Volume IX. No. IV. July-August 2006
Chin Human Rights Organization
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ARBITRARY ORDERS & POWER ABUSED:
Village Headman House And Huts Of Villagers Burned Down By SPDC
Mother And Infant Child Arrested
SPDC Arrest People Who Refuse To Serve As Village Council Chairmen
SPDC Prohibits Headmen From Resigning From Their Posts
SPDC Soldiers Burn A House
SPDC Authorities Close Down Orphanage School
SPDC Ordered Village Self Supported Middle School to Close
Unfair Tuition Fees Demanded
SPDC Force Local People To Sell Timber Planks At Unfair Price
Burmese Army Collect Rations From Villagers
Burmese Army Demand Chicken From Villagers
Police Arrest Cross-Border Trader And Confiscate Goods
SPDC Lieutenant Took 200,000 Kyats From A Woman Trader
Military Officials Need Permission To Go To Capital
SPDC Ignore 23 Deaths Caused By The Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
ARBITRARY KILLING & RECRUITMENT:
Village Headman Killed, Two Forcibly Recruited As Soldiers
Villagers Forced To Attend Two Months Military Training
Local Residents Forced To Take Militia Training
Castor Oil Plantation Project A Problem For The People
SPDC Authorities Fine People Who Fail To Plant Castor Oil
SPDC Re-Issues Order For Castor Oil Plantation
Land Confiscation Continues For Jathropas Plantation
Death Sentence To People Opposing Jathropa Plantation
SPDC Authorities Collect Money From Local Residence For Buddhist Water Festival
Fifty Households To Be Evicted For Monastery Expansion
Land Confiscated For Buddhist Monastery
Chin Workers Arrested In Malaysian Immigration Raid
MILESTONE NEWS & EVENTS:
Tahan Market Reduced To Ashes
Chin Student Union Of North America Formed
Gathering Strength: Exiled Chin Christians Merged For A Joint Mission
Chin Community Of Germany Hosted Chinland Constitution Consultative Meetings
The Chin Community In Norway Successfully Hosted Chinland Constitution Consultative Meeting
ENC Goes Online CNF Ratifies Anti-Landmine Treaty
Reconciling Identity And Integration (By Bianca Son: Mang Khan Cing)
BACK COVER POEM:
A Bedbug (By Van Biak Thang)
VILLAGE HEADMAN HOUSE AND HUTS OF VILLAGERS BURNED DOWN BY SPDC
28 July 2006
Sergeant Mya Maung and troops of LIB 550 based in Pon-na Island, Arakan State stationed in Marane-wa Village, Paletwa Township, Southern Chin State, burned down the house of Hen Ngaih, Sap-Chain Village headman, on June 26, 2006 accusing him of not reporting the presence of Chin National Army soldiers in the village. In addition, they also destroyed all the village farm huts. The incident was reported to CHRO by the village chairman who escaped.
The village headman was summoned by Commander Tun Tun Aung of LIB 550 based in Tu Rah Aing Village to explain the presence of the Chin National Army soldiers in the village. The village headman Hen Ngaih sent Phoe Kyaw to report the incident to Commander Tun Tun Aung with two chickens, four kilos of rice, a bottle of cooking oil, and a packet of cigars to please the soldiers. However, the Commander was not satisfied and threatened the village headman to be arrested. Fearing for his safety, the village headman fled to Pauk Toe Wa Village on June 18, 2006.
A few days after the headman fled, Sergeant Mya Maung and seven soldiers from Ma Rane Wa Battalion went to the village and threatened the villagers. They ordered the villagers to burn down the house of the chairman. They also took over the village headman’s possessions and properties. At the same time, they issued an order prohibiting villagers in most of the upper villages of Paletwa Township from sleeping overnight at their farms. The farm huts were burned down because the villagers were accused of storing rations for armed groups in the huts.
After hearing of the events, Hen Ngaih fled to safe place at India border on July 3, 2006.
MOTHER AND INFANT CHILD ARRESTED
5 July 2006
Captain Aung Kyaw and his troops from Light Infantry Battalion 304, based in Matupi Town of Southern Chin State, attempted to arrest five village chairmen from the Matupi and Paletwa region during the first week of June 2006 under accusations of having connections with a foreign-based Chin pro-democracy organization. One village chairman, Lung Thui, fled to Mizoram to escape arrest and reported to CHRO that Captain Aung Kyaw and his troops had arrested his wife and two month old baby.
According to Lung Thui, he had no desire to continue serving as the Chairman of the Village Council but the Tactical Commander from Matupi forced him to continue to serve for the past year.
“During my visited to Matupi to buy daily necessities, the Burmese Army led by Captain Aung Kyaw and 30 of his soldiers went to our village. On 9 June 2006, I received information about the visit. I dared not return to my village. Instead I hid for three days and three nights in a paddy field near the village. While I was hiding in the paddy field, my younger brother provided me with everything I needed, such as food and other things. My brother informed me that my wife, Sun Par, and two-month-old baby were arrested by Captain Aung Kyaw and his troops on 14 June 2006. They took them back to Matupi,” said Lung Thui.
“As soon as I heard of the arrest of my family, I went to the village to see my three older children. Although I am very sad and disappointed, I can do nothing for my family. As I had no other choice, for my own security, I decided to flee to a safer place. Even though now is the rainy season in Chin State, I dared not go along the proper hill road fearing the Burmese Army would find me. Instead I ran through the jungle, across the mountains and forests. Eventually, I reached the Indo-Burma border on 30 June 2006 after struggling through storms and heavy rains,” said the victim.
The names of the chairmen who were arrested on 9 June 2006 are as follows:
U An Ri from Kingkang Kung Village of Paletwa Township;
U Va Maw from Lungzaw Kung (A) Village of Paletwa Township;
U Pawk Tha from Lungzaw Kung (B) Village of Paletwa Township; and
U Nga Vang and his son from Khuahung Village of Paletwa Township.
