Chin Pastors Delivered Aid to Kachin Refugees
23 October 2011: A delegation of six Chin Christian pastors making a humanitarian visit to Kachin State, Burma handed over financial contributions made by Chin churches and communities toward helping conflict-affected Kachin refugees.
The Chin pastors from the Zomi Baptist Convention (ZBC), the largest religious organization Chin State, arrived in Myitkyina on Tuesday. They delivered a total donation of 7,414,000 Kyats (about 7000 USD) during their meeting with counterparts from the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and other Christian pastors from two Kachin churches that look after war-displaced refugees.
The contribution is seen as significant given that the Chins are themselves struggling with abject poverty. A recent study by the United Nations found that Chin State is the poorest among Burma’s 14 States and Regions with 73 of its population living under the poverty line.
Rev. M. Thawng Kam, ZBC Chairman, said: “This small amount of financial assistance will not be able to show our true hearts, but it is an expression of our concerns and support for our Kachin brothers in this difficult time.”
He also stressed the Kachin locals fleeing military offensives are still in dire need of relief aid and assistance, urging Chin communities worldwide to continue their contribution.
Sources confirmed that the ongoing armed conflict between Burma Army soldiers and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has escalated in recent days, resulting in the displacement of an estimated 30,000 people.
The humanitarian visit by the Chin religious leaders has received positive responses from the Chin communities worldwide, and is seen as an important sign of solidarity with ethnic Kachins whom the Chin considers their close ethnic kin.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), said: “The trip was historic and perhaps it was the first time the Chin people took action as a whole in helping other people. The fact that ZBC, the biggest institution in Chin State, made efforts in delivering aid to Kachin State is an important show of solidarity, at a time when we are struggling with serious humanitarian problems among Chin refugees in India, Thailand and Malaysia.”
Van Biak Thang