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(4th Modification: July 24, 2015)

Thang Za Dal
About this paper and the current Update: It was initially disseminated on April 10, 2010 to some private persons. And
then on May 1, it was officially sent out to a number of political and civic organizations, news agencies and private
persons - and also uploaded on http://www.scribd.com/doc/30773435/. It was then modified for the first time (1st modification) and distibuted anew on November 5, 2010 which remained until it was replaced with the 2nd modification on May
28, 2013. Then it was once again replaced with the 3rd modification in October, 2013. The present version is the 4th
Although I could have changed a number of facts in this latest Update in light of the several major changes in the country
itself and worldwide as well that have had taken place during the past five years since the first version was released, I have
made only a very few changes and additions to it. The few major changes this time are the addition of a number of
information materials and a few Maps. The original main text, however, remains almost unchanged. For more detailed and
up-to-date information on my concepts for the country, the reader of this paper is suggested to read my 267-page paper:
Grand Strategy for Burma/ Myanmar VII*, which was last modified for the third time in July 2015. Below is the Link.

Burma/Myanmar is going to witness a major change in this year (2010), if the present governments
current plans for a general election could be implemented in time without any unforeseeable major
disturbances prematurely. (Since the overall situation in the country is very explosive and a great portion
of the population is starving, something could happen at any moment unpredictably.)
Im writing therefore this brief paper only with the intention of giving the would-be elected politicians
and the ordinary man on the street some strategic concepts that could be helpful in (re) building the
country from scratches in the near future.
Although Im not an expert in any of the subjects Im going to deal with below, I have been extensively
studying them in general from verious materials during the last 30 years of my sojourn in Germany. So
instead of going into detail, I shall deal only with the most strategic fundamental factors. And I shall
therefore refrain myself from making any comments on controversial issues.
Whatever political and economic systems - be they military rule, or parliamentary democracy, or
federalism or unitary form of state, or socialism or capitalism - are practised, I personally believe that the
country cannot be stabilized for long and economically uplifted effectively until or unless these strategic
fundamental factors in question are taken into consideration and implemented.

Since, as already mentioned above, Im not an expert in any of the fields I'm dealing with here and
this paper itself is written only for those who would soon enter politics and also for the ordinary man on
the street, my way of presenting these concepts may be very rudimentary. Besides, as Im using only a
couple of sentences to explain many of my concepts, the reader may probably have difficulty in figuring
out what I really have in mind.

Armed Forces

There are no external enemies that could threaten us. Theoretically, the only countries that
would be capable of physically threatening us are China and India because of their economic
and military power. But in reality there is no reason at all why they should invade us physically,
since they can easily and more effectively exploit us economically. Or in other words,
economically we are already at their mercy since a long time ago. So they have nothing to gain
by physically invading us. And if in case they would invade us physically, theres no
chance for us to repel them anyway.
The simple question therefore now is: Why should we waste our meager national treasures
for the maintenance of armed forces at very high cost? The alleged main reason for maintaining
large armed forces is for the suppression of various internal armed organizations, especially
that of the national races (national races is one of the official terms used by successive
governments to denote non-Burman native peoples) that have been fighting against the central
government. But if I understand the whole situation correctly, these armed national races are
actually demanding only their birthrights from the government, namely:
To let them preserve and promote their own languages and cultures within their own state
boundaries. (In Chin State, for example, the Chins are allowed to learn their own dialects
only up to the second class; and all official signboards and traffic signs inside the State must
be written only in Burmese - just to name two instances!);
To let them promote and uplift their economy freely as they wish by exploiting the natural
resources in their own states;
To let them govern themselves within the framework of a federated union in co-operation
with the Central Government. Nothing more than that!
So if they get these rights I dont see why they should go on opposing the central government
with arms. That in turn would mean that the quantity of government armed personnel could be
drastically reduced and the funds that are normally used for the maintenance of these armed
forces could be diverted instead for the reconstruction of the the whole country.
We should look at India as an example! India is made up of several separate races with
their own languages and cultures - and every race has the right to promote and use its own

language and culture within its own territory! Yet, India is relatively peaceful and getting
prosperous at a steady pace.

For the reasons mentioned above I personally believe that the country needs not more than
50 000 to 60 000 - or 100 000 at the most - of well-paid armed combat soldiers. But they and
their families must be well-fed, well-housed and well-taken care of. With regard to military
hardwares, I think the ones that have already been acquired during the past several years
should be more than enough.

Air Force
Since we dont have external enemies, we do not really need a strong air force. The present
strength (hardwares like air craft, and armed personnel) should already be quite enough.

As mentioned above, since we dont have external threats in our waters, what we could
and should do is enlarging and modernizing our navy to protect our economic zones in
our waters.

The countrys Police is more than enough. They only need to be well-trained, well-fed,
well-paid and well-equipped. And their families also need to be well-housed and well-taken
care of. The main reason of maintaining a large police throughout the country is said to be the
high criminal rates. But I believe that the high crime rates could drastically be reduced to a
certain extent if economic hardship could be partly solved throughout the country. So far
as I know a great deal of crimes in Burma have their root in extreme poverty.


Political Systems (parliamentary democracy, military dictatorship, federalism, etc)

On these issues I shall make no comments.


Foreign Policy

Since we are very weak in every field, its simply too childish to believe that we could play our
neighbours off one against the other. Our safest guarantee for survival in this explosive region is
to strictly remain neutral. We should not forget the fact that our two largest neighbours - China
and India - are not only regional powers, but global players. (In the case of China, it has even
become an economic superpower.) So, our long-term well-being would depend on how fairly

we maintain our relations with them both.


The Rights of National Races

I have already briefly expressed my opinions on these issues above.


The Issue of the two alien ethnic Groups: Chinese and Indians*
While the successive Burmese governments have been during the past 70 years mercilessly
oppressing, exploiting, torturing and murdering what they themselves are calling the host
peoples - that is, the ethnic Burmans and other non-Burman native ethnic peoples or those
who were formerly officially called by the governments and Burmese news media as indigenous
national races before this term was raplaced with ethnic minorities or minority ethnic
groups - the elites of these urban-dwelling alien ethnic groups have fully been enjoying the
sweet fruits of the country (see the few herewith attached additional information materials on the
Chins as a case study for the fate of all these indigenous races). Although the Chins, for example,
had played some of the most crucial roles during Burmas darkest hours for the maintenance of its
sovereignty, the successive central governments have totally negected them until now. There are,
for instance, just a combined length of some 1,200 km motor car roads for a very mountainous
territory of over 36,000 sq. km - that is, just about 4,000 sq. km smaller than Switzerland - and
most of these roads are only dry-season-only and jeepable. (Since one or two years ago, some
existing roads are being lenghtened and widened by a few Burmese construction companies with
Japanese financial aid, but they brought construction workers along with them from Burma and
do not employ the local people.) Mainly due to such neglect a great number of the Chins cannot
even afford cheap rubber sandals until today. And they have been fleeing the country in the tens
of thousands since 20 years ago to second and and third countries. (It is roughly estimated that
about 160 000 Chins are living abroad at present as refugees.)**
In absolute contrast to the hardship that the Chins are facing, for example, a large portion of
these alien ethnic groups are enjoying the fruits of the country for decades or even generations.
As it can be seen in the Appendix, a large number of them are even recent arrivals who entered
the country illegally or through bribery. However, as it may no more be possible to totally ignore
many of those alien nationals forever, a solution must be found as fast as possible. What can be
and should be done with them is: First of all, there must be complete peace in the country and


For more information on Burmese Indians and Burmese Chinese, see the Appendix and visit the two Links below:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_Indians & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_Chinese
Ive been writing a research paper on the Chins, which I keep on updating, The present Update on the webside
( http://www.scribd.com/doc/18092021/) contains 593 pages and is titled: The Chin/Zo People of Bangladesh,
Burma and India: An Introduction (XVI).

those who meet the criteria, which must be formulated by a would-be formed up special
commission, be made full citizens as soon as possible. (The would-be formulated criteria should
be a compromise between the internationally accepted or practised criteria and the locally
acceptable criteria.) And then the newly created citizens shall also have to equally bear the
burden of the country - and not just reaping the sweet fruits of the land without ever shedding
even a single drop of blood, sweat and tear.

