hardwood from the forest to construct the seats.


At the conclusion of the games, the officials sold the hardwood and kept the profit. The UPC Church bought some of the wood from the SPDC to build its building. Since the construction of “church buildings” is not permitted under SPDC regulations, a church has to be built as part of a larger building. But the construction of a Buddhist temple does not require permission from the SPDC.


The UPC met all the SPDC’s requirements for the construction of the building and had received permission from the SPDC to proceed. Work on the building began in early 1999 and was nearly complete when the order to discontinue was issued. The SPDC ordered the construction to stop for two years even though the UPC had prior permission to complete the building.


The SPDC did not give any specific reasons why they stopped the construction. Similarly, on June 29, the SPDC officials in Kalemyo ordered the Agape Church of the Assembly of God in Pinlong Ward, Kalemyo in Sagaing Division to stop the construction of their church building.


The church pastor, Rev. Go Za Nang, had obtained prior permission from the military authorities. The order was given without explanation.




Hundreds of Refugees from Burma arrested in Aizawl, India

July 30, 2000



Hundreds of refugees from Burma were arrested by police in the town of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State in India. These arrests are part of a major on-going crackdown against refugees and illegal immigrants from Burma by Mizoram authorities.


Some of those arrested have been sent to the Central Jail because all the lockups in the town are full of refugees from Burma. A source from Mizoram police force said that all those who are arrested will be deported back to the India/Burma border.


Mr. U Than Sein, Member of Parliament elect from National League for Democracy party was among those who were arrested in Aizawl on July 28. He was released the following day.


Rampant human rights violations committed by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC ), Burma’s ruling military regime along with economic hardships in the country forced people from the Union of Burma to seek refuge in the neighbouring State of Mizoram, India.


According to the Chin Relief and Development Committee, there are about 50 thousand refugees from the Union of Burma living in Mizoram State. Most of the refugees are Chins.



On Friday evening, July 28, 2000, Mizoram State authorities began arresting Chin and other refugees from Burma in Aizawl, the capital of the Indian state. The arrests and deportations have continued through to mid-August and still continue as this bulletin goes to print.


The number of arrests has not been released by the police but is now estimated at several hundred. Over a hundred refugees have already been deported to the border by Aizawl authorities. The fate of those deportees is currently unknown.


According to this year’s Report of the U.S Committee for Refugees, “World Refugee Survey”, there are about 40,000 Chin refugees residing in the state of Mizoram. Because Mizoram State is situated in Northeast India and shares a border with Burma’s Chin State, many Chin (from Chin State) and other Burmese refugees (from the Sagaing Division and Arakan State) fled there to seek refuge from human rights abuses and economic hardship.


The people who have been arrested are being detained in Aizawl’s five police stations: Babutlang (which accommodates up to 60 people), Bawngkawn Police Station (which accommodates up to 20 people), Vaiva Kawn Police Outpost (which accommodates up to 15 people), Kulikawn Police Outpost (which accommodates up to 15 people), and Luangmual Police Outpost (which accomodates up to 15 people).


As the number of arrests increases, the amount of space in the lock-ups is running out. Therefore, many of the arrestees are being sent to the Central Jail in Tanhril, which is in the Aizawl town area and accommodates about 1000 people.


There are reports that these refugees are neither allowed to take their belongings nor to see their relatives. According to local sources in Aizawl, those who are being held in these five police stations and the Central Jail will appear before the first class rank of the magistrate at the Deputy Commissioner’s office of the Aizawl District to have their fates determined.


According to this district court’s procedures, the refugees will probably be face one of the following two scenarios: They will either be deported to the Camphai/Rih Khawdar area of the India-Burma border. When the refugees are handed over to the military authorities in Rih Khawdar, they will “likely” be sent to jail or labour camp.


The second possible scenario is that Aizawl authorities may charge them with illegal entry to India, detain them in the Central jail in Tanhril for between six months and one year, and then deport them to Burma.


Currently, Aizawl police continue to arrest Chin and other Burmese refugees in the streets and the work place and many of them are in hiding. This crackdown on refugees from Burma may be related to agreements that were reached this year in January/February meetings between high-level Indian and Burmese military generals. The aim of the meetings was to improve cooperation regarding border trade.




August 6, 2000


In the midst of the mass arrests and deportations of Chin refugees in Mizoram State, a 25 year old Chin refugee, Mr. Lalrinchana, died in the lock-up of the Aizawl central police station on August 3, 2000. Mr. Lalrinchana was the son of Mr. Pa Hmunga of Leilet village, Falam township, Chin State, Burma.


He was first arrested and tortured by the Village Defense People VDP of Electric Ward, Aizawl, who then handed him over to the Mizoram Police.


He was accused of using illegal drugs. The dead body of Mr. Lalrinchana was taken to the hospital. Since no one claimed his body, Chhinga ward’s Young Mizo Association (YMA) buried him on August 6, 2000. The YMA confirmed that the death of Mr. Lalrianchana was due to torture.


Since the last week of July, Indian Police have been arresting Chin and Burmese refugees in the area of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State, India. According to Mr. Tawnluaia, Home Minister of Mizoram State, the police will continue the arrest and deport refugees until every refugee from Burma is deported.


Several hundreds of refugees from Burma in Aizawl area were arrested and the arrests are still continuing as this bulletin goes to print. 194 refugees have already been deported to the Indo-Burma border.


HNEHTU newspaper (India): Jail condition in Mizoram State


Dated 3 August 2000


There are 1,326 prisoners in all Mizoram jails. Central Jail is very congested now with the Burmese being arrested in the state. Only 400 to 500 prisoners are used to put in the Central Jail but from 3rd August the jail has become congested and total 846 prisoners were there in the central jail.


In Champhai jail, there are now 56, jail of Saiha in southern Mizoram 68 and Kollasib jail is with 79 prisoners. There are total 200 prisoners in Lunglei jail. The reason why jails in Mizoram became crowded is the arrest of Burmese from different parts by the police in the state.


A news report from MIZO ARSI (star) newspaper, Aizawl,

Dated 7th August, 2000

Overdosed person died in lock-up


On 7th August 2000, a Chin, namely Lalrinchhana, who says himself from being Tuikual C of Aizawl, died in lock-up due to overdose. His body was taken away by his maternal Uncle T.C Vungana who lives in Chhiga Veng of Aizawl.




New Delhi,

August 14, 2000

Hundreds of Burma refugees in New Delhi face the possible starvation and homeless as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi cannot pay the monthly allowance for this month. The UNHCR, which has been providing the amount of Indian Rupee 1,550 per month per person to its refugees in India, could not make the payment in the first week of August as it used to make. It is now in the half of the month and seems that UNHCR would not be able to pay the allowance in the coming days either. When contacted to the UNHCR office in Delhi, some refugees are informed that it might not be possible to make payment till 20th of this month.


The UNHCR Office in Delhi cited the reason as “the serious financial constraints that UNHCR is facing globally”. Apparently, the Geneva headquarters has not sanctioned allowance money for the refugees in India.


Due to delay of the payment from UNHCR, some landlords have evicted the refugees from their houses as the refugees cannot pay house rent on due time. Some are forcing the refugees to pay rent immediately by cutting water or electricity supplies. “We know of at least a hundred families of them”, said a community leader, who along with others are now desperately seeking financial and material assistance from non-governmental organizations and individuals in Delhi.


“Some families are starving, as they have no means of support whatsoever. The children studying in schools cannot pay their tuition fees”, he continues. An emergency relief committee was formed on last Friday in a meeting of Burma refugee community held in New Delhi to seek ad hoc financial and food supplies for the refugees.


Since September 1988, when the military came to power by a coup in Burma, hundreds of Burmese nationals, mostly students and youth pro-democracy activists, have crossed the border to India. A large number of Burmese refugees, mostly ethnic Chin, have also taken shelter in India due to human rights abuses, political and economic hardship under the military regime. Approximately between 40,000 to 50,000 Chin nationals are currently staying in India’s northeastern state Mizoram. In recent weeks, the Mizoram government launched a crackdown on these Burma nationals in the state and about one thousand Chin asylum-seekers are being detained in various jails in Mizoram. They face possible forced return to Burma after their release from prison.


Of the number 800 Burma nationals currently staying in Delhi, about 600 are recognized and protected refugees of the UNHCR in India. There are about one hundred and fifty families with a hundred children (mostly between the age of 2 to 7 years). There are about one hundred refugees whose application for refugee status are either rejected or pending with the UNHCR office and thus they are not entitled to UNHCR’s any humanitarian assistance. Even UNHCR-recognized refugees experience hardship and problems in their daily life due to inadequate financial assistance provided by UNHCR.


In July this year, UNHCR office in Delhi informed the refugees that the monthly allowance from July this year would be at Rupees 1,400 (about US $ 31) per person, in stead of 1,550 paid in previous months. The worst yet come in this month, as UNHCR cannot pay the allowance money to the refugees till date.


Source: Mizzima News Group





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.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: 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


COPIES TO: 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.





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.


USCR Deeply Concerned Over Fate of Burmese Chin Deported and Detained by India


The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) has told the government of India that it is deeply concerned regarding the fate of several hundred ethnic Chin Burmese refugees whom the Indian authorities have detained. In a letter dated August 3, USCR senior policy analyst Hiram A. Ruiz said, “Many of these persons fled to India because they feared persecution in Burma…. Deporting members of this group to Burma could constitute refoulement¯forced return of refugees. Such an action would be contrary to international law and would warrant strong international condemnation.”


Because they fled Burma for reasons similar to those of Burmese who are considered refugees in other countries, USCR considers the estimated 40,000 Burmese Chin who have fled to Northeast India over the past decade to be refugees. However, the Indian government does not recognize them as refugees. Neither does it permit the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit Mizoram in order to ascertain whether the Chin would fall under its mandate. In the past, UNHCR has said that the Chin in Mizoram might qualify as refugees.


According to the Chin Freedom Coalition, the Indian authorities are detaining some of the Chin whom they recently arrested in prisons in Aizwal and Tanhril, and at police posts in Babutlang, Vaiva, Kulikawn, and Lungmual. Thousands of other Chin Burmese living in Mizoram are now fearful of being arrested and forcibly returned to Burma. Some are said to be in hiding. The Chin, who are largely Christian, are among the many ethnic minorities who have suffered discrimination under successive Burmese governments and persecution by the present Burmese regime. Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, it is a member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee, and generously hosts several large refugee populations, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, and Afghans. USCR urged the Indian authorities to extend their hospitality to Burmese refugees living in Mizoram.


Action: What you can do!

