– 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.

To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles