Volume IX. No. II. March-April 2006
Chin Human Rights Organization
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Burmese Soldiers Stopped Worship Service, And Took Them For Potter
Civilians Forcibly Conscripted For Militia Training
Civilians Flee To Mizoram As Burma Army Targets Relatives Of Chin Rebels For Arrest
Increasing Of The Death Of The Hard Labors Prisoner Under The State Peace And Development Council
Thousands Forced To Attend Anti-Opposition Rallies
Police Officer Extorts Money For Illegally Collecting Wild Orchids
Church And 26 Houses Gutted In Fire In Chin State
OPEN LETTER & APPEAL FROM PROFESSOR DR. SALAI TUN THAN:
Appeal To Senior General Than Shwe
Appeal To The Students And Youths
Appeal To The Minorities In Myanmar
Statement Of Chin Human Rights Organization On The Us Patriot Act Of 2001 And The Real ID Act Of 2005
Political Affairs Committee Of Chinland Calls Chin National Assembly
Statement Of Chin Consensus Building Seminar
BURMESE SOLDIERS STOPPED WORSHIP SERVICE, AND TOOK THEM FOR POTTER
A villager reported to CHRO that in Satu village, Matupi township, southern Chin State, the Burmese soldiers stopped Sunday church service, and taken the villagers for portering on Sunday, second week of January, 2006. Patrolling army Captain (unknown) from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (30) along with 20 soldiers came to Satu village on Sunday (8, Jan, 2006) while they were attending worship service. The sergeant ordered Mr. Vansen, Church president, to stop the worship service, and demanded 20 persons for porter, 3 chickens, and 2 buckets of rice to arrange within an hour. Out of fear, president Mr. Vansen, selected 20 men, including 2 church elders, and a girl, called Ma Yin (15 years old). And then the president managed 3 chickens, and 2 buckets of rice at once.
Those soldiers leaved Satu village at 2:00 pm, and when they reach to Boiring village, a villager, who went along with the Burmese soldiers as a porter said that they demanded another 2 chickens, and 2 buckets of rice from the village.
CIVILIANS FORCIBLY CONSCRIPTED FOR MILITIA TRAINING
April 1, 2006
Hundreds of civilians have been forced to take militia training since the second week of March for a period of 45 days in Mizathit village of Paletwa Township, Southern Chin State by Burma Army Infantry Battalion (538), a local village has said.
Started on March 10, the basic military training for civilians is to last until 25 April under the supervision of Deputy Battalion Commander of LIB (538) based in Yateh Taung of Arakan State. A total of 25 Village Tracts in the area were notified to send civilians to the training. Each Village Tract is required to produce 20 able persons. Although no written order was issued, summons was made through concerned Village Tract administrative officials. A villager of Alinwa Village said eight persons from his village were summoned through the Chairman of Pinwa Village Tract, saying that the order originated with the Battalion Commander.
“Trainees have to bring their own food supplies for during the training and all expenses are to be paid for by local villagers,” the villager said. He said that 20 persons from his Village Tract are attending the training, which consists of 4 villages. “The Army does not provide anything except for a set of army uniforms issued to each trainee. Each household in the area is required to put in 500 Kyats to cover the cost of food supplies for trainees for the entire training period,” he further explained.
No specific penalty was explicitly mentioned although one Village Tract official indicated confinement and monetary fine for failure to appear to the training. Weapons provided to trainees are to be stored at the house of local village headmen upon the completion of the training.
Trainees will be allowed to attend to their respective works for one week after the completion of the training after which they must perform village defense duty on a rotating basis.
CIVILIANS FLEE TO MIZORAM AS BURMA ARMY TARGETS RELATIVES OF CHIN REBELS FOR ARREST
3 April 2006
Some civilian relatives of opposition Chin National Army are fleeing to India’s Mizoram State to escape secret arrest and abduction since earlier this year by Burmese troops from Matupi-based Tactical Operation Command No.2, commanded by Colonel San Aung.
Pu Zing Huh whose son Kanhtat is a member of the C.N.A and who escaped to India for fear of arrest explained, “Burmese soldiers started frequenting our village to gather information since the beginning of 2006. They are always accompanied by an informant named Lian Bik (alias Okla Bik) from Ok La Village. While I was away, the informant came by our house and asked my family members how I was doing. They lied to him I had already fled to Mizoram.”
