Volume XII, No. III. May-June 2008

Rhododendron News

Volume XII, No. III. May-June 2008

Chin Human Rights Organization






 Arrested Campaigners Tortured

 Villagers Forced to Catch Fish from Conservation Area

 Corruption Causes Rapid Environmental Destruction

 Hunger Victims Taxed for Transporting Rice

 Forced Labour, Extortion Fuels Hunger

 Civilians Forced to Pay for Referendum Costs

 Over 30 Millions Kyats to be Collected from Chin Public

 School Teacher Raped by SPDC Cabinet Minister

 Villagers Forced to Feed Burmese Soldiers Amidst Looming Starvation

 Rice-mill Owners Unfairly Taxed

 People Faced Junta’s Post-Referendum Reprisals




 Teenaged Refugee Girl Abducted in New Delhi

 Tensions Rise As More Chin Refugees Arrested In Malaysia




 Chin Delegation Visited UK

 Chin Delegates To Attend Conference At Liverpool Hope University

 Ethnic Women From Burma Met UK Prime Minister




 BURMA: Allow Unhindered International Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Operations

 More Chin People Voted “No” Amidst Threats and Intimidation

 Update: Threat, Intimidation and Manipulation Shroud Burma’s Referendum




– R2P Concept and Burma




– KNU Chairman Passed Away



 Cries From The Chin Jungle


Situations in Chinland




26 May 2008: Four persons arrested for distributing leaflets urging citizens to vote “No“ in the May 10 constitutional referendum were severely tortured, a relative of one of the arrested campaigners told Chin Human Rights Organization.


U Ko Htak (28), U Tui Ling (40), both from Lete village, U Aung Bih (29) from Taluwa village and U Lah Min Aung (27) from Kinwa village of Paletwa Township were arrested on May 2 and May 4, 2008 respectively for their pre-referendum political activities by Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (20), based at Shin Letwa village.


Their arrests followed a tip-off from two informants, U Tun Win (Arakanese) and U Racho (Mara), both former village council members.


“When we went to the detention center to give them food, they were hung upside down and their bodies were bruised and covered with blood. Their faces were so disfigured that it was difficult to even recognize them,“ the relative recounts.


In attempt to secure their releases, the relatives tried to bribe the army with 800, 000 Kyats but the offer was turned down. “As of this point, we don’t know for how long they will be detained or what kind of penalty they will receive,“ says the relative.





14 June 2008: Eight civilians from Cintuai Village of Kanpalet Township were forced to catch fish from a local conservation area by dynamiting a fishpond. On April 2, 2008, Burmese troops from Light Infantry Battalion (274) ordered Cintuai villagers to dynamite a fishpond that has been designated as a conservation area for the last 8 years.


The catches were meant to feed visiting SPDC Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Thura Aung Ko, who was in southern Chin State to campaign for the upcoming constitutional referendum on May 10. The eight villagers were also forced to carry and transport the catches, which weighed up to 400 kilograms for a distance of 10 miles from the pond to Cintuai village.


Catching fish in Mungchawng fishpond has been prohibited for the past eight consecutive years as. “After they dynamited it, there is no sight of moving fish in the pond anymore,“ said a local man.


The price of a raw fish at the local market per kilogram is Kyat-2000 and a dry fish is Kyat-4000 in the region. But in Mindat town and Kanpalet town, it is Kyat-2500 per Kg and Kyat-4500 Kg.




15 June 2008: Corruption of government officials is causing widespread environmental destruction and deforestation in southern Chin State.


Since 2000, U Sein Ke Naing, head of the Forestry Department for Kanpalet Township has been collecting 3 million Kyats annually from poachers and smugglers in exchange for a free pass to extract wild orchids, hunt wild animals and cut down trees on the famous Mount Victoria range, which has been designated as a national forest since 1995.


In addition to giving free pass to paochers and smugglers, U Sein Ke Niang has aslo allowed his relatives from nearby Mindat Town to clear the priced and bio-rich forests of Victoria range for slash and burn cultivation. The locals have been carefully preserving the forests for generations, by avoiding grazing their livestock in the area in order not to disturb the delicate ecology.


U Sein Ke Naing is also said to have a business partnership with the Chairman of Kanpalet Township Peace and Development Council. By order of the Chairman, tourists visiting Mount Victoria, the highest peak in Chin State, are only allowed to do so if they stay at a hotel run by U Sein Ke Niang in Kanpalet town.


Some villagers in the area who are angry with the conduct of U Sein Ke Naing have reportedly deliberately set the forest on the forests. According to one local villager in the area, the forests around the famous Mount Victoria are now almost completely destroyed due to the corruption.




