19 January 2011
CHRO: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES IN BURMAS CHIN STATE STRENGTHENS CALL FOR UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY[Geneva, Switzerland] The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) today welcomed a new report published by Nobel Peace Prize winning organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), “Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State.”
Using innovative population-based methods to document human rights violations in all nine townships of Chin State, researchers found that almost 92 percent of households surveyed had experienced forced labour at least once in the year prior to interviews.
Other key issues highlighted in the report include religious and ethnic persecution, rape, torture, arbitrary detention, disappearances, and recruitment of child soldiers by the military regime. In addition, the report illustrates how pillaging, forced cultivation of inedible crops such as jatropha (physic nut), forced labour and portering for the Burma army all directly contribute to chronic food insecurity.
CHRO is in Geneva to call on the international community to ask tough questions of Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council on its human rights record during the first Universal Periodic Review of Burma under the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In its submission to the review process, the organization reported over seventy separate incidents of forced labour over the four-year review period, some involving orders to forty villages at a time.
“These new findings corroborate CHRO’s own documentation of human rights violations over the past fifteen years in Chin State. They shed further light on the widespread and systematic nature of the abuses inflicted on the Chin people by the authorities in Burma, with complete impunity,” said Salai Ling, CHRO’s Program Director.
CHRO reiterated its support for a UN Commission of Inquiry into grave human rights violations in Chin State and the rest of Burma.
“A UN-led impartial, independent and thorough investigation into these crimes is essential to end the culture of impunity in Burma. It will also deter further human rights violations. Ultimately, such an investigation is not just about accountability, it’s about improving the lives of people across Burma,”
continued Salai Ling.