U Pampa from Nga Pang Village was arrested and tortured by Burmese troops. On February 17, Burmese troops numbering ten soldiers stationed at Madu and Leisin Village arrived at Nga Pang Village to look for U Pampa, who is also serving as Chairman of the Village PDC. Villagers told the soldiers their headman was going to Matupi. They immediately went after U Pampa. The next day, the troop arrested U Pampa on his way back to his Village and took him away to Matupi where he was interrogated and tortured.
Soon after hearing news about the arrest of U Pampa, Pu Zing Huh said he and his wife went into hiding at Aica Village of Paletwa Township. However, uncertainties about their survival and concerns about their safety compelled them to flee to Mizoram on March 13, 2006. “We came to Mizoram with a single blanket and clothes on our body to escape arrest in our village,” explained Pu Zing Huh who has both of his sons serving as members of the Chin rebel group.
In a similar incident, during the first week of March, 2006 Burmese troops from Madu army camp arrested U Za Hre, Chairman of Ling Tui Village PDC, and U Kui Haih, a villager of Bel Khoeng whose son-in-law is a member of Chin National Army.
INCREASING OF THE DEATH OF THE HARD LABORS PRISONER UNDER THE STATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
(30, March 2006)
The number of the death of hard labors prisoner increasing in constructing new hospital in Tedim township, Northern Chin State of Burma under the state peace and development council because of the lack of health care. A villager from the local area reported to CHRO.
The construction of the new building has been started from the midst of 2005 in Lawi Bual block, in the city, by using about 200 hard labors prisoner, brought from main land. Five peoples died due to various diseases inflicted to them, and one died out of quarreling among the prisoners in hard labors’ camp. Prisoners at hard labors’ camp are divided into different groups comprising 20 to 30 prisoners in one group. The occasional lost of prisoners is due to malnutrition, and shortage of medicine supply.
When a local man saw a hard labor prisoner, Rakhaing ethnic, sent to hard labors’ camp because of human trafficking case, was brought to hospital due to severe malnutrition, he sympathized by seeing his unhealthy condition, and told him that he would like to bring some kind of foods for him. The man replied, “Bringing foods will not help me, I’m only thinking of my family, because they all are arrested just because of me. We all are divided and sent to prisons in different places, and I don’t know where my wife and children are. I only want you to help me to send a letter to my mother”. So he promised to send a letter to his mother. After receiving a letter for his mother, and leaving the hospital, about two hours later he heard the news of his death.The ongoing construction of the hospital has finished up to two stores, but the decision of the continuous building is undecided. According to a local report, within the year of 2005, during the road construction out of Tedim township, when 14 hard labors ran away, and 6 persons were caught, the soldiers in duty beated them merely to death.
THOUSANDS FORCED TO ATTEND ANTI-OPPOSITION RALLIES
Aizawl: 25 February, 2006
On 11 February, 2006, more than ten thousand civilians were conscripted to join a rally denouncing Chin National Army in Matupi Town of Southern Chin State. The rally was organized by Colonel San Aung (spelt Hsan Aung in state media), Vice Chairman of Chin State Peace and Development Council. A local civilian who participated in the rally reported the incident to Chin Human Rights Organization.
Colonel San Aung’s written order was sent out to all local and village administrations in Matupi Township, stipulating that every person between the ages of 15 and 50 in the area make a trip to Matupi Town to participate in the rally to denounce Chin National Army. The order make it punishable for anyone who failed to comply. Those coming from out of town and rural areas were billeted with local town households, with each household having to accommodate at three persons at their own expenses. Local residents were pre-warned to stock up extra food in preparation for the arrival of the out-of-town guests.
“We only went there because we had to. Coming from a remote village, it took me three days of walking to make a return trip. That means three days of wasted labor for my family’s survival. Not participating in the rally would not only have resulted in punishment but also suspicion on us. But it was a good thing we could do something that pleases them (army authorities),” the civilian explained.
“We chanted ‘We don’t want the C.N.A , We don’t like them and We will not support them,” he explained, saying that the public was assembled at the school yard of Basic Education High School (BEHS) No. (2) at Sanbwang Ward at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. At 8:00 a.m they paraded towards BEHS No. (1) at Lawngban Ward. Later, they were assembled at a soccer field, where the Township PDC Chairman and six other persons gave speeches. The procession ended at 10:00 a.m.
The mass rally against Chin National Army was believed to he held in order to get the public into believing that the members of the C.N.A were responsible for the fatal shooting incident between the Burmese soldiers in November 2005 during the closing ceremony of a soccer tournament, which resulted in the death of two civilian youths and injuries of four others.
