Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Village Leaders Abducted by Armed Group

Paletwa (Narinjara): Three village leaders, including two village chairmen, were abducted by an unidentified armed group on the western Burmese border on 24 April, after the group entered Pri Zaw Village on the border to extort money, said a relative of one of the victims.

He said, "I came to the Bangladesh border to enquire about their condition but I have not heard anything about them. An eleven-member group armed with guns abducted the men on the night of 24 April and brought them to the border area near Bangladesh."

The victims have been identified as U Sein Aung, chairman of Pri Zaw Village, U Wai Ni Kyaw, chairman of Mraung Village, and U Tun Aung, a village leader from Mraung Village in Paletwa Township in Chin State.

"The armed group took two chickens and two baskets of rice from our village. Afterward, our chairman was abducted and taken from the village," he said.

According to a border source, most of the villages know the armed group that abducted the three men, but no has revealed its identity for fear of retaliation.

"We do not know why the armed group abducted our chairman and we do not know the organization's name. We have to enquire about the abduction and later may be able to reveal the organization's name," the relative said.

On the western Burmese border, especially in Paletwa Township, there are two or three insurgent groups that sometimes patrol the area in order to ambush SPDC soldiers in the area.

According to a local villager source, the villagers in the area live in a very risky position because both the insurgent groups and the Burmese army abduct and kill villagers whenever they are unable to meet their demands for money, food, or information.

In addition the recent abduction, an elder monk was assassinated by unknown assailants in upper Sami Village in Paletwa Township last week.

Appalling conditions in Naga Hills Region under Burmese junta

by Ring Aung
Kachin News Group

A majority of the Naga, estimated to be about four million live on the Indian side, in Nagaland. The Naga in Burma is in the minority with an estimated population of over 200,000.

The Naga in Burma live in Homemalin Township, Khamthi Township, Leshi Township, Lahe Township, Namyun Township and Pangsau sub-township of Sagaing division and Shing Bwe Yang sub-township in Kachin State.

The people in the Naga Hills Region under the Burmese military junta have never got favours from the regime. Their neglect by the junta is appalling. Some of these people are forcibly recruited into the army. Their religious practices are controlled by the Burmese authorities.

After 1990, there has been religious persecution in the Naga Hills Region. Since the majority of Naga people are Christians, the Burmese military regime has been planning to develop the region under the military. The Buddhist religious organizations are keen on persuading the Naga people to convert to Buddhism.

In some villages, the Burmese junta has been burning churches. The people have been ordered by the Burmese authorities to convert to Buddhism and are being threatened by the authorities. Villagers who don’t want to change their religion have to run away from their villages.

According to locals in the Naga region, the people tried to negotiate with the Burmese authorities to stop the religious persecution in the region twice in the past, but there has been no progress. The situation is said to be bad.

In every village in the Naga region, the population is half Buddhist and half Christians. The Burmese regime has built temples in a village and put in place fake monks.

Monks staying at a temple in a village are imposters. They are just pretending to be monks. If there are 10 monks in a temple, half of them are soldiers. Some carry guns.

All the monks receive financial assistance and food. Normally, they get 60,000 Kyat (US $ 59) per month. They also receive rice but they sell the rice to for money. Because villagers donate food to them, they can afford to sell the rice, said a local.

All Christian churches in the region have to register with the Burmese authorities and it is mandatory to put up the registration sign board on top of their church.

Being Christians in the region they have to struggle a lot and the Burmese authorities even beat up Christian missionaries who graduated from India. They are not allowed to carry out any mission in the region, a local added.

Because of poor transportation and road communication, the children from the region can’t afford to go to school. Most villages have only a primary school and if the children want to go to middle or high school, they have to study in the township. Children who have finished primary school cannot go for higher studies. They help their parents in farming.

On the other hand, the Burmese Army forcibly recruits youngsters including those under18 years of age.

According to local people from Shing Bwe Yang Township, in September 2007, the Burmese Army recruited over 80 people into the armed forces. They were from the Shing Bwe Yang Township.

