By Shah Paung
Fri 20 Oct 2006: Ethnic Chin refugees in Thailand , Malaysia and India are to be allowed to resettle in the US as long as they meet all eligibility requirements, the US State Department announced on Thursday.

Applications would be considered even if refugees had provided “material support” to Chin rebel groups such as the Chin National Front and its military wing, the Chin National Army, the announcement said.

One requirement for eligibility is that applicants pose no security threat to the US . Welcoming the US announcement, Victor Khensang, an official of the Chin Human Rights Organization, said refugees who were supporters of the CNF or CNA posed no threat to the US .

Applications for resettlement will be screened by the US Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Victor Khensang said that although the US decision to open its doors to Chin refugees represented no long-term solution it nonetheless would help those in difficulty. “This process cannot solve the main problem, but it can solve some part,” he said.

In June, an immigration judge in the US refused a resettlement request by a Chin woman, resident in Texas , on the grounds that she had given support to the CNF, which is involved in hostilities with the Burmese army along Burma ’s border with India .

In another development, Washington is to allow 2,700 ethnic Karen refugees from Tham Hin camp in Thailand to resettle in the US . Some 1,100 have arrived so far.

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