VOL. (I) No. (1) JULY 1998
INTRODUCTION TO THE CHINLAND
Chinland was an independent country before British annexed in 1896 as her colony. In 1948, Chinland decided to form Federal Union with Shan, Kachin and Burmese in accordance with Panlong agreement which guaranteed equal status among nationalities in Burma.
General Ne Win took state power in 1962 and discarded the Panlong agreement. He introduced military dictatorship to Burma. All democratic norms, principles and ethnic rights were abused. Those who raised their voice against the military regime were arrested, tortured and killed. Thus, the Chin people took arm as their last resort in 1964 and civil war has been going on till today in Chinland.
Under the military regime and civil war, human rights violations such as forced porterings, forced relocation, religious persecution, forced labors, illegal collection of money, rapes, arrests and imprisonment for long time without court proceeding, killings are mushroomed in Chinland. In 1988, there was democratic upraising in the whole Burma and the then military government almost came to the point of losing control of their power. However, military generals handpicked by Ne Win took coup d’tat again in 1988. Under the new military regime, human rights violations are still rampaging. Moreover, Chin National Front which is fighting for restoration of genuine democracy in Burma do not enter cease fire agreement with the regime. As a result, human rights violation in Chinland became the worse ever than before now. Unfortunately, Chinland could not be accessible by outsiders because not only the military regime prohibited but also the neighboring countries such as India and Bangladesh have their problems in the border area. As a result, we could not expose to the world about human rights violation in Chinland even though the Chin people are suffering human rights abuses at the same level as people in Burma’s other conflict areas.
Therefore, Chin Human Rights Organization(CHRO) was formed in 1995 by Chin to begin independly documenting human rights situation in Chinland and make internationally aware about the truth.
CHIN SEMINAR HELD IN OTTAWA
The Chin Seminar was held successfully on April 29 to May 2, 1998 with the aims of promoting unity among all the Chin democratic forces. The said Seminar, sponsored by the Euro-Burma office, commenced with opening prayer by Rev. Dr. Chum Awi, former General Secretary of Zomi(Chin)Baptist Convention, opening speeches by Pu John MangTling Cinzah(Chin Ex-Member of Parliament and former Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affair), Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of National Coalition Government of Union of Burma(NCGUB), Mr. Harn Yawnghwe, Director of Euro-Burma office, Mr. Jack Sterken, Burma Donors Secretariat and Mr. Gary Rosema, Burma Relief Centre(BRC). The Seminar was attended by 17 Chin compatriots including elected MPs, respected intellectuals and freedom fighters inside and outside of Chinland of Burma. Following the Chin Seminar(Ottawa, Canada), all the participants agree to form Chin Forum.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF CHIN SEMINAR
The Chin forum was formed with aims and objectives of providing a common forum for all the Chin through which they could continuously strengthen the unity among themselves and also with all the other democratic forces of Burma and other nationalities. Furthermore, Chin Forum will carry out various tasks of research and documentation works for the betterment of entire Chin people under three working groups namely
A) Working Group for drafting Constiution of Chinland
B) Working Group for setting up Communication, Information and infrastrusture amongst the Chin Democratic Forces and
C) Working Group for Education and Health.
For more information, please visit at <http://www.chinforum.org>
THE STATEMENT OF CHIN SEMINAR
1. The Chin Seminar, organized by the Chin National Front(CNF), and attended by 17 Chin compatriots including elected Chin MP’s respected intellectuals and freedom fighters from inside and outside Chinland of today’s Union of Burma, was successfully held in Ottawa, Canada, on April 29 to May 2, 1998.
2. Chinland, a formerly free state, was co-founder of the Union of Burma under the Panglong Agreement.
3. The military regime discarded the 1947 democratic constitution which safeguarded the Panglong Agreement. Therefore we, the Chin people, consider ourselves as a free nation until and unless a constitution which guarantees our rights is proclaimed.
4. The problem of the Union of Burma started because of unequal treatment of the nationalities by the successive Burmese governments since independence. This unequal treatment has been increased by the military dictatorship especialy in the areas where non-Burmans reside.
5. The ,military regime has convened a sham national convention with handpicked delegates to prolong and legitimize the military dictatorship. This national convention deepens the national hatred and suspicions instead of solving the political crisis.
6. Since the military took over power, there are rampant human rights violations, religious and racial persecutions causing an exodus of Chin refugees to India as well as other countries.
7. The cease-fire arrangement between the military regime and some other armed nationality opposition groups can not solve the present political crisis because of the absence of political dialogue.
8. In order to solve the political crisis of the Union of Burma and the refugee situation, we demand tripartite dialogue which has been called for by the United Nations as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This involves dialogue between the Burman Democratic Forces, the Burmese Military and the Non-Burman Democratic Forces.
9. Under genuine democracy and the right of self-determination in its fullest extent, we are willing to work together to consolidate unity among all nationalities in Burma to form a Federal Union.
