Today, Physicians for Human Rights published the first population-based survey of human rights abuses in the Chin State in Burma. The report contains interviews from 621 randomly selected households from all nine townships across the Chin State, and includes evidence which falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” This new, quantitative data provides solid proof of what has been the sad, terrifying reality for ethnic minorities in Western Burma, and across the entire country.
The survey indicates that almost 92% of households in the Chin state had suffered “at least one serious case of human rights abuses in the past two years.” The list of violations includes forced labor both as porters for military supplies as well as servant labor, sweeping for landmines, forced construction work, military conscription, rape, torture, beatings, killings, disappearances, and religious or ethnic persecution. In 98% of cases, governmental authorities, typically soldiers, committed the abuses.
More than 100.000 people in the Chin State have been displaced since 1988, either pushed over the border into India, or fleeing into Malaysia to escape persecution. A delegation of Burmese exiles is set to speak to diplomats from the EU and Latin America prior to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, which will examine Burma’s human rights record. The delegation is unable to attend the conference, which will take place on January 27, but is focusing on issues such as child soldiers, forced labor, and torture in Burmese prisons.
The PHR collaborated with the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to include this report as part of an on-going project to document human rights abuses in Burma. The research was made possible through the assistance of Chin community organizations, including the Chin Human Rights Organization.