Poverty and Human Rights Violations Continue In Chin State
09 December 2010: Chin people in the western border of Burma are still suffering from continuing forced labour, acute poverty and religious discrimination, a delegation of HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) and CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) said today.
The delegation that conducted interviews with Chin community health workers and pastors during their recent trip to the India-Burma border revealed compelling accounts of the denial of health care and education, systematic religious discrimination of Christians, poverty and widespread forced labour inflicted upon the Chin villagers by the ruling military authorities.
Chin community organizations also reported widespread intimidation, harassment and vote rigging in Chin State and Sagaing Division during Burma’s recent sham elections, held on 7 November.
One Chin pastor told the delegation, “This regime has made us poor. In development, culture and psychologically we are poor. But if I stand against the military, they will catch my wife or my son or me – and so no one dares to speak out.”
The release from house arrest of Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 13 November is widely welcomed by Chin people, but her release alone is no sign of meaningful progress. The Chin people are calling for tripartite dialogue between the regime, the democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and representatives of the ethnic nationalities. “The Burma problem is not only democracy,” one Chin representative told the delegation. “The main issue is the ethnic issue.”
Benedict Rogers said, “During our visit, just over a week after Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, we received overwhelming evidence that the severe human rights violations and chronic humanitarian needs continue to cause intense suffering in Chin State, one of the poorest and most neglected parts of Burma. We call on the international community to use every mechanism available to urge the regime to enter into dialogue with the democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities, and to cease abusing its own people. We also urge the Government of India to use its influence to encourage the UN Secretary-General to facilitate a dialogue process.”
Baroness Cox said, “The humanitarian situation in Chin State is dire and desperate and requires urgent relief. We urge the international community, including governments, the UN and Non-Governmental Organisations to make it a priority to support health and education in Chin State and to provide much-needed relief for people who are dying of treatable and preventable diseases. We also urge the UN to ensure that the ethnic nationalities are included in the political process in Burma, and that the abuses, some of which amount to crimes against humanity, end immediately.”
HART is a charitable organisation committed to serving people in need, especially those who are or who have been suffering from oppression and persecution. CSW is the UK’s leading human rights advocacy organisation specialising in religious freedom, working on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promoting religious liberty for all.
Van Biak Thang