Europe’s Chin Communities to Host Chin Consultative Meeting
21 June 2006 – In its continuing effort to promote public awareness on political and constitutional issues regarding the Chin’s place in a reformed Union of Burma, the Chin Forum is holding public consultation meetings with exiled Chin communities in Europe. A series of public meetings are scheduled to take place in three European countries, and turn-out is expected to be high.
Meetings are scheduled for throughout the first three weeks of July for Chin communities living in Denmark, Norway and Germany. While the meetings’ primary theme is expected to revolve around local community issues of Chin expatriates living in European countries, the Chin Forum is targeting the gathering to promote public awareness about the status of Chin political struggle in military-ruled Burma.
Organizers estimate over six hundreds turn-out for all the countries combined, with 300 in Norway, over 250 in Denmark and nearly 100 people in Germany.
“With such an expected high turn-out, the gathering is a perfect opportunity for the Chin Forum to inform the Chin public of its undertakings and to engage the public on important political issues facing our people,” says Victor Biak Lian, Secretary of the Chin Forum. He says any Chin living in other countries are invited and welcomed in the meetings.
Most Chins arrived in Europe in the last two years as refugees after fleeing their homeland to escape human rights abuses and violence from Burma’s ruling military regime. Many of them spent several years in Malaysia as UN refugees before being resettled to Europe.
According to tentative schedules, host communities from respective countries are to hold separate meetings to discuss community-related matters prior to a meeting with Chin Forum members. The Chin Forum is to join in on a later part to hold an open consultative meeting with each community. Among the top issues likely to be deliberated on include the draft document of Chinland State Constitution, copies of which have been widely circulated among the Chin people. Other issues likely to top the agendas include a review of the grouping’s operations, a proposal to reform or redefine its scope in the context of the formation of a new leading political body, Chin National Council (CNC) at a recently held meeting of the first Chin National Assembly. The Chin Forum is made up of a Managing Board and six Working Groups.
In anticipation of post-transitional Burma, since it was founded in Canada in 1998, the Chin Forum has been drafting the Chinland [State] Constitution. It has now completed the fourth draft, which has been widely credited as a model for State constitution-drafting process for the rest of Burma’s ethnic states.
The Chin Forum has held periodic consultation meetings in the United States and has regularly organized seminars and training on constitutional issues in different countries among Chin expatriates. It recently conducted a training-for-trainers on the Chinland Constituion in India. The upcoming gathering is to be the first consultation meeting ever organized by the Chin Forum in Europe.
By Salai Za Uk Ling