Chin people

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Chin people(Zomi)
Chin Village.jpg
Chin people in Myanmar, 2007
Regions with significant populations

2+ million Burma, India, Bangladesh 50,000+ in United States, 70,000+ in Malaysia,

15,000+ Australia, Europe, rest of Asia
Languages

Majority:

Zomi
Minority:Asho, K'cho, Kuki, Lushei, Lai, Mro/Khumi, Hmar,
Religion
Majority: Christianity
Minority: Animism and Buddhism

The Chin people (Burmese: ချင်းလူမျိုး; MLCTS: hkyang lu. myui:, pronounced: [tɕɪ́ɴ lù mjó]) are one of the major ethnic nationalities in Burma.[1] The Chin are one of the founding groups (Chin, Kachin, Shan, and Myanmar) of the Union of Burma.[2] The Chin is the primary ethnic group of Chin State, having many related languages, cultures, and traditions.[2] The British Broadcasting Corporation states that "The Chin people, ... are one of the most persecuted minority groups in Burma."[2] The Chin people mostly live in the Chin State and the Sagging division of Myanmar. The Chin people are spread throughout Burma, Bangladesh, and India as refugees. According to the Burma census of 1891 the Chin ethiclogy was dismissed due to the Chin people being a hill tribe. In the 2014 Burmese ethnic census, the Chin ethnicity are dismissed again by the people of Chin State. The major ethnic group of the Chin people is Zomi. Due to military oppression in East Chinland, they took refuge in nearby India, the United States, and other countries.[2][3][4]

Name and etymology[edit]

The ethnonym "Chin" is not used by the Hill tribe themselves in Asia. Instead, they use the Burmese Chin-Kuki-Mizo, with chin meaning "a bucket made from bamboo for carrying material." The Burmese words for "Chin people" and "the bucket made of bamboo" are different. A minor ethics had move the Chin is national for the Chin people. The government didn't govern the ethics' right. The minor group are over implemented instead of the major ethics by the government. The Major ethics group dislike to bow down to the minor group. Therefore, this is why the people of Chin state were very big controversy.

In an local ideal calculation- the Chin meaning is translated only in Burmese language. Some writer wrote "The Chin dynasty about 850AD in China". If it is true, the chin ethicology may be the Bahma. The chin meaning is absence in all Zomi language.

"Mi" meaning "people" and zo meaning "hill". (The compound zomi means those with the same nationality and language. During their rule, the British used the compound term Chin-Kuki-Mizo to group the Kukish-speaking people and one of the Hill peoples together. This grouping was subsequently inherited by the Government of India.[5] However, the Government of Myanmar and international communities recognize the Chin as a national name for the entire Chin population. Meanwhile, the Burma government didn't allowed the Chin National. They said "Chin means the name of hill, not national." The Chin National Day is also allowed after the second ceasefire agreement (2015). The missionaries created the Chin Hill Baptist Convention which consisted of three associations: Falam Baptist Association, Haka Baptist Association, and Tedim Baptist Association. This means the Chin hill have three association. And the colection name are Convention (not association). And in 1952 the Chin hill Baptist Convention are change to Zomi Baptist Convention. In 1995 the Zomi Baptist Convention are break and the Zomi Baptist Convention is change to Chin Baptist Convention. The Chin ethics are absent in the census of 1891 and 2014. If the government like true democratic government the Chin state will enact ethics right and duties. If it is not the internal conflict would escalate. After the hard supporter of the Burma Military rule by the CNF in 2014 ceasefire the Chin are allowed Chin National Day.

It was named the Chin State Day by the military junta. The Chin National Day was first celebrated at Mindat in 1951, in here not the Chin but of the Zomi National Day. Now the name Chin is popularized as a national name, except some people of the Zomi group of the northern townships prefer a separation. Due to the acceptance of the term "Chin" by the Chin nationalists, the term is widely known around the world. Missionaries chose to employ the term Chin to christen those on the Burmese side and the term Kuki on the Indian side of the border.[6][7] Chin nationalist leaders in Burma's Chin State popularized the term "Chin" following Burma's independence from Britain.[8]

History and politics[edit]

The Chin people are believed to have come to Burma via the Chindwin Valley in the late ninth or tenth century A.D.

Most Chin people moved westward, and are thought to have settled in the present Chin State around 1300-1400. The Chin people practice oral traditions, and do not have written historical records.