All the chairmen were safely taken to Matupi, except for U An Ri, chairman from Kingkang Kung Village. According to a person who fled to the Indo-Burma border, U An Ri was shot to death by a soldier from the Burmese Army on the way to Matupi. U An Ri has not been heard from since the date of his arrest.
SPDC ARREST PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO SERVE AS VILLAGE COUNCIL CHAIRMEN
5 July 2006
“On June 15, 2006, Burma army tactical 2 Commander Colonel San Aung, based in Matupi Township, Southern Chin State, arrested and punished four people who refused to serve as the Chairman of the Village Council accusing them of being rebels,” a local villager reported to CHRO.
On June 13, 2006, the Tactical commander sent the Captain and Camp Commander with his troops, including the head of the Matupi Township Peace and Development Council to hold elections for the Chairman of the Village Council in Lei Ring (B) Village, which is 25 miles west of Matupi Township. The names of the selected persons for Village Chairmen and the villages are:
1) U Tlung Om – Lai rhing (A) Village
2) U Han Cang – Lai rhing (B) Village
3) U Pa Ang – Bung Hung Village
4) U Lal Sang – Kho Bal Village
When the selected nominees refused to serve as Chairman of the Village Council, the Burmese authorities recorded their names and identity cards. They forced them to sign a statement accusing them of being rebels, then took them to the Tactical Office and arrested them on June 15, 2006.
It is not known how long the people who were arrested for refusing to serve as the Chairman of the Village Council will be put in jail for their refusal.
SPDC PROHIBITS HEADMEN FROM RESIGNING FROM THEIR POSTS
6 August 2006
Pu Lai To, the current Chairman of village council in Thantlang Town, Northern Chin State, was ordered by the SPDC saying that village council chairmen are not allowed to resign from their post. Those who resign are threatened with punishment, a local resident reported to CHRO.
Last year, village headmen were forced to assign villagers to perform labor for the Army, report visitors to the village, and summon villagers for interrogation and torture at the army camp. Furthermore, while serving as the chairman of the village council, there is no time to work in their own farm or earn a living. As a result, chairmen are at risk of starvation. Because of these hardships, no one wants to serve as village chairman. Due to an unwillingness to serve, Lai To has been issued an order to prohibit chairmen from resigning.
The villages who received the new order are: Banawh Tlang, Bel Har, Tluang Ram A, and Tluang Ram B. Village chairmen are not elected to the position but are instead chosen by village elders.
SPDC SOLDIERS BURN A HOUSE
12 July 2006
The Company Commander from Light Infantry Battalion 550, based in Maringwa Village, Paletwa Township, Southern Chin State, burned down the house of anti-government organization Chin National Front CNF member, the relatives of the family who live near the border reported to CHRO.
The Company Commander along with his troops went to Saih Sin Village to arrest the family of Khin Soe, who has been serving in the Chin National Front since June 2006. Khin Soe’s father heard that the news that the troops were coming to arrest him and thus ran to another village.
Aung Linzo, the 20 year old brother of Khin Soe, was arrested by soldiers at Rakei Village while he was retuning from Paletwa. The Burmese soldier said that they arrested him because he had left the village without permission. Aung Linzo did not know that his family was targeted by the Burmese army and they were in danger. Aung Linzo was kept by the Burmese soldiers in Tharuan jail. While he was in jail, he got into a fight with the policeman who was guarding him. Aung Linzo took the officer’s gun and escaped on June 18, 2006. He disposed of the gun and ran to Tuidang, Mizoram on June 23, 2006.
Thereafter, the SPDC came to Saih Sin Village and burned down the house of Aung Linzo, the CNF member.
SPDC AUTHORITIES CLOSE DOWN ORPHANAGE SCHOOL
3 August 2006
SPDC chairman of Chin State commander Colonel Tin Hla ordered to close the orphanage school in Toi Hmawng Rawn, 3 miles from Hakha, without any reason during the month of June 2006, according to a local person who wished to remain anonymous. The orphan children were sent to join the school in Hakha, however, the admission process for 2006-2007 had already closed, the local villager continued.
The orphanage school was established by a pastor namedxxxx six years a go to help the ophans from Hakha township. The school had 300 students, three volunteer teachers, and two cooks. The school went from nursery to fourth standard. Not only orphans attended the school but other students also joined because of the high quality of teaching.
After the school closed, the non-orphan children were able to join other schools in the area, but for the orphan children, who are the majority have no one to help for them to join other schools. Moreover they cannot walk to other schools, which are at least 3 miles away. The local people are furious about the school closure and they have no idea why the authorities ordered to close the orphanage school, said the local villager.
SPDC ORDERED VILLAGE SELF SUPPORTED MIDDLE SCHOOL TO CLOSE
5 August 2006
Students from Hniarlawn Village, Hakha Township, Northern Chin State are forced to give up their education following an order by Commander Tin Hla to close the 8 Standard Middle School on the second week of June 2006. No reason was provided for the closure. The students who cannot afford to go to school in Hakha Town are forced to give up their education, a local villager said.
The self support Middle School at Hniarlawn Village was established 20 years ago by the villagers to ensure their children had access to an education up to middle school level. After the closure of the school, the 8th grade students have to go to school at the nearest town of Hakha which is about 8 miles from the village. It is very difficult for the students to commute 8 miles on foot to attend class. Thus only a few students could afford to continue their education.
The school had 30 students, two teachers appointed by the government and three private teachers are hired by the villagers themselves.
Parents of the students who could not afford to go to Hakha Town for school felt discriminated against and are bitter that their children’s future has been taken away.
UNFAIR TUITION FEES DEMANDED
7 August 2006
Township Education Head Officer residing in Than Tlang Town in Southern Chin State demanded unfair admission fees from school children for the 2006- 2007 academic year. The fee is much more than what was required in the past for tuition. Students from poor family are unable to pay the fee, a local resident reported to CHRO.
School children submitted admission forms for the 2006- 2007 academics year during the first week of June. They paid 100 Kyats per admission form. High school students were required to pay 3500 Kyats while middle school students paid 3000 Kyats and primary students paid 2500 Kyats for admission fee, said a local resident.