Date : 3 May 1998
Place : Ottawa, Canada
VILLAGERS TORTURED AND RAPED
A group of Burmese Army which was led by Major (name unknown) from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 274 stationed at the Lailenpi Village came to Sabawngte Village of Matupi township on March 20, 1998. The army surrounded the village and ordered the villagers not to go outside the village. The army commander asked to members of village council whether any villager has gone out side the village or not. The members of the village council replied that about per persons had already left for their field just before the army arrived. The commander called four of his troop and ordered them to torture members of village council. The members of village council were punched with fists and beaten with sticks and gun severely. The Chairman of village council was punched and beaten several times on his head so that he got serious injuries. The four members of village council also got many injuries on their bodies. There is no health care center and medicines available at the village. They were suffered pain without treatment in their homes.
And then the troop coercively took a pig and two basket of rice from the villagers and stayed two days at the village. Due to bad weather in last year, the villagers didn’t harvest enough food. Therefore, they have been starving. Most of the villagers collected ….. from the Jungle for their main food.
After the army brutally tortured and took their food for three days, the army demanded 30 persons portering, including women. The village head collected 15 women and 15 men for porters. On March 22, 1998 the porters carried the army’s ammunitions, equipments and rations to Sabawngpi village which is nine miles far from the Lailenpi village. On the way, the women were kept alternately with the army and the men were kept at rear. When they reached at Sabawngpi village, the women were forced to sleep with the army at night. On the next day, the porters were called up to Lailenpi Village where the army stationed their camp. The women porters were coercively slept in for a night and they were released on the following day. The porters did not get any single cent for their labor, rather they were tortured on the way. All women came back with tears. The women declined to disclose the real events because they were afraid of the army. Till today it could not be seen smile on their faces. The parents knew what had happened to their daughters but they could not expose with witness.
LICENSED TO LOOT
Major Zaw Tun Myint (a) Than Zaw Lat from Burma Army Battalion 274 issued an order for Lungcawipi village consisting of 30 houses in Thantlang township, Chin State. The order said that Lungcawipi village had to pay Kyat 150,000 for the building of Hriangpi Army camp before April 8, 1998. The order also threatened that the whole village was to be burnt down by himself if they could not pay the amount at once. It was hard for the village to get that amount and so they paid Kyat 50,000 and a pig. When the Major came to the village, they killed a pig for him. They also requested him to accept Kyat 50,000 and not to demand the rest. Kyat 50,000 was what they could afford. After consuming all the good and accepting Kyat 50,000, he ordered the villagers to pay the rest Kyat 100,000 before the end of May. He also threatened that the village will be burnt down and destroyed in case of failure. Actually, the villagers knew that the money was not for the construction of Hriangpi army camp. It was for his own pocket. But it is difficult for them to deny his order. All the villagers are farmers and they were busy with their farm work at the time. The people are so sad and disappointed and now live in fear and anxiety as it is impossible for them to get Kyat 100,000 as they are poor and not even able to get the necessaries of life.
STUDENTS LIFE IN TONZANG TOWNSHIP
Students from Tualkhiang village, Tonzang township in Chin State have no summer holidays for this year. They were forced to work for Battalion 228 of Burma Army from Tidim town.
The students were compelled to build two sentry boxes outside of the village and forced to guard 24-hour a day. Two persons at a time with percussion lock firearm. Besides, they were forced as porters to carry army supplies to Pakmual and Haicin villages 13 and 20 miles respectively. The villagers around that region such as Haicin, Pakmual, Tuimui, Selvum, Linthup, Khuaivum, Tongcin and Suangbem were asked forcibly to carry army supplies and ammunition during the months of April and May of this year, 1998. At least 20 people had to come from each village and it took three days for a trip. They didn’t get paid for doing it. Moreover, they had to carry their own food. Whoever was absent to serve as porter, a fine of Kyat 600 was imposed for one-time absentee.
Every village has to provide a pig worth Kyat 6000 and 4 viss of chicken to Cikha army camp for a year. They also pay Kyat 50 each per household for the State Peace and Development Council army office in Tonzang town.
PORTERING AT GUN POINT
The following villages Thlualam, Hriangkhan, Sialam, and Humhalh from Thantlang townshp, Chin State were forced to be porters from March 1998 till today by a company led by one major (name unknown) from Burma Army Battalion 309 Katha. 40 People from each village have to come to serve as porters to carry army supplies from Thantlang to Tikir village. One trip takes five days.
About 10 soldiers have been posted at every village along the way through Thantlang town to Tikir village. The villagers are forced to take sentry duty 24 hours a day. The army have threatened the villagers that they will burn the whole village if they were attacked by the rebels. The villagers are very busy to collect firewood, carry water from the well and provide food and all the necessities for the army. Those villagers have been forced to be porters so long and they are now facing a big problem for their living as they don’t have enough time to work for themselves.
LEGALLY STEALING BY SPDC TROOPS IN CHIN STATE
During the 8th Anniversary Students Sport Festival organized under the command of SPDC in Hakha, the army shut down the power for 10 minutes as planned. As soon as the electric power cut, soldiers start stealing the goods and treasures from the shops at the festival place. When the power was restored, the shop keepers found that their valuable Chin traditional dresses, precious jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, bangles, rings and wrist watches were missing. When thieves who are soldiers from the Burma Army were caught by the shopkeepers, the thieves replied that it was a traditional festival. Therefore, the stolen good were not to be returned. It was very strange for the local people who have never ever come across this kind of festival organized by the Burma Army and stealing is allowed legally. And then thieves were set free with stolen goods.