26 June 2008: Villagers facing acute shortage of food due to the bamboo flowering and rat infestations, who tried to transport rice from elsewhere have been heavily taxed by the Burma Army, a local man reported.


The practice of taxing the transfort of food started in August 2007. Communities from Ye Chiantha, Shwe Hlying Puai, Du Ri Tawng, Puan Letwa, Pa Kawa and Pung Hyinwa Villages must pay 500 Kyats per one bag of rice to the army to carry them by ferry. The 500 Kyats tax is in addition to transportation costs they have to pay to ferry and boat operators.


Faced with severe food shortage in their areas, these communities must buy rice from elsewhere and carry them by boats along the Kaladan River. The journey takes up to one day by boat.The soldiers collecting the taxes are from Tuyah Ai camp in Paletwa Township.




17 June 2008: Amidst widespread shortages of food and lingering starvation caused by bamboo flowering and rat infestation, Burmese troops continued to impose forced labour order on communities in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township.


On May 11, 2008, commanding in charge of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 20 stationed at Shin Oo Wa village forcibly ordered several villages to contribute unpaid labour to repair an army camp.


“We are already struggling for our very next meal. The army is well aware that we cannot afford to spend time repairing the camp,” says a Shin Oo Wa villager.


To avoid the forced labour, every household in the entire region had to pay Kyats 1,000 to LIB (20) on May 24, 2008. The affected communities were from Shin Oo Wa, Shwe Letwa and Pathian Tlang Village Tracts.


But soon after the money had been collected from these communities, troops stationed at the camp were replaced by another battalion, taking with them all the money they had collected. And on June 2, 2008, the new army battalion again ordered the villagers to contribute money for repairing the camp.




20 June 2008: Over half a million Kyats were forcibly collected from the public by local authorities in Kalay Township to cover the cost of the May 10 constitutional referendum, according to a local resident.


U Myo Lwin, Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council, forcibly ordered more than 600 households of Chawngkhuah village to contribute 1,000 Kyats per household to pay for the wages of poll workers and commissioners during the May 10 poll.


But residents later learned that poll commissioners were already paid under the government’s referendum budget. U Myo Lwin never accounted for how over 600, 000 Kyats were used.


The majority of Chawngkhuah residents are Chins.




21 June 2008: According to an official memo dated April 25, 2008 and signed by U Swe Khanh Thang, Chairman of Haka Township Peace and Development Council, more than 30 million Kyats will be collected from residents of Haka and 74 villages in the Township to finance the procurement of jatropha (bio-fuel plant) seeds.


The memo, an original Burmese copy of which was recently obtained by Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), outlines detailed plans for jatropha plantation project in Hakha Township for the 2008-2009. The total area of jatropha plantation for the township for 2008-2009 is projected as 60, 607 acres.


To implement the order, special committees were tasked to collect the money by the end of April 2008.




23 June 2008: Brigadier General Thura Aung Ko, SPDC Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs was accused of raping a Chin school teacher during his official campaign tour in southern Chin State ahead of the May 10 constitutional referendum.


Chin Human Rights Organization has learned that on April 4, the high ranking SPDC official sexually assaulted a Chin woman at Cin Duai Village, Kanpalet Township. The assault took place after a day of campaigning and public speeches by the minister asking people to vote for the new constitution. After his public event, the minister was entertained with traditional rice wine by local officials. He later forced the Chin woman to sleep with him overnight.


According to a local villager who spoke to CHRO on condition of anonymity, on the next day of the assault, the rape victim who is a school teacher by profession was awarded Bachelor or Education (B.Ed.) degree by verbal decree of the Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs.


In preparation of the minister’s visit, on April 3, 2008 villagers from Hauhphongcin, Phongtuaicin, Cinduai, Tinpungcin, Hmawlawnglung and Khayiang Villages were forced to repair roads, construct tents and prepare meals and traditional rice wine for the visiting official.





24 June 2008: On June 14 2008, Captain Tin Aung Win, company commander of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (140) stationed at Sabawngte camp and operating under Tactical Command II based out of Matupi, requisitioned ration supplies for his troop from 11 village tracts in Matupi Township.


Each village was ordered to supply 9 tins of rice (about 180 kilograms). As people in the area were already dealing with severe food shortages due to the bamboo flowering, the headmen of the affected villages pleaded with the Captain for exemption on June 16, 2008.


However, Captain Tin Aung Win insisted that the villages complete delivery of supplies to the army camp by the end of June.


The affected villages included; Kase, Lunghlaw, Ki Hlung, Tibaw villages from Kase Village Tract, and Tangku, Amlai, Rengkheng and Pakheng villages from Tangka Village Tract.