Ring Aung is a staff reporter of Kachin News Group (KNG).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Year After Cyclone Nargis: Aid to Burma Still Crucial

Vanessa Parra
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
219053 logo
Washington, D.C. - One year after Cyclone Nargis struck the Burmese delta on May 2, a sustained effort is still needed to ensure that aid operations continue to assist the Burmese people, Refugees International said today. Nearly 80 humanitarian agencies responded effectively to the disaster by restructuring their programs to meet the most pressing needs and successfully training thousands of new Burmese staff in humanitarian operations. As a result, the United Nations says that one million people received food aid, nearly 200,000 households got agricultural support and half a million children received help in education. "The Burmese regime is one of the most repressive in the world, but the people of Burma shouldn't be punished for the actions of the generals," said Joel Charny, Vice President of Refugees International. "Secretary Clinton indicated several weeks ago that the administration was undergoing a review of U.S. policy towards Burma. Now that it is clearly possible to provide aid inside the country transparently and effectively, any change in U.S. policy should reflect the needs of the Burmese people and show a strong and ongoing commitment to assist them." After Cyclone Nargis struck the delta, the U.S. ended up providing a total of $75 million for aid inside Burma, a tremendous increase over the previous $3 million budget, which was primarily focused on HIV/AIDS programs. Refugees International is calling for a commitment of $30 million in 2010 to help provide food, basic health care and education to people throughout the country. "The delta region is rebuilding, but access to clean water is a challenge and many families are still living in temporary shelters that cannot withstand the effects of another storm," Charny said. "Further, attempts to expand assistance to the rest of the country are struggling. Funding from the international community for the emergency is now drying up, but health, education and agriculture programs should continue in the delta region and throughout the country." In addition to needs in the delta, Northern Rakhine State, home to the Rohingya Muslim minority, continues to be an area of great concern, with deteriorating living standards, forced relocations and extreme repression. An ongoing food crisis in Chin State, a drought running through the center of the country, and increased internal displacement in eastern Burma require greater attention. Burma also has the highest HIV rates in Southeast Asia, and malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises. In February of 2009 the organization traveled to Burma to assess the humanitarian situation inside the country and released a field report in March, "Burma: Capitalizing on the Gains". For more information, go to ### Contact: Vanessa Parra, 202-828-0110 ext. 225;

Jailed Myanmar comedian gets medical checkup

YANGON, Myanmar — A popular comedian jailed by Myanmar’s military government for his political activism was briefly taken to hospital for examination after relatives said he was ill and being denied medical care.

The sister-in-law of Zarganar, who is serving a 35-year sentence in Myitkyina prison in northernmost Kachin State, said Wednesday he was taken to Myitkyina General Hospital late Monday and had a medical checkup lasting about two hours that included an ultrasound, X-ray and EKG. Like many people in Myanmar, Zarganar uses only one name.

“The EKG results showed an enlarged heart, and he needs proper medical care,” said sister-in-law Htway Htway, whose elder sister Ma Nyein spoke with doctors at the hospital in Myitkyina. The elder sister was not allowed to visit Zarganar, who was transported by several police guards.

The checkup came after Htway Htway said Monday that Zarganar had fainted in his cell for two hours on April 16 and had been denied a proper medical exam. Based on the test results, she said Wednesday she suspected he had suffered a heart attack.

Zarganar has high blood pressure and hepatitis.

Zarganar, 48, was arrested in June last year after he gave interviews to foreign news outlets criticizing the junta’s slow response to Cyclone Nargis, which left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing. He was convicted of causing public alarm and illegally giving information to foreign media.

Several activists including Zarganar — whose name means “tweezers” and whose comedy routines are banned for their jokes about the junta — delivered donated relief supplies to the storm-shattered Irrawaddy Delta.

Zarganar was initially sentenced to 59 years in prison in November but his term was reduced to 35 years in February.

Myanmar’s military, which has held power since 1962, tolerates little dissent. It frequently arrests artists and entertainers regarded as opposing the regime. It ramped up its crackdown on the opposition after Buddhist monks led pro-democracy protests in September 2007.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

U.S. Senate Releases Report on Abuses in Malaysia, Raids Continue

Even as the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations publicly released its report documenting the mistreatment of Burmese migrants in Malaysia, the Malaysian authorities continue to conduct raids on refugee neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. CHRO calls for UNHCR to take immediate action to intervene on behalf of detained Chin refugees and asylum seekers.