1. Please write to Indian and Mizoram governments:

– 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 Burma ( Myanmar ) in Mizoram;

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


Pu Zoramthang

Chief Minister of Mizoram




Faxes: + 91 389 32245

Salutation: Dear Chief Minister


Pu Tawnluaia

Home Minister

Government of Mizoram


Fax: + 91 389 32245

Salutation: Dear Minister


Mr George Fernandes

Defence Minister

Ministry of Defence

New Delhi


Faxes: + 91 11 379 3397

Salutation: Dear Minister


Mr Lal Krishna Advani

Minister of Home Affairs

Ministry of Home Affairs

North Block

New Delhi 110 001


Faxes: + 91 11 301 5750

Salutation: Dear Minister



2. Write to your MP, Congressman and Senator expressing your concern at recent reports of the persecution of the Chin people in Burma. Urge him/her to support the Committee Representing the Peoples’ Parliament established under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership. This would have the effect of undermining the SPDC military junta which is responsible for these violations of human rights.





(Rev. Dr. Chum Awi)

1. CHIN STATE It is situates in the North-Western part of Burma. The State borders with Bangladesh and India in the West. It is full of mountains and deep valleys. These make communication difficult. People speak various dialects.


The population is estimated 400000. People are dependent on slash and burn system of agriculture. This system make the soil barren year after year.


2. CHRISTIANITY The first missionaries to Eastern Chinland were Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Carson. They founded mission station in Haka in 1899 AD. This town is now the present capital town of the State. Mr. Carson, invented Roman alphabets for Chin literature in 1907. He planned to work on development in the areas of agriculture, literature, medicine, and basic education. The people were so unfor-tunate because he died of appendicitis in 1908.


These American Baptist missionaries were followed by Dr. East and his wife (1902). They were medical missionaries. Another medical missionary couple were Dr. & Mrs. J.G. Woodin. They came to Haka in 1910 and didn’t work long.


Rev. & Mrs. Chester Strait arrived in Haka in 1925. He established Bible school in Haka. He finished translation of the New Testament and published in 1940.


Rev. & Mrs. robert R.G. Johnson arrived in Haka in 1946. They began to translate Old Testament. They started to build a stone Church building in Haka. The Revolutionary Government of Burma which dethroned parliamentary democracy government in 1962 required them to go home in 1966. They were the last missionary couple to the Chins.


3. ZOMI (CHIN) BAPTIST CONVENTION In 1953 Baptist Chins organized them- selves as Zomi (Chin) Baptist Convention. The total population of Baptists in Chin State is estimated 100000 baptized and another 100000 non-baptized members. There are around 1000 local small Churches in the villages.


Because of dialects and regional feelings, the Convention is comprised of 25 associations. 1. Haka Baptist Association 2. Falam Baptist Association 3. Tedim Baptist Association 4. Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches 5. Kale Valley Baptist Association 6. Matu Baptist Association 7. Matu Association of Baptist Cchurches 8. Senthang Baptist Association 9. Lautu Baptist Association 10. Kabaw Valley Thado Baptist Association 11. Zotung Baptist Association 12. Maram Baptist Association 13. Zophei Baptist Association 14. Tonzang baptist Association 15. Siyin Region baptist Association 16. Zo Baptist Association 17. Kuki Chin Baptist Association 18. Tamu Valley Baptist Association 19. Paletwa Baptist Association 20. Gangaw Baptist Association 21. Kanpetlet Baptist Association 22. Mindat Township Baptist Association 23. Chin Baptist Association 24. Kale Zomi Baptist Association 25. Lairawn Baptist Association


4. OTHER MISSION & PARA-CHURCHES There are mission Churches and para- churches which are established in the Chin society today. These include: 1. Roman Catholic Mission Churches 2. Presbyterian Churches 3. Methodist Churches 4. Gospel Baptist Churches 5. Fundamental Baptist Churches 6. Evangelical Baptist Churches 7. Evangelical Presbyterian Churches 8. United Reform Churches 9. Evangelical Free Church of Burma 10. Church of Jesus Christ 11. Church of God 12. Church on the Rock 13. Assemblies of God 14. Full Gospel Churches 15. United Pentecostal Churches 16. Christian Mission Alliance 17. Four Square Gospel Church 18. Christian Church of Myanmar 19. Seventh Day Baptist Church 20. Seventh Day Adventist Churches 21. Independent Church of Burma 22. Thangzakam baptist Churches


Note: These small Churches are part of Christian growth in the State.


5. FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY The present military government of Burma is implementing its unwritten high policy in the country. This high policy is summed up in three words: Amyo, Batha, Thathana. It can be translated as:



“Only one race = Burmese


Only one language = Burmans


Only one religion = Buddhism”

Because of this policy Chin language is prohibited to be taught in public schools. Christianity is suppressed in many ways. Pagodas are constructed on mountains of Chin State with state government funds while churches are destroyed indirectly.


The future of the Churches in Chin State is very unstable at this point of time. It is hoped and prayed that believers in the State continue keeping their faith in the midst of torturings and persecutings.


( Rev. Dr. Chum Awi is former principal of Zomi Theological College ( ZTC ), and General Secretary of Zomi ( Chin ) Baptist Convention. He was township law officer at Haka before he served as ZTC principal )





Ecological System and Renewable Energy in Chin State Provided by: Chin Research and Development Society


A Brief Review of The Ecological Destruction and the Feasibility of Renewable Energy in Chin State


Provision of an energy supply in the Inner Chin State, Burma has been difficult for a long time, and has seriously obstructed economic and social development. The state has not been invested large amount of financial and materials resources here, only a very limited about 5% to 10 % of the population in this area accessed to electricity. Insignificant numbers of farmers, villagers and households have been connected to the electricity grid or to local small hydro generating stations. To extend the grid, the construction of high and low voltage lines alone would require large amount of investment that only the international NGO will best meet these requirements as the local or the State Government has no other alternative resources for implementation. Not only the one-time cost is high, but also the energy usage at any given location is low that the economy benefits are also very low.


Because of a shortage of fuel, energy, and electricity the farmers here still rely mainly on firewood, straw for their daily use – this has resulted in deforestation, destruction of the reserved forest for rain, soil erosion and draught that are affecting a larger area every year.


The second cause of the deforestation is done by Orchid hunting in the forest of Chin State, because of the price of the wild orchid per kilogram is as high as 4000 Kyats to 6000 ks ( Kyat is Burmese currency ) per kilogram which is an equivalent salary of a government servant per month. People cut every huge tree that bears Orchid flowers. The jungle of the reserve forest in Chin State now has been totally wipes out.


There are two main orchids which the Orchid hunters are mainly interested in:


(a )small white colour flowers with the shape of pearls , a rather short plant, which is highly demanded in China and can cost up to 5000 ks per kilogram,


(b) the second one has a delicate shape spider like structure flowers which has exotic beauty in nature, and can cost up to 6000 ks per kilogram.


The Chinese, Indians and Thais have the technique to do tissue culture that include mass production from a single plant to over a million plants in a- three -year period. Orchid cultivation became one of the sources of their main national income, rolling millions and millions of dollars in to their countries each year.


The third cause of deforestation would be shifting cultivation and the usage of slash-and-burn method of cultivation that devastated the ecological system of Chin State. The fourth cause of deforestation is burning forest that destroyed natural habitats for the animals and ecological system as a whole, to the extent that the fire occasionally resulted to the destruction of houses in the villages.


To depend on conventional energy to solve the energy problem of the vast, extremely dispersed areas is fraught with difficulties. To do so even within a relatively long period of time will be next to impossible. However, Chin State has abundant wind and solar energy resources. The region’s wind energy reserves are very large and still being unused. In the region as a whole, average wind speed would be around 5 meters per second, and 75% of the region has utilizable wind resources. Inner Chin State also has a rich solar resource that 3000 hrs to 4000 hrs of sunshine available per year. Learning how to make use of these favorable resources that nature has bestow upon humanity, and turn them into a wellspring and motive force to accelerate economic and social development, is the objective towards which we have been striving.


The road to renewable To solve the energy problem of the areas, to develop the regional economy and protect the fragile ecological environment, Chin State has traveled a difficult road toward the development and utilization of new energy sources.


Between 1950 and 1970 the initial steps were taken towards new energy development. The first steps were made towards solving the scientific questions involved in producing equipment for converting wind energy into mechanical and electrical energy, and devices for utilizing solar electricity and solar heat. Through medium-scale testing arranged by the local and the region, initial steps were taken to explore the feasibility of using wind power to address energy needs in this area. These steps established a firm foundation for the development and use of new energy in Chin State.


From 1980 to 1990, new energy development and utilization moved into the key stage of organized and planned development. By late 1990 it was possible to buy Tata Company made solar panel from India that the relatively wealthy people of Chin State have access in purchasing, for their family electricity consumption. We need a reliable group of Local NGO with the task of supervising and co-ordinating the issues of renewable energy at a regional level. All major issues in new energy development are to be studied, planned organized and co-ordinated between NGO organizer for rural development. This will vigorously ensured the healthy development of the region’s energy work.


New energy development guidlines are to establish with, policies and specific measures well suited to the region’s conditions. That specified :-


The primary objective of new energy development and utilization had to be the solution of the energy problems of rural and remote areas, and that the development of small-scale wind generators, solar cells, and balance of system products for stand-alone applications is a top priority.


Reliable to use, convenience to maintain, and affordable to local usage should be the basic principle of the new product.


Small-scale products and energy use for daily life should be the main focus, and the needs of production and daily life should be integrated.


Local people should be in charge, with the State and NGO providing appropriate support.


Local NGO and expertise are to be organized to tackle the key technical problems. Simultaneously, with the region’s resources in mind, provisional standards are formulated for the technical parameters of small wind generators, in order to push them as fast as possible toward technical reliability and practicality of use.




Border Area Development means torture, forced labour, displacement of families and destruction of an ordinary villagers in the border areas “My name is Tuan Hrang (name change for security reason), 48 years old and I am from Capaw village, Matupi township, Chin State. Our village is situated between Sabawngte and Lailenpi village. There is a Burmese army camp under the command of Major Maung Maung stationed in Sabawngte village which is half a days walk from our village (about 12 miles) and there is another Burmese army post in Lailenpi village which is 24 miles away from our village.

Thus, the army always compels us to work for them. The situation became much worse in our area last year when the army started to implement a border area development project. In January 1999 Major Maung Maung and Lt. Myo Swe issued an order to construct a road for cars between Sabawngte village and Lailenpi village under this project. We were forced to work on the road for the whole year with no time to work for ourselves. We were not paid at all for our labours. Also, we had tocarry our own rations, medicines and all the tools necessary for road construction.

The work was very hard and we had to work from dawn to dark. The food was not very good so we became sick. Some people suffered from malaria and some from diarrhea. Some people even died from their illnesses. The sick people were allowed two days rest only when his/her condition was at its very worst. We were not even allowed to go to church for Sunday worship service. The working conditions were terrible. The road we constructed had to be 10 feet wide and, as it is mountainous area, the embankment of the road is about 10 to 20 feet high. The soldiers guarded us when we were working. They forced us to work until 9 or 10 PM, and only after that, allowed us to eat our supper. We become very weak and thin because of excessive work and lack of nutrition. Since the Burmese army battalion stationed itself in our area, forced labour, torture and all kinds of harassment are no longer strange in our daily lives. Our village of 60 households used to be quiet and a nice place to live but now we have only 30 households left. Many families fled to Mizoram State in India and many peoples moved to other villages or towns. Now the population of our village is about 200 and only about 50 of us are able to work. Most of the time we have to spend our labours working for the army and there is no time left to work for ourselves.