The admission fee does not include the costs of books and uniforms. With this increase in fees, the total cost for one student to attend school for one year is over 20,000 Kyats. Moreover students boarded in a private hostel must pay at least 100,000 to 120,000 Kyats per year, said a local resident. For poorer families, it is very difficult to pay this amount of money for school.
There is one high school, one middle school and four primary schools in Than Tlang Town. The approximate total number of school children is over 20,000.
SPDC FORCE LOCAL PEOPLE TO SELL TIMBER PLANKS AT UNFAIR PRICE
28 July 2006
Colonel San Aung, commander of tactical command II for Southern Chin State, forced local people to sell him timber planks below fair market value in order to build a stage for the Matupi- Mintat road opening ceremony, one of the local people reported to CHRO.
The ceremony was celebrated on July 3, 2006. Beginning on June 18, 2006, 6 soldiers, including a commander, the immigration department, and the forestry department searched for timber planks to build the stage.
The victims and the quantities of timber planks taken are from Bal Dung (20 cubic feet) and Cakoek (15 cubic feet). They were paid only 2,000 -3,000 kyats. 150 cubic feet were also taken from other people under the justification that the timber was needed for the ceremony. In reality, however, only 50 cubic feet was used for the stage. The remaining planks were used for buildings in Tactical Hill, the local villager added.
BURMESE ARMY COLLECT RATIONS FROM VILLAGERS
6 August 2006
Second Warrant Officer Khin Maug Sing and his troops from LIB 16 staying temporarily in Lailen Pi Village, Matupi Township in Southern Chin State arrived in Lailen Te Village on 15 July 2006 and collected rations from the villagers. On the next morning, 6 villagers were forced to carry their rations up to Lailen Pi Army Camp, a local resident reported to CHRO.
During their stayed in Lailen Te Village the Army collected four chickens and 12 kilograms of rice from the villagers. The villagers did not receive any money for the chicken, rice, or wages for the portering, according to one of the porters. The officer also ordered thirty villagers to attend military training under threat of punishment.
BURMESE ARMY DEMAND CHICKEN FROM VILLAGERS
9 July 2006
Platoon Commander, Captain Aung Kyaw Thein from Light Infantry Battalion 355, based in Shinletwah Village, Paletwa Township, Southern Chin State, regularly collects five chickens every month from the surrounding villages for his troops in Shinletwah Camp, a local villager reported to CHRO.
Captain Aung Kyaw Thein told U Duhawma from Pathian Tlang Village to send chickens to the Shinletwah Army Camp on May 25, 2006, and also to collect five chickens from Pathian Tlang, Pintia, Hemate, Hemapi, Sia O, and Para Villages. When they collect chickens, it does not matter the number of houses in the village. They all have to give the same number of chicken. According to a local villager, the current price of chicken is 3,000 Kyats per chicken, and so 5 chickens cost 15,000 Kyats.
They started collecting chickens in the beginning of 2005. When they send chickens to the army camp, the villagers are not compensated for the chicken or the time spent delivering the chickens, the local villager reported.
POLICE ARREST CROSS-BORDER TRADER AND CONFISCATE GOODS
26 July 2006
Police officer, Yay Chan, and his troops in Tidim Town, Northern Chin State arrested Lang Za Pau, accusing him of bringing illegal products into Saizaang Village on June 10, 2006. Lang Za Pau was carrying more than 300 packages of chewing nuts worth about 380,000,000 kyat, according to a merchant at the border.
The chewing nuts were imported from India. While transporting the nuts from Rih Town (2) to Kalaymyo by truck, the police officer and his troops arrested him in Sai Zang Village, Tidim Township. In addition, Cin Khan Lam, who lives near the location of the arrest, Zung Tang, the driver of the truck, and Do Vung Khan, the cargo handler, were also arrested along with the owner Lang Za Pau, who lives in Kalamyo. They were taken to Tidim Town.
Lang Za Pau will be charged under Temporary Act 51. Cin Khan Lam, Zung Tang, and Do Vung Khan will be charge under Temporary Act 53.
The chewing nut is called Zarda, which has 3 kinds, and is produced in India. There are 25 dozens in one packet. The nuts cost 420 Rupees in Aizawl, India and they sell for 26,000 kyats in Mandalay. This product has been imported into Burma since 2002 by the Rih- Haimual road.
SPDC LIEUTENANT LOOTED 200,000 KYATS FROM A WOMAN TRADER
9 July 2006
SPDC Lieutenant Commander Major Htay Aung from Light Infantry Battalion 266, based in Hakha Town, the capital of Chin State, and 15 soldiers threatened and took 200,000 Kyats from Daw Mang Iang, who was going to sell her goods, carried by 32 horses to Mizoram State of India, a woman trader who crossed the Indo-Burma border reported to CHRO.
Daw Mang Iang, and her group were crossing Nga Lang Village in Thantlang Township when they met SPDC soldiers on patrol. The Lieutenant Commander, Major Htay Aung, stopped them and threatened them with his gun saying, “You can’t cross the border. You must follow us up to Vuangtu Camp, unless you give us 200,000 Kyats.” Daw Mang Iang was frightened by their actions and tried to negotiate with them through the Chairman of the Village Council, but the Lieutenant Commander repeated that she must give him 200,000 Kyats. Finally, she gave him the money, as she had no other choice.
Daw Mang Iang is a resident of Cawng Thia Village, Thantlang Township and a mother of four children. She had borrowed 800,000 kyats from her relatives. She bought clothes and food from Mandalay and was on her way to trade the good in Mizoram to try to solve the financial difficulties of her family. Now she is upset at being threatened and having her money taken unfairly.
MILITARY OFFICIALS NEED PERMISSION TO GO TO CAPITAL
15 August 2006: Orders have been issued to military officials of North Western Burma to obtain permission if they want to travel to the Capital.
Sources close to the Burmese Army said that military officials below the rank of Majors have to obtain permission to travel to Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma, from the Tactical Operation Command (Dah Cah Khah). An application for permission has to be made five days prior to departure.
