Burma regime faces calls to release Chin political prisoners

By staff writers
November 10, 2011

Human rights campaigners have called for the immediate release of ethnic Chin political prisoners held by the military regime in Burma (Mynamar).

They have urged President Thein Sein's government to free a range of people imprisoned for their political activity, including Kam Lam Khup, Kam Khan Khual, Go Pian Sing, Khun Tun Oo, Saing Ngunt Lwin, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Kyi, U Nyi Puh, and Tin Min Thut.

Seven Chin are believed to have been among the 6,359 political prisoners released on 12 October 2011 as part of an amnesty programme instituted by the Myanmar government - following lobbying from international human rights groups, including Amnesty International Australia and Human Rights Watch.

Burmese refugees have been continuing to flee to neighbouring countries such as India, Thailand and Malaysia.

Last year, Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia's National Refugee Coordinator, was able to visit the Indian state of Mizoram to talk to Burmese Chin refugees.

The visit was organised by the Centre for Refugee Research at the University of New South Wales as part of a cultural exchange focusing on human rights issues, including gender persecution.

"We heard appalling accounts of the systematic rape by the Burmese military of Chin women and the family’s powerlessness to stop these attacks," he said.

Most Chin refugees enter India across the land border with Mizoram State, and this is where the majority of the refugee population has settled. Mizoram is one of the most urbanised states in India, and refugees generally gravitate towards cities and towns despite coming from largely agricultural backgrounds, reports Refugees International.

* A photo exhibition, 'Searching for Home: Transforming Lives Among the Burmese Chin in Delhi', is showing in Edinburgh through to the end of this month, featuring the work of award-winning photographer Bharat Choudhary. Its official launch is taking place from 5-8pm on Saturday 12 November 2011 at Cafe Camino, located at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in the Scottish capital (1 Little King Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3JD). More here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15695

* Burma Assist (Scottish humanitarian group): http://assistingburma.blogspot.com/


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