25 June 2008: Rice mill owners in Thantlang Township were the latest targets of arbitrary tax collection by the authorities. According to one mill owner, U Mang Er, Secretary of Thantlang Township PDC has been collecting 3,500 Kyats annually from mill owners in the township.


A written order issued by U Mang Er, (original copy on file with CHRO) rice mill owners in the township must pay 1000 Kyats as a fee for an operating license, 2000 Kyats for municiple taxes and a late registration fee of 500 Kyats.


Village headmen in the township are to bring in the money they have collected from mill owners at the annual meeting of Township and Village Peace and Development Council.




Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian_


05 June, 2008: Burma’s ruling junta declared the country’s referendum as ‘approved and passed’ but the Chin people are still suffering the aftermath, resulting in forced labour and detention in Chin State, sources unveiled.


Villagers in Shinletwa, Paletwa Township in southern Chin State where the majority voted against the plebiscite, are forced to build military camps on the Indian-Burma border, according to Khonumtung News.


The military authorities allegedly arrested Aung Be, Hla Myint Aung, Tulin and Ko Htet from Paletwa Township in connection with ‘vote no’ campaigns as some other villagers who were reportedly known as voting against the referendum received ‘surprise visits’ as a sign of threat and warning. Also in Thantlang Township, villagers had been detained and interrogated for distributing campaign leaflets ahead of the May 10 referendum.


A statement made by Chin National Council (CNC) on SPDC’s referendum announcement results said that the SPDC, after blatantly rejecting the wills of the people, counted “No” votes cast on the referendum as “Yes” votes while counting the poll results.


“In some places, ‘No’ votes are not accepted and the people are forced to cast ‘Yes’ vote for the second time. In addition, people in the voting booths are intimidated by various forms and forced to cast a ‘Yes’ vote only. In some villages, villagers are forced to vote for ‘Yes’ with a threat to burn down their whole village if they fail to vote for ‘Yes’,” added the CNC’s statement released last month.


The local authorities issued an order that any villager who failed or did not want to participate in the construction of the military camps would be fined and have to pay large amount of money. The military authorities will continue in other villages hunting down those who rejected and voted against the military-controlled referendum, it is believed.


The Chin people, like other ethnic nationalities in Burma, have been for decades suffering from various human rights violations and harassment from the military regime.


Refugee Situations




24 June 2008: A 17 year-old Chin refugee girl was the latest victim of crimes committed against Burmese refugees by local Indians.


On June 3, 2008, Ms Lalnunthari was reportedly dragged away from a local shop she has been working at since January 2008. She was taken into a waiting car by three Indian youths at around 4:00 p.m. local time. According to another worker, it was the owner of the shop who grabbed the girl and handed over to the three youths.


After informing the girl’s abduction, the parents filed a report at the local police station. The involvement of police apparently got the shop owner nervous, who was suspected of calling his friends to abduct his own employee, and the girl was dropped back at the shop at 11:30 unharmed. The motive for the abduction remains unclear but sexual assault was believed to be the prime reason.


Since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in New Delhi terminated financial assistance to Burmese refugees several years ago, refugees from Burma have been forced to seek employment with local Indian employers. Many of them are now working as shop keepers, domestic help and as daily labourers in the local factories, to struggle for their livelihood. Under these circumstances, they have been facing discriminations, assaults and sexual abuses at the hands of their employers and local people.




Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian


29 June, 2008: The number of Chin refugees being arrested in Malaysia has increased dramatically in recent months, raising fears among the Chin communities and leaders worldwide that their lives could be highly jeopardized if they are sent into the brokers’ hands at the Thai-Malaysian border or sent back to Burma.


More than 60 Chin refugees, sources revealed, were arrested in their rented houses in late-night raids last week by the government-formed corps called Volunteers of Malaysian People aka RELA which is accused of ‘abusing the laws and conniving in taking measures’ against immigrants.


Mothers with newly born babies and children under 14 were those among arrested even though Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention on Child Rights Convention (CRC) and on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), meaning Malaysia has an obligation to protect women and children. Instead, Malaysian authorities put even a newly born baby into jail, according to Chin Human Rights Organisation’s reports.


“The situation of Chin refugees in Malaysia is like a bad dream. Anything could happen at any time of period at any place. As far as we can, we try to stay within reach voluntarily so that we can act in time to help those in serious trouble. We are not dealing only with refugee issues. There are several other issues including visiting patients in critical condition and funeral services,” a member of CRC (Chin Refugee Committee) told Chinland Guardian.


A Chin refugee, Thang Khan Thawng, 62, died of depression in Kuala Lampur last week after learning his application had been rejected, according to Khonumtung News.