The application reportedly requires that the officer state the reason for travelling to Naypyidaw, the venue of his lodging and inclusion of a list of fire arms he is carrying. The Tactical Operation Command of Kalay Myo has to guarantee that the official will create no disturbance in Naypyidaw.
Sources said, “All top officials of Burma’s military junta are based in Naypyidaw. They are apprehensive of a coup in the armed forces. They don’t trust each other and it is not very surprising given the military history of Burma.”
The order includes the requirement of an approval of the Defence Investigation Department for the inclusion of fire arms when travelling to Naypyidaw.
Military analyists opine that Brigadier General Myint Swe, Commander of Tactical Operation Command, issued the order to prevent chances of a coup.
This is the first order of its kind in North West Burma. It is yet another security measure to guard Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma around 320 miles from the old capital Rangoon. -KNG
SPDC IGNORE 23 DEATHS CAUSED BY THE DENGUE HEMORRHAGIC FEVER
8 August 2006
Since 14 July 2006, 773 patients from Mindat Township in Northern Chin State have suffered from the dengue hemorrhagic fever. As of the end of July 2006, 23 people have died from the fever. The Township Health Department, however, has not taken any action to prevent the illness or treat the sick, a local resident who preferred to remain anonymous reported to CHRO.
The first reports of the fever began in Me Me Village and cases gradually spread to other villages. Sick villagers informed the nearest health department as soon as they developed signs of the illness. The health department verbally agreed to provide medicine to the sick. Up to this day, however, they have not provided any medicine, a local resident confided to CHRO.
Although the SPDC knows that the sickness is transmitted by mosquitoes, they have not taken any measures to prevent the spread of the disease other then cleaning the campus and dam. Without any medical support or preventative measures by the SPDC, the villagers are nervous about the future spread of the disease.
ARBITRARY KILLING & RECRUITMENT:
VILLAGE HEADMAN KILLED, TWO FORCIBLY RECRUITED AS SOLDIERS
13 July 2006: A village headman in southern Chin state, Burma was killed in June by Burmese soldiers for his failure to report the presence of an armed group in the area.
The headman of King Kang Kung village, Lawng Zaw Kung tract, Paletwa Township, Chin state, Andry (40), was kidnapped and killed by Burmese soldiers in the last week of June. He was abducted and killed by the Burmese Army’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 140 for failing to report the presence of the Chin National Army (CNA) in the area to the authorities, said sources.
Village headmen of King Kang Kung, Pin Kung, Sa Khi Ha and Lawng Zaw Kung villages were arrested and taken to Matupi town, for interrogation regarding the movement of the CNA in the region. Andry was killed on the way to Matupi town. The exact date and reason for his murder could not be established.
Andry was murdered in cold blood in Kaisi Mountain, near Matupi town. The other headmen cannot be contacted because they are in army custody, said a source.
The commander of LIB 140, Captain Aung Kyaw had apprehended Mr. Nga Vang (36) the headman of Khua Hung village and Mr. Maung Hlah (25) the secretary of Khua Hung, who was sent to deliver a message to the headman of La Lui village, in the second week of June. The duo has been taken to Pakkoku by the troops.
The Burmese Army has threatened to imprison those detained. They have, however, been given the option of joining the army. The apprehended village authorities of Khua Hung. Mr. Nga Vang and Mr. Maung Hlah reportedly chose to join the army to avoid a long prison term.
A Matupi villager told Khonumthung, “The Burmese Army has never taken such excessive action against the people in previous years. This has happened due to the movement of the CNA in the region. It could have been revenge for the Matupi Football Match Tragedy by the Tactical II Commander, Colonel San Aung.”
Various headmen were arrested by the Burmese Army after the presence of the CNA in the region was reported in the last week of May. The Burmese authorities reportedly accused the people of supporting the CNA in their movement for the restoration of democracy in Burma. The headmen were apprehended for not reporting the presence of CNA.
The Burmese Army had killed the headman of Tiphul village in May in connection with the presence of CNA in Hakha Township. -KNG
VILLAGERS FORCED TO ATTEND TWO MONTHS MILITARY TRAINING
7 July 2006
Second commander of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 550 from Pon-na Island, Arakan State stationed in Shinletwa Village, Paletwa Township, Southern Chin State, ordered 9 villages under his control to send 30 villagers from each village to attend two months of military training from September to October, according to a local man who wishes to remain anonymous.
Starting on June 23, 2006, the headmen from each village began selecting the trainees in accordance with the order. The villages forced to participate in the training are: Para, Sia O, Pathiantlang, Ma Oo, Wa Zong, Sin Oo Wa, Shwe Le Wa, Kung Pyin, Shinlewa. Altogether 210 persons will be attending the military training.
During the trainee registration process, each trainee had to provide their name, names of their parents, their ID number, occupation, race, and religion. The chairman of the Township Peace and Development Council had to send the registration lists to the Shinlewa Battalion before June 27, 2006. The selected villagers must report to Shinlewa Battalion to have passport-sized photos taken, which will be sent to the main office.
The reason for the training provided by the commander was to ensure security for the village, the battalion and other camps, and also to assist the SPDC militarily. The village council was informed that they would have to bear the cost of the training, including the uniforms bear. Following the order, villagers have fled to India fearing increased military operations and abuses in the area, said a local villager.
LOCAL RESIDENTS FORCED TO TAKE MILITIA TRAINING
7 August 2006
Colonel San Aung, commander of Tactical Command II for Southern Chin State based in Matupi Town, issued an order requiring three villages from the southeast region of Matupi Township to send 30 persons per village to attend militia training, a local resident reported to CHRO.
The order was issued on 20 July through the company commander based in Lai Len Pi Village. Chairmen of the village council were ordered to select the trainees. The names of the impacted villages are: Lai Len Pi, Lai Len Te, and Aru. Each village sent 30 trainees. In total 90 people were sent to attend the militia training.
The villagers were forced to leave behind their farms and were unable to cultivate their crops. However, they dared not refuse the order fearing persecution.