POLICE OFFICER EXTORTS MONEY FOR ILLEGALLY COLLECTING WILD ORCHIDS
Aizawl: 10 February, 2006
On 15 January, 2006, Sub-Inspector Ko Ko Lat, station officer for Hmawntlang Burmese police outpost, extorted 400,000 Kyats from a villager after accusing him of illegally collecting wild orchids for commercial purposes.
U Ngun Cung, a middle school teacher by profession from Laitak (B) village, testified to Chin Human Rights Organization about the extortion.
“A middle school teacher pay is grossly inadequate to make family’s end meet. That’s why I had to collect these orchids in the forest to supplement our income in my spare time. I explained this situation to the Officer who asked me for the money, but he didn’t care. I had to finally pay the money by borrowing it from a friend of mine in Hmawngtlang village. Of course, naturally I was afraid that my job as a teacher might
be adversely affected, and he might even confiscate all the orchids in my possession if I didn’t pay him the 400,000 Kyats that he asked,” the victim explained. He said that in Hakha one Viss (1 ½ Kgs) good quality wild orchids could sell 8000-9000 Kyats while poor quality is worth about 6000-7000 Kyats per Viss.
The same police officer has been responsible for other extortion and looting incidents involving cross-border traders since late last year.
CHURCH AND 26 HOUSES GUTTED IN FIRE IN CHIN STATE
A fire that broke out in a village of southern Chin State on 22 March gutted 27 buildings, including a church, said a local source.
The village of Auak Ba Hlaing under Paletwa Township, Chin State, lost properties worth about 10 million kyats in the fire. 145 people have been left homeless and 4500 baskets of paddy were damaged in the blaze.
The fire was started at 9 pm on the 22nd as two children of U Kyaw Zan, from the village, were playing with an oil lamp in their house.
There were no casualties in the blaze. #
APPEAL TO SENIOR GENERAL THAN SHWE
STATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (SPDC) MEMBERS
Date: January 13, 2006
Dear Senior General Than Shwe and SPDC members,
I am Dr Salai Tun Than; a 78-year-old retired professor who was imprisoned one and a half years in Insein Jail because of my belief. From 1943-45, I was an aid member and later elite member of Burma Independence Army. From 1946-47, I was a student cadet and later district commander of Chin Defense Organization (CDO) and in 1969-74, a commanding officer of University Training Corps in Mandalay. In 1949, as a college student, together with 1st Burma Regiment, I had participated in combat against a Communist force near Hmawbi Farm and against KNDO near Danyingon.
It is not necessary to describe the awesome and merciless social catastrophe suffered by the people of Myanmar since the army took over the state power from the legally elected government starting in 1962. I still assume that all of the SPDC members are patriots who love Myanmar and all minorities. However, your actions are just like that of a rich father who does not know the way he treats his son yet actually spoils him.
In order to escape from these miseries you have to carry out as a Myanmar saying: “Let the bee swarm be attached firmly on a branch leaving for squirrels to walk along it safely.” If you all carry on the present policy, we call will be dumped into a great whirlpool of self-destruction in a very near future. To avoid this monstrous political calamity, may I suggest the following?
1. Release all variously accused political prisoners including house arrests without any conditions.
2. Let all the politicians freely travel, organize and form political parties.
3. Surrender unlawfully acquired state power to the original owner, the people of Myanmar as soon as possible.
Execute the above 3 points within 4 months completely. The people of Myanmar may forgive you as they gain liberty unexpectedly. Please take all the soldiers and officers who are working in the civil departments back to the barracks. For suggestion number 3, you may choose one of the most appropriate options that I have suggested below:
(a) Surrender the state power to the 1990s election winner organization without any condition. You may gain the blessings of all the people Myanmar, ASEAN, ASIA, EU and other countries and the UN. If you want your feet more effective, stand 5
before the TV cameras and reporters, both you and your associates and beg the pardon of the Myanmar people just as Chung Du Huan of South Korea did. Please note that this takes much more courage than doing daredevil acts. All the people and good sprits (Nats) will declare Sadhu (well done) generals! Remember the fate of U Ne Win and you have a chance to write a good ending to your own history by taking this option.
(b) In case you do not like above option, form a civilian interim government and let this government hold a multiparty general election within 6 months. That election has to be supervised by ASEAN and UN officials. Let anybody stand for the election if he/she is legally acceptable. The generals may also participate in that election as civilians, not in uniform. Then transfer the state power to any winner organization as soon as possible without any conditions. Let the officials of ASEAN and UN be sent away only when the newly elected government can run the administrative normally and smoothly.