As a result, we will surely starve in the coming year. Major Maung Maung and Lieutenant Thin Lin Aung of Sabawngte army camp issued an order on December 9,1999 for the following five villages to reconstruct the road: Capaw, Sabawngte, Sabawngpi, Darling and Hlungmang

1. They demanded 60 workers from Capaw village but only 15 people could show up.
2. They demanded 80 workers from Sabawngte village but only 40people could show up.
3. They demanded 80 workers from Sabawngpi village but only 38 peoplecould show up.
4. They demanded 80 workers from Darling village but only 40 peoplecould show up.
5. They demanded 60 workers from Hlungmang village but only 12 peoplecould show up.

The army demanded 340 people to reconstruct the road from five villages but only more than a hundred people could work. While working, the soldiers punched, kicked and beat us whenever they wanted. We were not even allowed to go to our villages to celebrate Christmas. Being Christians, Christmas celebrations are the most joyful time for us. However, last Christmas, we were working as forced labourers in the jungle. Many forced labourers got sick but they did not receive any medicine or treatment from the army. Thus we have to find medicine by ourselves. The slogan “Border Area Development” sounds great but in reality it means forced labour, torture, displacement of families and destruction of the lives of ordinary villagers in the border areas just like what happened to our village.


My name is Pu Vu Leng, 40 years old Chin Christian. I am a farmer from Sabawngte Village, Matupi township, Chin State. Rizua village is two days walk from our village, Sabawngte. The military ordered me to relay a letter to Rizua village. The letter was from 2ndLt. Thin Lin Aung of Aimed forces No.3107/Khalahyah 273 Battalion to Major Maung Maung. On December 27,99, I walked to Darling village. The following day, I and a boy named Khai Tlua started to walk to another village, Capaw. When we were crossing Bawinu River, the boy was drowned. This boy is the youngest of 8 children in the family. Since the family is too poor to support him to go to school, the boy helps his parents on farming.

His body was found on the evening of the same day and was carried to Sabawngte village and the people in the village buried him. Even though he died on journey ordered by the military, the family was not given any helps by the military. In view of the New Year 2000, people wanted to celebrate continuously Christmas throughout New Year. Unfortunately, the celebration was interrupted by the death of this boy. No one dared to make any complaint to the military. The military used the people as they like. But they ignored what people suffered and even death. People in Sabawngte village suffered most because there is a military camp.


The majority population of Chins are Christians and religious persecution is a major concern in Chinland. The following statement demonstrates how the Burmese military regime systematically carried out religious persecution up on the Chin peoples in Burma. Below is an excerpt from a statement made by Pu Zo Tum Hmung during the Baptist World Congress held in Melbourn, Australia in January 2000.

Human Rights Under the leadership of General Ne Win, the Burmese Army has ruled Burma for 38 years, sometimes in uniform and sometimes under the guise of civilian dress. Since 1988, when the Army brutally repressed nationwide democratic uprisings, there has been neither Constitution nor legislature in Burma. Held at gunpoint, the people must answer “yes” to the Army’s orders, regardless of truth or reality. Dictatorial rule has led to severe economic hardship and civil unrest in Burma. According to the United States Committee for Refugees based in Washington DC (1988 USCR World Refugee Survey) there are more than 215,000 refugees from Burma living in Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Approximately one million refugees are internally displaced, a number that increases daily. These reports are telling of the human rights situation in Burma .Indeed, forced and unpaid labor are so widespread in Burma that in June1999 the International Labor Organization passed the following resolutions: “That Government of Myanmar should cease to benefit from any technical cooperation or assistance from the ILO,” [ILO Resolution 28-C (a)] and “That the Government of Myanmar should henceforth not receive any invitation to attend meetings, symposium and seminars organized by the ILO.” [ILO Resolution 28-C (b)]. Moreover, since 1989, the United Nations General Assembly has passed annual resolutions urging the Burmese Army to stop violating human rights. The resolutions have been to no avail.

Religious Freedom

There is no religious freedom in Burma. Because the military regime is Buddhist, religious persecution is directed primarily at the ethnic minority groups, such as Christians and Muslims. Out of a population of 48million people, only 4 percent are Christian, while more than 80 percent are Buddhist. In August 1999, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Myanmar and the Myanmar Council of Churches stated in their letter to the Military Regime head office in Rangoon the following concerns: “Christian mission work was not permitted in some states and townships, forbidding church worship services, arresting and persecuting believers, ministers forced to stop their work, Christians forced to abandon their beliefs and destroy crosses”. On September 9, 1999, the US Department of State, in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, released its first Annual Report on Religious Freedom. The report provides accurate documentation of the Burmese Army’s systematic violation of religious freedom in Burma. In addition, the State Department has designated Burma, along with China, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan, as one of five countries of particular concern for violations of religious freedom. On September 23, 1999, the Burmese military regime responded in typical fashion to the 1999 State Department Report, stating: “The 1999 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom issued by the Untied States Department of State is inaccurate and misleading.”(Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in Washington, DC). This statement is not true, as I will demonstrate on a case by casebasis:

1) Freedom to Construct Churches

The military regime does not permit the construction of “churches” Rather, they must be built as “centers.” Yet even where the army grants permission to build a “center,” its future remains unsure. The Granite Factory in Yeik Htoo, 120 miles from Rangoon, is an exemplary story. There, Christian workers representing several different ethnic groups, including the Karen, Kachin, and Chin, received permission to build a center in June 1999.When the Center was all but complete, the Army ordered them to destroy the center. Similar incidents occurred in Haka, the capital of the Chin State, where the Baptist Churches in Haka constructed the Carson Memorial Hall in honor of the first missionary to Chinland one hundred years ago. Construction of the Hall was set to be complete before the date of the centennial, March15, 1999, and planned to display the works of the missionary and Chin cultural and historical records from the past 100 years. However, in early 1999,the Army ordered that construction of the churches is halted. As a result, the churches could not display our homage to the mission work during the centennial celebration. Unlike Christians and Muslims, Buddhists do not need permission from the Army to construct pagodas. Indeed, the regime’s Ministry of Religious Affairs has been providing funds for the construction of the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University in Rangoon for the training of Buddhist clerics. This University opened in December 1998. In contrast, Christian and Muslim institutions were nationalized in 1964-65 and placed under control of the Army. There is no record of the Army ever having destroyed a Buddhist pagoda. On the contrary, the Army often forces Christians and Muslims to construct pagodas without pay. These examples are indicative of the fact that in Burma there is freedom to exercise religious beliefs if those beliefs are Buddhist, but not if they are Christian or Muslim.

2) Freedom to Preach

Pastors, Preachers and Evangelists must be extremely cautious in their preaching, particularly with respect to social and economic issues. In the Kaleymyo area of the Sagaing Division, the Military Intelligence maintains files on each pastor and has warned them, one by one, not to preach on economic injustice.

3) Freedom to Assemble

All conferences and Christian meetings are subject to authorization by the Burmese Army, a power that the Army exercises in an arbitrary and unjust manner. In 1999–the year of the Chin Christian centennial celebrations–the army rejected the churches’ appeals to celebrate in March, the centennial month. The Army granted permission to celebrate in April 1999, but ordered that no more than 4000 people would be allowed to participate. The Army also refused to allow former missionaries and Baptist leaders from the United States to participate in the centennial celebration.

4) Christian Literature

During February and May of 1999, the Army seized 16,000 copies of the Bible in Kachin, Chin, and Karen in Tamu town of Sagaing Division, which were printed outside the country. As of today, these Bibles remain in the Army’s hands. Christian publications must pass the inspection of the censorship authority. More importantly, contents of any proposed publications in ethnic languages must be translated to Burmese so that the Army can check the contents. For example, in 1998, the Chin Association of Christian Communication (CACC), based in Haka, went to the Censorship Office in Rangoon to publish as mall Chin literature book on the Haka dialect. One of the sentences in the book stated, “Jesus is Lord” (Zisuh cu Bawi a si). The Army forced the CACC to delete that sentence.

5) Employment Injustice Based on Religion

On December 20, 1999, I interviewed Major ….Lian….. (full name omitted for security reason)who fled to the ……………… September 1999. Mr. Lian completed the course of officer military training and served the regime for 23 years. All of his classmates who were Burmese-Buddhist were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Mr. Lian also should have been promoted to that rank in light of his excellent reputation and service of seniority. However, the promotion authority in Rangoon informed him that only if he abandoned Christianity and became a Buddhist would he receive the rank of Lt. Col. Mr. Lian refused the offer and fled to the United States. Mr.Lian told me that other Christians are similarly denied promotions based on their religious identification.

6) Racial Discrimination Based on Religion

On April 1, 1996, the military regime imposed a new law of inheritance on the non-Buddhist people. This law stated that all non-Buddhists must apply at military court for the inheritance of their fathers. This law is in direct violation of the customary law of the non-Buddhist people. Reconciliation Violations of human rights and religious freedom will continue in Burma unless there is democratic change. We need to change both the system and the rulers. To this end, we need a peaceful solution by way of true reconciliation. The battlefield is not the place to achieve reconciliation. Neither military might nor gun power, nor thirty-eight years of military rule, have resolved the civil wars in our land. The regime should learn this lesson, and come to the dialogue table, as the United Nations and international community have repeatedly urged. True reconciliation must be based on the will of the people. Burma needs the involvement of outsiders, and I believe our Baptists friends have a significant role to play. However, we must also learn our lessons. The cease-fire agreement signed by the regime with the involvement of church leaders inside the country only strengthened the Army politically because the church leaders remain under the army’s control. This kind of cease-fire agreement will not lead to national reconciliation. Cease-fire should be for the purpose of political dialogue under the intervention of international bodies such as the United Nations. I ask the Baptists not to provide any assistance directly or indirectly in the cease-fires arranged under the military regime’s control. Rather, I ask that you engage in pressuring the military regime to enter into a tripartite dialogue with the democratic forces, and the ethnic groups.


The 210th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Churches of the United States condemned the Burmese Army in the following words: “The illegal government of Burma is one of the world’s brutal and repressive military regime. Call the Presbyterian Church (USA) to pray for the people of Burma and to encourage world pressure of the genuine democratic government to be installed” (R. 98-20). Please remember that out of the Christian population in Burma, approximately 75% belong to the Baptist denomination. I request you, our Baptist brothers and sisters, to join with the voice of the Presbyterians, in calling for justice, peace, and change in Burma. We the people in Burma want freedom from persecution and freedom to exercise our beliefs.