CASTOR OIL PLANTATION PROJECT A PROBLEM FOR THE PEOPLE
The military regime’s Castor oil plantation project is creating a major problem for the people in North-western Burma. The military government’s insistence that people be involved in such plantations will give them no time to eke out their livelihood.
Reports received indicate that the people and government servants have been ordered to collect the bio diesel producing six inches high Castor oil plant. Colonel Tin Hlah issued the order, according to sources.
Each household has been ordered to find 1,200 Castor oil plants. Failure to comply with the order will result in buying four kilograms of the plant’s seed from the army. A kilogram of the seed costs 1,000 kyats, a villager told Khonumthung on the Indo-Burma
“Skills related to Castor oil plantation has been taught in public meetings,” says a villager from Thantlang Township. Colonel San Aung also ordered the planting of castro oil in old jhum areas in southern Chin state.
The villagers have been directed to plant Castor oil over a two-acre area in Rizua township, said a villager. About 1,000 plants are to be planted over the two-acre area. The authorities in southern Chin state have not fixed the cost of the seeds and Castor oil plants in nurseries.
The government servants including United Solidarity Development Association (USDA) of Rizua and the people of Indo-Burma border area have to buy the seeds from the military authorities as Castor oil plants found in the forests will not be sufficient to fulfill the demand of the military regime.
“Castor oil plantation will take up all the time and there will be no time left for other work needed to be done for subsistence. Castor oil has to be planted alongside the road, where the authorities can see. Yet the fertility of the soil for the plantation has not been tested. The project will not succeed,” said a villager in Rizua.
SPDC authorities have stated that the Castor oil plantation project will not benefit the authority but the people of Chin state.
The military regime had once started a project called “Chin state as Tea state” which was a complete failure. The authorities initiated the bio-diesel producing Castor oil plantation project again in 2006. – KNG
SPDC AUTHORITIES FINE PEOPLE WHO FAIL TO PLANT CASTOR OIL
17 July 2006
U Zaw Win Htay, chairman of the SPDC from Falam Town in Chin State, fined any household 3,000 Kyats each for failing to plant castor oil, a local resident who wished to remain anonymous for reasons of security reported to CHRO.
U Zaw Win Htay forced people to plant a quota of two full cups of seeds. Those who failed to plant the quota had to pay a fine in cash. Those who could not pay all the money at once were forced to pay 500 to 1,000 Kyats per month until they cover the required amount.
A government servant who was busy planting castor oil everyday said “we are not government servants but instead are forced laborers”.
In the beginning of 2006, the Chairman issued the order for compulsory plantings. Each household from every village in Falam Township has been ordered to plant a one-acre area of castor oil plants in nurseries. In Falam Township alone, the total acreage of the castor oil plantation project is 9,000.
SPDC RE-ISSUES ORDER FOR CASTOR OIL PLANTATION
9 August 2006
Company Commander Captain Pyi Ngiang from Vuangtu Village Light Infantry Battalion 266 based in Hakha, Northern Chin State ordered villages under his control to plant a one acre castor oil plantation and arrange the seeds to form a fence before the end of June 2006, a local resident who preferred to remain anonymous reported to CHRO.
According to the order, the villagers were forced to obtain castor seed from Mizoram in India. At minimum, they had to plant 50 full milk tin cups. On 20 June 2006 the Land Department went to the village to check that the order had been completed and record the amount of acreage. However, they realized the project was not successful, said a local resident.
Police Officer U Uk Hlei and a member of the Township Peace and Development Council ordered each household to plant another 1000 plants. Moreover, he issued a new compulsory order of a school quota, requiring every primary school in Thantlang Township to plant four full kilograms of castor seed in four acres, the headmaster of the primary school reported to CHRO.
Every villager in Thantlang Township, including farmers, civil servants, pastors, widows, and single mothers, are forced to participate in the castor oil project. Now is the busy time of the year for cultivating the paddy fields and other types of farm work. However, the farmers do not have time for their own work because they are forced to work on the castor plantation. They are too afraid to not comply with the order, a villager reported to CHRO.
LAND CONFISCATION CONTINUES FOR JATHROPAS PLANTATION
12 August 2006: In an all out bid to transform Chin state to a bio-gas producing state, the military junta continues to confiscate farmland to convert it to jathropas plantations.
According to late reports Mr. Zaw Win Htay, Falam Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) Chairman, confiscated farmland (jhum) in Lungrang and Lungpi villages of Falam Township, Chin state, Burma in the second week of July. The confiscated land was estimated to be around 80 acres, situated in the Indo-Burma trade route between Falam and Rih towns.
Some areas of the farmland were reportedly confiscated for tea plantation and Jathropas will be collectively planted in the confiscated land. This farmland was reserved for the villagers for Jhum cultivation, sources said.
“We are not sure whether to stay or migrate. We will not be able to survive without food if the authorities force us to stop farming. We might be forced to migrate,” a villager said.
The Indo-Burma trade route passes through Lungrang and Lungpi villages and Lungpi-Gangaw highway was initiated by SPDC. The Lungrang and Lungpi village areas have been reportedly proclaimed as ‘Special Area Zone’ by the Burmese authorities.
The authorities confiscated eight acres of farmland belonging to Pastor Rev. Khup Hlei Thang, Bomba village, Falam Township in May. It is common in Chin state for the authorities to confiscate farmland of the people for tea and Jathropas plantations without paying a Kyat in compensation. –
DEATH SENTENCE TO PEOPLE OPPOSING JATHROPA PLANTATION
26 July 2006: The Burmese military authorities have warned people that it would award the death sentence to anyone who speaks about the drawbacks of Jathropa plantations in Chin state.
In the first week of July, the Tactical I commander of Chin state, Colonel Tin Hlah warned about awarding the death sentence to people critical of Jathropa plantations. The commander of Tactical I in Hakha, the capital of Chin state issued this warning during his official visit to Thantlang.