"The British first conquered Burma in 1824, established rule in 1886, and remained in power until Burma’s independence in 1948. The 1886 'Chin Hills Regulation Act' stated that the British would govern the Chins separately from the rest of Burma, which allowed for traditional Chin chiefs to remain in power while Britain was still allotted power via indirect rule (Human Rights Watch, 2009). Burma’s independence from Britain in 1948 coincided with the Chin people adopting a democratic government rather than continuing its traditional rule of chiefs. The government didn't allow the Chin National Day. Instead of Chin National, Chin State Day is celebrated on February 20, the day that marks the transition from traditional to democratic rule in Chin State (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2007).

The newfound democracy of Chin State ended abruptly in 1962 with the onset of the military rule of General Ne Win in Burma (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2007). Ne Win remained in power until 1988, when nationwide protests against military rule erupted. These uprisings, commonly known as the 8888 because of the date on which they occurred, were met by an outburst of violence from the military government. The violent government response killed approximately 3,000 people in just a matter of weeks and imprisoned many more (Human Rights Watch, 2009). It was during this period of resistance to military rule that the Chin National Front (CNF) and its armed branch, the Chin National Army (CNA), gained momentum (Human Rights Watch, 2009).[9] In 2012, the Chin National Army organized a ceasefire with the Burma military. In 2015, the Chin National Army (CNA) signed a National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).[10] The Chin National Army was rejected by the Zomi National Congress due to the people of Chin State being beating, shot, and killed haphazardly by the CNA. These acts contributed to the Chin people's increased fear of the Chin National Army(CNA) rather than the Burma military.[11]

Tribes[edit]

Elderly Chin woman in the Lemro River valley, note the facial tattoos

According to the 2014 Burma ethnic census, the major group of Chin people are Zomi; however, there are six other groups and several tribes and clans among the Chin people. The seven major groups are: Asho, K'cho, Kuki, Lai, Lushai, and Mro/Khumi. Each group has hundreds of clans and families names. Although the word "Chin" is absent among the Chin people's language, it is found to be used by these people since the 8th century, therefore, the majority of the Chin people accepted the Hill people or Zomi.[12]

Zomi traditions[edit]

  • 'Khuado Pawi'[13]
  • 'Sialsawm Pawi'
  • ' Zomi National Day':
    Zomi National Day in 1982 at Mandalay

The Zomi National Day is celebrated in 20 february in every year. The first Zomi National Day was celebrated on February120,951 (Tuesday) at Mindat.

  • 'The Zomi traditional Dresses':
    Zomi dress of upper for male and lower for female dress

This is the Zomi traditional dresses. The male dress are Puan Laisan and the female dress are Puandum

Language[edit]

The Chin language has approximately 40 to 45 dialects. There are also many different accents among the same dialects. Many Chin people also speak Burmese, since it is the primary official language in Myanmar.

Attempts to unify[edit]

The realization that these are of one and share common dialectical roots and customs even though they are separated by international and state boundaries brought about movements for unification of the occupied territories and of the people. One of the first movements was the MNF (Mizo National Movement) which ended with the formation of the Mizoram State in India.

Religions and practices[edit]

Traditionally, the Chin peoples were animists. However, in the late 1800s, the first Christian missionaries arrived in Chin State, and began the process of converting them to Christianity.[9] Due to the work of the Baptist Arthur E. Carson, their efforts were successful, and today the majority of people are Christians, with most belonging to Protestant denominations, especially Baptist.[14] Many Chin peoples have served as evangelists and pastors, ministering in places like the United States, Australia, Guam and India.

The Chin people's adoption of Christianity was not followed in the rest of Burma, and since independence the military government has persecuted the Chin people on religious grounds. [15]

Global Chin community[edit]

Because of the current situation in Burma, thousands of Chins are scattered in Europe, United States and Southeast Asia. American Baptist, British Anglican and Swedish Lutheran church groups helped relocate thousands of Chin people.

Global Chin News, World News in Chin, World and Chin-Burmese News in Chin, Chin Cable Network, Chin News Channel, Chinland Today and Chin Articles and News, are some well known Chin media websites that broadcast daily news in Chin languages.