Indefinite power of a Burmese army officer

Human rights violations in Chinland, and Burma as a whole, is increasing year after year. In 1988 the military took state power after a nationwide pro-democracy uprising in Burma. When the military took power,( by force,) they promise to held a free and fair election and transfer power to elected representative of the peoples. Even though the National League for Democracy NLD party and its allied won more than 85% of contested seats in 1990 election, the military still refuse to transfer power to elected representatives.

Instead of honoring the will of the people by transferring power to elected representatives, the military regime intensify human rights violations up on the opposition parties and the citizens to consolidate its power.

There was only one army battalion in Chin State before the military took power in 1988. At present as many as ten battalions are operating in Chin State. As a result of the increasing military operations in Chin State, Chin peoples have faced all kinds of human rights violations. Torture, rape, pottering, force labors, extortion of money, killings and long term imprisonment without a fair trial are frequently taking place in Chinland under the rule of military regime called State Peace and Development Council SPDC. The following incidents indicate how the military rule effects the life of the civilians in an ethnic inhabitant area like Chin State in Burma. These incidents are the result of a patrolling troop led by Major Khin Maung Ye. There are several major military operations performed by the SPDC regime in Chinland every year and as consequences, thousands of Chins people are seeking refuge in neighboring countries Bangladesh and India. Major Khin Maung Ye of Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 266 Haka, Chin State of Burma, took position as temporary commander of Lungler army camp.

Leading company 3 of the battalion, he started patrolling the areas in July 1999. On the 25th of August they captured Van Peng, Chin National Army and two other villagers at Pu Than Rawl’s house, Bungkhua Village, Thantlang township. At the same time Za Mang , chairman of Village Peace and Development Council of Fungkah village and two other villagers were also arrested, alleging them as supporters of Chin National Front CNF. All the captives are tightly chained and took them to Lungler army camp. They were tortured day and night in the camp. An eyewitness said, “Their condition in the camp is very bad. They could died or would certainly become disable persons”.

The patrolling troop arrested some other 32 villagers in Tlangpi village.

They are also accused of supporting Chin National Front and sent to force labor camp. These 32 captives are not allow going out side the camp, they are constantly forced to work in the road construction between Thantlang and Lungler army camp. The Soldiers tightly guarded them and they are beaten up every night by the army for not obeying their orders properly. The commander, Major Khin Maung Yee of Burmese army, demanded a bribe in exchange of their release. However, the villagers could not effort such a big amount of money because they are just a poor slash and burn farmers. Thang Zawl 52 and Van Peng 45 are the oldest men among these captives.

Villagers are not paid for their labour instead they were kicked, punched and beaten up by the Burmese army while working. Moreover, they had to bring their own tools and food to work for the army. As Chin people are mostly depend on slash and burn, shifting cultivation, it is the most important time(moon soon season in Burma from June to September ) to work on farm for the next crops. Even though the Burmese army knows very well the fact that it is the crucial period for the farmers to work in the farm, they still forcing villagers to work for the army. If they could not work in the most needed time, starving would certainly ahead in the near future.

A frustrated soldier defected

Frustrating of his superiors’ course of action on civilians, in July of 1999 Aung Thu, a Burmese soldier, defected his unit with a G-3 riffle to Chin National Army when a troop led by Major Khin Maung Ye marched from Lungler army camp to Tlangpi village.Village elders and some other villagers were held responsible for the defected soldiers and beaten up by the Burmese army.

All the arrested elders were taken to Haka (the capital of Chin State) police lockup and the rest 30 villagers were taken to Lungler army camp. All of them were forced to work in the farm (owned by army) and in road reconstruction. Among the arrested villagers Ngun Chawng 29 was taken to Thantlang army camp and kept in lockup. Any of Tlangpi villager dare to embody in village council members because they afraid of the military injustice treatment on the village elders. However, when Major Khin Maung Ye ordered Tlangpi villagers to form a new village council, the villagers have to obey the order in fear of his brutality. Thus, the village council was formed with four persons. Right after the village council was formed, the four elected members were summoned to Lungler army camp and detain for no reason.

(This kind of actions by the army is to create fear among the civilians in order to cut off the contact between the opposition groups and the people. This kind of unjust treatment on the civilians is practiced by the Burmese army in many parts of ethnic areas in Burma)

Kyat 80,000 Bribe saves a life

On 10th August a patrolling troop led by Major Khin Maung Ye arrived in Bungkhua village. As soon as they arrived to Bungkhua, they arrested Thawng Cung, (VPDC) president, and took him with his arms tied on his back to Lungler army base.

He was tortured for 9- days. When he could not bear his torment, he asked his family to arrange 80,000 Kyats. He was released from the army camp only after the money is bribed to Major Khin Maung Ye. He was hospitalized but had no money to buy medicine. As a farmer like Thawng Cung, his life is in full of adversities for the money that he borrowed and for his family living as he could not work anymore in the farm.(Note : In Burma, especially in the rural areas, the sick one has to buy the medicine from pharmacy by themselves. Nursing aid only is provided in most hospital but no medicine at all).

Forced labour

Major Khin Maung Ye, LIB 266, ordered the three villages: Saikah, Ruakhua and Ruabuk to present one person per family with their own tools and food in reconstructing road between Sopum and Sihhmuh village. The villagers have started reconstructing the road since 23rd September because they did not dare to resist the order. As most the Chin people are farmers they have no time to work in the fields.Escape in fear of arrest: Hre Ling and Sui Ceu had escaped to Bualpi village, Mizoram State of India when a troop led by Major Khin Maung Ye came to arrested them. The army accused them to be supporters of CNF. Later on, friends and relatives send their families to them on September 8. Sui Ceu has 4 children and Hre Ling has 5 children. They said ” It is not easy for us to depend on friends for our living in Bualpi”.

Shot on Sight (Innocent Chin civilian Killed By Burmese army)

Pa Mawng (28) was shot death by a troop of 30 soldiers led by Capt. Maung Zaw of Burmese army. Pa Mawng’s death resulted his younger brother arrest, alleging as member of Chin National Front (CNF) on groundless proof. The incident occurred on 12 August 1999.

A troop of Burmese army marching from Vanzang village to Thantlang town deliberately shot death Pa Mawng between Vanzang and Sopum village while he was coming back from visiting his relatives in Vanzang village. The dead body was left on the roadside. The villagers took the dead body and buried it. Capt. Maung Zaw ordered Sopum village headman to bring all Pa Mawng’s belongings to Lungler army camp. The Captain found out Pa Mawng’s green shirt missing. The headman explained him that his younger brother kept it as a remembrance.

Capt. Maung Zaw immediately summoned Pa Mawng’s brother to present himself at Lungler army camp. And the Captain alleged him to be a member of CNF and arrested him. It is said that no villager dares to travel alone.

CHRO’s Interview (Tragedy of village president )

Name : Thakulh Age : 28

Occupation : Chairman, Village PDC Cawnpi village, Falam Township

Nationality : Chin Religion : Christian

Marital status : married, 5 children

Date of interview : 29 September

Q. Why did you flee your village?

A. Van Siang Mang, a villager of Zawlte, and Cung Cung, a villager of Rulbu came to our village to request us to cook some food for 5 Chin National Army who would arrive to our village and Ngaltli village. Believing that we cooked for them, the two informers then reported to the SPDC army in Tuibual camp. On June 23, 1999, 8 soldiers led by Sergeant Major came to our village to arrest me. I escaped before they arrived to our village. I later came to know that they were SPDC informers and were paid money for it.

Q. How and where did you escape?

A. I desperately fled towards Tiphei village where a Police out post is stationed and after evading the post, I walked down towards Tio River, India border until I met some CNA who were on duty there. After spending three nights with them, I headed to Farkawn of Mizoram State, India..

Q. Do you have relatives at Farkawn?

A. Yes, my sister in law is staying there. I was sick for two-and-a-half months as the result of fear and had to be looked after by her. However, she also had difficulty of affording for my treatment as days went long.

Q. Do your wife and children suffer any kind of harassment for your escape?

A. My wife was threatened to arrest if she failed to find me and bring back. But she was excused after she, with the help of my relatives, gave a bribe Kyats 40,000 to the soldiers. However, it didn’t last long. The soldiers again asked her more money, which she refused them by denying that we have been divorced. They didn’t believe her and kept on demand money from her. She will also has to flee after all since she has no more money to give to the soldiers.

Q. How did you come to know about your family?

A. After a slight recovery from my illness, I secretly went back to my village at night a acompanied with my younger brother.

Q. How was your family situation during your absence?

A. They had no money at all. Since they could no longer work in the farm, they had nothing to eat. Moreover, the soldiers stole my wife’s sarong worth about Kyats 800 during the search in my house.

Q. How do you plan to do now?

A. If I return to my village again, I will definitely be arrested because the soldiers got my photo with them. I won’t dare to return because I have no money to give to the soldiers. I am thinking to settle in a safe place in Mizoram when I can take my wife and children. I am also aware that our subsistence will be too difficult in Mizoram since I usually fell ill of Malaria. The soldiers said that I would be killed if they caught me.

Q. Are there any other who suffer like you?

A. At present, each of the 40 villages in Falam Township are demanded Kyats 5000 for allegedly harboring and showing sympathy to CNA members.

Q. How do you think why the soldiers acted like this and how do you see this kind of attitude towards the villagers?

A. What appeared to be the main reason is that, the soldiers are so much afraid of the possible out break of mass revolt and that was why they used various kind of intimidation including arrest, assault and torture as a precaution. Moreover, the soldiers are now well aware that they have no support from the Chins and are jealous of Chin National Front CNF, who they know we sympathize. Having no sufficient ration and money has also compelled them to do everything to get money. Intimidation is a single means left for them, as they are very well aware that they have no public support.

Two Pastors arrested in Thantlang, Chin State

Chin Human Rights Organization CHRO received the following report on 20th September 1999 from reliable source. On 26 June, 1999, a soldier of the 266 Light Infantry Battalion led by 2nd Lieutenant Myo Kyaw, deserted his unit, near Tlangpi village.

The villagers of Tlangpi and of Farrawn, which is one of its neighboring villages, were in no way responsible for his defection, but the chairmen of these villages and other neighboring villages were arrested, taken to Haka, and severely tortured, for it. The chairman of Tlangpi village was given a twelve-year sentence with rigorous imprisonment and the others also two to three-year sentences, with rigorous imprisonment All the chairmen of the villages in Zahnak Tlang area of the Thantlang Township, Chin State viz. of Lungler, Bungkhua, Dawn, Ralpel, Saikah, Fungkah, Thangzang, Sihhmuh, Ruabuk, Ruakhua, have also been arrested by the same Battalion. Also all the chairmen of the “yatkwets” ( block ) in Thantlang Town, viz Pu No Lal Ling of School “Yatkwet”, Pu Van Hnun of Market “Yatkwet”, and Pu Ceu Hnin of TABC “Yatkwet”, have been arrested and tortured, and one of them, viz Pu Ceu Hnin of TABC “Yatkwet”was so severely tortured that all his front teeth were knocked out. A good civilian in Thantlang town, by the name of Al Bik, was also arrested, taken to the Camp of the Military Intelligence at Rung Tlang in Hakha, and has been kept in isolation, allowing nobody to see him. All these arrests were allegedly made on the flimsy evidence that they were in sympathy with the Chin National Front CNF.