Col. Tin Hlah cautioned the people during a government inter-departmental meeting during his visit. The Colonel reportedly does not entertain any talk about the plantation’s success or failure.
A Thantlang villager told Khonumthung, “The officer regards a Jathropa tree more precious than human life.”
Jathropa has been forcibly planted by confiscation of land, five miles from Thantlang town since 2005. The people are forced to work in this plantation at least three times a week, sources in Thantlang added.
A farmer said, “June, July and August are hectic months for people working in the fields. The authorities force us to work in the Jathropa plantations even during these months. Nobody dares to oppose forced labour.”
Meanwhile, some people opined that it is because the State Peace and Development Council wants all the people to work in the plantations that they have warned of awarding the death sentence to those against it.
This is the first ever death warrant to the people against the plantation of Jathropa in Chinland.
SPDC AUTHORITIES COLLECT MONEY FROM LOCAL RESIDENCE FOR BUDDHIST WATER FESTIVAL
18 June 2006
Colonel Tin Hlah, chairman of the SPDC, collected money from stores in Hakha, the capital city of Chin State, for the Buddhist water festival. During the first week of April 2006, Colonel Tin Hlah forced the owners of stores in Hakha to pay 200 to 500 Kyats in order to cover the expenses of the Buddhist water festival.
Colonel Tin Hlah assigned local block leader to collect money from the stores. They collected 500 Kyats from big stores and 200 to 300 Kyats from smaller stores. They built a stage and bought water festival uniforms with the money collected from the shops. They gave clothes for the water festival to single, elderly women and asked them to perform cultural dances, said a local residence.
The money collectors assigned by Colonel Tin Hlah visited one shop after another. While they were collecting money, one shop owner lady said, “I am not a Buddhist. I am a good Christian so I cannot give you money.” One of the money collectors threatened her and told her to shut up and that it was ordered by the authorities.
Moreover, the people who participate in the Buddhist water festival are expected to purchase water festival uniforms but the local elderly encouraged residents not to participate because it could damage their own culture and religion. A majority of the residents of Hakha are Christian. Even though they tried to persuade people not to participate, people were threatened and ordered by the authorities to participate, a local resident reported to CHRO.
FIFTY HOUSEHOLDS TO BE EVICTED FOR MONASTERY EXPANSION
29 August 2006: In yet another instance of brute oppression, the military junta is set to deprive 50 households of their land for the expansion of a monastery in the northwest capital of Chin State in Myanmar.
According to local people, the commander of Tactical (1) Colonel Tin Hla directed the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) in July to acquire houses in the heart of Hakha, Chin State near the monastery.
Even though the authorities are yet to inform to people regarding where to shift and how, the land owners and heads of the local community facing eviction met the Commander of Tactical (1) on August 16, seeking that he reconsider his decision.
The military authorities intend to drive away the owners of the houses situated on the upper road of the highway from Hakha to Kan Gaw.
The authorities built the Buddhist monastery at a place which is very crowded and a market area about 45 years ago. Now they are planning to take over five concrete buildings and small houses.
“The authorities will take over some of the houses and the land which are vacant in the town. But they will never pay compensation or provide some relief in terms of money to the owners” said a local in Hakha.
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) started construction of Buddhist pagodas and monasteries around Chin state and at the same time they deprived local people of land and homes.-KNG
LAND CONFISCATED FOR BUDDHIST MONASTERY
25 July 2006: The military junta in Burma has confiscated land for the construction of a Buddhist monastery in Chin state bordering Sagaing Division.
About 13 acres of land (40 blocks) was confiscated in Tedim Township, Chin state bordering Kalay Myo Town, Sagaing Division for the construction of a Buddhist monastery–cum–orphanage. The confiscated land is situated in Chin state’s Khai Kam border village and is also called Koe Mai or Tai Kua, and is nine miles from Kalay Myo town.
The military government issued an order for confiscation of the land and construction of the monastery-cum-orphanage in January 2006, in keeping with the wishes of the Buddhist Mission. No compensation was paid to the owners of the land, our sources in Kalay Myo said.
A land owner told Khonumthung, “My family is not the only one losing land, however, I feel bad as it is an extension of Buddhist land.”
The monastery-cum-orphanage will be built under the patronage of Colonel Aung Myo Myint. The land confiscated is adjacent to Kalay University, in Chin state.
Different kinds of education are imparted in the monastery-cum-orphanage in accordance with Buddhist teachings. Various Chin orphans have been reportedly admitted to this monastery-cum-orphanage.
Many Chin youths have also reportedly sought work in the monastery-cum-orphanage. The orphans and workers of the monastery-cum-orphanage have to convert to Buddhism prior to admission to the institution.
CHIN WORKERS ARRESTED IN MALAYSIAN IMMIGRATION RAID
Kuala Lumpur: On 5 August 2006, some 30-40 Chins along with many other undocumented workers were arrested by the Malaysian immigration authorities during a workplace raid on a construction site of “The Pavilion Residences” in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
According to a Chin worker at the site, the raid began around 3 o’clock. By 5 o’clock ten lorries carried hundreds of undocumented workers away from the site, including several UNHCR recognized Chin refugees. As of Sunday morning, none of those arrested had been released.
This is the third large-scale raid that has affected the Chin community in the past two weeks. On 23 July 2006, 76 Chin were arrested from the Sampaing area of KL and taken to Lenggeng detention facility. On 30 July 2006, around 2 am, 84 Chins were arrested from Putra Jaya and detained at Seminyah. 32 of those arrested from Putra Jaya are registered with the UNHCR and are awaiting refugee status determination interviews. 8 of those arrested have already received UNHCR refugee recognition. All of those arrested in the raids remain detained by the Malaysian authorities. It is believed that these raids are part of a larger campaign to crackdown on undocumented migrants living in Malaysia.
Most of the Chin people have been forced to flee their homes in Burma to escape severe ethnic and religious persecution and torture committed by the military regime. The people of Burma have been living under brutal military control since 1962. As a primarily Christian community in a predominantly Buddhist country, the Chin people are particularly targeted by the military rulers because of their minority status.