“They [Chin refugees] are hiding without food in the jungle in fear of being arrested. The situation gets really worse as the rainy season has come in. Some get really ill but dare not come to the camp as RELA can lie in wait for them nearby,” said a Falam Chin.


“Some people get seriously hurt while running through thorny bushes. Being aware that RELA can secretly follow them and know where the refugees are hiding in the jungle, Doctors who want to help, just try to get medicines to the refugees in any possible means,” added he.


It is estimated that at least 30,000 Chin refugees, both unregistered and registered with UNHCR, live in Malaysia and about 60,000 Chin refugees in India. In hope of finding safety and refuge, tens of thousands of the Chin people have fled their native place to escape the military junta’s brutal atrocities including torture, persecution and the threat of death.


Campaign & Advocacy





Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian_


22 June, 2008 – London, UK: In attempt to draw attention to the ‘unknown’ devastating famine in Chin State, a Chin delegation made a three-day visit to the UK, which ended last Friday. The trip was sponsored by the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) and hosted by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).


The delegation comprising Victor Biak Lian of Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO), Cheery Zahau of Women League of Chinland (WLC) and a Mara-Chin medical student, Sasa met with Ministers and MPs including Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague MP and joint chairman of the all party parliamentary group on Burma, John Bercow MP, and visited various offices including UK Departments for International Development (DFID), World Vision and Tearfund.


Baroness Cox, C.E.O of HART said: “We are delighted to have Cheery Zahau, Victor Biak Lian and Sasa here in the UK. Their activism on behalf of the Chin state and the people of Burma is invaluable and the vital meetings in the week are crucial to the international struggle to bring relief and justice to the people of Burma.”


The Chin trio highlighted how this disaster has brought extreme food shortage in the jungle-covered mountainous region in Southern part of Chin State and how it has been still largely unknown to the international community. They also stressed the fact that many Chin people from the famine-affected area have already started fleeing and migrating into the nearest Indian-Burma border.


Stuart Windsor, National Director of CSW said: “This is a unique opportunity to highlight at senior levels in British government and parliament the plight of both the Chin people and Burma as a whole. The Chin people in particular, have long been forgotten, and their suffering has been ignored: we hope that through this visit they will receive increased attention and action from the international community.”


The famine, locally known as mautam or mangtam, happens every fifty years when the bamboo trees produce flowers and seeds which are believed to make rats sexually active and proliferative. Infestation of rats has led to massive destruction of crops and even rice stocks stored by the villagers.


Benny Manser, 24, a photographer from Aylesbury, UK who visited affected villages in Chin State from Mizoram State last month, told The Telegraph about seeing stick-thin children and old women who hardly had the strength left to dig up roots to eat, and about villagers telling of vast packs of rats, thousands strong, which would turn up overnight out of the bamboo thickets and eat everything in sight.


Similar rat-infested famine happens in Mizoram State of India and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh but governments of both countries have prepared and responded effectively to ease the situation while Burma’s military dictatorship still denies the existence of famine in the country. Yet the SPDC’s soldiers have escalated the condition worse by blocking humanitarian aids and forcing the villagers as porters.


“People from inside Chin State have to travel on foot through the jungle for many days to fetch bags of rice for their families since the military authorities do not allow aids from outside,” reported the Chin delegation. Cheery Zahau said according to The Telegraph: “We don’t really know what is happening deep inside Chin State where there are no telephones or roads. We fear that thousands will die if no help is made available.”


During their UK visit, the delegation also spotlighted other issues concerning Chin refugees in neighbouring countries such as India, Thailand and Malaysia, SPDC’s rigged referendum, religious persecutions and human rights violations inflicted on the Chin people. They also called for British and international supports to find alternate ways of giving pressure on the regime and to convene a multi-party talk on Burma.


The delegation also met with the Chin and other ethnic friends from Burma living in the UK.


HART is a non-denominational aid and advocacy charity founded by Baroness Cox, which focuses primarily on people largely ignored by the media and not served by major aid organisations. CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.




Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian_


04 June, 2008 – London, UK: A trio of Chin delegates are today to attend Global Youth Congress, The Big Hope, organised by Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK. The group includes Victor Biak Lian of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), Cheery Zahau of Women’s League of Chinland and Sasa, a Chin medical student studying in Armenia.


The Big Hope which is expected to host more than a thousand attendants from across the world has got a line-up of various top speakers including Archbishop of Westminster, Cherie Booth QC, wife of Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Baroness Caroline Cox.


“This is a good opportunity for us to share with people from different corners of the world the ongoing plights of Burma. We will also like to draw their attention to famine-related problems in Chin State which is still untold and neglected,” Victor Biak Lian told Chinland Guardian.


One of the main issues the Chin delegates would like to address the Big Hope includes raising awareness and humanitarian aids for the Chin people who are facing extreme scarcity of food in Chin State.