The Malaysian authorities rounded up and detained some 300 migrants, including small children, during raids in the Imbi neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur late Wednesday night, April 22. Over 100 Chin refugees and asylum seekers are among those arrested, including 14 children and two pregnant women. The authorities have been conducting similar raids throughout the city with increasing frequency during this past month.

In the midst of ongoing raids in Malaysia, half the world away, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations publicly released its report Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand, calling on the Malaysian government to address problems of trafficking and other abuses in Malaysia. The report findings include the involvement of Malaysian officials in the arrest, detention, and extortion of Burmese migrants and refugees; mistreatment of detainees in detention facilities, including whippings and torture; and the transfer of Burmese migrants and refugees to traffickers for payment. Burmese migrants and refugees in the hands of traffickers are subject to further extortion and mistreatment and are at risk of being sold into the fishing or sex industry. The report is based on a one-year investigation by the Senate Committee and includes information provided by NGOs, including CHRO, as well as first-hand testimony from trafficking victims.

“Chin refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia have long been subject to abuse and exploitation by Malaysian officials and their operatives,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of CHRO. “We appreciate this initiative by the U.S. government and hope it will put pressure on the Malaysian government to act responsibly towards migrants and refugees living within its borders.”
The 106 Chin refugees and asylum seekers caught up in the raids earlier this week are currently being held in Bukit Jali police station. According to Kennedy Lal Ram Lian, coordinator of the Chin Refugee Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, “No one has been released- not even UNHCR card holders.” More than 10 Chin detainees are UNHCR-recognized refugees awaiting resettlement to a third country. If they are deported to the border, they are at risk of being sold to traffickers.
According to the report, any person involved in the trafficking of migrants and refugees may be subject to prosecution not only in Malaysia and Thailand but also in the U.S. under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Based on the report findings, the proposed recommendations of the Committee include:
     * Investigation and prosecution of persons involved in the trafficking of Burmese and other refugees;
    * Increased assistance to victims of human trafficking in Malaysia;
    * Increased funding to local community leaders and political activists to combat the trafficking of persons from Malaysia into southern Thailand;
    * Consideration of alternatives to detention for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia;
    * Free and unhindered access for UNHCR officials to all Malaysian facilities where Burmese persons and other asylum seekers are detained;
    * Promotion of refugee protection standards in Malaysia.
The full findings and recommendations of the Senate committee report can be found online at:
The Chin community represents one of the largest refugee communities from Burma living in Malaysia. For more than ten years, the Chin people have fled to Malaysia to escape persecution, torture, and severe oppression in Burma. In Malaysia they are the constant target of harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. They are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations.
Chin Human Rights Organization
2-Montavista Avenue, Nepean, ON K2J 2L3, Canada
Tel: +1.510.223.0983

Migrants sent back to Burma

Mae Sot - Scores of illegal Burmese immigrants were crammed into trucks and expelled from this city in Thailand this morning, just five kilometers from the Burmese border.

The police arbitrarily searched the busy market quarter of the town in the morning demanding to see identification and arresting those without papers.

An itinerant worker, whose mother was sent back to the border and sent home via the Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge, said: “It doesn’t matter, I’ll go meet her at the bridge in the morning and she can come home.”

His boss concurred: “No problem, very easy for her to come back.”

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cyclone Bijli moving toward Burma

Chiang Mai, Apr 17  – Cyclone Bijli, having formed earlier in the week in the Bay of Bengal, is now advancing in the direction of the Burma-Bangladesh border region.

U.S. Navy weathermen predict that the surface wind speed of the storm may reach up to 75 mph on late Saturday when it is predicted to cross upper Rakhine State and lower Chin State in Burma, bringing with it heavy showers and the high probability of flooding.

In Bangladesh, The Red Crescent is employing 43,000 volunteers in relief preparations.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mizoram records low turnout of 47 per cent

Aizawl , April 16 Mizoram recorded a low voter turnout of 47 per cent today for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state, which will decide the fate of four candidates.