When all these arrests and atrocities were taking place, the senior pastor of the Thantlang Baptist Church, the Rev. Biak Kam, who is over 60years of age, and the General Secretary of the Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches, the Rev. Thawng Kam, called a meeting as to how to negotiate with the military authorities in charge of the area and to make a request for their release. But before they could meet with the military authority, the military authority have them also arrested at night on September 7,1999, accusing them of calling a meeting without their knowledge or permission. They were sent away hastily and secretly by night the same night, onfoot,30 miles away, to the Military Out Post in Lungler village. They have been kept there. Nothing has been heard about them, as no one was allowed to see them; hopefully they were not tortured. These two Baptist pastors were almost arrested once at the time of the problem which arose out of matters related to erecting a cross on a hill west of Thantlang in January 1999 and it could very well be that they were secretly observed and shadowed.

Thantlang Baptist Church is the biggest church in Thantlang Township with a membership of over 3000 and Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches(TABC) is a full fledge association, with a membership of 44 village churches, under the Zomi Baptist Convention, which in turn is a full fledge convention under the Myanmar Baptist Convention, which is a national convention of all the Baptist Churches in Burma. There is a great fear that all of them would be tortured and their lives be in danger of death. All the men in Thantlang town have evacuated for fear of being arrested by the military.


Cin Khua Sei was shot dead by six soldiers of Burmese Light Infantry Battalion 269 Company 2, on September 1, 1999. The troop led by a sergeant ordered Cin Khua Sei and Thang Lian Thawng of Cauleng village to deliver a letter to a nearby village Darkhai. The soldiers ambushed the two villagers on their return to Cauleng.Thang Lian Thawng escaped the ambush unharmed, but Cin Khua Sei was shot at the waist and he died on the spot.

The incidence occurred at 2 km away from Cauleng at a bout 2 p.m. The body of Cin Khua Sei was taken by the villagers and buried at Cauleng, Tiddim Township, Chin State, Burma. The soldiers said that they mistaken them with the CNA activists, but the villagers believed that the soldiers shot the two deliberately. They did not find any reason that the soldiers would mistake the persons whom they must have recognized well when they assigned. The villagers had to keep silent about the death of Cin Khua Sei for their own safety. Cin Khua Sei, 40, was the sole person to feed his family.The eldest of his eight children is too young to work. The be reaved family is now in dilemma as to how they will survive.

The soldiers paid no heed to the demand of compensation for the death of Cin Khua Sei. Panicked by fear,Cauleng villagers no longer dare to go out of the village-even to their farms.

( Date of receiving report: 11 September 1999 )


A Buddhist monk U Thunanda ( 41 ) was killed by a group of unidentified gun men near Tlangrua village, Thantlang township, Chin State on 9 October 1999. On 11 October 1999, Myanmar Information Committee ( the military government agency ) reported that Chin National Front CNF (CNF is underground armed Group fighting for restoration of democracy in Burma) was responsible for the killing of the monk.

However, Chin National Front denied the accusation saying that “it is a dirty trick of Military Intelligence Service” in apress release made on October 12, 1999. There are only two armed groups actively operating in Chinland; SPDC’s Burmese military and the other one is the opposition Chin National Front. Following the killing of the monk, 40 civilian have been arrested by the authority in Thantlang area. All Churches and a Monastery in Thantlang area are strictly guarded by the Burmese army.Chin community around the world strongly condemned the brutal killing of the Buddhist monk.

(Date of receiving report: 30th September 1999)

On 25/9/1999, Burmese army Company 3 Commander of 268 Battalion stationed at Tibual Camp, Falam Township ordered 20 villages along Falam-Rihkhawdar road to repair the road (which extends up to the Indian border). (See attached order)The number of laborers from each village ranges from 15to 30 depending on the size and the population of the village. They had to bring their own tools and ration for three days. They were not paid for their labor. The soldiers warned them that any village that failed to contribute “unpaid laborers” will be considered supporters of CNF, and that severe action will be taken against them. No village dare nor defy the order.

( Order Translation )

Impression of round seal of the 268 Light Infantry Battalion Company 3
Date 24/9/99
Village Peace and Development Council
Hnathial village (Old)

Subject: Invitation for ” voluntary labor”

Regarding the above subject, you are hereby informed that you organize 15 adult men from your village to volunteer for the reconstruction of the motor road between Falam and Rihkhawdar, which was damaged as a result of erosion and heavy landslide during the monsoon. The heavy downpour had also caused flood that damaged bridges. Led by yourself, 15 volunteers from your village have to bring hoes, shovels,saws, harrows and other tools, which will be required for the road construction. You also have to bring rations for three days during your work. You have to reach Hmunthar village to notify yourselves by 28 September 1999. Defaulter village will be considered as active supporters of CNF and severe action will be taken for defiance of order.

Sd/-Company Commander

A new army camp in Lentlang

The villagers around Lentlang are now facing problems, as they do not have 800 kyats to give Myo Kyaw, the commander of Battalion 268, Company 2,based in Falam, Chin State. He made an order throughout the area that one person from each family must see him or pay the fine in his camp which he ordered the villagers to build on September 1, 1999. Many of the villagers were too busy to see him timely, as it was the crucial period for their farm works.

(Place: Rihkhuadar, Falam Township, Chin State, Burma.)

Rihkhuadar, founded in 1942, is 70 miles west of Falam and 2 miles from Tio River (the border river between India and Burma), is by the beautiful heart-shaped lake Rih (3 square miles wide and 60 ft deep).Rihkhuadar is on the trade route of Burma and India. There is 150 acres of productive paddy field nearby the lake, which annually produces 15,000 tins of rice.There is a government High school at Rihkhuadar. The population of the twin village is about 1,400. All the villagers are Christians.

The Burmese Military Regime sent a Buddhist monk Baddandah Tan Wa Yah (43years) to Rihkhuadar in August 1997, for the project of building a pagoda which was started that year. The military regime sanctioned 5,000,000 kyats for the projects of two pagodas, Aungdawmu and Naga-yung Pagodas. Aungdawmu literally means”the Pagoda of Victory,” and “Naga Yung Pagoda” could be closely translatedas “the Mythical Serpent Pagoda or Pagoda of Dragon. “Aungdawmu Pagoda was built at a place where the Christians villagers worship God for many years. Naga-yung Pagoda also was built nearby Lake Rih, which also was intentionally built at an important traditional religious place of the native Chins.

Even though the building of the pagodas was projected and sanctioned by the military regimes, the army officials and the monk forced the villagers of Rihkhuadar and the nearby villages to build the pagodas continuously for months, without paying wages for their labors. The authorities provided nothing for the villagers, but the villagers had to supply themselves with their own food, tools and medicines. Some parts of Aungdawmu pagoda fell down in July 1999. The military regimes sanctioned another 1,000,000 kyats for the repair. However, the Buddhist monk, Baddandah Ta Wa Yah and the authorities forced the villagers again, for reconstruction of the landslide without paying any wages for their labors. The army officials and the monk shared the money.As the villagers were forced to spend months of their time and their labor for the repair of the pagodas, they don’t have time to work on their farms. The hope nothing for the harvest.

A Brief Biography of Baddandah Ta Wa Yah
His service in the religionis 4 Wa, according to the Buddhist naming of the service of the Sanga(Buddhist monk).

He was born at Hintaya (Henzada) township. He is believed to be a powerful officers from the Military Intelligence Service ( MIS) of the Burmese military regime. The villagers were in fear of him. His realname is hidden. In fact, the military regime frequently uses the armies as monks for intelligence service. That has been being the military tradition for many years. Baddandah behaves as if he is superior to Christian pastors. He would rebuke the pastors whenever he is not in a good mood. He be haves superior not only to the pastors and the villagers, but also to the Burmese soldiers, based at Rihkhuadar. The villagers are required to take permits from him to collect firewood and for cultivation. He has the priority and favor of higher authorities is such a measure that the authorities order private cars to stand by at the camp of the monk. The authorities never paid money or oil for using the car. This is the practice of the military regimes in Burma for more than 35 years. The monk, Baddandah, also involves even in case of forced labors and porters. He plays a role in religious leader as well as the military regime’s political (intelligent)leader.

He works with the armies and does whatever he wishes. He talks a lot like a comedian, but he has great powers in many places and influenced up on the armies. The villagers as well as the soldiers hate him for his filthy behaviors, actions and wrong doings,but no one is dare to correct him. It is predictable that he will do more bad things to the Chin Christians as long as the SPDC have powers in Myanmar and as long as he is in the Chinland. On his request the monk is sometimes supplied with young women by villagers and traders in exchange with some privileges. Some familiesare exempted forced labors and porters, for instance.(His practice indicates that he is not a true monk).

Traditionally,there has never been prostitution among the Chins. However, the prostitution,which the SPDC promoted in major cities like Rangoon and Mandalay, has spread also to the Chin people after the army officers lure young Chin women for something. The career of many young ladies is destroyed in this way.)


Captain Min Zaw, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 55 (Ngapali battalion), No.3 company commander, based in Arakan State, took a position as camp commander of Shinletwa, Paletwa Township, Chin State on July 25 1999. On Sunday of 1st August 1999 he summoned a meeting of 9-village tracts in the area. Knowing the fact that Chin people are Christian and observe the Sundays, the army personnel intentionally summoned a meeting and forced the villagers to serve as porters on Sundays. In the meeting, they ordered villagers to build a house for the army at the center of every village around Shinletwa. The 9-village tracts to be completed within one month. In addition, they ordered villagers to deliver(4′ by 2′) mat and 8-pieces (18′ by 6′) of woods to build woodenboxes to the army camp before the end of September without fail. The commander fixed the price of chicken at 300 kyats per viss (about1.5 kg, actual price for one viss of chicken is Kyat 750). They ordered the villagers to deliver only hens since those are tastier than cocks.Capt. Zaw Min also restricted the villagers not to sell rice anywhere except to Sinbowah and Sinletwa villages where there are army camps. Rice is the sole commodity of the farmers for their earnings. He also made a restriction that no household in the village should sell rice more than three times ayear. The soldiers depend freely on the rice of the villages whenever they go for patrolling. Capt. Min Zaw made an order that 18 people, two each from the 9villages, must be reserved to serve the soldiers. Six villages have to serve, in a routine-wise, in the army camp for 7-days a week for emergency needs and to serve as porters. The villagers who serve in the camp have to bring their own food. The commander announced that anyone missing in the camp would cause a fine of 1500 kyats. Since the villagers were busy with their farm work they had to arrange the money by selling rice or cattle and pay the money to the commander. Now it is said that the commander is in full pocket with the money he took from the villagers. The commander also ordered the villagers to reconstruct the roads and clean even dried leaves and branches on the roads between villages. All the VPDC’s Presidents are forced to attend the meeting everymonth. The place of the meetings is 5-day walk (to and fro) from their own villageand all the expenses(including foods) are also incurred by themselves.