“We will, of course, talk about Burma’s problems such as the devastating cyclone Nargis, SPDC’s rigged referendum and various human rights violations. And also, it is very important that the world now know clearly about the man-made humanitarian crisis that the Chin people has been quietly facing for decades. For that, we need to raise awareness,” said Cheery Zahau, co-ordinator of WLC when asked about the main purpose of attending this conference.


A Mara-Chin from Southern Chin State, Sasa, said that we, the Chin youths, should not be discouraged and disintegrated but remain united and focus on our future development mentally. His points at the conference will include how the youths in Burma have been brainwashed, intimidated and left just to listen to what is being told.


The Big Hope has got delegates from 45 countries in the world so far.


The Chin delegates are also set to meet with certain international organisations and the Chin people in the UK after the conference. It is estimated that there are about 100 Chin people living in the UK.





Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian_


22 June, 2008 – London, UK: A delegation of five ethnic women from Burma on Aung San Suu Kyi’s 63rd birthday met UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, at 10 Downing Street last Thursday, signalling the international community has not forgotten Burma’s democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.


The delegation asked the Prime Minister for putting more pressure on the ruling military regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma. The women team also called for stronger targeted sanctions from the EU governments, and an international arms embargo against Burma’s longstanding military dictatorship.


“It was amazing to see the Prime Minister. He has been supportive and has told us what he has done for Burma,” Cheery Zahau, co-ordinator of Women League of Chinland told Chinland Guardian. “This meeting really reveals that the Prime Minister does care for the peoples of Burma and we all are pleased to see his concerns and actions.”


The team also asked the British government to try to convince China, India and ASEAN nations to take more serious actions on Burma.


“We are very encouraged by this meeting,” said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator of Burma Campaign UK. “The Prime Minister has taken strong position on Burma, pushing it up the international political agenda. He said he would continue to push for more action on Burma.”


The Prime Minister told the delegation that the international community should do more to address the problems in Burma and that he would take these issues seriously to the British and EU governments.


The meeting was also attended by Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn MP along with Glenys Kinnock MEP, and Ann Clwyd MP.


The Nobel laureate and leader of National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for more than 12 years, spent her 63rd birthday in detention on 19 June after the military regime extended her detention another year in late May, 2008.


The delegation was made up of 5 of Burma’s ethnic nationalities, Cheery Zahau of Women League of Chinland, Nang Seng of Burma Campaign UK from the Kachin ethnic group, Zoya Phan from the Karen ethnic group, Moe Bue from the Karenni ethnic group, Wai Hnin Pwint Thon and Hlaing Sein from the Burman group.


This is the very first time a delegation of ethnic women from Burma has ever had a meeting with the British Prime Minister, demonstrating the unity of the peoples of Burma in their struggle against the brutal military dictatorship.


Statements and Press Releases




Immediate Release

6 May 2008


Ottawa, Canada: Chin Human Rights Organization is deeply saddened and horrified by the devastation and tragedy resulting from Cyclone Nargis that had swept some of the most populated areas of Burma over the weekend and claimed the lives of over 22, 000 with more than 41,000 people still unaccounted for. CHRO express its deepest and profound sympathy to the thousands of victims and families who have lost everything in the catastrophe.


Chin Human Rights Organization remains gravely concerned about the slow pace and virtual lack of meaningful relief and rescue efforts by the authorities. Regrettably, many of the restrictions in place for humanitarian agencies that have long prevented effective humanitarian efforts in the country still remain in effect despite the need for urgent relief effort and rescue operations in the affected areas.


At this tragic juncture, Burma’s ruling generals must put aside all of their suspicions and politically-motivated apprehensions about outside help and immediately allow unrestricted international aid and rescue operations inside Burma in order to avoid further miseries and loss of lives.


“Any delay in allowing unhindered international aid access to Burma would only add to the suffering of people and further undermine the regime’s own image and credibility with the Burmese citizens. This is not a time to play the usual political games because it is about the lives of hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization.


CHRO commends Canada, the United States and all of the countries and international organizations that have pledged assistance to Burma and would like to encourage more long term humanitarian commitments and assistance towards the recovery and reconstruction process.


For more information contact:

Salai Bawi Lian Mang (CHRO Executive Director)

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +1-510-332-0983


Victor Biak Lian (CHRO Member of Board of Director)

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +66-815300702





Immediate Release

11 May 2008


Ottawa, Canada: Amidst widespread coercion and intimidation by military authorities, early poll results obtained by Chin Human Rights Organization from seven polling stations in two townships in Chin State indicates that more than 80 per cent of Chin people voted against the military-backed constitution. This is despite the fact that many votes were thrown off as ineligible or because they were marked “inappropriately.”