"The 47 per cent polling figure is provisional as some polling stations in the remote areas remained incommunicado and the final poll percentage might touch 50,"state Joint Chief Electoral Officer Lalhmingthanga said.

Brisk polling was witnessed in the first hours of polling, but voters thinned out during the hot midday hours and again picked up a bit in in the late afternoon.

The percentage of turnout in the last parliamentary polls in 2004 was 63.38, he said

The fate of C L Ruala of the Congress, H Lallungmuana, an independent candidate sponsored by the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Mizoram People&aposs Conference (MPC) combine, Rualpawla an independent and Lalawmpuia Chhangte of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were sealed in EVMs.

The main contest was between Ruala and Lallungmuana.

The highest ever turnout in Mizoram was 81.26 per cent in the 1989 assembly polls and the lowest was barely above 50 per cent in the 1977 parliamentary polls.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sonia Gandhi questions Advani’s tenure as Home Minister

SHILLONG - Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday criticized senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishan Advani stating that the Kandahar episode and the 2001 Parliament attack had occured when he was the Union Home Minister of the country.

“When Advaniji was the home minister, a terrorist who was captured and kept in jail here was released and escorted as a guest to Afghanistan. The terrorist then went to Pakistan and planned attacks against India, including the attack on our Parliament,” she told an election rally at Shillong on Monday.

“Can you trust such a person (Advani)?” Gandhi asked while describing Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as one who never compromised on the nation’s security.onia Gandhi was referring to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for constantly describing Dr. Singh as a “weak” PM.

“Our Prime Minister, in the face of the Mumbai attacks, did not make a big noise, nor shouted, nor screamed. Through diplomatic pressure, he was able to get Pakistan agree that the terrorists ere citizens of that country. This has never happened before,” Sonia said during an election rally here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The sanctions carousel

By Benedict Rogers   

In February, I wrote an article entitled Burma's policy debate: polarization and paralysis, in an attempt to try to move the debate about solutions for Burma’s crisis beyond the age-old arguments about sanctions versus engagement. Some people, such as Derek Tonkin, failed to seize the olive branch implicit in my arguments, and instead saw it as another opportunity to launch a flawed critique of sanctions. Others, however, responded with more mixed attitudes, and I was pleasantly surprised to read Morten Pedersen's piece in which it seems we are in more agreement than expected.

It was good to read that Morten Pedersen, a previous prominent and vociferous critic of sanctions, actually agrees that “further sanctions, strictly targeted and flexibly applied, may be appropriate”. He also concedes that “sanctions can be useful, to some extent, to keep change on the agenda both inside and outside Burma”. Even if he goes on to contradict himself later in the article, by rehashing the line that “sanctions may feel morally just” but are “neither effective nor even ethical,” that argument is countered powerfully earlier in the article. He accuses me of having “expropriated much of the traditional language of sanctions critics, who for years have been calling for better targeting of sanctions, greater diplomatic engagement and increased aid.” That last bit is certainly news to me – these have been the recommendations of the democracy movement for some years, expressed in the paper Pro-Aid, Pro-Sanctions, Pro-Engagement. I am pleased to know that Pedersen has at least had a change of heart and come on board with these ideas.

Where Pedersen and I certainly have some difference, however, is his suggestion that aid has been “subjugated” to the democracy agenda. I completely agree that aid should not be politicized. But we should ask ourselves the question, who is politicizing aid? Surely, it is the regime. Who imposed restrictions on international aid organizations? The regime. Who refused, then subsequently restricted and diverted, aid in the post-Cyclone Nargis crisis? The regime. Who has blocked aid to the victims of the Chin famine? The regime. Who is blocking aid to the internally displaced peoples in eastern Burma? The regime. If aid has been subjugated to anything, it is to the regime and the international community’s policies of appeasement, not the democracy movement.

Pedersen also critiques “the mere listing of human rights violations.” I agree with him that simply documenting violations is not enough. The problem, however, is that too many commentators, academics, diplomats, NGOs and UN officials fail even to list the human rights violations. There is an extraordinary tendency to ignore, or at best downplay, the scale of the situation. That needs to change. The international community needs to be confronted with the full picture of the regime’s savagery. Then, of course, it needs to act. At the moment, it is neither fully acknowledging the suffering nor taking steps to address it.