Industrialization and its implementation should not be entrusted with just a handful of people
or ministries. A special commission composed composed of neutral experts (both native and
foreign) must be set up for the planning and implementation of the industrialization processes.
First of all the industrialization strategy, for example, should be the production of domestic
basic needs in order to reduce our total dependence on both legally imported and smuggled
goods from outside.


An independent commission comprised of economic experts (both native and foreign) must be
set up to lay down short- medium- and long-term economic strategies, policies and plannings.
And such a commission should be assigned to supervise the implementation of these policies
and their plannings with as minimum political influence as possible.


An independent commission comprised of financial experts (both native and foreign) must be
set up to lay down strategies and also to draw up short-, and long-term financial policies. The
whole existing financial systems may need to be completely overhauled and modernized. A
very important thing one must be aware of here with regard to finance, for example, is that in
several countries, especially developing ones, political parties tend to make all kinds of
financial promises to the voters although the state treasury is completely empty and the
land has billions of foreign debt just in order to get votes so that they can stay in power.


An independent commission comprised of neutral experts (both native and foreign) will also
be needed to draw guidelines for more effective and more efficient policies and plannings and
the restructurisation of the countrys existing laws that regulate trade and commerce so that
the country could survive the rapidly expanding globalization.


For being an agricultural society, its our bloodline. Therefore, this sector must be listed among
the highest priorities. It is most important that an independent commission be set up with
neutral experts (both native and foreign) for the drawing up of its short, - medium, - and long-term
strategy, policies and plannings of this sector.


No country today can be modernized without sufficient electrification. And Burma/Myanmar
has a very great potential for the extraction of electricity from natural resources such as wind,
solar, coal, hydro, and natural gas, etc. An independent commission comprised of neutral
experts (both native and foreign), therefore, must be set up to lay down plans for the realization of this sector to the fullest extent in the shortest possible future. In short: It must be so
planned that even the remotest village or community gets electricity in one way or another.
Nowadays, the technology for extracting electricity from the sun is already very advanced
and the cost for manufacturing solar panels have drastically been going down that even every
household in the country could theoretically be easily electrified within ten years at a total
cost of about $ 150 - 200 million. My calculations are made on the following simple bases so
that even a semi-literate layman will also understand it (in Burmese: lubeing na-le): There are
about 65 000 villages in the country, or a total of 3 200 000 households (an estimated average of
50 households per village); and solar panels, which have an average lifespan of 25 years, that can
supply electricity for simple lighting for a small family cost at present time an average of $ 5075. The cost of manufacturing solar panels could be further reduced if these were manufactured
locally as joint-ventures with some foreign solar companies.


Its a known fact that for the uplifting of the living standard of a village, a community, a town,
a city, or a country as a whole cannot be materialized without good infrastructures. This sector,
therefore, also must be listed among the highest priorities. If it would be too costly to build
super-highways, for instance, at least the existing railways, shipping lines and airways can be
improved, modernized and expanded as fast as possible. Efforts must be made that even the
remotest villages and communities are connected with at least paved jeepable or bullock-cart
roads. With a very rough estimate of about $ 250-500 million the whole country could have
some basically functional infrastructures - provided that all the funds be honestly used.


An educational policy that could be most suitable for the country as a whole must be drawned

up by an independent commission comprised purely of neutral experts (both native and foreign).
It must be so planned, for instance, that everybody can afford at least basic education, and
higher learnings also must be accessible to talented children of even the poorest families. Just
one example here to show how important this sector is: There must at least be one or two
universities that specialize in producing well-qualified business managers for the country, for
without such qualified people in sufficient numbers, the country cannot be effectively developed.
Well-qualified business managers on the international market are extremely expensive.

As the health of a nation is so crucially important an independent commission comprised of
neutral experts (both native and foreign) must be set up to draw practical and efficient health
policies and programme so that even the poorest citizen can afford the basic needs for his
health - or in other words, the state takes responsibility for his basic needs for health.


The telecommunications are the bloodlines of a modern nation. So, it must be given as one of the
highest priorities. Efforts must be made that even the remotest village has some telephones and
television sets and radios.
This technology is already very advanced now that, as everybody can see for himself now
everywhere, telephones do not need cables anymore. Nowadays, people can communicate each
other with mobile phones if the necessary technical facilities are there. That means theres the
possibility that even those in the remotest corners of the country would be able to communicate
each other - and receive television broadcasts as well - thanks to modern facilities with a rough
estimated investment of $ 50 - 100 million. The following information is the latest one to give
the reader a rough idea about how expensive and difficult it is to acquire a mobile phone in Burma.
Mobile phone chips were distributed very recently in a township in the Sagaing Division on
lottery basis. Out of about 20 000 applicants, only a few thousands got them at the price of
K. 530 000 (equivalent roughly to USD 550 at the black market exchange rate of 1 $ to K. 950)
each. And the cheapest mobile phone costs about $ 30 at black market exchange rate.


Television and Radio Programme

An independent commission comprised of neutral experts (both native and foreign) must be set to
lay down basic guidelines for these programme. The main roles of television and radio programme
must be the educating of the general masses in various fields that are indispensible for their
survival and advancement. In many developing countries, there are no such programme at all.
What they are getting daily are only some censored news, cheap entertainment programme and

advertisements of commercial products. As a result the levels of knowledge and education of

the general masses remain very low and the majority of them simply become mere consumers
of products either legally imported or smuggled into the country.

Information Centres
Throughout the country Information Centres should be built and set up for the dissemination
of information and general knowledge on various topics among the general masses - in addition
to the television and radio programme. When and if financial resources allow at least every
circle, or town, if not every single village, should have such a centre. It would be a centre for
meeting, exchanging ideas, knowledge, education, culture, etc., among the local residents. Each
centre should be run and managed by specially trained personnel with modern facilities such
as video players, video cameras, television sets, books, news papers, journals and so on.


Social Welfare
Every citizen must enjoy a guaranteed minimum existence so that he can lead a respectable
life, that is, at least he must not be homeless; he must have enough clothes to cover his body;
he must not be starving, etc.


Vocational Trainings
An independent commission must be set up with neutral experts (both native and foreign) for
the setting up of vocational training centres that will train enough people with skills needed
for the country. This commission must be entrusted with the overall planning for the realisation of this sector. A number of developing countries have such programme, but they are
so poorly planned, run and managed that they exist only in name. And in some countries,
although some skilled people are produced no financial arrangements are made for them that
their skills remain either unused or they have to work for their employers under extremely
unfair conditions. Sufficient starting capital therefore must be provided for them; it is just to
name one example how this sector should better be planned, implemented, managed, and used.