(c) If you are not interested in the above two options there is a third option. This is to have a tripartite conference consisting of true representatives of 135 nationals both underground and above ground, 1990 election winner party representatives, and representatives from the military. This should be some sort of national convention without a fixed agenda and time stalling schemes. There must be concrete results within 3 months.
The convention you are holding now is a laughing matter for the world and Myanmar. Time stalling and your demands are quite farcical for any sane person and it is disgraceful for Myanmar too. It is suggested that you discontinue the present convention as soon as possible. Remember that genuinely elected representatives should draw the constitution.
The results obtained in 3 months and their execution should be finished in 4 months. As a man and solider, you should keep the promise diligently. If you turn a deaf ear to my suggestions, then I will not waste time anymore but have to continue what I call “general disobedience movement” by the mass of Myanmar people in which they need not go outside their homes at all. My first step is so simple you may even laugh at it. But the progressive steps will be so serious that they will pop out your eyes at the final step. We are going to carry out this program peacefully for the acquisition of democracy for all Myanmar people. As a Burmese saying goes, we are calling you “Maung Maung” softly and tenderly. Please answer, “Yes, here I am.” Do not let us call you “Aung Kyaw.”
If you had the attitude of I could not care less even at the end of the final step of acquisition of democracy by peaceful means, then I will come in the broad day light wearing white prison uniform for suicide bombing. Why do I come in broad daylight wearing prison uniform? During the De Pe Yin national intrigue you filled to kill Aung San Su Kyi because it was dark and probably your assassins did not know Aung San Su Kyi well. Thus I will come in broad daylight wearing prison uniform so that your assassins can see me and identify me. Be sure to kill the right person but no one else even if there are white uniform wearing person; I am 78 year old, not stooped yet and my height is only 5 feet 3 inches.
Please do not alarmed as I mention suicide bombing. This bombing is not intended to kill you, only your thinking and scheming mind resulting in the changing of your heart.
Nevertheless you may kill me. The bomb is a truth bomb wrapped with love and forgiveness. I will write my family members, the next government and Myanmar public not to bring a lawsuit against my killers when they can be identified. These letters will be sent to you, the persons concerned, Myanmar embassy in Washington DC, the UN, and they will also be in the pocket of my dead body.
In the great Maelstrom of the cycle of rebirths (Samsera) if I happen to meet my killers; I as a mighty man and my killers as needy persons, naked, hungry, stricken with sores and diseases and wander in the darkness without hope may I be able to clothe you well, to feed you to the full, and cure you not only from the diseases but also gives the hope of life to escape from the darkness of wandering. Yes, I do pray to the most Holy Almighty God for my ability to carry out these and I love you and care for you always. You may do whatever you like with my dead body.
I do not want to be a hero or a martyr. This is quite evident that I have shielded my last action with statements, urging the junta to yield the state power voluntarily and lastly the people’s ‘general disobedience movement, I cannot deny that I am a coward if you accused me, yet I am not easily scared if I have to sacrifice my life for the betterment of Myanmar people.
Any action based on sincerity and the people of Myanmar will accept truthfulness. Please do it daringly as it would benefit everybody. In conclusion, may I warn you when I die a strong vine of democracy is going to be raised instantly out of the soil and wrap itself around you so tightly that you will all be choked to your last breath? So please treat cautiously when you deal with democracy. Remember your fate could be worse than that of U Ne Win. Try to make up for your cycle of rebirths (Samsera) now.
An open arm welcomes for the future of prosperous Myanmar. True courage will make you free.
With kind regards,
Dr. Salai Tun Than
APPEAL TO THE STUDENTS AND YOUTHS
Dear students and youths,
I am a 78-year-old retired professor, who was imprisoned in Insein Jail for my solitary demonstration against the Burmese military regime in front of Rangoon City Hall. The people of Burma have been flattened under the regime’s military boots for over 43 years, since 1962. Our education, health, living conditions, human rights, and political rights have been stamped out by the tyrants, who are tenaciously holding on to power.
Attempting to cover a dead elephant with a goat’s skin, they often boast that things have dramatically improved during their rule; they continue spread their propaganda through state-owned media, such as newspaper, radio, and TV.