Chin refugees[edit]

"It is estimated that at least 60,000 Chin people refugees are living in India, while more than 20,000 Chin people refugees are living in Malaysia. Several thousands more are scattered in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand."[16]

The majority of Chin people refugees entering the United States are Christians who are either young, single males or young couples (20–40 years old), some with children. Most are uneducated and come from villages. Many are pushed to leave by their parents for fear that they will be forced by the Burmese government to take part in dangerous or difficult jobs that range from road paving to human mine sweeping – it has been documented that civilians forced to porter in Burma’s conflict areas are sometimes sent before the troops so that they will detonate mines (Online Burma/Myanmar Library, 2010).[citation needed] The government is known to treat ethnic groups and non-Buddhists more harshly than the predominant Burmese ethnic group (68%) and Buddhists (89%) (CIA World Factbook, 2009).[citation needed] "The Chin people are a double minority" explained one refugee interviewed for this profile. Because of this discrimination, some Chin people refugees may not want to be called Burmese.

The Chin people who flee from Burma usually enter the United States directly from Thailand, Malaysia, and India. For most leaving Burma, the trip is illegal, dangerous, and expensive. There are brokers involved who charge approximately $1,000 per person to transport refugees across the border. If those fleeing are caught by either the Burmese government or the government of the country they are trying to enter, they face imprisonment that may include harsh treatment such as being beaten. Those in refugee camps (located mainly in Thailand) are told that it is easier to gain entry into the United States if they have children; thus, many young, new parents (sometimes still in their teen years) enter the United States and need jobs immediately in order to support their young families.[9][17]

Human rights violations against Chin peoples[edit]

The Chin people in Myanmar are one of the minority ethnic groups that have suffered widespread and on-going ethnic and religious persecution ever since General Ne Win overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962.[18] The predominant religion in Myanmar is Buddhism, however, the Chin people are largely Christian due to American missionary work in the 19th and 20th century. This has led to continuous attempts at forced assimilation.[19] There have been recorded numerous crimes against humanity in Myanmar's western Chin state, committed mainly by the Tatmadaw (members of the Burmese Army) and police; however, other agents of the military government and the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) are also involved.[20] Despite continued persecution, little has been done on the part of the Chin people to speak out due to fear of reprisal and restrictions on travel and the press imposed by the Burmese military regime.[21] In their oppression of the Chin people, the Tatmadaw consistently violate the rule of law.[22] The Chin people have been subject to forced labour, torture, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, inciting a mass exodus of refugees, who leave to neighbouring states such as India, Thailand, and Malaysia, even though doing so will risk further torture, detention or even death.[23] India is the most common choice for Chin refugees, given its proximity, yet Mizoram (the state in India with the largest Chin population) does not give them full refugee protection and they have no legal status there.[24]

Extrajudicial killings[edit]

The right to life is a non-derogable (not revocable under any circumstances), as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The articles in the ICCPR are binding on member states that have ratified the ICCPR, however, Myanmar is one of few states that have neither signed nor ratified it. Article 3 of the UDHR states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of a person[25] and article 6 of the ICCPR states that every human being has the inherent right to life and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.[26] Myanmar has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and article 6 states that parties to the Convention must recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.[27] Despite these international instruments prohibiting extrajudicial killings, they still occur to the Chins in Myanmar.

Extrajudicial killings are committed by the SPDC and the Tatmadaw in Chin state and the killers are never brought to justice.[28] Human Rights Watch (HRW) has conducted several interviews with Chins who have fled Myanmar to produce a full report outlining the types of persecution that they face.[29] In an interview with HRW, a Chin pastor described an incident that he witnessed in 2006 in Falam township and stated that the SPDC was searching for members of the opposing Chin National Army (CNA) throughout the entire township but when no information was given, they beat the village council headman and ultimately shot him dead.[30] The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) documented that between 2005 and 2007, sixteen extrajudicial killings occurred with four of them being children.[31] Also between 2006 and 2010, seven Chin men were killed because they were suspected of supporting the CNA and four Chin women were raped before being murdered.[32]

Arbitrary arrests, detention and attacks[edit]

Under section 61 of the Myanmar Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, a person who is arrested without a warrant must not be detained for more than twenty-four hours.[33] Section 340 states a person who has proceedings against him or her has the right to legal representation.[34] Also, article 9 of the UDHR states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.[35] Despite the presence of legal structures and international law, the rule of law is not followed in Myanmar and arbitrary arrests, detention and attacks are still carried out by the Tatmadaw and SPDC.