Human Resources
There are uncountable untapped human resources abroad among Burmese communities, so
plans must be made that these resources be used for the rebuilding of the country. With
untapped resources I mean people with talents, skills, knowledge, experience, financial resources,
and know-hows that the country needs. The best examples are China and India: Both of them
are tremendously profiting from Overseas Chinese and Overseas Indians.



Due in great part to the recent global economic and financial crises - and political instability in
many strategic corners of the world as well - international aid and soft-loans are getting scarce
now. There is of course the possibility to borrow money on the international financial markets,
but if a countrys credit-ratings which are made by a few powerful agencies are poor, one has to
borrow at very high interest rates. In order to understand how international financial markets
really function, one should at least read a book called The Money Lenders by Anthony Sampson.
Although it was already published in 1981, the methods that he mentioned in it are still fully
relavent for todays situation. And the prices of non-strategic raw materials are very unstable.
Therefore, the only few resources that we could rely upon for the reconstruction of our country
would be investment from outside and the sales of our natural resources. So it would be so
vitally important that the meager revenues that we will gain from such resources are wellmanaged and wisely spent. These funds must not therefore be put in the hands of just one or two
ministries and a handful of bureaucrats. (Some international financial institutions such as the
World Bank of course claims to have been providing low-interest loans, interest-free credits and
grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education,
health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture
and environmental and natural resource management. (Italics is from its own website. tzd).
But since several non-governmental organizations and neutral experts worldwide are very
critical about its policies and management, I personally do not have any knowledge or idea at
all how much we could depend upon it in our case. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Bank.

Every village, circle, town, district, division, and state must enjoy a certain amount of autonomy in running its own economy without direct intervention from above on daily basis. Such
arrangements would remarkably reduce bureaucracy/red-tape and corruption to a certain extent.

Before strategies, policies, programme and plannings in every major sector mentioned above are
made, researches and studies must be made as thoroughly and widely as possible first, otherwise
it would be too costly for the country in the long-run. And such scientific, systematic, and
thorough researches and studies can best be made only by truly qualified people without the
influence of or pressure of some incompetent politicians.
The reason why I think its necessary to assign a mixture of native and foreign experts for
the tasks mentioned above is that experiences elsewhere have shown that native experts tend
to be too emotional to see reality and alien experts tend to be too detached to the local situation.
So only through the combination of them - or the compromise between them - could in most
cases produce positive results.

Now, one may certainly wonder what roles the political parties should play, since I seem to
plead only for the use of experts or technocrats. A country cannot of course be ruled without
politics or political parties, but nearly in all developing countries politicians tend to believe
that they alone can and should decide what must be done - and how - for the country without
taking heed of the opinions of experts. What Im therefore only strongly pleading here is the
reduction of or minimization of the intervention and influence of politicians in every major
sector of the country for which they are not sufficiently qualified. That is why Ive been using
the words neutral expert. With these words I would like to say that the selection of an expert
and his appointment to any of the commissions must be done without the direct intervention
of any political parties or politicians. Or, at least the intervention of politics should be minimized
as much as possible. And they (the experts) must enjoy a great amount of autonomy in carrying
out their given tasks. (The author is fully aware that it may not be that easy to do so in reality.)

The personalities or political parties that would come to power in the coming elections
should urgently undertake the following four major tasks.

Since a large portion of the countrys population is now starving, emergency measures must
be taken as soon as possible country-wide to solve this heart-breaking problem.

According to several reliable sources at least 3-4 millions of people from Burma/Myanmar
are living illegally and working under extremely hard conditions in our neighbouring countries.
A great majority of them are believed to be barely surviving. So special urgent measures must be
taken to bring them back and resettle them at their former native places or at new sites with
sufficient facilities and arrangements for their long-term survival.

According to several reliable neutral resources there are not less than 500 000 IDPs (Internally
Displaced Persons) among indigenous peoples, and more than 200 000 people are living as
refugees - the majority of them in various refugee camps - in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and
Thailand. So arrangements must be made that these people also could return to their native
villages and live there in peace.

Special programme for national reconciliatory process must be made as soon as possible not
only in words but with actual deeds so that those who have had suffered - and still are
suffering at present - loss in human lives and materials on all sides of the society during the
62-year old civil war (1948-2010) be adequately compensated - or as much as the countrys
financial resources allow.

Last but not least: Since the obstacles that the would-be elected politicians will have to overcome
in rebuilding the country are formidable, what the country badly needs now is a number of
courageous, far-sighted, honest, well-qualified and visionary politicians. However, judging by the

present situation in the country, this may most likely prove to be just a wishful thinking. And
the world is changing so fast these days in many ways that even several industrialized nations
themselves are rapidly losing their orientation.

Thang Za Dal (Mr)

Grindelallee 141
20146 Hamburg, Germany
Date: July 24, 2015
Email: thangzadal@googlemail.com
The Readers Letter below was my response (posted on 12.10.09) to the Interview given by Dr. Hans-Bernd
Zllner, an expert on Burma, in the tageszeitung (taz daily newspaper) in Germany.
The Interview appeared on 29.9.2007 and was titled: Die Demokratie ist nur eine Fantasie
(In English: Democracy Is Only A Fantasy)
The original interview and my Letter can be viewed under the following Link:
Thang Za Dal
September 24, 2010

Dear taz Readers,
Although I do not agree with most of Dr. Zllners points of view, I find the overall context very
interesting. And the comments of other readers are equally thought-provoking, informative and
enlightening as well. As I still am a concerned citizen of Burma, I would like to share some of my
opinions with you. However, my opinions are completely different from the comments of other readers.
I fully agree with Dr. Zllners opinion that there is not a single Burmese politician within Burma or
among exiles who has the same stature as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who could reunify the whole country
and solve the problems that the country is facing today. That is also one reason why the position of
the oppositional forces very precarious is. They are split into several factions and they base their
struggles on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi alone. They do not have the right strategies, or if Im to be very
frank and honest, they do not even have strategies. Their struggles, therefore, would most likely not
be fruitful, if something should happen to her.

The opposition movements are unified at the moment by four common interests: their hatred for the military government;
their longing for freedom;
their love and respect for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and
their wish to escape from poverty and misery.
Since I do not know her personally nor have I ever heard or read about her methods of handling political
affairs, the following are my concerns:
- Should Aung San Suu Kyi once again become another chance in the future to play the same decisive
roles, as she had had about ten years ago, would she be shrewd and tactical enough to outsmart the
- Would there be enough selfless and farsighted visionaries around her who could give her the right
- And would she herself be receptive enough to accept such advices?
- Or is she herself visionary enough?
- Or would she be strong enough to make crucial decisions alone?
If we look back at what happened in Burma when she still enjoyed a certain amount of authority and
freedom with which she could have influenced the decisions needed for the country, we find that she was
surrounded by former senior military officers who themselves were once members of the Military
Establishment. Therefore, there were no new ideas to solve the problems that the whole country was
confronted with. For example, she and her advisors apparently underestimated the cunningness and
ambitions of the generals and they overestimated the power of the masses. So she missed several golden
opportunities to put the generals on the defensive.
Just only one example here: She could have put the generals on the defensive by presenting a master
economic plan for the country which the generals and potential foreign investors could not afford to refuse
or ignore, instead of relentlessly advocating for trade embargoes.
At the moment it seems that she would likely once again become another chance to play an important
role for the country. However, since her own political party, the NLD, has been decimated by the military
regime, she would surely need a great deal of courage, caution, flexibility, patience and good advice,
international support and visions that are badly needed for the overcoming of the hurdles of the country
which lie ahead of her.