There are currently over 16,000 Chins living in Malaysia. Most are asylum seekers and refugees who have come to Malaysia in the hopes of finding a safe haven from persecution. The Chin people in Malaysia, however, live a precarious existence. The Malaysian government refuses to recognize the Chin population. Chin asylum seekers and refugees alike are treated as illegal immigrants. Without legal recognition by the Malaysia, the Chins living there are at constant risk of harassment by the authorities, arrest, detention, and deportation. In addition, they are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations.
MILESTOME NEWS & EVENTS:
TAHAN MARKET REDUCED TO ASHES
15 August, 2006: The fire broke out in the main market in Tahan, Sagaing Division at 9:00 p.m. (Burma Standard Time). It is yet to be established how the fire started.
Tahan Bazaar is also referred to as “Chin Zay” or “Chin Market” by Burmese shoppers.
“It was such a lovely, cozy market. You could get all kinds of stuff: Chin traditional dress, small piglets fresh vegetables, goods from India, etc. and a favourite photo spot among foreign visitors” said Pakai from Australia,
Some residents of Tahan believe that the fire started from a stove of a restaurant or a short circuit. Meanwhile, eye witnesses say that the fire started all around the market simultaneously as if petrol was on fire.
“If the fire had not started all around the market at once, we could have saved some of our goods,” a shop keeper lamented.
Four fire department vehicles reached the spot promptly but could not be engaged as the equipment did not function. Rain helped in extinguishing the fire, sources added.
Tahan market had around 300 shops. The market area is 200 feet long and 150 feet wide.
The outer buildings of the market were made of concrete and there were around 200 makeshift wooden stalls in the inner market. No goods could be saved and commodities worth an estimated Kyat 100 million may have been lost in the fire.
“Tahanzay is like a museum of all Chin national utilities. If some one wants to know about the life of the Chin State, Mizoram and Manipur Hills, it is the place where to look for. It is very sad that it was burned.” Lamented Pu Lian Uk, an elected MP from Hakha constituency during the general election in Burma which the ruling military regime in Burma is ignoring to honor.
CHIN STUDENT UNION OF NORTH AMERICA FORMED
By Elaisa Vahnie
21 August 2006 – The first North America Chin Student Conference, a historic gathering of Chin students studying in various universities and colleges across Canada and United States of America, was successfully held on 19th and 20th of 2006, at Indiana University-Perdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana State, USA.
During a two-day long conference, attended by 53 Chin students, the participants unanimously agreed to form a student body to be known as the Chin Students Union of North America (CSUNA).
Participating in a conference as a special guests were the Honorable Pu Lian Uk, an elected Member of Parliament from Hakha Constituency in 1990 general elections, and Dr. Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong, a former General Secretary of Chin Literature and Culture Committee (CLCC), and current General Secretary of the Ethnic National Council (ENC), a supreme political body of the non-Burman ethnic based political parties. Two other guest participants include Pu Val Thang and Pu Kap Thio, both of whom were former Chin university student leaders in Burma.
“I am very impressed by the enthusiasm and the willingness expressed by all student participants to work together for the educational development of our Chin people,” says, Salai Za Ceu Lian, the newly elected President. “For our Chin people, it is undeniable fact that what we have in common, which unite us as a unique and one people is much greater than what divides us. Now the time has come for us to realize once again that we are one people with shared values, history, and shared destiny” he adds.
Conference programs also include a special entertainment night where two Chin music bands, Abandon from Maryland and Lai & Heart from Indianapolis rocked their audience with Chin, Burmese and English songs. Also in the program was various presentation of cultural dances presented by Chin youths in Indianapolis.
Commenting on the successful implementation of the much-awaited Chin students Conference of North America, Pu Hre Mang, one of the initiators for the conference says “I am happy that we have accomplished to form North American Chin Student Union. This, I think, will last forever as long as the Chin people live in North America and their young ones go to school.. Moreover, the formation of the CSUNA has proven that our generation has stepped one step ahead in building unity, unity in purpose. I hope that Chin students in other countries will also organize themselves the same way that would eventually help to establish the global Chin student organization in the near future”.
GATHERING STRENGTH: EXILED CHIN CHRISTIANS MERGED FOR A JOINT MISSION
By Salai Elaisa Vahnie
August 3, 2006 – Battle Creek, MI: A three-day long conference under the banner of Chin Baptist Fellowship of America concluded here tonight in Michigan, USA. About 500 Chins expatriates living in the United States gathered in the town of Battle Creek to praise and worship together, and above all, to share fellowship with one another.
But the conference participants also discussed about ways to help Chin people in Chinland and to reach out to refugees from Burma who have been displaced by war and repression in their home country.
“The purpose of the conference is basically to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, to build better fellowships among Chin Christians in North America and to come together and work together for a joint mission,” said Dr. Rev Thlaawr Bawihrin, coordinator of the conference and a pastor of Chin Christian Church-Indianapolis.
The conference elected Rev. Bawihrin to be the first General Secretary of CBFA. While it is not a political organization, Rev. Bawihrin said the organization’s mission will not be limited only to spiritual affairs, but it will be engaged in wide-ranging social programs such as helping needy and helpless people inside Burma. A whopping $30,000 US has been budgeted for the initial annual mission project, which is to be carried out by the newly formed committee.
This initiative maybe a very small step, but it still is a great achievement that we have been dreaming for, for many years, said Rev. Dr. Chum Awi, current minister of Dallas Chin Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, USA.
When asked if he wants to see a more inclusive Chin Christian body, the former Secretary-General of Zomi Baptist Convention and newly elected Chairman of CBFA, said that he hopes for an even bigger merging of all existing churches and fellowships under one umbrella. He refers to such existing associations as the CBFA, the Zomi Baptist Convention, the Mara Evangelical Church, as well as other smaller churches and denominations that are not members of any larger association.
In his short speech delivered at the coference, Pu Lian Uk talks about the importance of the roles of Chin Christian Churches in preserving Chin literature and culture.