After the genocide in Rwanda, Kofi Annan boldly declared “Never Again.” While the term ‘genocide’ may be debatable, what is happening in Burma surely amounts to crimes against humanity. And if we do not say so, and act, it will be “never again,” all over again.

Benedict Rogers is a writer and human rights activist with Christian Solidarity Worldwide. He has made almost thirty visits to Burma and its borderlands, is the author of A Land Without Evil: Stopping the Genocide of Burma’s Karen People (Monarch, 2004), and is currently writing two new books on Burma.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Killing and Maiming
Throughout Burma’s long and protracted civil war children have been and continue to be victims of violent attacks perpetrated by members of the Tatmadaw (military of Burma), they are unlawfully killed during village raids and are casualties of indiscriminate landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). In some cases children were directly targeted, accused of supporting rebel groups. In other cases children were caught in the crossfire during active combat between the Tatmadaw (or allied groups) and opposition forces.

Recruiting or using child soldiers
Children are regularly recruited and used as child soldiers in the Tatmadaw, and to a lesser extent some NSAGs. Although there have been some initiatives to end the use of child soldiers, the SPDC’s efforts lack strong political will and have been largely ineffectual. In fact reports contend that child protection advocates are actually jailed for making complaints about the use of child soldiers. Forced labor, particularly the recruitment and use of child soldiers accounts for over 20% of cases.

Rape or other sexual violence against children
Increased militarization in ethnic minority and rural areas has led to rape and other forms of sexual abuse against children. Documented crimes include: attempted rape, rape, gang rape, and sexual assault. In some cases victims were also killed after suffering grave sexual abuse. In other cases children were forced to witness their mothers and sisters being raped and abused. Although the documented cases focus on incidences involving young girls, sexual violence is a problem that affects boys as well; unfortunately, such incidences are rarely reported and/or documented. Victims are denied their legal right to justice because a culture of impunity continues to be cultivated in Burma. Members of the Tatmadaw and non-state armed groups who perpetrate acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence are rarely prosecuted for these abuses.

Abduction of children
Children continue to be abducted because of the ongoing armed conflict in Burma. They are taken and forced to become child soldiers, porters, hard laborers, and sex slaves, mostly for Tatmadaw soldiers and commanders. They are seized from both markets and transit hubs in urban areas and from community farms and schools in rural areas. Additionally, their parents and/or guardians were deprived of their rights of custody without reason.

Denial of humanitarian access for children
Not only do the SPDC’s laws and policies prevent aid agencies from providing assistance, but military activities and ongoing fighting often delay and/or block medicines and other supplies from reaching intended destinations and beneficiaries. The Secretary General’s November 2007 report concerning children and armed conflict asserts that the SPDC’s armed forces are responsible for denying humanitarian aid agencies’ access to conflict zones. This assertion is consistent with other United Nations’ reports reviewing the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Burma. The SPDC imposes travel restrictions on international organizations’ staff and impedes information gathering and sharing. The regime’s deliberate efforts to veil the conflict from international eyes and is detrimental to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of civilians living in constant peril, particularly children.

Attacks against schools and hospitals

Beyond the immediate damage caused by destruction, such attacks severely stunt a child’s development. Years of lost schooling and vocational skills will take equivalent years to replace and their absence imposes a greater vulnerability on the ability of societies to recover after war”. There are few functioning hospitals and clinics to provide vaccinations making children dangerously susceptible to the diseases plaguing Burma. Pregnant women are often forced to give birth in unsanitary and hazardous conditions without the assistance of a qualified medical professional, putting both their own lives and the lives of their babies at risk. The number of children maimed by explosive ordnances are subject to further suffering when the risks of infection, excessive bleeding, and pain left untreated are exacerbated due to a lack of acceptable healthcare facilities. Children suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, diarrhea and other easily treatable health conditions are faced with the looming prospect of premature and senseless deaths. Several interviewees described how attacks on their villages destroyed schools and interrupted their learning and access to healthcare.