The earliest records of Chinese migration into present-day Burma were in the Song and Ming dynasties. [14] In the
18th century, Ming Dynasty princes settled in Kokang (the northern part of present-day Burma). Another wave of
immigration occurred in the 19th century under the British colonial administration. Britain encouraged immigration of
Indians and Chinese to British Burma, and such incentives for work opportunities and enterprise and for accumulating
wealth attracted many Chinese. They primarily came to Burma via British Malaya.[14]
During the 1950s, Burma was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China as anation.
However, its own Chinese population was treated as aliens. The Burmese Chinese were issued foreign registration cards
(FRC) in a tiered citizenship system adopted by the post-independence government. Today, the majority of retail,
wholesale and import trade businesses are run by the Burmese Chinese today.[14] For example, Sein Gayha a major
retailer that began in Yangon's Chinatown in 1985, is owned by a Hakka Chinese family. Moreover, four of the five
largest commercial banks in Myanmar, Myanmar Universal Bank, Yoma Bank, Myanmar Mayflower Bank, and the
Asia Wealth Bank, were all founded by Sino-Burmese.[45]
Upper Burma has seen a demographic shift resulting from the recent immigration of many Mainland Chinese to
Mandalay Region, Shan,[46] and Kachin States.[47] Ethnic Chinese now constitute an estimated 30 to 40% of
Mandalay's population.[48] Huge swaths of land in city centre left vacant by the fires were later purchased, mostly by
the ethnic Chinese, many of whom were recent immigrants from Yunnan.[49]
The Chinese influx accelerated after the current military government came to power in 1988. With the Burmese
government turning a blind eye, many Chinese immigrants from Yunnan (and also from Sichuan) poured into Upper
Burma in the 1990s, settling in Mandalay.[19] In the 1990s alone, about 250,000 to 300,000 Yunnanese were
estimated to have migrated to Mandalay.[48] Their arrival has been vital in the doubling of Mandalay's population
from about 500,000 in 1980 to one million in 2008. Chinese festivals are now firmly embedded in the city's cultural
calendar.[49] The influx of Mainland Chinese into the city and the subsequent displacement of native Burmese to the
outskirts of the city has created racial tensions.[50]
Burmese Indians are a group of people of Indian ethnicity who live in Myanmar (Burma). While Indians have lived in
Burma for many centuries, most of the ancestors of the current Burmese Indian community emigrated to Burma from
the start of British rule in the mid 19th century to the separation of British Burma from British India in 1937. During
British times, ethnic Indians formed the backbone of the government and economy serving as soldiers, civil servants,
merchants and moneylenders.
A series of anti-Indian riots beginning in 1930 and mass emigration during the Japanese occupation of Burma
followed by the forced expulsion of 1962 left ethnic Indians with a much reduced role in Burma. Historically,
Burmese Indians have made their livelihoods as merchants, traders and shopkeepers as well as manual labourers such
as coolies, dockers, municipal workers, rickshaw men, pony cart drivers, malis and durwans. They were also heavily
represented in certain professions such as civil servants, university lecturers, pharmacists, opticians, lawyers and
doctors. They dominated several types of businesses such as auto parts and electrical goods, ironmongery and
hardware, printing and bookbinding, books and stationery, paper and printing ink, tailoring and dry-cleaning, English
tuition, and money lending. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_Indians
Note: For more information on these two ethnic groups, visit the Wikipedia websites.
Prepared in this form by Thang Za Dal/ 05/2015


The Irrawaddy Indigenous Rights Coalition in Myanmar Plan...


Indigenous Rights Coalition in Burma Plans UPR Submission

By YEN SNAING / THE IRRAWADDY On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

RANGOON A coalition of 24 indigenous rights organizations is planning to make a

submission on the situation of indigenous communities in Burma when the country is
reviewed at the 23rd session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group in Geneva,
Switzerland, in November.
The group, called the Coalition of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar/Burma, has catalogued
a raft of issues that indigenous peoples are facing in Burma, including lack of access to
land and resources and the impact of destructive development projects on local
Burmas 2008 Constitution makes no mention of indigenous peoples, their collective
rights, or customary land use practices in indigenous peoples territories, the coalition
said in a factsheet released at a press conference on Tuesday.
The lack of recognition [in the Constitution] of the peoples right to own land directly
contradicts with the basic principle that the States power is derived from its citizens.
The coalition said the current draft national land use policy gives special privileges to
business investors that could lead to more land grabs in the country and is vague
regarding the land use rights of ethnic nationalities.
The group called for amendments to the national land use policy and other legislation to
ensure they accommodate the collective rights of indigenous peoples to their lands,
territories, and natural resources, including customary land use practices with regard to
forests, rivers, and other land, as well as agricultural land.
Min Than Oo, director of the Mon Multimedia Institute, said land seizures had particularly
impacted ethnic nationalities in Burma, a trend that has continued to the present day.
Since 1995, more than 18,000 acres of land have been grabbed by the Burma Army in
Mon State until as recently as December 2014, he said.
The lands of ethnic minorities have often been confiscated in connection with large
infrastructure, plantation and extractive industry projects. The right to free, prior and
informed consent is seldom upheld and impact assessments are often opaque or not
carried out at all.
Foreign investors are promoting harmful development projectssuch as mega hydropowered and coal-fired electricity generation projectsin conflict areas without conducting
[impact assessments], the group said.
Naw Ei Ei Min, executive director of POINT, an organization promoting indigenous peoples
rights and environmental awareness, expressed concern that, with protracted negotiations
over a nationwide ceasefire ongoing, indigenous rights will remain up in the air.
We still cant see sustained peace [and] we have no idea how ethnic rights will be
granted and to what extent, she said.

1 von 2

21.07.15 16:50

The Irrawaddy Indigenous Rights Coalition in Myanmar Plan...


The coalition on Tuesday also addressed the issue of preserving ethnic languages long
suppressed under decades of enforced monolingual education under military rule.
Mann Win Maung, joint-secretary of the Pantanaw literature and cultural committee in
Irrawaddy Division, said Karen language and literature in the division had been slowly
disappearing since 1962.
He said the concession to allow ethnic languages to be taught outside of normal school
hours, with no budgetary support, was not effective, and worried that the decline in
Karen-language literacy could erode their sense of Karen identity.
The group recommended that the Burmese government provide the teaching of
indigenous peoples languages in the national curriculum and to allocate sufficient
national budget for effective implementation.
The Burmese government officially recognizes 135 national races in Burma that are
considered taing yin thatranslated as indigenous peoples.
But the coalition contends that these ethnic categories are too broad and do not reflect
the rich diversity of Burmas indigenous peoples.
The group called on the UN special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to
provide expertise and to assist in facilitating a national-level dialogue with the aim of
identifying and recognizing indigenous peoples in Myanmar, based on the international
concept of indigenous peoples.
The UPR process reviews all UN member states compliance with their human rights
obligations. Burmas last review took place in 2011.