More than nine per cent of the total votes in these polling stations were not counted towards the final tally.


But results for government servants who voted early are still not known. In Thantlang town of northern Chin State, more than 300 government employees cast their votes in a specially arranged early poll.


In one particular polling station, 549 out of 673 people voted against the new constitution.


“Based on these early results and what we have seen across polling stations, all indications are that there would be a resounding “no” to the new constitution in Chin State,” says an observer on the ground.


There are also reports of several arrests in connection with the referendum on Saturday. Two youths were arrested in Thantlang over the weekend in suspicion of distributing leaflets urging citizens to vote “no” in the referendum, but they were released after two days of interrogation in detention. Four other people were also reportedly arrested in Paletwa townships of southern Chin State earlier in the week.


“No matter how the Burmese regime tries to manipulate the result of the votes, these early results suggest that Chin people are not convinced that things will be any better for them under this constitution. It would be of such enormous significance symbolically, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of Chin people rejected it, given that Chins are co-founding members of the Union of Burma,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization.


The following is the results from six polling stations in Chin State (The exact locations are withheld for security reasons)


Polling Station I

In Favor (114)

Against (410)

Discarded votes (111)

Toral Votes Cast (635)


Polling Station II

In favor (89)

Against (549)

Discarded (35)

Total Votes Cast (673)


Polling Station III

In Favor (101)

Against (368)

Discarded (64)

Total Votes Cast (533)


Polling Station IV

In Favor (65)

Against (512)

Discarded (41)

Total Votes Cast (618)


Polling Station V

In Favor (76)

Against (176)

Discarded (8)

Total vote casts (260)


Polling Station (VI)

In Favor (15)

Against (200)

Discarded (0)

Total Votes Cast (215)


Polling Station (VII)

In Favor (55)

Against (262)

Discarded (29)

Total Votes Cast (317)


For more information contact:

Salai Bawi Lian Mang (CHRO Executive Director)

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +1-510-332-0983


Victor Biak Lian (CHRO member of board of Directors)

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +66-81-530-0702





For Immediate Release

15 May 2008


Ottawa, Canada: New reliable information received by Chin Human Rights Organization has revealed that voting in last weekend’s constitutional referendum was fraught with threat, intimidation and manipulations by the authorities. But early results from four Townships in Chin State and Sagaing Division indicate that despite the military regime’s campaign of threat and intimidation, an overwhelming majority of Chin voters rejected the military-backed constitution. The results were obtained through local observers and workers who counted the votes at polling stations, but who could not be named for security reasons.


Chin Human Rights Organization has received several reports of voting irregularities and tactics of manipulations by the authorities during and prior to May 10. All government employees were asked to vote in mandatory early polls or by mail-in voting before the actual voting date. These early voters are required to put in their names and national registration number on the ballot. There are reports of threats of employment termination and revocation of family registration for those found to have voted ‘No.’ In Kalay Township of Sagaing Division, where there is a significant Chin population, local officials were reported to have visited residences beforehand and asked people to fill in the ballot on-site along with their names and national registration number.


“Of course people are naturally intimidated when they had to vote right in front of the officials. Many people might have actually voted for it under that circumstance,” says an observer who cannot be named for his safety.


In some polling stations, poll workers are clothed in white T-Shirts that have “Let’s Vote Yes” written on them in Burmese with illustration of a checked box. Elderly voters and people who cannot read Burmese are greeted by these workers and explained to them what they should do by pointing to the writings on their T-Shirts.


One poll worker admitted to having to recount the votes and flipping the result after his superiors and local officials received harsh rebuke from higher authorities when the first count came out with a resounding “No.”


In another polling station, some members of local Peace and Development Council were seen trying to force people to vote “yes” inside the polling booth.


“These reports only show how flawed the whole voting process is and how far the SPDC is willing to go to skew and manipulate the results in its favor,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization.


SPDC’s Pre-Referendum Campaign Efforts:


Since the beginning of April the military regime has launched an aggressive campaign to persuade voters in Chin State to approve its draft constitution. On April 4, Naypyidaw sent Major General Thura Aung Ko, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs to Chin State where he urged Chin voters to vote for the new constitution saying, “It took the army 14 years to complete the draft and unless you approve this constitution, it will take another 14 years of military rule to prepare another draft.”


On April 10, the State Peace and Development Council held a mock referendum in Chin State capital of Hakha in which 150 people were called in to vote. Over 80 percent of the people voted “No” in the mock poll, prompting Major General Hung Ngai, Chairman of Chin State Peace and Development Council to travel to several townships and distributing free rice to people in an effort to court Chin voters.


