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About 300 Chin Leaders to Meet in Rangoon

19 October 2011: As many as 300 Chin leaders based in Rangoon, Burma have been invited to a seminar entitled ‘Chin Future’ to discuss about the future of Chin State to be held in the former capital on Thursday.

The meeting will be the first of its kind, and is planned to provide a common platform where local actors from cross-sections of society, including religious leaders, professionals, politicians, intellectuals and youths can exchange ideas and talk about the future of Chin society.

Andrew Hrang Dun Ling, coordinator of the seminar, told Chinland Guardian: “Chin people living in Rangoon are excited about the meeting. We believe we have to stand in unity and build together to see a developed Chin State.”

Key speakers at the Chin seminar are Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, General Secretary of the Chin National Party (CNP); Rev. Dr. Dam Khaw Nang, a Christian pastor and prolific writer on Chin social issues; Dr. Bjarte Sanne, a child psychiatrist from Norway; and Stig Skaran, a business consultant.

Situated in Burma’s northwestern border with Mizoram State, India, Chin State has been named the poorest of 14 States and Divisions in the whole country, according to the UNDP Poverty Profile 2011.

Based on the analysis of the current situation in Chin State, concerns have been raised over the ongoing mass migration of the Chin people from their native land to neighbouring countries over the past two decades.

Excerpts of the background concept of the event identify out-migration and poverty as key issues, resulting in seperation of Chin families and communities, pushing children to live in orphanages and children homes, among others.

According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, militarization and systematic human rights violations against the Chins by the Burma Army are the primary factors in mass out-migration from Chin State.

CHRO says that since 1988, the Burma Army has increased its presence in Chin State more than 12 folds, which resulted in widespread human rights abuses.

High rate of migration among the youths, according to CHRO, is because youths are disproportionately targeted for abuses such as forced labor, portering, arbitrary arrests etc.

With its motto that reads ‘Let’s think together; let’s make a bright future together‘, the ‘Chin Future’ seminar is scheduled to take place at Panda Hotel from 9-4 tomorrow.

Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang

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