Article printed from The Irrawaddy: http://www.irrawaddy.org

URL to article: http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/indigenous-rights-coalitionin-burma-plans-upr-submission.html

Copyright 2012 The Irrawaddy Magazine. All rights reserved.

2 von 2

21.07.15 16:50

g$o {tcaS,{Aoc8g $,,as?EloeeepaSc



* 6sn;e




GRorrpsrNTo BUNra
Circled routes of mipration are that ofthe Chins

- roure(1)

Northern Chins

- route(2)

Cenual Chins

- route(3 & 4)

(Routesare circled and numbered by mvself for explanatory purpose)

Sourceof Map - (/zrirn ofBurma:Cw&msandCultareofIndigmous
Publishedby the Burma Socialisthogramme Party,February 1968
- Created in this form by thangzadal/06.20l 4

Area: 261,220 sq.mi (676,560 km2)

Official Landmass of Non-Burman indigenous national races: Chin State (36,019 sq. km or 5.32 %);
Kachin State (89,012 sq. km or 13.16 %); Kayin State (30,383 sq. km or 4.5 %); Kayah State (11,670 sq. km or
1.72 %); Mon State (12,155 sq. km or 1.8 %); Rakhaing/Rakhine State (36,780 sq. km or 5.44 %); Shan State
(155,800 sq. km or 23.02 %). These territories altogether make up about 55.14 % of the entire area of Burma.
(Prepared in this form, except the map, by Thang Za Dal. 12/2014)



Thang Za Dal
July 24, 2015


The combined length of all motor roads in Chin State (36,019 sq km) - nearly as large as
Switzerland - is only about 1,200 km. And most of them are dry-season-only and jeepable!
(Created in this form by thangzadal/hamburg/06/.2014)


by Aung Zaw
Although some foreign historians have depicted the Battle of Insein as a conflict between Burman troops and
Karen rebels, Tun Tin noted that soldiers from different regions of Burma helped to defend Rangoon. They
included Chin, Kayah, Shan, Gurkha and Kachin battalions (though some Kachin took up arms against the U Nu
government). The most decisive role in defendingInsein was played by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Chin Rifles, fighting
on what is regarded as the most strategic battle front of all. Some insurgents, including communists, reinforced
Burmese forces before going back to the jungle to repel Burmese troops...

(Monday, February 9, 2009)
Copyright 2008 Irrawaddy Publishing Group | www.irrawaddy.org
Note: U Aung Zaw is from Myanmar/Burma and is the founder and Chief-Editor of The Irrawaddy, a magazine
published in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The Irrawaddy covers news and offers in-depth analysis of political and cultural affairs in Burma and Asia generally.
* See 16.2. The Outbreak of Civil War and the Crucial Roles of Chin Soldiers and Appendix DD for full text.



Ever since the first masssacres of the students in 1962, General Ne Win's Military Intelligence Service used
to spread words about Chin soldiers shooting at demonstrators. The same thing happened during the 1974
Labour and U Thant Strikes and again during the 1988-Uprisings after troops had mowed down thousands of
demonstrators. This is part of Ne Win's stratagem to reduce public hatred towards him and his Burma Army
and to instill ethnic hatred among the oppressed people. This stratagem proves to be successful as some of our
Burman brothers and sisters believe those rumours and even spread the words further, unwittingly serving the
interest of the military dictators. This is due to total ignorance of what happened inside the Burma Army under
General Ne Win...

* See Appendix S for full text!

by Zaw Htwe Maung
Traditionally, Chins are warrior tribes and many Chins joined the Burma Rifles since Burma was under the
British Rule. The bulk of the soldiers in the British-trained Army were of minority ethnic groups such as Chins,
Kachins and Karens...Hence, many Chins were career soldiers and officers when Burma regained her
independence and they had a very good reputation as 'Loyalists to the Union', 'Real Soldiers Defending
Democracy' and so on, under U Nu's Regime...As mentioned earlier, Chins are traditionally warrior tribes and
well known to be good and disciplined soldiers... Nowadays, in Burma if one sees a minority soldier who speaks
Burmese with accent they just conclude that this is a Chin although they may be a Wa or Karen or Kachin or
of other minorities, because the reputation of Chin soldiers was totally destroyed since Ne Win's Era...There
is no doubt that the Chins were made Scapegoats by the Burmese Military for their propaganda purposes as
well as for their further 'divide and rule policy' because all opposition groups, whether they are Burmese or
ethnic minorities, have the same and single goal which is to topple down the Military Dictatorship in Burma
and the Junta is afraid that they will be united...
- Source: Chinland Guardian
November 22, 2007
* See Appendix T for full text!
- Mr. Zaw Htwe Maung is an Arakanese scholar.

Note: The above quotations are from my own 628-page paper: The Chin/Zo People of Bangladesh, Burma and India An Introduction (XVII)



Source: Zo History by Dr. Vumson Suantak. Aizawl, Mizoram. 1968
Note 1. The word Zo is synonymous with the word Chin. A great majority of the
Chin people call themselves in these words Zo , Cho, Asho, etc., like Mizo or
Zomi (Zo person). Suantak uses this term.
Note 2. Zu is the traditional rice beer of the Chins. It waas an indispensible part of their
culture and daily life before they became Christian. In Burma only the Chins, Kachins,
Karennis, Karens and Nagas traditionally have it.
Note 3. The above incident was just one of several. It took place in 1967.
(Created in this form by Thang Za Dal. O5/2015)


Thirty-five per cent of the rural people in Myanmar have to seek loans all year round to buy food while half
of the rural populace faces food insecurity at least two months out of a year, according to a research by
Michigan State University and Myanmar Development Resource Institute (MDRI).
Myanmar has a population of over 60 million in Myanmar, about 70 per cent are living in rural areas.
According to data collected by Michigan State University and MDRI, family experiencing poverty and food
problemst tends to be landless households, which accounts for half of the rural population. They have
become victims of unfair allocation of land, climate change, poor agricultural management during
increasingly untimely rainfalls, high transport cost, and rural monetary organisations lack of capability to
assist their needs... The paper highlighted the important role of rural education and the need to nurture
agriculturalists because 80 per cent of students living in the rural areas usually drop out...
The poverty rate in the rural areas is two times higher than that in the urban areas, accounting for 80 per
cent of the total populations poverty rate. The largest number of poor households is concentrated in the
states of Chin, Rakhine and Shan while the poverty rate is getting high in the populous regions of
Ayeyawady and Mandalay, according to the framework on economic and social change.
Asia News Network
News Desk, Eleven Media Group, Publication Date : 24-06-2013


* Thursday, 22 August 2013 13:40
* Written by Van Biak Thang (vanbiakthang@chinlandguardian.com)
22 August 2013:
The level of poverty in Chin State has alarmed Toms Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the
human rights situation in Burma who made his first ever trip to one of the most isolated regions in Burma.
Mr. Quintana said in his statement yesterday that the Chin communities have suffered from neglect from the central
government over the years.
"With the country opening up, development will come, but it is important that this process occurs in a
participatory, transparent, accountable and equal manner," he said. "The process of development and the
exploitation natural resources there should benefit the Chin communities," added the UN expert who had just
returned from his first trip to Chin State.
Over 70 percent of the population in Chin State live under the poverty line, making it the poorest state in the whole
of Burma. During his 8th trip to Burma, Mr. Quintana travelled to Mindat and Kanpetlet towns in southern Chin
State, also visiting Christian churches and government-controlled Na Ta La schools. The Na Ta La residential
schools, run under military-dominated Ministry for Border Affairs, has been accused of taking coercive measures to
convert Chin Christian students to Buddhism.
Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director of the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), said: "Graduates of the Na
Ta La schools have guaranteed government positions, but only if they are Buddhists. This is a clear reflection that
discrimination on the ground of religious identity is entrenched within the Na Ta La school system." "This is why
we have been calling for the abolition of these schools and to instead properly finance the state education system
where everyone can enjoy equal access to good education."
The UN Special Rapporteur made a two-day trip to Chin State. He also visited other ethnic States of Rakhine, Shan
and Kachin as well as Meikhtila in Mandalay region. During his ten-day visit, Mr. Quinta was denied permission to
visit Kachin State's Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).



