5 August 2003
Chin Refugees In India Face Threat of Forced Repatriation (Refoulement) to Burma
Thousands of Chin refugees who have been evicted from their homes in Mizoram of northeast India are facing the threat of forced repatriation to Burma. According to reports from Mizoram, on August 3, 2003, at least 107 of those evicted from their homes in Aizawl were herded into buses heading to India-Burma border. Most of them, however, managed to escape halfway en route the Burmese border. Among these escapees were several women and children including women in their late pregnancy.
The eviction is being conducted by local youth and social organizations following a 9- year-old girl was raped by an individual alleged to be an immigrant from Burma on July 17, 2003.
Following the incident, local non-government organizations spearheaded by Young Mizo Association and Mizo Hmeichhia Insuihkhawmna (Mizo Women Organization) have ordered the evacuation of all Burmese nationals living in the city of Aizawl. Yesterday’s issue of Zoramworld, a local online news agency quoting government’s source reported that as many as 2723 individuals have been transported to India-Burma border and the number of those ‘going back to Burma’ are increasing.
An estimated 5, 0000 Chin refugees are currently living in Mizoram State. Most of them fled to India to escape human rights violations in their homeland committed by Burma’s ruling military regime.
Chin Human Rights Organization is concerned about the continuing eviction and reports of activities of forced repatriation of refugees in Mizoram. There have been periodic campaigns of eviction against Chin refugees in Mizoram in the past and the last operation launched in 2000 had resulted in the arrest and forced return of hundreds of Chin refugees to Burma.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Director of Chin Human Rights Organization said, “We have evidence that those who were deported on the previous occasion were arrested and imprisoned in Burma. Those carrying out the eviction need to understand that the lives of these people will be in serious danger if they are forced to return to Burma. We share the pain and anguish of the family of the little girl and the Mizo community, but our Mizo brothers and sisters should understand that the eviction is putting innocent lives in danger.”
CHRO calls upon international organizations and governments concerned about human rights and the protection of refugees to urge Indian and Mizoram authorities to intervene in the crisis of Chin refugees.
According to local sources, eviction campaigns have spread to other districts in Mizoram. In Champhai and Lunglei Districts, local residents have given eviction ultimatums to Chin refugees in their neighborhoods. A meeting resolution of Young Mizo Association on 29 July said that all foreigners sheltering in the town of Lunglei and Champhai leave Mizoram before August 15. Residents have also stepped up pressure on the State government to crackdown on Chin refugees living in Mizoram.
For more information please contact:
Chin Human Rights Organization at
Phone/fax (613) 234-2485
From: Salai Bawi Lian Mang
Chin Human Rights Organization
50 Bell Street N # 2
Ottawa, ON K1R 7C7
Tel: (613) 234 2485, (301) 468 9255
Fax: ( 613 ) 234 2485