Our miseries are made worse by some of the leaders of Burma’ neighboring countries. Therefore, we cannot expect external forces to relieve us from our social distress; we must rely on ourselves. Remember the late General Aung San, who drove out both the colonialist and fascist by uniting the people of Burma and launching the Burma Independent Army. Burma’s ruling tyrants, General Than Shwe and his gang, are worse than the colonialists and fascists combined. Like foxes, they relish in devouring their own kin’s flesh. Nevertheless, my upcoming campaign is not a personal attack motivated by hostility against the Burmese generals; it is a campaign aimed at achieving a peaceful transfer of power back to the people of Burma, where it rightfully belongs.
I urge you, students and youths inside and outside Burma, to join me in my upcoming campaign. I issued an ultimatum to the SPDC on January 13, 2006; should they fail to meet my demands, I earnestly beseech you, those inside Burma, to launch the initiatives outlined in my civil disobedience plan. And I encourage you, students in exile scattered across the world, to reinforce the efforts of your comrades by any means necessary.
Military tyranny must go down, must go down! The cause of national uprising must be won, must be won!
With love and respect,
Dr. Salai Tun Than
APPEAL TO THE MINORITIES IN MYANMAR
February 12, 2006
Dear Minority Brothers and Sisters,
I am a 78 year-old retired Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than who belongs to Asho Chin minority and was imprisoned in Insein Jail because of my belief. We all know that General Ne Win and his lackeys took the state power unlawfully from a legally elected government 43 years ago. When students, monks, and some military personnel demonstrated together with the public, General Saw Maung and Than Shwe and his thugs again took back the state power by killing thousands of people including school children. Not this many people had been killed even during the colonial and fascist regimes combined. They are like carnivorous foxes, which devour their own kin’s flesh and are still at large.
Ever intimidating generals often proclaim fraternity of minority racial groups, yet they have taken out houses and lands without compensation. They also destroy and set fire to our places of worship and arrest, beat up, and fisted our religious leaders for no reason. They also carry out divide-and-rule policy, and rape our comely damsels systematically and ruin their lives forever. We, minorities and Myanmar public have reached the end of the worst human misery. We hope to wipe our tears with out own knees and we are in a hopeless situation looking for someone to save us.
In this deplorable and miserable situation let us forget our past differences and unite with never ending love and forgiveness and march again forward. As General Aung San had quenched the cruelty of colonialists and fascists with the unity of minorities, general Burmese public, and his People Army, let us again join hand with renewed strength and energy with unbreakable unity.
This is a time to start the general disobedience movement to drive out the ruthless military tyranny thoughts from General Than Shwe and his gangsters minds, until they come to their knees with some saneness. In this movement no body need to get out of their houses. Let us carry this out with passionate love and charity but with malice none, employing a non-violence method.
Military tyranny must go down, must go down!
The cause of national uprising must be won, must be won!
With respect and love,
Dr. Salai Tun Than
STATEMENT OF CHIN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
THE US PATRIOT ACT OF 2001
THE REAL ID ACT OF 2005
April 17, 2006
CHRO is deeply concerned about provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and the REAL ID Act of 2005 that are hindering Chin asylum seekers and refugees from gaining protection in the United States. CHRO calls on the United States to continue to uphold its commitment under the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. CHRO also calls on the United States Congress to revise legislation that is threatening to unjustifiably bar genuine asylum seekers and refugees from accessing immigration benefits in the United States.
For the past several decades, the United States has generously provided a home to asylum seekers and refugees from Chin State. However, under the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and the REAL ID Act of 2005, the Chin people are at risk of being inappropriately labeled as “terrorists” and subsequently rendered inadmissible to the United States. As the law stands, the definition of “terrorist organizations” and people engaged in “terrorist activities” effectively includes groups organized to defend themselves and their people against authoritarian governments that rule through intimidation and unspeakable brutality. Furthermore, anyone who at anytime provided material support to such organizations or persons, regardless of the magnitude of support or context under which the support was given, is subject to the inadmissibility bar.
A majority of Chin asylum seekers and refugees have provided some form of support at some point in their lives to the Chin National Front (CNF), an armed resistance group organized to promote democracy in Burma and defend the people of Chin State from annihilation by the military regime. Although the U.S. government has never officially categorized the CNF as a terrorist organization, under the overly broad definitions accorded by recent legislation, participation in or support of the CNF is jeopardizing the eligibility of Chin asylum seekers and refugees from gaining sanctuary in the United States. Even minimal forms of support, such as clothing, food, water, or temporary accommodations, are sufficient to activate the inadmissibility bar. In addition, Chins who have been granted status and have made a home in the United States are at risk of being barred from ever obtaining lawful permanent residency or citizenship under the same provisions.
The 2001 and 2005 leg