* Monday, 12 August 2013 08:38
* Written by Khaipi
* Published in Chin News
12 August 2013: Hundreds of demonstrators, mainly from the Zomi groups in exile, have protested against th Gullu
Mual nickel project in Tedim Township of Chin State, Burma. The events call for an immediate stop to the nickel
mining project, a joint venture between Burma's government and mining companies from China. A statement
released by the World Zomi Congress (WZC) said the groups condemned the partnership that would only exploit the
natural resources of the indigenous people in Chin State. Four nickel deposit areas in Mwe Hill, Webula Hill,
Hakhalay and Nat Hill and four chromites areas in Mwe Hill, Webula Hill, Hakhalay, Nat Hill, Bopibun, Muwelut,
Maungtaw-Hnamataw and Falam were found, according to the New Light of Myanmar on 27 September 2011. The
government-run newspaper said the record states that there would be 110.57 million tons of nickel ore and 38,100
million tons of chromites ore in Chin State. Several other Chin civil society groups including the Chin Student
Union in Kalay and the Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization (KWHRO) also raised their concerns over
development projects in Chin State, the least developed state in the country. The New Light of Myanmar in 2011
said North Mining Investment Co Ltd of China, China Nonferrous Metal Industrys Foreign Engineering &
Construction Co Ltd and Guiling Research Institute of Geology for Mineral Resources held discussions on
exploration and production of the deposit.
A 2008 report by the Earthrights International said Kingbao (Jinbao) Mining Co. signed agreements with the
Ministry of Mining No. 3 in Burma to conduct exploration and feasibility studies at the Mwetaung nickel deposit
in Chin State that contains proven nickel reserves in excess of 10 million tons.Kingbao (Jinbao) Mining Co. is a
joint subsidiary of Gold Mountain (Hong Kong) International Mining Co. and Wanbao Mining Co., both of which
control 50% of the company. Gold Mountain (Hong Kong) International Mining Co. is itself a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Zijing Mining Co., while Wanbao Mining Co. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China North Industries
"The entry of large, foreign-dominated mining companies goes beyond environmental issues. It is primarily a
glaring face of land grabbing," added the Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization (KWHRO). In recent months,
the anti-Gullu nickel project demonstrations took place in front of Burmese embassies in India, Australia and USA,
with more protests being organized in other foreign countries.
44. During his latest visit, the Special Rapporteur went to Chin State to look into allegations of discrimination
against Christian communities. He welcomed the open and frank discussion that he had with state government
officials and township elders. He visited Baptist churches in Mindat and Kanpalet and met clergy and members of
the congregations. While the Special Rapporteur appreciates that people of different faiths and beliefs generally live
peacefully and harmoniously together in Chin State, he is nevertheless concerned about a degree of institutionalized
discrimination against Christians in Chin State in state government structures and administrative procedures.
This includes discrimination in access to jobs, especially senior positions, within the civil service. Only 14
percent of department head positions and 25 per cent of township administrative officer positions are held by
Christians, notwithstanding the fact that 87 per cent of people in Chin State are Christian (with 11 per cent Buddhist
and 2 per cent animist). Other areas of concern include local planning regulations and administrative requirements
that render it more difficult for Christians to secure permission to build and renovate structures for religious
worship, as well as to buy property and change residence.
Source: United Nations
General Assembly Distr.: General
23 September 2013 / Original: English
13-48420 (E) 141013

Sixty-eighth session/ Agenda item 69 (c)



* SATURDAY, 24 AUGUST 2013 15:38
*Written by Thawng Zel Thang (thawngzelthang@gmail.com)
24 August 2013: The Matupi Township Council of Churches (MTCC) said it has asked permission from the government of
Chin State to plant a new Christian cross on the mountain of Cangtak in Matupi township next year. Rev. Victor Lai Lian,
MTCC's General Secretary, said a letter requesting permission to construct the cross has been sent to Pu Hung Ngai, Chief
Minister of the Chin State government.
"We are waiting for the result from the State government," Rev. Victor Lai Lian was quoted as saying by the Hakha Post. The
attempts by churches in Matupi township aim to plant a new Christian cross as a substitute for Boltlang's 30-ft high cross,
which was destroyed by Burma's authorities in 2005. After demolition of the Boltlang cross, which was erected in 1987 under
the leadership of MTCC, the authorities confiscated the area and built a military camp in 2005 for Burma Army Light Infantry
Battalion No. 304. A 2012 report covering incidents between March 2004 and April 2012 across Chin State by the Chin
Human Rights Organization (CHRO) documented destruction of 13 Christian crosses, of which four were demolished under
Thein Sein's government.
Source: Chinland Guardian
Last modified on Saturday, 24 August 2013 15:42


August 6th, 2013!

Rats, Bamboo and Famine in Chin State, Burma!
It is estimated that in the late 1950s, 15,000 people died from famine in southern Chin State, Burma, due to a natural
recurring phenomenon: the Mautam. Every 50 years, a rat flood arises, due to the ecological cycle of flowering bamboo.
This can have disastrous effects on local crops and stored foods, resulting in huge food shortages for the Chin people.
Today, many communities in Chin State again face the devastating effects of famine and continued crop failure.!


The Mautam!
The Mautam, meaning bamboo death is a phrase often used in Mizo folklore and superstition. Yet its roots are based in
reality for the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer at the hands of this natural phenomenon. Melocanna
Baccifera is a particular species of bamboo which exists across large areas of northeast India in the states of Mizoram
and Manipur, as well as in regions of Bangladesh and in Chin State, Burma.!

Approximately every 50 years the bamboo flowers; producing a fruit resembling an avocado, full of protein and other
nutrients. For the local population of forest rats this is a feast and they gorge themselves, stripping the bamboo of all its
fruit and seeds. Consequently there is a huge surge in the rat population, and once all the bamboo has been destroyed,
they then turn to other sources of food. The rat flood invades local farms and villages, devouring crops and other stored
foodstuffs such as rice, potatoes, and vegetables. Unfortunately, this natural phenomenon has a disastrous impact on
local populations, causing widespread chronic food shortages.!


Government Responses!
In 2001, the Indian Government called on the expertise of zoologists and botanists to explore responses to the Mautam.
A variety of measures were implemented, such as a rat cull and the construction of roads and helipads to allow for the
transport of food relief aid provided by the Government and NGOs.!