Burmese soldiers arrested Salai Van Peng (25) and another member of Chin National Army, on August 25, 1999. It was after the two activists crossed the village of Bungkhua, Thantlang Township, Chin State that the Infantry No.226 of Burmese army, Lungler Post, made the arrest.The village council members of the nearby villages were also arrested on the same day in suspicion to have helped the CNA activists. Among those whowere arrested, Pu Zamang, 46, Pu Chum Ling, 55, Pu Lawm Ceu, 35, and Pu Lengkam, 40 were detained in Thantlang. They were the chairmen of the village of Fungkah, Bungkhua, Saikah and Ruakhua respectively. The Burmese soldiers also shot down two cows as the owner Pu Than Rawl escaped the arrest. Six families of Bungkhua and two of Saikah had to flee to Thingsai, Mizoram State of India, as they were informed that the soldiers were searching them in suspicion to help the activists.


A troop led by Capt. Myo Kyaw and Corporal Tin Ohn of company 2, LIB 268 regularly patrol in and around Khaikhan, Thuklai and Nginte villages in Tonzang Township, Chin State. Paupi said: Hoping to solve our hard living life I borrowed an amount of money with a high rate of interest and went down with friends to Khaikhan village to buy cattle (for reselling). On our half way of journey we met a patrolling troop led by Corp. Tin Ohn, the commander. There was a dump person among our group. He did not know how to answer in Burmese language the questions that the soldiers asked him. The soldier alleged a member of CNF and started beating him with their gun (G-3) butt, and took 10,000 kyats from him. Pu Suan was unable to walkor eat due to the beating. He was treated at home since they were too poor totake him to the hospital. He used to feed his family by a small amount of money he made by buying and selling cattle. Now he is unable to work or eat.Pa pau, a farmer, is 50 years old, and a father of 5 children and live in Kabalah village, Tonzang township.

Civilians held responsible for disappearance of army personnel
( Burmese soldiers tortured villages’ headmen in Chin State).

On 26/6/1999 a company of Burmese Army comprising of 34 soldiers ledby 2nd Lieutenant Myo Kyaw from LIB 266 stationed at Lungler Camp set off forLung Ding village from Lungler. On their way to Tlangpi village on 27/6/1999, one army personeldisappeared half way. Stunned by the sudden disappearance, the 2nd BattalionCommander Major Khin Maung Ye, then, led the search for the lost soldier.

According to a villager of Tlangpi, Pu LianMang (name changed), the Major heldTlangpi villagers responsible for the soldier’s disappearance, since the placewhere the soldier was believed to be disappeared was in Tlangpi area. Moreover, villagers from Dawn, Bung Khua, Zang Tlang and Tlangpi were forcibly taken to Lungler to construct road between Lungler and FungKah village without payment. The villagers had to give a total of Kyats300000 to the Major as a ransom for their release, with Dawn and Bung Khua contributing Kyats 120000 each and Zang Tlang village Kyats 80000. Unable to afford for the ransom, Tlangpi villagers are still beingheld at Lungler army camp and are being engaged in the forced labor. The Majoralso took control of the entire rations that the villagers had brought for themselves and gave them on a limited scale. The villagers had to stay hungry as they were given only 34 cups (small milk can) of rice for aday. Heavily guarded by the soldiers, the villagers are threatened that the entire villagers will be punished if anyone attempted to escape. All males in the village have been held and are now in the forced labor camp, as the soldiers are suspicious that some villagers might ran away whenever they arrived in the village. ” The villagers could have been released if they could pay the ransom. But the village is facing financial problems and still had to work”, said Pu Lian Mang. The work started from 5 a.m. in the morning till 5 p.m. in theevening. In a bid to block the soldier who was believed to be defected, from sneaking into India, ferrymen in two major routes to Farkawn and their ferries were confiscated.

Pu Biak Lawm, Pu Van Thleng and Pu Leng Ling were among the detainees who were taken to Hakha Army Headquarters and put in jail. They are yet to be released, as they have no money to bribe. The blockade of Tio river andabsence of ferry service had led to the drowning of Salai Tluang Sawmand Mai Siang Zi (school girls) who attempted to cross the flooded river on19/7/1999. The Chairman and members of Village PDC, all of them 8, are also arrested and jailed in Hakha prison on account of being responsible for the disappearance of the soldier. The members are Pu Tial Awr, Village PDC chairman, Pu Ral Lian Kap, Pu Hnok Kio, Pu Lian Kham, Pu Kap Lian, Salai Peng Thang and two other villagers. They were subjected to several beatings with baton on their feet. Because of these severe torture, they are now unable to walk. During the torture, the Chairman’s calf was pierced with a-4-inchheated nail at least 20 times that his feet were completely maimed. He had to be carried by other people with his hands tied up in the back whenever he was summoned to the Army camp in the hilltop. The fates of the eight victims are unpredictable. Other 7 members apartfrom the Chairman are likely to be able to release on giving bribes to the army authorities. None of them, however, cannot afford it and has to remain in jail .Tlangpi villagers are in dilemma as to how to deal with the 34 villagers being detained in Lungler camp, as well as the 8 village council members being jailed in Hakha and the two villagers drowned while crossing Tio River. They are still busy trying to collect the ransom money for the release of the Village Council members. There is still another major problem for civilians, landmines are being planted by the SPDC troops in areas like Leilet village in Falam Township and along the Mizoram borders of Thantlang areas. According to disclosure of residents of Thantlang township areas, a landmine was found during the month of February1999. Although the primary purpose of planting landmines in these areas is to prohibit the movement of Chin National Army, civilians are rather being impacted. It is estimated that as many as 30 landmines have been laid in the area.

Date of receiving report :23 July 1999.

Soldiers Extorted Domestic Animals in Falam Township

Name : Hrelian
Occupation : Farmer
Place : Lungpi, Falam township

A troop of 10 soldiers from LIB (268) Falam Battalion led by 2nd Lt. Khin Than was posted in Lungpi village of Falam township to collect fire woods for brick kiln. The soldiers ordered nearby villages Mangkheng, Rialti, Lungpi, Lungrang and Thlanrawn to provide two chickens per week to the soldiers without fail. Since the villagers can not afford to provide the requested chickens, they went to Falam and complained to the Battalion Commander. As soon as the Battalion commander received the complain, he sent a group of soldiers to the said villages. The soldiers entered village by village and took all the chickens ( no matter big or small ) by force. The villagers were pointed with guns when they tried to prevent them. Besides, the villagers were ordered to weave baskets to keep the chickens. After that the soldiers collected porters to carry the chickens that they had looted. PDCs chairmen from Lungpi, Mangkheng, Thlanrawn, Rialti and Lungrang villages went to the commander of LIB 268 and report the incident. However, the Battalion commander threatened them that the civilians have responsibility to feed the army and have no rights to complain or take any action on the army. If any body create trouble to the army, the whole village or town has to suffer.

Burmese troops terrorized Indian villagers

12 Burmese soldiers led by Sergeant Tin Oong (Ration Supply Unit) under company 2 commander, Lt. Myo Kyaw from Light Infantry Battalion(LIB)268 based at Falam, Chin State made their way to patrolling the Indo-Burma borders on 15 July 1999. During such operations the soldiers usually carried out brutal acts against the civilains. Pu Suan Do (name changed) and 5 other traders from Kui Thang village of Tiddim Township (Chin State) were at that time setting off for Mizoram State of India to sell 10 pigs and 18 chickens. These pigs and chickens were sold to Zote villagers of Mizoram State who received them at Tio River, which borders India and Burma. On hearing this news, the Sergeant immediately chased the Indian villagers who just bought the pigs and chickens up to one mile inside the Indian Territory and forcibly took one pig worth 20000 kyats, one chicken worth 1000 kyats in Burmese currency, and Rs.500 in Indian currency in cash from them. According to the Nu Biaki(one of the traders), the soldiers killed and ate a pig at FarTlang village in Tidim Township. The Mizoram public was enraged over the conduct of the Burmese troops looting and extorting money inside their territory. Making an excuse to clear suspected Chin National Army’s bases around the areas, the sergeant-led company had been carrying out extortion and confiscation. Such brutalities in the border have prompted the Indian Army and Mizoram armed police to carry out fresh operation against the Chin National Army, which has been leading armed resistant movement against the Rangoon government for democracy and self-determination for the Chins. It is being observed with great concern that the Chin peoples in these areas, who solely depend on selling livestock to Mizoram, will face severe hardship if the Burmese troops continue to commit intrusion and brutalities in the Indian side.

Date of receiving report : 23 July 1999

Civilians engaged in road construction as forced laborers

Date of interview : 4.7.99
Name : Ngun Hmung (Village tract chairman)
Age : 40
Gender : Male
Occupation : Farmer
Village : Khua Bung (A), Thantlang Township, Chin State
Nationality : Chin
Religion : Christian
Family member : 8 including 6 Children

By using the name of ” Border Trade between India and Burma” the military government of Burma, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), constructed roads merely for better links between army camps in the border areas. The junta forced the people to construct road between Hriphi army camp and newly constructed Vuangtu camp, which is 13 miles in distance. One thousands villagers from the surrounding 30 villages were working for this construction as forced laborers. Moreover, these laborers had to carry their own tools, equipment and ration supplies during the road construction, which lasted from 1st February to the first week of June. The soldiers guarded the laborers and threatened that the entire concerned villages will be punished if anyone from any village ran away from the work site. The laborers were forced to work from dawn to dusk and were allowed to sleep only by their respective work sites where the soldiers assigned them. No medical treatment was given to the sick during the construction. The army allotted the work to each village and the villagers were forced to finish their allotted work before the first week of June that started from March 23. Major Khin Maung Ye, from Company 2 of Hriphi Camp and 2nd Battalion Commander of LIB 268 stationed in Falam, was directed to supervise the construction. Known among his inferiors who helped supervise the construction were Sergeant Nyo Win, Corporal Win Kyiang and Corp. SoeMyint. Firing 5 or 6 shots in the air the Major would often threaten the tired laborers with dire consequences if they did not follow his instruction. Therefore no one dare to complain their tiredness and had to stay calm. Sometimes the laborers were even robbed of their rations such as rice, dried meats that they brought from the village. The soldiers also stole five hoes from the laborers, which were brought from ZaBung village. Moreover, 4 persons from each village along Thantlang and Hriphi were forced to carry an empty diesel tank (50 gallons-capacity) from one village to another – any group that could not carry the tank were punched and beaten. The age of the laborers from each village ranged from 67 years to 15 years, including school children. Among the laborers who worked in the road construction were 3 elderly men, over 65 years, 3 widows and 5 school children from ZaBung village; 4elderly men (around age 50) from Zephai village; 1 elderly man and 4 middle school students from Nga Lang village and people from different age group even children and some Christian religious teachers from Hriphi village. While working on the construction, Ni Awi, a 23-year-old youth, son of Nun Hei from Hriphi village fell off the wall of the road and broke his right arms. Ram Cung, a 17-year-old youth, son of Hei Mang received serious chest and back injuries from the same incident. No medical treatment whatsoever was given to the victims. The newly constructed road had crossed private farms owned by HramThang, Sui Mang, Lian Te and Hre Cem of Hriphi (B) village were destroyed. The farmers received no compensation so far. These farmers are likely to face serious difficulties in the coming year, as their farms were destroyed without compensation. According to a reliable information, despite reportedly sanctioning Kyats 500000 and 140000 worth diesel for bulldozer. However, nothing was spent for the construction, instead forced labor was used. After completing the construction the laborers were forced to work on the army farms.