Burmese children living in India with special focus on education:

In Mizoram:
There is no provision for educational facilities for the children in Mizoram. Their expenses are solely taken care by the parents. All parents want to send their children to school but many could not afford to do so. In Government school, parent still find difficulties since they could not afford to buy the uniforms and books though they do not pay the monthly fees and also they require birth certificate for above 5th standard. Many are not in favour of Government School as Mizo language is used the medium of teaching (becomes a barrier for those children born in Burma) and also because of the low standard of education. For private school, such document is not required but due to the heavy expenses involved in private school. Other problems they face is due to living in remote and rural areas and poor educational background of their parents.

Children constitute about 20 % of the UNHCR recognised refugee population. The difficult financial conditions faced by refugees, have led many of the children to drop out of school. UNHCR’s policy on education is to send the refugee children to Government school, however this has proved impossible as the government schools require certain documents which the refugees could not produce moreover their medium of education is Hindi and they have to pass Hindi as a subject. The UNHCR provides UNHCR recognised children with 2500 rupees per annum for primary level to class IV, and 3100 rupees for class VI to X, distributed through New Delhi YMCA - one of UNHCR’s implementing partners. However, this amount is not enough to cover educational expenses like admission and monthly fees, books, uniforms and transportation, as private schools are expensive. It is estimated that a child needs to spend a minimum of 20,000 rupees a year on education (excluding transportation). This is a matter of deep concern as it creates problems at two levels; firstly, the children are deprived of learning, and secondly, the time spent at school is in a small, crowded room which creates a negative learning environment for the children. It has reported that many students were made to leave the classroom or expelled from the school due to non-payment of school fees. With the SA phase off, the turmoil of the students and parents have increased manifold. Very few of the refugees continue their higher education as regular students. Some marginal numbers are enrolled in distance education programme provided by the Open University system under DU, IGNOU etc. This is necessitated by financial constraints and language barrier that the refugees faced that prevent them from pursuing higher education. Those refugees studying in Universities and Colleges have been enrolled as "foreigners" which means that they have to pay higher fees.


Forgotten Future: Children affected by armed conflict in Burma- A HREIB publication
Surviving on the unwelcoming hills- A WRWAB and HREIB publication
ILO Forced Labour Convention report of march 2008
Assessment report on Burmese refugee in Mizoram and Delhi by CHRO (June 2004)
Study on some members( chin) Burmese refugee community of New Delhi: A report by Julie Baujard, an intern at UNHCR (March 2001)
Education: Existing scenario and prospects :A report by Refugee Desk, The Other Media (DRAFT)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chin Human Rights Organisation: Chins In Delhi Need Fair Humanitarian Support

Van Biak Thang
Chinland Guardian
06 April, 2009
The Chin people stranded as refugees in India’s Delhi are in ‘extremely poor’ conditions with very limited access to humanitarian relief and in serious need of effective protection and services, a report released by Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) said today.
The report Waiting on the margins: An assessment of the situation of Chin refugees in Delhi documented the ‘vulnerable’ living conditions of the Chin refugees with limited protections available to them and also highlighted the long awaited-and-delayed process of refugee issues handled by the UNHCR in India.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang, executive director of CHRO, said: “So many Chins in Delhi live in deplorable conditions - without jobs, without basic amenities, and without access to social services. In fact, the Chins are refugees in desperate need of protection, but it takes years to gain protection by the UNHCR. Meanwhile, the Chins are living on the bare margins of society in Delhi.” The report said: “Due to long processing delays at UNHCR, it takes on average more than two years to receive refugee recognition - four times longer than mandated by UNHCR guidelines. As a result, more than half of the Chin population in Delhi have cases pending with UNHCR and are not yet recognized as refugees. Without UNHCR-recognition, Chins are not eligible for essential social services and humanitarian relief provided by UNHCR-partner organizations.”
There are, according to CHRO’s report, currently some 75,000 to 100,000 ethnic Chins from Burma living on the India-Burma border in India’s north-eastern state of Mizoram and an estimated 4,200 living in Delhi, making it the largest asylum-seeking population from Burma in the second-largest metropolis of India.
Sixty-six percent of the Chin population in Delhi are, the report added, unemployed and even those employed earn only Rs. 70 (US$1.35) for 10 to 12 hours per day.
The report, while acknowledging, said of the programmes and services provided and supported by the UNHCR as ‘inadequate and ineffective’ so as to meeting the needs of Chin community. Access to such programmes is still limited to UNHCR-recognised refugees and more than half of the Chin population in Delhi are not even eligible to benefit from the programmes, it added.
CHRO urged the Indian government and the UNHCR to make sure the Chin people get unhindered access to effective protection and services including healthcare, education, accommodation and employment opportunities, and to minimize processing delays and corruption from obtaining protection. It also called for improving the current ‘inadequate’ humanitarian programs for the Chin community.
Since late 2006, the Chin people have been facing SPDC-neglected food crisis caused by a plague of rats that destroy food and crops following a once-in-fifty-year cycle of bamboo flowering phenomenon.
Due to an ongoing severe ethnic and religious persecution, and human rights abuses committed by Burma’s long-standing military regime, hundreds of thousands of Chin people have been forced to leave their homes in Chin State into neighbouring countries and beyond.
Chin Human Rights Organisation has produced a series of documentary reports including Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide against Chin Christians in Burma in 2004, The Chin People of Burma: A Struggle for Survival in 2006, and Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State in 2008.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Britain’s Prince Charles meets Chinese leader over Tibet