By 2008, in the Hill Tracts of Bangladesh the effects of the bamboo flowering were becoming increasingly obvious. In
response to this the United Nations World Food Programme began the distribution of food relief aid to tens of thousands
of affected people.!

Despite the predictability of the bamboo famine, preparation was limited in Chin State. For the southern Chin people who
live in dense bamboo forest, the bamboo is essential for housing, agriculture and as a source of food. It has been five
years since the flowering and dying of the thick bamboo forests in the southern Chin State of Burma, however its
devastating effects still has a serious impact on the local communities today. Unfortunately, State support has not been
sufficient to prevent hunger.!


Current Situation in Chin State, Burma!

Although Chin State has suffered from general food insecurity for the last 20 years due to the Mautam, the past year has
been critical. Dr Sasa who runs Health and Hope Society, one of HARTs partners, reports that communities in the
southern Chin State face a gap of approximately 7 months in their supply of cereals in 2013. Food is running out and the
people of Chin State are in desperate need of help if they are to prevent worsening famine.!

In February 2013, Health and Hope Society produced a detailed survey revealing the extent of food insecurity within 374
communities in southern Chin State. The data reveals that 7 townships harvested enough cereals to feed them for 5
months, whilst some villages only harvested enough for 1 or 2 months. 123,033 people in Chin state face extreme food
shortages. Over 15,000 are children less than five years old, and over 2000 are pregnant women, unfortunately it is the
most vulnerable of society who suffer the most from food shortages. No effective alternative coping mechanisms have
been found, so external food assistance is necessary if the Chin people are to avoid losing many lives.!


Impact On Individuals Health!

Severe food shortages affect whole communities in both the short and long term: socially, culturally and economically.
The United Nations World Food Programme puts it well:!
A hungry mind cannot concentrate, a hungry body cannot take initiative, a hungry child loses all desires to play and
The southern Chin people have faced constant food insecurity for the past 20 years and thus many suffer from
malnutrition; a severe form of hunger characterised by a lack of vitamins and minerals, which can have a serious impact
on a persons physical and mental abilities. Malnutrition can have a devastating effect on the bodys immune system
leaving it unable to fight off common infections such as diarrhoea or measles. The most vulnerable of society pregnant

women and young children are most at risk of a weakened immune system and can suffer from calamitous short and
long term effects.!


Impact On The Chin Community!

The impact of the Mautam infiltrates nearly every facet of Chin life. Uncontrollable wild fires have destroyed crops and
homes, crops have also been destroyed by rats, insects and wild animals, and the bamboo is failing to regrow and has
now been replaced with a new, highly allergenic bush. Many young people are fleeing the desperate situation in the Chin
Hills and moving to the relative safety of India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Their home land is uncertain with
political instability, economic uncertainty, food insecurity and lack of educational and livelihood opportunities.!


Response From The International Community!

Over the years some action has been taken by the international community on behalf of the people suffering from the
Mautam in Chin State. Southern Chin State Food Security Conferences were held in 2008, 2009 and 2011; participants
such as Baroness Caroline Cox, the BBC World Service, delegates from southern Chin State and others came together
to discuss relief efforts. In 2009 the Department For International Development (DFID) provided 1.5 million USD in
emergency food aid for the Chin people; this covered the food gap for 2009 and 2010. Later in 2012, a donation of
emergency food aid was provided by AusAid. This year a 4th Southern Chin State Food Security Conference was held
as a renewed plea for help and support from the national and international community.!

Yet, despite the help and support previously provided, the people of southern Chin State face a continuing struggle. Each
year the harvests yield less and less; worsening the current food crisis. The majority of farmers are producing less than a
third of their expected harvest. Without external food assistance the people of Chin State fear a devastating future of


To learn more about HARTs work in Chin state, Burma, please visit:!
Isabelle Darque! !
By Isabelle Darque!
Isabelle is currently interning during her summer break, having finished her second year of studying History at Cardiff
University. Her particular interests are women's empowerment and the provision of healthcare.!

903 Computers (plus printers and electrical generators) donated by the Danish
government for 30 State High Schools in Chin State in 2013 through the Chin National
Front. These are the only still functioning computers that these schools have got. As a
reward for the CNFs signing of a cease-fire agreement with the government late last
year, it is now very broad-mindedly permitted (in governments own words) by the
government to officially beg around in the international community for donations of all
kinds for the development of Chinland.

- http://vcth.net/cnf-ih-hlu-mi-computer-meicet-le-satellite-cazin (Supplied by Chin World Media Group)

(Date on the Website: 25th September 2013)

Meiset - Zarhkhat ah ni 5, nikhat nai 4 sung datsi pek sak si ding

Electricity for these instruments will be made available 5 days a week and 4 hours a day; the fuel cost
will be paid [by the Danish government].
The Burmese government supplied each State High School in Chin State in 2010 with two computers
and one printer, but without generators. Most of these high schools have to rely for electricity produced
by hydroelectric plants that were constructed by the local people with the help of a few religious or NGO
donors - or with their own financial resources. The government also had constructed a handful of
hydroelectic plants for a few towns, but all of them are very poorly maintained that they rarely function or they function only in the rainy seasons - that is, between June and September! Although every high
school student in Chin State is obliged to pay certain amount of monthly fees for the use of computers,
they are not allowed to use them. Only some teachers can - or are allowed to - use them. And most of
these computers had functioned only for a while following their delivery, but they were not repaired again for
lack of money. The present government doesnt have until today any programme or plan of its own to
supply these schools with more computers.
Note 1. Information marked in blue is my own free translation from the Falam/Laizo dialect, the officially
used Chin language on state radio and television broadcasting programme in Burma.
Note 2. Information (Tables above) is extracted from the Chinworld Media Group. and explanation about the
background history is provided by Mr. Thangpi of the CHINWORLD. Thang Za Dal, June 19. 2014


The Irrawaddy Magazine Women Protest Sexual Violence by ...


Women Protest Sexual Violence by Soldiers in Chin State

By NANG SENG NOM / THE IRRAWADDY On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

RANGOON More than 130 ethnic Chin women participate in a protest against the
Burmese militarys alleged use of rape as a weapon of war in Matupi Township.
Protest leaders said the demonstration on Tuesday aimed to draw attention to sexual
violence perpetrated by soldiers against women and children in Matupi, as well as to
enhance awareness of womens rights issues among local residents.
Al Li, secretary of the Chin Womens Association, said six local women in Matupi had been
raped by Tatamadaw soldiers, with the latest case on June 10.
The police arrested this rapist soldier, but we dont know yet what will happen next, the
protest organizer said.
Al Li said the Chin activists initial request seeking permission for the protest march was
rejected by local law enforcement, but was later allowed to proceed.
The police told us not to march to avoid traffic, but we marched as we said we would, to
raise the issue of women being abused, she said.
Many ethnic Chin women lack formal schooling and are poorly versed in womens rights
issues, Al Li said, adding that greater efforts to educate the women were needed.
The local women said increased Burmese Army troop deployments in Chin State since
2010 had left many locals fearing for their safety and reluctant to cultivate their farmlands
due to the presence of soldiers in the area.
Burma signed the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW) in 1997, but womens rights activists say the government has yet to
take meaningful steps to ensure the protection of womens rights.
In a January 2014 report, the Thailand-based Womens League of Burma accused
members of the military of raping more than 100 women since 2010. The rape incidents
widespread and systematic nature indicates a structural pattern: rape is still used as an
instrument of war and oppression, the report said.
In April, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also called for the Burmese government to
investigate the claims of rape by soldiers.