Myanmar Christians flee to India alleging persecution

(Source : Rangoon Post)
GUWAHATI, India, Aug 20 (AFP)

More than 1,000 Christian tribal in Myanmar have fled across the border into India this month, alleging persecution by the military junta and Buddhist monks, church leaders said Friday. The Naga tribals, mostly from eight villages in the Sagaing district of northern Myanmar, crossed into the far northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, according to Reverend Zhabu Terhuja, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council. “Buddhist monks aided by Myanmar soldiers have been forcing the Christian Nagas residing in that country to convert to Buddhism,” Terhuja told AFP by telephone from the Naga capital Kohima. There are an estimated 20,000 Naga tribals in Myanmar. “Some Myanmarese Nagas are taking shelter in a border village called Pangsa following alleged persecution by the army,” said local police chief L.T. Lotha. “But there is no law and order as such due to the exodus,” Lothi said, Church leaders said the Naga Christians were being forced to close down their churches, which had then been desecrated or used as kitchens by the Myanmar army. Reverend Bonny Resu, secretary general of the Asian Baptist Federation said the issue had been taken up with the Myanmar Baptist Convention “so that they can apprise the government about the reports of persecution.” However, Buddhist leaders here questioned the validity of the reports. “Even if your father or mother accepts another religion, being a son you cannot force them to reconvert to Buddhism. So the question of converting Christians to Buddhism by force does not arise,” said Gyanpal Bhiku, a Buddhist monk and member of the Northeast Buddhist Federation.

Force to construct police station and army camp

Name : Zamulaage : 35
Gender : Male
Occupation : Farmer ( presently Chairman of Shiao village tract )
Religion : Christian
Family members : 6-Children

The police station in charge and army/company commander of Shinletwa, Paletwa township, jointly, forced the villagers to construct police station and army camp. The villagers were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to build police station and the other was assigned to construct army camp. Para village, Shewlike village, Yayitaung village, Gonepin village, Pondmao village, Kyupyahtin village, Pyiwa village and Khone village were assigned to build army camp. Under a watchful eyes of the guards the villagers were forced to work from morning 6:00 until 5: pm without taking rest. No medicine was provided for the sick from the authorities. At night the villagers had to sleep at the place where the authority had specified. The villagers were warned that anyone who escape from the work field would be severely punished. The villagers had no time even for bathing. “The two constructions simultaneously started in February of 1999. As our group could not complete the construction in February they told us to come back in March. However, I could not go back to the construction because I was busy with my farm works. So when I went for the meeting in the beginning of May, the commander questioned me why I did not show up in the construction work and I was kept under arrest ( kept in the army camp). I requested the commander to allow me to stay in the village because I was so uncomfortable to stay in the army camp” said Zamula. He also added, “even though the commander allowed me to stay in the village, I had to give my signature twice a day at the camp. Moreover, the authority asked me to pay Kyats 500 for the cost of papers and pens”.

100 Civilian men detained in the Church

On 26 June 1999 a Burmese soldier disappeared from a patrolling army unit enroute to Tlangpi village from Lung Ding village of Thantlang Township, Chin State.

The disappeared soldier was among the 34 soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 266 led by 2nd Lieutenant Kyaw Soe, based at Lungler army camp located north of Thantlang town near the Indian border.The soldier who was extremely exhausted due to hunger was left behind half way during the patrolling.

Upon noticing the disappearance on arrival at the destination village, the commander 2nd Lt. Kyaw Soe ordered a section of army to search for the lost soldier overnight. However, instead of searching for the soldier, the assigned soldiers met on the way with smugglers who herded cattle to be sold in Mizoram State of India and extorted Kyats 50000 from them.

On the next day the commander with his soldiers vainly headed for Farrawn village to find the soldier. They returned to Tlangpi and ordered the villagers to find the soldier. However, the attempt too proved to be futile. They returned to Lungler camp to report the matter to Captain Phyu Win, 266 Second Battalion Commander & temporary camp Commander who just arrived to the camp ahead of him.

Under the Command of Captain Phyu Win the soldiers again immediately went back to Tlangpi village.On 1 July 1999, the Captain forcibly ordered a total of more than 100 villagers, 40 villagers each from Lung Ding and Tlangpi villages, members of Village PDC of Tahtlang village and another 15 villagers from the same village to search for the lost soldier. Some villagers who were afraid of being forced to find the soldier had to go on hiding in the farm. Worried that those already taken to search the soldier will escape, the soldier kept them in a Church in Tlangpi and strictly guarded them outside.

The arrested villagers had to sleep without blankets and had to be fed by Tlangpi villagers. Despair of the search, the Captain finally ordered his inferiors to arrest every male in the village indiscriminately at midnight to clear trees and bushes around the cart way linking Lungding-Tlangpi-Farrawn. The villagers however dared not defy the order.

The lost soldier is still yet to be found and the villagers are facing immense difficulty as the incident coincided with the cultivation season by which they make their living. This forced labors by the army had badly affected the farm work of the villagers and they(villagers) are likely to face a new wave of crop shortage within the next years. The 100 arrested villagers are still in the army detention.

Village Life in Rural Chinland

The following interview is conducted in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh by a human rights monitor from Images Asia in February 1999 Name : Ral Lian ( not his real name) Sex : Male Age : 64 Ethnicity : Chin Relegion : Christian Occupation : slash-and-burn farmer From : Tahai village, then Rkhan village, Paletwa township Marital status : widow and remarried, 1 child from first marriage Interview date : 7.2.1999

Q : When did you arrive in Bangladesh? A : On 10.1.1998. We could not bear the Burmese Army. They always make troubles to us. We always had to go for forced labour. They always ordered us to give money, food, animals, whatever we had. And we always had to go as porters all the time.

Q : Is your village near an army camp? A : Shinletwa camp is about 6 miles away. The soldiers often came to our village. At least once a week, sometimes even twice or three times.

Q : Have they ever arrested or beaten anyone? A : No.

Q : What forced labour did you have to do? A : Portering and working in their camp. Wherever they went, we had to go along with them. We also had to work at the Shinletwa camp. If we could not go, we had to pay a fine of 300 Kyats.

Q : Have you been a porter yourself? A : Yes, of course. But because of my bad health, I didn’t have to carry any heavy load but I was always sent as a messenger to carry letters from the army to other villages, and to bring messages to people.

Q : What about your wife? A : In our village, the women, do not have to work in the army camp.

Q : How do they collect people for portering? A : First they sent an order to the village headman. If we do not go, they come themselves to collect us. When they demanded one person per family, we usually provided them with less people. There were 40 families in our village, so we provided 30 porters, and the other 10 people stayed at home. We could not send every family every time! But those who did not go had to pay for that.

Q : How long were the portering duties? A : Generally for 3 or 4 days. When they called us to work at their camp, they ordered us to build one house. If our villagers could complete the house within one day, then they could go home.

Q : How often were the people called? A : I cannot count how many times we had to go. If needed, we had to go twice a week. If they get information that some opposition groups are operating into the border area, then we must go along with them as far as the Bangladesh or the India border. It is difficult to say how often. It really depends.

Q : Were you often called as a messenger? A : Yes, all the time. I had to go twice or 3 times a week to the army camp. Back and forth between the camp and our village.

Q : When did these problems start? A : Since 1988.

Q : What did the Burmese Army do in your village? A : They demanded us chickens, pigs. We have to give them according to their demand. They usually requested a fixed amount. We had to provide them with 6 kg of meat per month. If we could not provide 6kg of chicken, then we had to give them pork meat. And if we couldn’t, they even demanded cattle meat. They never paid for that. But we had to pay money as labour fees when we could not go to work for them.

Q : Do the opposition groups also collect taxes? A : Yes, of course. AA, the Khumi party and CNF were all collecting money in our village. A demanded 300 Kyats per year and per family. CNF, 100 or 200 Kyats, according to the situation. If we requested them to reduce the amount, they would agree. But the Khumi party always collected money at random. We cannot say per week, per month or per year. Every time they came to our village, they demanded money.

Q : Is it the combination of all these extortions that is so hard for you? A : In Tahai, our old village in upper Paletwa, every time the opposition collected money, the Burmese Army came and fought with them. In 1996, we left Tahai because of all these problems. We walked for 3 days and moved to Ra Khan [near the border], at least there was no fighting. There was a little more security because the CNF soldiers protected us.

Q : So, where did you have to do the portering and camp labour? A : The labour situation was the same in both places. The taxcollections were more in Tahai. The situation in Tahai was very serious. Tahai is empty now. We fled to Rakhan and other people went to stay in Anu Tlang.

Q : Did the army order to move? A : No. The army did not order, but we were afraid and we left.

Q : What happened to Rakhan now? A : Some people are remaining there. I fled again because the soldiers always ordered me to be messenger and my health is not good. I could not walk all the time. That is why we came here.

Q : Tell me about Tahai. Did you have a school and a clinic there? A : There were 25 houses, including Chin and Khumi. We had a school up to 4th Standard [Primary school]. It was a self-supported school, not a government school. There was no clinic. In Tahai, if someone was sick, we had to go to Turuai, 14 miles away, or about 6 hours’ walk. In Rakhan we had to go to Shinletwa, 6 miles away.

Q : Could you carry some of your belongings? His Wife : No, only one basket that I carried alone. [Ral Lian can hardly walk and is unable to work. His wife is supporting the couple by doing day labour]. The few things you see in our house have been given to us. We didn’t even have a tool to work in the field. I have nothing else to say. You can see by yourself!

The Plight of Burma’s Women Refugees in India
( Source: Rangoon Post )

Thousands of refugees from western and north-western Burma still remain in terribly poor conditions through-out the Chittagong Hills and in India. Many women are finding jobs as live-in maids, nanies etc. These jobs have no only found them income, but also beatings, rapes, and hundreds of un-wanted pregnancies.

Many can not report the rapes and beatings fearing both that they will loose their job, but many are illegal and would likely be deportedback to Burma where they could be put into slave labor, robbed or raped by the military SPDC forces. What do these people do? Who will help them. For now, no one can help … or will help in India.