About two weeks prior to the referendum on May 10, 16 army patrol columns consisting of several hundred Burmese troops (No less than 300 soldiers) from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 226 (based in Hakha), LIB 268 (Based in Falam), LIB 228 (Based in Kalay Myo), LIB 89 (Based in Kalay), LIB 289 (Based in Teddim) and LIB 274 (Based in Mindat), were sent to remote areas along India-Burma border to campaign for the referendum. According to local villagers in these areas interviewed by Chin Human Rights Organization, Burmese troops threatened them with 3 years of imprisonment and 300, 000 Kyats in monetary fines for anyone found to have cast a “No” vote. “Your only way out of military rule is through voting “yes” in this referendum” was the army’s message to rural Chin public.


Seven arrests were reported in Thantlang and Paletwa Township in the days leading up to the referendum in connection with leaflets produced by opposition groups urging citizens to reject the constitution. Three were confirmed released after two days in interrogation. The fate and whereabouts of the remaining four remain unclear.


The following is updated voting results from 11 polling stations in Chin State and Sagaing Division. The exact locations of these stations are withheld for security reasons.


Polling Station 1


In Favor (36)

Against (334)

Discarded Votes (5)

Total Votes Cast (375)


Polling Station 2


In Favor (23)

Against (216)

Discarded (8)

Total Votes Cast (247)


Polling Station 3


In Favor (19)

Against (228)

Discarded (6)

Total Votes Cast (253)


Polling Station 4


In Favor (20)

Against (406)

Discarded (56)

Total Votes Cast (482)


Polling Station 5


In Favor (16)

Against (183)

Discarded (19)

Total Votes Cast (218)


Polling Station 6

In Favor (114)

Against (410)

Discarded votes (111)

Toral Votes Cast (635)


Polling Station 7

In favor (89)

Against (549)

Discarded (35)

Total Votes Cast (673)


Polling Station 8

In Favor (101)

Against (368)

Discarded (64)

Total Votes Cast (533)


Polling Station 9


In Favor (65)

Against (512)

Discarded (41)

Total Votes Cast (618)


Polling Station 10


In Favor (76)

Against (176)

Discarded (8)


Polling Station 11

In Favor (15)

Against (200)

Discarded (0)

Total Votes Cast (215)



For more information contact:


Salai Bawi Lian Mang (CHRO Executive Director)


Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +1-510-332-0983


Victor Biak Lian (CHRO member of board of Directors)

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Tel: +66-81-530-0702






by Lloyd Axworthy

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Once again the world is faced with the serious question of how far the international community should go in challenging the right of national sovereignty when a government denies its most basic responsibility to protect citizens faced with mass suffering and loss of life during a humanitarian catastrophe.


There has been a long litany of tragic cases where violence and killing have been directed against innocent people whose governments have stood by or were themselves the perpetrators. Think of the killing fields of Rwanda , the Balkans, more recently of Uganda , the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur . And now, another example of a national government committing a major travesty of justice, but with a different twist.


The cyclone that has recently ravaged Burma , resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, has rightfully prompted widespread global calls to relieve the plight of the survivors and for immediate international action to forestall the threat of further agony and death due to the spread of disease and starvation. Yet the governing dictatorship in Burma is bizarrely thwarting the kind of comprehensive humanitarian assistance needed to give relief and hope to its own people.


In response to this appalling performance of Burma ‘s military junta in impeding the timely arrival and distribution of life-saving aid, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner rightly called on the UN Security Council to use the principle of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) as the basis for a resolution to expedite relief efforts. Under this principle when a national government refuses to protect its own people the international community, under the auspices of the Security Council, must assume this role.


It is a principle that has been written into the basic framework of international standards. At the 2005 UN World Summit, world leaders declared that governments can no longer hide behind the narrow precepts of national sovereignty in the face of catastrophic human tragedy. This endorsement of R2P in a global declaration was ground-breaking because it recognized for the first time that there are limits to the UN Charter’s prohibition of international interference in the “domestic jurisdiction” of a member state.


The R2P concept was given life in 2000 when Canada established the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The commission’s mandate evolved from the concept of human security, a touchstone of Canadian foreign policy in the 1990s, which put the protection of people at the top of the global agenda. Human security became the focus for Canadian diplomacy during our tenure in the Security Council in 2000-2001 and we took a leading role in having R2P enacted as a basic United Nations reform. While much of our efforts centered on the threat to innocent people because of war, there was no doubt in our minds that human security applies to natural disasters and pandemics just as much as it does to civil conflict and state-sanctioned violence.


R2P became a way of building a bridge between the sovereign state and the international community in meeting shared global human security threats. These threats which transcend national boundaries are proving difficult and intractable to address at present.