Article printed from The Irrawaddy Magazine: http://www.irrawaddy.org

URL to article: http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/women-protest-sexual-violencesoldiers-chin-state.html

Copyright 2012 The Irrawaddy Magazine. All rights reserved.

1 von 1

26.06.14 01:07

The activists ? Ngun Chin Par, Sui Sui Kyi, Kaw Htwe, Khin Khin Zi, Thang Zing, Khin Thluai Par, Maung
Han and Tei Maung ? were ordered to either pay a 30,000 kyat (US$30) fine or serve one-month prison
A guilty verdict on the defendants was passed by the court on 23 July, with a sentence of either one
month in prison or 30,000 kyat fine, said Mai T Sui Leng, the director of Womens Hand Myanmar
Foundation, an NGO that has been assisting the group throughout their trial. Our foundation has
offered to pay the fines for each of them.
While her foundation has pledged financial support to avoid the prison sentences, Mai T Sui Leng

stressed that they are very disappointed with the courts for targeting activists instead of sexual
We want to see effective legal action against the soldier who committed violence against a woman,
she said.
On 24 June, two demonstrations were held in Chin State in response to the alleged attempted rape of a
55-year-old woman by a Burma Army soldier from Light Infantry Battalion No. 269. About 400 people
were said to have turned out in Rezua, while another 200 gathered in Matupi.
Authorities in both towns denied requests for permission to hold demonstrations, and the organisers ?
four from Rezua and four from Matupi ? were subsequently charged for the violation of Burmas
controversial Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions Act , which contains provisions
criminalising unauthorised gatherings.
Rights groups have condemned the charges from the outset, urging the government to immediately
drop the case and investigate sexual war crimes. The Chin Human Rights Organisation said that
they have documented multiple cases of sexual violence committed in the remote state since
President Thein Sein took power in 2011. The group said that the frequency and severity of
abuses warrants an international investigation in order to deter further violations and help end
the culture of impunity.
Similarly, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the international community to put pressure on the
Burmese government to acquit the demonstrators and take meaningful action towards ending
military impunity .
The military has long frowned on the citizenry calling for transparent justice, particularly in a case theyd
rather sweep under the rug, HRW said in a 9 July press statement. While commending the government
for signing onto a UN commitment to ending sexual crimes in conflict, the group said that the
countrys leaders will need a change of mindset to make that promise a reality.
The first step, said Mai T Sui Leng, is to make the justice system more transparent. Crimes allegedly
committed by soldiers are brought to military trials, which some say offers inherent protection to the
We would like the trial to be conducted at a civilian court rather than military trial, Mai T Sui Leng said
of the accused officer. We want to know how he will be punished.
Tags: Artilce 18Burma Armychin stateCHROPeaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Actsexual
violencewomen's rights

The Irrawaddy Magazine UN Chief Calls for Myanmar to Inve...


UN Chief Calls for Burma to Investigate Military Rape Claims

By NYEIN NYEIN / THE IRRAWADDY On Thursday, April 24, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

The chief of the United Nations has officially called on the Burmese government to conduct
full investigations into allegations of rape and sexual assault made against its soldiers,
according to a document made public this week.
A report to the UN Security Council from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon titled Conflictrelated Sexual Violence, addressed the issue of sexual violence in 20 countries around
the world, including Burma.
I call on the Government of Myanmar to fully investigate and respond to current and
historical human rights violations and abuses, including crimes of sexual violence, Ban
Ki-moon said in the report, which is dated March 13 but has only just been made public.
He urged the government to work to develop a comprehensive protection and service
response for survivors of sexual violence, with the UNs support.
Burmese womens organizations and campaigners, who have long called for allegations of
sexual violence by the military to be independently investigated, welcomed the secretarygenerals intervention.
The Thailand-based Womens League of Burma (WLB) in January said in a report it had
documented more than 100 cases of soldiers raping women and girlsthe majority in
war-torn Kachin and Shan statessince 2010. In a statement Thursday, the group said
that it welcomes this clear recognition of State failure to deal with past and present
military sexual violence in Burma.
WLB pointed out, however, that previous government-led investigations into military rape
have not only failed to deliver justice, but have led to further humiliation and intimidation
of rape survivors and their communities.
We are still concerned about how the government would conduct [investigations] if they
agreed to implement the UN secretary-generals recommendation, said Tin Tin Nyo,
secretary of WLB, an umbrella organization representing 13 different ethnic women
Ban Ki-moons report will be discussed at a Security Council debate on Friday on sexual
violence. The United Kingdom-based Burma Campaign group issued a statement urging
the British government to take a strong stance on the issue.
Burma Campaign UK welcomes the fact that the UN Secretary General is focusing more
on sexual violence in Burma, and has called for investigations, said Zoya Phan, the
groups campaigns manager.
However, the United Nations has made dozens of calls on the Burmese government to
hold credible investigations into human rights violations, and all have been ignored. It is
time the United Nations established its own investigation.
Campaigners say the secretary generals comments follow years of documenting the
abuses of Burma Army soldiers, and the impunity that usually follows allegations. Soldiers
accused of rape are regularly punished internally by the military rather than in the civilian
courts, if they are held to account at all.

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The Irrawaddy Magazine UN Chief Calls for Myanmar to Inve...


WLBs report in January noted of rape allegations against the military that, Their
widespread and systematic nature indicates a structural pattern: rape is still used as an
instrument of war and oppression. It said allegations of rape by soldiers, which may
constitute war crimes, should be independently investigated.
Shortly after their report in January, presidential spokesman Ye Htut in an interview with
Reuters denied the groups allegation that the military uses rape as a weapon, and asked
for the group to share more detailed information about the allegations.
Jessica Nhkum, the joint-secretary of the Kachin Women Association Thailand, who
documents rape cases by the Burma Army, told The Irrawaddy that the problem was not
going away. In the first quarter of 2014, new allegations have continued to emerge, she
Although we could not reach all areas in our war-torn Kachin State, even in the reachable
areassuch as near Myitkyina, Laiza, Mai Ja Yang and in northern Shan Statewe have
documented several cases of rape by Burmese soldiers in 2014, she said.
And with renewed fighting in Kachin State and northern Shan State breaking out during
Burmese New Year last week, activists stressed that more rape cases may soon be
Soldiers have been accused of raping girls as young as 7 in Kachin State, as in one case
from November 2013. And a 13-year-old girl in Mon State was allegedly raped by a soldier
in January 2014, just as the WLBs report documenting rape allegations was published.
The government in the past has repeatedly denied claims of rape by its troops.
In 2002, the Shan Women Action Network, a member of WLB, published a report including
such allegations, titled License to Rape. Following publication, women were allegedly
forced to sign denials refuting the facts in the report, according to WLBs Tin Tin Nyo.
We dont want the kind of reaction this time as we have examples of before, said Tin Tin
As for the presidents spokespersons suggestion to release information to them for
further investigation, it is impossible. We have to consider the safety of those women,
who are already being victimized.

Article printed from The Irrawaddy Magazine: http://www.irrawaddy.org

URL to article: http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/un-chief-calls-burma-investigatemilitary-rape-claims.html

Copyright 2012 The Irrawaddy Magazine. All rights reserved.

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