Rights Activist Feared Dead
Aizawl, India: A Chin human rights activist is reported missing and feared dead after a small boat he was riding in was swept away by fast currents of the Kaladan river in southern Chin State on October 30, Chinland Guardian has learned.
Jonh Tuihing, a staff of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) was crossing the Kaladan River on a small boat on a return from a clandestine trip inside Burma to assess food scarcity situations in Paletwa Township of southern Chin State when he was reported drowned. His body has not been recovered.
John, in his 20s, joined the CHRO in April of 2008, and was actively engaged in a clandestine monitoring mission inside Chin State during the May 10 constitutional referendum in Burma . He recently assumed the position of acting coordinator for the Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee (CFERC), a Mizoram-based relief group engaged in cross-border relief work inside Chin State.
“The news of John’s death shocked us beyond belief. He was a dedicated and hardworking individual. The operation of CFERC would not have been possible without his contributions,” says the group’s Chairman H. Chan Thawng Ling.
John was on a mission to conduct assessment on food scarcity situations in the southern township of Paletwa as part of a joint effort for cross-border food relief programs initiated by four Mizoram-based Chin groups: Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee (CFERC), Chin Humanitarian Relief Committee (CHRC), Women League of Chinland ( WLC ) and Public Affairs Committee (PAC). The four groups recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), agreeing to launch a more effective and coordinated cross-border relief efforts inside Chin State.
“John was a dedicated activist who will be remembered as someone who gave his life for the promotion of human rights. His death is a great loss us. We will do everything on our part to recover John’s body so that he can be honored and properly laid according to the Chin customs,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization. He says John is the third person in his organization to die while fighting for human rights. In 1998 and 2000 respectively, Michael En Za Pau, Secretary of CHRO and Salai Zo Thang, the organization’s field monitor were killed while on a mission to document human rights situations in Chin State.
A search is still on for John’s body.
01 November, 2008