Complaint over errors in Chin category for Burma census
23 January 2014: Tribal groups of the ethnic Chin complain that there are several errors found in the entries prepared for the upcoming 2014 Burma census scheduled for March this year.
They say that the names listed in the category ‘Chin’ are inaccurate, incomplete and misspelled especially when written in English, adding that it has created confusion and even misunderstanding among the tribes.
In a statement on Monday, Khumi leaders said that their tribe’s name entered under Code 405 was wrong and not, therefore, acceptable.
Sunny Aung, Chairman of the Khumi Literature and Culture Committee, said that it could easily be mistaken for and confused with ‘Khami’, another tribe mostly living in Arakan State.
Recently, a new body called ‘Chin Census Action Committee’ was formed in a meeting held in Rangoon.
Salai Isaac Khen, CCAC member, said that the committee would submit an appeal to the authority to make necessary corrections on tribal names.
The committee suggested the need to organize consultation, training and awareness raising events including distribution of leaflets in order to help the people properly understand the census.
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, General Secretary of the Chin National Party (CNP), said that there was some doubt about the way in which the questionnaires, forms and processes were designed for the census.
“We have to set out these points and let the authority know our concerns, and one of the best ways to do is through a signature campaign. We will also monitor and try to work closely with those responsible for the census taking,” added Thawng, a member of CCAC.
In November last year, the Chin National Conference had agreed to use the word ‘Chin’ for ethnicity when the nationwide census takes place in 2014.
Salai Bawi Pi, of the Chin Human Rights Organization, said: “The sub-tribes listed must be officially reviewed and mistakes must be corrected. Lack of public consultation in the preparation and process has now created confusion and there is concern that we will be more divided. Therefore, we would like to urge the government to postpone the month and hold either a press conference or a consultation.”
Meanwhile, the ethnic Mon have also made a complaint that they had found more than 80% errors in the census entries, adding that some Mons were wrongly recorded in the past as ethnic Burman while others as ethnic Karen.
The Karen have expressed their concern that Karen sub-groups had been classified under the ethnic category ‘Karenni’, creating confusion and unnecessary divisions, according to the media reports.#