Chinland Must be for Chin People: U Aung Min
24 October 2012: The incumbent Minister of the President’s Office of Burma, U Aung Min, said during his meeting with exiled Chin politician Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong, that Chin State must be in the hands of Chin people.
Dr. Sakhong, Chairman of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), who is now in Burma for a short visit, met with U Aung Min for about 40 minutes at the Ministry of President’s Office in Naypyitaw at the invitation of former Minister for Rail Transportation yesterday.
Retired Major General U Aung Min, who led negotiations with several ethnic armed groups in Burma, stressed the importance of strengthening unity among the Chin people to help stabilize the ongoing peace process as he mentioned Chin people should make their own determination in Chin State.
However, Chin Christians in Burma still face various forms of discrimination and violations of religious freedom under the current administration of Thein Sein’s government, according to a report entitled “Threats to Our Existence”: Persecution of Ethnic Chin Christians in Burma published last month by the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
Despite the ceasefire agreement between the government and CNF (Chin National Front) earlier this year, Chin State – the poorest in Burma according to the UNDP report last year – still remains heavily militarized with more than 50 military camps, and a restricted zone.
Dr. Salai Lian H. Sakhong, Director of the exile-based think tank Burma Center for Ethnic Studies and former General Secretary of United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD), said: “Signing a number of ceasefire agreements does not necessarily mean the country is in peace. We have got to properly look at the ethnic problems of more than 60 years in Burma in many different ways.”
“It is important to see if the ethnic nationalities have got what they have been demanding. They all have been consistently demanding the rebuilding of the Union of Burma based on the spirit of Panglong and the principles of democracy, political equality and international self-determination,” added Dr. Sakhong at his Naypyitaw meeting.
During his first return to Burma after spending more than 20 years in exile, Dr. Salai Lian H. Sakhong, winner of 2007 Sweden’s Martin Luther King Jr. Prize, has held a series of meetings and seminars with ethnic leaders, politicians and Chin communities in the country.
On 13-14 October, he made a paper presentation on the 2008 Constitution and ethnic issues at a workshop organized in Rangoon by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Myanmar Peace Centre.
Dr. Salai Lian. H. Sakhong, a member of the Chin National Front’s Supreme Council, is also scheduled to take part in public consultations organized by CNF.
Van Biak Thang