A number of Chins who were interviewed by the HRW describe the abuses in detail. One Chin man recalls back to the year 2000 when he was 16 years old. He was approached by the Burmese police and Tatmadaw who were accusing him of being connected to the CNA even though he told them he was not and had never even contacted anyone from the CNA or other opposition group before. The police and Tatmadaw refused to believe him and beat him with the end of their guns until the man's head was split open. They also used electricity from a battery to torture him and would only stop if the man would tell them information about the CNA.[36] For the Chins that are unlucky, they will be confined and locked up in detention facilities. These facilities are inadequate and unsuitable for anyone to be detained in. When interviewed by the HRW, former innocent prisoners gave detailed descriptions of the harsh conditions inside detention facilities and stated that they were infested with insects, overcrowded and unsanitary.[37] Furthermore, prisoners are only given gruel to eat and no water to drink, which gave some prisoners no choice but to drink the dirty toilet water.[38]

Forced labour[edit]

Myanmar has been a part of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) since 1948 and in 1955, it ratified the 1930 Forced Labour Convention (No.29).[39] Article 1 of the Convention states that each member of the ILO which ratifies this Convention undertakes to suppress the use of forced labour in all its forms within the shortest possible period.[40] As a member state of the ILO, Myanmar has an obligation to honour the provisions contained under the eight core Conventions outlined in the ILO, which includes prohibition of forced labour.[41] The Convention on the Rights of the Child also protects children from economic exploitation or any labour that is likely to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development or likely to interfere with the child's education.[42] The Myanmar government properly responded to its obligations, and in 1999, it issued Legislative Order No. 1/99 which states that whoever unlawfully compels any person to labour against the will of that person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of one year, or with a fine, or both.[43] In 2007, the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), which records and reports violations of forced labour in Myanmar collected approximately 3500 cases of forced labour mainly involving the Chins in Chin state.[44] Despite the legal structures set in statute, the military government fails to enforce the law and continuously turns a blind eye to forced labour that the Chins still presently endure. In June 2006, the SPDC Minister of Information stated that the Tatmadaw were doing everything legally and that forced labour was never used.[45]

Forty-four Chin interviewed by the HRW gave statements that they experienced forced labour themselves and another fifty-two reported they were forced to porter for the Tatmadaw.[46] One of them remembered that the Tatmadaw would call him to work for months; building houses for the SPDC or erecting fences for the army camp. Nothing was provided for him and he had to bring his own tools and equipment. There was no payment and if he did not show up to work, the Tatmadaw would beat him.[47] Forced labour disrupts the livelihood of the workers and prevents them from doing their regular jobs to support their families. Another Chin woman told the HRW of times where she was forced to porter more than ten times for the Tatmadaw. She would do it for days on end and would have to carry thirty kilogram bags for up to twenty miles at a time. If she did not keep up the pace with the Tatmadaw, they would beat her and the other porters too. One time, she even refused orders, but the Tatmadaw replied by saying "you are living under our authority. You have no choice. You must do what we say" and beat her again.[48]

Mizoram response to Chins seeking refuge[edit]

Chins have restricted freedom of movement and their travel is limited by the SPDC which makes it difficult for them to escape persecution in Myanmar.[49] They are left with no choice but to leave without travel documents to nearby states. Chins mainly travel to the Indian state of Mizoram and seek protection there. As of 2011, it is estimated that 100,000 Chins are living there.[50] Initially, Mizoram welcomed the Chins, however as the persecution worsened in Myanmar, the Mizoram population became less generous in terms of the protection it gave and its attitude towards Chins.

Though some Chins have fled persecution in Myanmar, they face a new problem when arriving in Mizoram. This is because they cannot establish new lives since they do not have legal immigration status and are subsequently treated as illegal aliens. As such, the Chins that arrive at Mizoram are placed in a situation that is known as a "protracted, urban refugee situation" which is defined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a situation where refugees find themselves in a long-standing and intractable state of limbo. Their lives may not be at risk but their basic rights and essential economic, social and psychological needs remain unfulfilled after years of exile.[51] They face challenges related to livelihood, food, shelter and healthcare. For some, it may even be harder to survive compared to before they fled Myanmar. Local integration is extremely challenging for Chins since they do not speak Mizo ṭawng and are not used to the culture and practices of Mizoram. This is why they live and do informal work on the outer margins of the community.[52] As a result of not having any legal immigration status, many Chins have reported being arrested, detained and fined for being foreigners. Some Chins are victims of labour exploitation and crime but are too afraid to report it to the police for fear of deportation if they uncover their legal status.[53] The chins do not have any social status and feel powerless to do anything about it.