Britain's Prince Charles meets Chinese leader over Tibet London - Britain’s Prince Charles on Thursday discussed Tibet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in London, where the Chinese leader had attended the Group of 20

(G20) summit.Details of the talks were not released by the palace but Charles, heir to the British throne, is known to be a long-time supporter of the Dalai Lama - Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Prince Charles had been urged by Tibet campaign group Free Tibet to raise the issue with Hu, including a list of human rights concerns submitted by the group.

Clarence House, the London office of the prince, said it had been a “good meeting” which took place in a London hotel and lasted for almost an hour.

“The prince and the president discussed a full range of issues of mutual concern, including climate change, the reconstruction of areas damaged by last year’s earthquake (in China) and the situation in Tibet,” a spokesman said.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

US wants common Burma strategy with Asia

(DVB-AFP)—The United States wants to forge a common strategy with Asia to coax military-run Burma out of isolation, a senior official said Wednesday, suggesting six-way talks with North Korea could be a model.

President Barack Obama's administration has launched a review of policy on Burma, where a US official last week paid the first visit by a senior envoy in more than seven years.

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg said the United States wanted a "collaborative and constructive" approach on Burma, saying nations with sway over the junta should avoid "recreating a mini version of the Great Game."

"Viewing relations with a notorious authoritarian regime like Burma as a zero-sum game is in no nation's interest," Steinberg told the National Bureau of Asian Research, a think-tank.

"We want to discuss a common approach with ASEAN, with China, with India and with Japan to find a policy that will improve the lives of the people of Burma and promote stability in this key region," he said.

Asian nations including those in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have mostly tried to engage with Burma. China is the key trade and military partner of the junta, which crushed 2007 protests led by Buddhist monks.

The Asian approach contrasts with that of the United States and the European Union, which have slapped sanctions on the regime to pressure it to improve human rights and free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Steinberg said the US "core objectives" would remain the same after the review -- to seek a "more open" Burma that respects the rights of its people and integrates into the global economy.

"We all have a common interest in working together to get a constructive solution that convinces the junta that the path they are pursuing is not in their interest," he said.

He said Burma was an issue on which the United States was open to setting up new "flexible" frameworks similar to the six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program.

"The solution to many global problems will not always be in creating new formal institutions or new bureaucracies," he said.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Young Mizo Celebs

Mizo celebrity photo - best collection by : Here are some of our collection of Mizo female Celebrity pictures from various sources. The photos in the gallery includes Mizo pop singers, Mizo gospel singers, Mizo idol, Mizo youth icon and still images from music videos. Check out Mizo Cebrity gallery below:

Gospel Singer Sarah Lalngaihawmi
Gospel Singer Sarah Lalngaihawmi
Popular Mizo singer Mami Varte
Popular Mizo singer Mami Varte