Some critics have expressed strong reservations about applying this important international standard in the present situation in Burma . They fear that it would result in military intervention or that it could raise the spectre of some form of new colonialism. They fail to understand that under R2P military intervention is considered to be an absolute last resort. The R2P toolbox contains a wide range of diplomatic, political and economic measures to pressure governments, and to build their own capacity to fully exercise their responsibility to protect the people within their borders.


Surely the fundamental message of R2P is that there is no moral difference between an innocent person being killed by machete or AK-47, and starving to death or dying in a cholera epidemic that could have been avoided by proper international response.


Burma is in need of more than just statements of indignation and lament from the international community over the scope and injustice of this tragedy. Governments such as Canada ‘s, which previously championed the R2P agenda must add their voices to the diplomatic effort to advance the concept and to provide urgently needed humanitarian relief for the cyclone victims.


There is a strong likelihood that using R2P as a call to action will put the onus on many countries — including key members of the Security Council such as China and Russia — to mobilize and focus the necessary political and economic pressures on the Burmese government to change its stance. It also can give the signal to humanitarian aid groups and governments alike to find creative ways of working together to alleviate the suffering by means such as military drops and the establishment of security zones for those displaced by the tragedy.

The failure of the international community to take effective action in places like Darfur and the Congo reminds us that the R2P concept is in need of those who will support and advance it. The application of R2P to the situation in Burma would be a strong demonstration, especially to Asian countries, of the importance and viability of this international norm.


As the British historian Sir Martin Gilbert has said: “Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, non-interference in the internal policies even of the most repressive governments was the golden rule of international diplomacy. The Canadian-sponsored concept of ‘responsibility to protect’ proposed the most significant adjustment to national sovereignty in 360 years. It declared that for a country’s sovereignty to be respected, it must demonstrate responsibility toward its own citizens.”


Lloyd Axworthy is president of the University of Winnipeg. He was Canada’s foreign affairs minister from 1996 to 2000. the article is taken from Ottawa Citizen Editorial Page








Chinland Guardian

May 22, 2008


Pado Ba Thin Sein the chairman of Karen National Union and chairman of Ethnic Nationalities Council of Union of Burma passed away at Thai-Burma border on May 22, 2008.


Pado Ba Thin Sein joined the Karen National Union (KNU) since the beginning of its founding in 1949 and played many important roles in the Karen people’s long struggle for democracy, equality and self-determination within the framework of federal arrangement. He served his people faithfully through the KNU as its General Secretary from 1983 to 1999, and as the Chairman from 2000 to 2008 until his last breath.


Under his leadership, all the non-Burman ethnic nationalities in Burma founded the Ethnic Nationalities Solidarity and Corporation Committee (ENSCC) in 2001, which was transformed into the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) in 2004. He served as the Chairman of both ENSCC (2001-2004) and ENC (2004-2008). The Ethnic Nationalities Council, under the leadership of Pado Ba Thin Sein, has undertaken pro-active and constructive action to bring about a peaceful resolution to the political conflict in Burma through a negotiated-settlement.


The Ethnic Nationalities Council in its condolence letter released today said that “He was not just a leader of the Karen people but a staunch supporter of the establishment of accountable democratic governance for all the peoples of Burma. He was not just a warrior but a consensus builder and peace maker, who always expressed his willingness to solve political crisis in Burma through a Tripartite Dialogue, that is., dialogue amongst the SPDC, democratic forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic nationalities”.


Karen National Union is the largest ethnic armed resistance group fighting against the Burmese military regime for greater autonomy of the Karen people and the Ethnic Nationalities Council is an umbrella political organization representing seven ethnic states from Union of Burma.


The body of Chairman Pado Saw Ba Thein Sein 82 is going to be buried in Kawthoolei, Pha-Ann district, the homeland of the Karen people under the control of Karen National Union.




Van Biak Thang

Chinland Guardian

24 June, 2008


A child cries in hunger and for her mother

Her face bathes in tears and cowers in fear

In a grimy bamboo shanty, cold and empty

Nowhere between mountains and valleys

Her whimpering voice vanishes but unheard

Just like a gagged prisoner with a long beard


A ‘mautam’ famine preys on the Chin people

– A nation oppressed, ignored and in peril

Besides, families shattered by the military regime

Women are raped and left as if in a bad dream

And men enslaved, coerced and beaten like a mule

In the ‘unknown’ jungle where rats and soldiers rule


Distraught and worried as comes the rainy season

Further will the Chin be blocked yet unknown

Landslides, forest leeches and soldiers on patrol

The people know not how long more to roll

With ‘untold’ pain which has begun to fester

In a famine-hit jungle where life’s in danger




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