“As a full-fledged member of the Unrepresented Nations and People Organization (UNPO) we, as a people, must fully understand that we are historically free people. The Church should continue to play such active role to continue to preserve our national identity,” said the 1990 elected Chin MP. UNPO is widely regarded as a shadow United Nations Organization (UNO) and is comprised of indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states that are not represented in formal international inter-governmental bodies such as the United Nations.
Only eight out of over twenty Chin churches in North America participated in this historic conference. Participating churches and fellowships include Battle Creek Chin Baptist Church, Chin Baptist Mission Church, Chin Christian Church, Chin Evangelical Baptist Church, Dallas Chin Baptist Church, North America Matu Christian Church, Ottawa Chin Baptist Church and Vancouver Chin Christian Church.
The conference successfully formed a committee to carry out the tasks of its mission. The next bi-annually conference is slated to be held in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Chinland Constitution Consultative Meetings
Posted by Administrator (admin) on Aug 20 2006 at 7:40 PM
CHIN COMMUNITY OF GERMANY HOSTED CHINLAND CONSTITUTION CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS
15-16 July 2006, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
With the generous financial support of the Euro-Burma Office, the Chin Community Germany (CCG), in close co-orporation with the Chin Forum, managed to jointly organize Chinland Constitution Consultative Meetings on 15-16 July at Frankfurt am Main.
In addition to the Executive Committee of the CCG and its members there were eight members of the Chin Forum Managing Board from Germany, Thailand, United States, Sweden and India in attendance. Five persons from Germany, India, Canada and Japan participated as special invitees.
The event was mainly organized by the CCG as the local host while the Ottawa-based Chin Forum was mainly responsible in conducting the Meetings. All members of the CCG and selected members of the Burmese and other communities were invited to the meetings. Altogether there were around 100 attendees during the two days public consultative meetings.
The main discussions were aimed to gather comments and suggestions from Chin communities and other participants towards the development of the fifth draft of the Chinland Constitution. Apart from that the Chin Forum, along with other leading Chin activists, had the opportunity to address the exile Chin communities in Germany about Burma’s current political trend in general and in particular the Chin federal movement which is more visibly carried out in the form of drafting and public disussions of the Chinland Constitution. Moreover the detail episode of the emergence of the Ethnic Nationalities Council and the recent formation of the Chin National Council along with other Councils from different ethnic homelands was addressed by the Chin Forum for the general information of the public.
One of the most popular topics raised during the meetings concerns provisions regarding Chin citizenship in the draft Chinland Constitution. Concerns were raised regarding ways to protect the distinct Chin ethnic identity in the context of a multi-ethnic setting in a federal constitutional framework. All discussions and feedback were carefully recorded for reference and consideration in the development of future draft. Another interesting aspect of the meeting in Germany was that a “German Constitution Study Group,” of the CCG, gave a 30-minute presentation on important aspects of German federalism: federal-lander/state relations, division of powers in the federal institutions etc, issues that have close relavance to the Chinland Constitution.
Taking opportunity out of the on going formal Meetings, informal gatherings with the Chin community members were conducted in the evenings at private homes to exchange information on situations of refugees and political asylum seekers in Germany, Malaysia, US, Canada and Japan. Interest and wider awarness of the difficulties facing Chin refugees in different parts of the world was raised among the participants. Topics ranging from questions about specific provisions to general questions about the movement for democracy and federalism in Burma were also discussed during the informal gatherings outside the Consultative Meetings.
The Chinland Constitution Consultative Meetings at Frankfurt am Main , Germany was a great success. Most significantly, the Meetings promoted greater awareness about important political and constitutional issues, as well as update the public about its undertakings and ongoing activities. Many participants also appreciated and were very satisfied to have the chance to hear in detail about the emergence of the ENC and CNC etc.
During the Consultative Meetings in Germany the following individuals from the Chin Forum, Chin Community Germany and other participants play vital roles by giving key note speeches, speeches on various topics and leading the discussions:-
Pu Lian Uk Chin Forum / Elected MP
Dr. Za Hlei Thang Chin Forum / Chin National League for Democracy/ Elected MP Pu Thomas Thang Nou Chin National Front
Pu Salai Ngun Cung Lian Chin Forum
Pi Cherry Za Hau Women League of Chinland
Pi Julia Mang Ngaih Hau Chin Women Organisation – Japan
Pu Nang Lian Thang Chin Forum / Chin National Community – Japan
Dr. Lian Sakhong Chin Forum / Chin National League for Democracy
Pu Salai Kipp Kho Lian Chin Forum / Chin Community Germany
Dr. Sui Khar Chin Forum
Pu Victor Biak Lian Chin Forum
Pi Bianca Mang Khan Cing Chin Forum
Dr. Rodinga Chin Forum
Pu Bawi Lian Mang Chin Human Rights Organisation
Michael Siang Chin Community Germany
Christine Pum Chin Community Germany
Thomas Khaipi Chin Community Germany
THE CHIN COMMUNITY IN NORWAY SUCCESSFULLY HOSTED CHINLAND CONSTITUTION CONSULTATIVE MEETING
July 28, 2006
The Chin Community in Norway (CCN) held Chinland Constitution Consultative Meeting with the Chin Forum Management Board (CFMB) in Egersund, Norway on the 24 July, at where not less than 80 Chinsfrom political, social and religious backgrounds participated in the consultation of drafting the Constitution. In the program that lasted for about 7 hours – ideas, experiences, processes, and rationales on the draft Chinland Constitution were exchanged, debated, and discussed among the participants cordially.
As of today, there are about 550 Chin immigrants living in more than 20 municipalities throughout Norway and most of them left their homeland due to their fervent contribution to the operation of Chin National Front (CNF) that is the leading Chin National political organization – which strive for regaining self-determination right of the Chin people, establishment of Federal Union of Burma, and restoration of democracy and human rights in the Union of Burma. Due to the systematic human right violation and political suppression committed by the Military Regime in the Union of Burma, there are 50, 000 and 20, 000 in Indiana and Malaysia respectively struggling of their daily su