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New Evidence of Abuses in Burma’s Chin State Strengthens Call for UN Commission of Inquiry

By Chin Human Rights Organization  •  January 19, 2011

The  Chin  Human  Rights  Organization  (CHRO)  today  welcomed  a  new  report published by Nobel Peace Prize winning organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), “Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State.”

Using innovative population-based methods to document human rights violations in all nine townships of Chin State, researchers found that almost 92 percent of households surveyed had experienced forced labour at least once in the year prior to interviews.

Other key issues highlighted in the report include religious and ethnic persecution, rape, torture, arbitrary detention, disappearances, and recruitment of child soldiers by the military regime.  In addition, the report illustrates how pillaging, forced cultivation of inedible crops such as jatropha (physic nut), forced labour and portering for the Burma army all directly contribute to chronic food insecurity.

CHRO is in Geneva to call on the international community to ask tough questions of Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council on its human rights record during the first Universal Periodic Review of Burma under  the United Nations Human Rights Council. In  its  submission  to  the  review process,  the organization  reported  over  seventy  separate  incidents  of  forced  labour  over  the  four-year  review period, some involving orders to forty villages at a time.

“These new  findings  corroborate CHRO’s  own documentation  of human  rights violations  over  the past fifteen years in Chin State. They shed further light on the widespread and systematic nature of the abuses inflicted on the Chin people by the authorities in Burma, with complete impunity,” said Salai Ling, CHRO’s Program Director.

CHRO reiterated its support for a UN Commission of Inquiry into grave human rights violations in Chin State and the rest of Burma.

“A  UN-led  impartial,  independent  and  thorough  investigation  into  these  crimes  is  essential  to  end  the culture  of  impunity  in  Burma.    It will  also  deter  further  human  rights  violations.    Ultimately,  such  an investigation  is  not  just  about  accountability,  it’s  about  improving  the  lives  of  people  across  Burma,” continued Salai Ling.

For media interviews, please contact:
Salai Ling, CHRO Program Director (English and Burmese): +41 76.715.3298

Read more about PHR’s report here.

Notes to Editors:

1. The  full  individual  submission  by  the  Chin  Human  Rights  Organization  to  the  Universal  Periodic
Review  of  Burma  is  available  online  here.

About the Chin Human Rights Organization

The Chin Human Rights Organization  (CHRO)  is a non-governmental, non-profit advocacy organization legally registered in Canada. It was formed in 1995 on the India-Burma border by a group of Chin activists committed  to  promoting  democracy  in  Burma,  and  documenting  previously  unreported  human  rights abuses being perpetrated against the Chin people by the Burma army and local authorities of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).  CHRO is the primary rights-based advocacy organization for the Chin.

About the Chin people of Burma

Around 500,000 ethnic Chin live in the northwestern area of Chin State in Burma.  The Chin are ethnically very diverse. The six main tribes of Aso, Cho (Sho), Khuami (M’ro), Laimi, Mizo (Lushai), and Zomi (Kuki) can  be  further  broken  up  into  at  least  60  different  sub-tribal  categories.  The Chin  speak more  than  20 mutually  distinct  languages.  Despite  such  diversity,  the  Chin  are  unified  through  a  common  history, geographical  homeland,  traditional  practices,  and  ethnic  identity.  The missions  of  the American  Baptist Church starting in the late 1800s served to further unify the Chin people through religion. In a country that is predominantly Buddhist, the Chin are 90 percent Christian with most belonging to the American Baptist Church.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

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