The Young Mizo Association (YMA) is a voluntary association in Mizoram whose mandate is to provide community service, which includes "conservation of Mizo culture and heritage".[54] In the past, it has issued orders forcing Chins to leave Mizoram because they do not want "foreigners" in their country. This breaches the international principle of non-refoulement because if Chins were to be sent back to Myanmar, persecution and suffering would be inevitable for them. One interviewee who spoke to the HRW recalled that members of the YMA carried sticks and went to each of the Chins' houses to ensure that they left Mizoram. The police also arrested Chins who did not leave and confined them in jail.[55]

Universal periodic review of Myanmar[edit]

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Myanmar had a section for the protection and promotion of human rights in Myanmar.[56] It summarised that Myanmar provided legal provisions under section 348 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, concerning the guarantee of non-discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion, poverty, birth or other status. It states that capital punishment is prescribed under the law to be imposed only for the most serious of crimes and to only be carried out pursuant to the final judgment of a competent court. Further, the UPR states that the Penal Code of Myanmar prohibits torture, degrading treatment and arbitrary arrest and that arrest of anyone must be done in accordance with procedure established under law. Additionally, it states that Myanmar provided the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. The summary seems to be contradictory to the real-life experiences of the Chin.

States such as the United States of America, Jordan, New Zealand, Poland and others made recommendations to Myanmar of its human rights violations.[57] There were recommendations for Myanmar to improve human rights, address humanitarian needs of its people and engage constructively with its international human rights obligations. Poland in particular, expressed regret that despite constitutional provisions, the Government continued to control and restrict activity of minorities. United States of America condemned its systematic human rights violations and noted that Government critics were at risk of harassment, arbitrary arrest, torture and ill-treatment and even extrajudicial killings. It expressed concern over the situation of ethnic minorities.

Notable Chin people[edit]

Raja Gokhothang and his son, the crowned prince, Sum Kam.jpeg
  • Go Khaw Thang. A powerful Guite prince from Mualpi, also known as Goukhothang, Go Khua Thang, or Kokutung (the latter being the name used by the historians Carey and Tuck). He is the only Zomi prince whom the neighbouring Meitei (Manipur) Kingdom ever acknowledged as Raja (or Ningthou in Metei language). His powerful dominion included over 70 cities, towns, and villages.[58] He became known as the leader of all Zo people.[59]
  • Pau Cin Hau was a prophet that lived around 1859. He created a script for the Zo people named Zo tuallai. He also founded a religion named Laipan. The religion was very popular among the Zo people before the arrival of American missionaries.
  • Living around 1867, Khai Kam Suantak was a famous chin leader. He ruled over the largest country in the chin hills. A college in Kalemyo was named Khai Kam College in his honor, although it had since been renamed Kale College.
  • Zoramthanga, was a Burmese Indian boxer who won a bronze medal at the 1990 Bombay Boxing World Cup
  • Henry Van Thio, politician and vice-president of Burma.
  • Pu Chin Sian Thang is a major pro-democracy figure in Burma. He is currently serving as the president of Zomi Congress for Democracy. He was also elected the parliamentary member for Pyituh Hluttdaw on the ZNC ticket in 1990. He won in Pyituh Hluttdaw again in 2015.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8626008.stm
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  4. ^ http://www.0nulled.com › doc › pdf › download
  5. ^ Violence and identity in North-east India: Naga-Kuki conflict, page 201, S.R. Tohring, 2010 "... for these tribes including • the Kuki/ speaking tribe such as: 'Chin', 'Mizo', 'Chin-Kuki-Mizo', 'CHIKIM', 'Zomi', 'Zo'. ... During the British era, the British rulers used the term 'Chin-Kuki-Mizo' and the Government of India seemed to follow ..."
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  26. ^ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 6.
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  39. ^ Alphabetical list of ILO member countries, retrieved at 14/05/16.
  40. ^ Forced Labour Convention (No.29).
  41. ^ List of ILO Core Conventions, retrieved at 13/05/16.
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  48. ^ Human Rights Watch interview with C.B.T., New Delhi, India, January 31, 2005.
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  50. ^ Seeking Refuge, page 15.
  51. ^ Protracted Refugee Situations.
  52. ^ Seeking Refuge, page 81.
  53. ^ Seeking Refuge, page 82.
  54. ^ Information about The Young Mizo Association.
  55. ^ Human Rights Watch interview with S.A., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.
  56. ^ [2] Universal Periodic Review National Report.
  57. ^ [3] Universal Periodic Report Recommendations.
  58. ^ Gougin, History of Zomi, 67ff
  59. '^ Bertram S. Carey and Henry N. Tuck, Chin Hills, Vol 1 (1896), page 141.

External links[edit]