100 Civilian men detained in the Church

On 26 June 1999 a Burmese soldier disappeared from a patrolling army unit enroute to Tlangpi village from Lung Ding village of Thantlang Township, Chin State.

The disappeared soldier was among the 34 soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 266 led by 2nd Lieutenant Kyaw Soe, based at Lungler army camp located north of Thantlang town near the Indian border.The soldier who was extremely exhausted due to hunger was left behind half way during the patrolling.

Upon noticing the disappearance on arrival at the destination village, the commander 2nd Lt. Kyaw Soe ordered a section of army to search for the lost soldier overnight. However, instead of searching for the soldier, the assigned soldiers met on the way with smugglers who herded cattle to be sold in Mizoram State of India and extorted Kyats 50000 from them.

On the next day the commander with his soldiers vainly headed for Farrawn village to find the soldier. They returned to Tlangpi and ordered the villagers to find the soldier. However, the attempt too proved to be futile. They returned to Lungler camp to report the matter to Captain Phyu Win, 266 Second Battalion Commander & temporary camp Commander who just arrived to the camp ahead of him.

Under the Command of Captain Phyu Win the soldiers again immediately went back to Tlangpi village.On 1 July 1999, the Captain forcibly ordered a total of more than 100 villagers, 40 villagers each from Lung Ding and Tlangpi villages, members of Village PDC of Tahtlang village and another 15 villagers from the same village to search for the lost soldier. Some villagers who were afraid of being forced to find the soldier had to go on hiding in the farm. Worried that those already taken to search the soldier will escape, the soldier kept them in a Church in Tlangpi and strictly guarded them outside.

The arrested villagers had to sleep without blankets and had to be fed by Tlangpi villagers. Despair of the search, the Captain finally ordered his inferiors to arrest every male in the village indiscriminately at midnight to clear trees and bushes around the cart way linking Lungding-Tlangpi-Farrawn. The villagers however dared not defy the order.

The lost soldier is still yet to be found and the villagers are facing immense difficulty as the incident coincided with the cultivation season by which they make their living. This forced labors by the army had badly affected the farm work of the villagers and they(villagers) are likely to face a new wave of crop shortage within the next years. The 100 arrested villagers are still in the army detention.

Land Confiscation

According to CHRO field monitor, 6000 acres cultivatable land in Chin State, managed by Haikhawl village (Haikhawl is a Chin Village in Sagaing Division and the land is inside Chin State) was confiscated by the Burmese military in 1997. And now the villagers are paying a very high price Kyats 50,000/- per house hold to get back their land. There are more than 200 house hold in Haikhawl village.

In 1992- 93, the then SLORC was logging in the junction of Chin State and Sagaing Division. Thus all the teak( forest ) reserves in the area were cleared, mostly inside Chin State. After the forest was cleared cut, the authority tried to re-plant trees in the area. However the plan was not successful due to corruption, and after making efforts for two three times they gave up the plan. So, the land was lying in vain.

Since the land have fertile soil and was lying in vain, the villagers asked permission from the authority to make the virgin land into cultivation land. They got permission from the authority. In this way the villagers turned 6000 acres of virgin land into cultivation land. When the transformation of the cleared land to cultivatable land was in progress, the Burmese military Battalion 228 based in Kalay Myo confiscated all the land in 1997 in the name of Land Reform Acts and made it their own. The military tried to cultivate by using convicts labourers and soldiers. But they were not successful due to malaria epidemic and many other hardship. Thus, the military had to give up the land for the second time.

The villagers were reluctant to see a vast expanse of land with fertile soil lying in vain. So that they approached the SPDC officer whether there is any possible way to get back the land which they had invested much of their labours. The officer replied them that if they could pay Kyats 50,000 /- per house hold, he will approach the case to the higher authority. Thus the villagers collected Kyats 50,000/- per house hold and gave it to Falam District Peace and Development Council chairman. There are more than 200 house holds in Haikhawl village which is about10 miles from Kaley Myo.

Collecting Cane Sticks From Villagers for Army
Name : Ngo Sa Age : 45 Gender : Male Religion : Christian Occupation : Farmer / vallage in charge of Tlaupi village Family members : 8 members(6 children, husband and wife)

Major Hla Ko Oo from LIB 740 ( Myaut Oo battalion ) of Arakan State was appointed as the company commander of Shinletwa army camp in Paletwa township, Chin State. He called the villages in the area to attend the meeting every month. In Shinletwa area there are 9 village tracts: Para tract, Shewlake, Ponemoo, Gonepyine, Shiao, Patheinplan, Maobin, Sineowa and Shinletwa.

In January of 1999 Major Hla Ko Oo, camp commander, summoned villages’ Chairmen and Secretaries of the 9 village tracts for a meeting. He ordered to bring 1,500 cane sticks from each village tract to the army camp in February. The total number of 13,500 cane sticks had to be sent by the 9 village tracts.

The canes were carried through riverine route to Akyap and sold them at 50 Kyats per cane.They were not paid for their labors at all.They just did it for the army’s profit. The forest where the cane plants are available is very far away from the village, and therefore they were not able to get them. Since the villagers are very poor, they had to sell their domestic animals and even rice which they kept for themselves to pay the army because they were not able to provide the canes which the army demanded. “That’s why I paid Kyats10,000 which I collected from the villagers for 500 cane at the rate of Kyat 20 per cane to company commander on 22 March 1999″ said Mr. Ngo Sa, the incharge of Tlaupi village . The consequence of such kind of inhuman treatment by the army, the villagers now have faced shortage of food for the year to come

In the end part of March 1999, Major Hla Ko Oo was transfered and Capt. Than Naing Oo from LIB 233 Bothitaung Battalion replaced him as company commander. Capt. Than Naing Oo followed the footsteps of the previous commander. He summoned for a meeting every month. “He ordered us to give Kyats 4,000 instead of 200 canes. So I went to the army camp and paid it. A total which I paid was Kyats 14,000” said Mr. Ngo Sa.

Village Life in Roral Chinland

The following interview is conducted in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh by a human rights monitor from Images Asia in February 1999 Name : Ral Lian ( not his real name) Sex : Male Age : 64 Ethnicity : Chin Relegion : Christian Occupation : slash-and-burn farmer From : Tahai village, then Rkhan village, Paletwa township Marital status : widow and remarried, 1 child from first marriage Interview date : 7.2.1999

Q : When did you arrive in Bangladesh? A : On 10.1.1998. We could not bear the Burmese Army. They always make troubles to us. We always had to go for forced labour. They always ordered us to give money, food, animals, whatever we had. And we always had to go as porters all the time.

Q : Is your village near an army camp? A : Shinletwa camp is about 6 miles away. The soldiers often came to our village. At least once a week, sometimes even twice or three times.

Q : Have they ever arrested or beaten anyone? A : No.

Q : What forced labour did you have to do? A : Portering and working in their camp. Wherever they went, we had to go along with them. We also had to work at the Shinletwa camp. If we could not go, we had to pay a fine of 300 Kyats.

Q : Have you been a porter yourself? A : Yes, of course. But because of my bad health, I didn’t have to carry any heavy load but I was always sent as a messenger to carry letters from the army to other villages, and to bring messages to people.

Q : What about your wife? A : In our village, the women, do not have to work in the army camp.

Q : How do they collect people for portering? A : First they sent an order to the village headman. If we do not go, they come themselves to collect us. When they demanded one person per family, we usually provided them with less people. There were 40 families in our village, so we provided 30 porters, and the other 10 people stayed at home. We could not send every family every time! But those who did not go had to pay for that.

Q : How long were the portering duties? A : Generally for 3 or 4 days. When they called us to work at their camp, they ordered us to build one house. If our villagers could complete the house within one day, then they could go home.

Q : How often were the people called? A : I cannot count how many times we had to go. If needed, we had to go twice a week. If they get information that some opposition groups are operating into the border area, then we must go along with them as far as the Bangladesh or the India border. It is difficult to say how often. It really depends.

Q : Were you often called as a messenger? A : Yes, all the time. I had to go twice or 3 times a week to the army camp. Back and forth between the camp and our village.

Q : When did these problems start? A : Since 1988.

Q : What did the Burmese Army do in your village? A : They demanded us chickens, pigs. We have to give them according to their demand. They usually requested a fixed amount. We had to provide them with 6 kg of meat per month. If we could not provide 6kg of chicken, then we had to give them pork meat. And if we couldn’t, they even demanded cattle meat. They never paid for that. But we had to pay money as labour fees when we could not go to work for them.

Q : Do the opposition groups also collect taxes? A : Yes, of course. AA, the Khumi party and CNF were all collecting money in our village. A demanded 300 Kyats per year and per family. CNF, 100 or 200 Kyats, according to the situation. If we requested them to reduce the amount, they would agree. But the Khumi party always collected money at random. We cannot say per week, per month or per year. Every time they came to our village, they demanded money.

Q : Is it the combination of all these extortions that is so hard for you? A : In Tahai, our old village in upper Paletwa, every time the opposition collected money, the Burmese Army came and fought with them. In 1996, we left Tahai because of all these problems. We walked for 3 days and moved to Ra Khan [near the border], at least there was no fighting. There was a little more security because the CNF soldiers protected us.

Q : So, where did you have to do the portering and camp labour? A : The labour situation was the same in both places. The taxcollections were more in Tahai. The situation in Tahai was very serious. Tahai is empty now. We fled to Rakhan and other people went to stay in Anu Tlang.

Q : Did the army order to move? A : No. The army did not order, but we were afraid and we left.

Q : What happened to Rakhan now? A : Some people are remaining there. I fled again because the soldiers always ordered me to be messenger and my health is not good. I could not walk all the time. That is why we came here.

Q : Tell me about Tahai. Did you have a school and a clinic there? A : There were 25 houses, including Chin and Khumi. We had a school up to 4th Standard [Primary school]. It was a self-supported school, not a government school. There was no clinic. In Tahai, if someone was sick, we had to go to Turuai, 14 miles away, or about 6 hours’ walk. In Rakhan we had to go to Shinletwa, 6 miles away.

Q : Could you carry some of your belongings? His Wife : No, only one basket that I carried alone. [Ral Lian can hardly walk and is unable to work. His wife is supporting the couple by doing day labour]. The few things you see in our house have been given to us. We didn’t even have a tool to work in the field. I have nothing else to say. You can see by yourself!

The Plight of Burma’s Women Refugees in India
(Source: Rangoon Post)

Thousands of refugees from western and north-western Burma still remain in terribly poor conditions through-out the Chittagong Hills and in India. Many women are finding jobs as live-in maids, nanies etc. These jobs have no only found them income, but also beatings, rapes, and hundreds of un-wanted pregnancies.

Many can not report the rapes and beatings fearing both that they will loose their job, but many are illegal and would likely be deportedback to Burma where they could be put into slave labor, robbed or raped by the military SPDC forces. What do these people do? Who will help them. For now, no one can help … or will help in India.

To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles