CAM Monthly News Update – December 2022

CAM Monthly News Update
December 2022

The Situation of IDPs in Myanmar/Burma and Refugees in Neighboring Countries

The latest OCHA figures as of December 5, 2022 estimate that since the military coup of February 2021, 1.1 million people have been displaced inside the country and UNHCR estimates 72,000 have fled to neighboring countries. Factoring in displacement that existed prior to the military coup, there is now a total of 1.4 million internally displaced and, as of June 30, 2022, 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar/Burma in neighboring countries.

According to OCHA, a total of 47,200 people are currently displaced within Chin State. It is also estimated that 49,600 people from Chin State are refugees in India. Fighting between Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw in Rakhine State continued into late November, which resulted in over 20,000 displaced individuals in Rhakine and Chin State’s Paletwa Township. The UN records indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks as well as the use of landmines in Chin State and the rest of the Northwest. 

IDPs in the Northwest Region of Myanmar represent 60% of all IDPs in the country. 

The government of Mizoram State, India, where most Chin refugees are staying, has issued rules that prevent refugees from purchasing property, doing business, or obtaining Indian citizenship documents by illegal means.

Displacement trends of IDPs (green) and internationally displaced (red) from Myanmar/Burma since the military coup of February 2021 as of November 21, 2022.
Source: Myanmar emergency: Displacement overview December 5, 2022
Map indicating scale of displacement in Chin State, Myanmar after the February 1, 2021 military coup as well as protracted displacement prior to the coup. 

Human Rights and Religious Freedom in Myanmar/Burma

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) provides a daily report in regards to the coup. As of January 6, 2022, AAPP indicated there have been 2,707 people killed and 16,992 people arrested by the military. The military continues to hold 13,272 people of Myanmar/Burma in detention.

Meg de Ronde, Regional Director for Amnesty International, laments the “ludicrous trial” against Aung San Suu Kyi and the seven-year sentence against her for alleged corruption. Ronde says of the trial, “From start to finish, the trumped-up cases against Aung San Suu Kyi have been politically motivated, unfair, and completely lacking in anything resembling transparency.”

Deadly cargo: The supply chain that fuels war crimes in Myanmar. Amnesty International in collaboration with Justice For Myanmar reported an in-depth assessment of how the supply of aviation fuel directly leads to civilian casualties. As the military junta increasingly relies on aerial attacks, civilians are not spared even in places of worship and schools. These air strikes would not be possible without the supply of Jet A-1 fuel. Although the likes of Chevron, Rosneft, and Thai Oil claim that their shipments are meant only for civilian use, this report clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done to curtail the military junta’s access to aviation fuel.

The United Nations, the United States, and Other International Communities on Myanmar/Burma

President Biden released statement on H.R. 776. The bill includes elements of the Burma Act.

The White House announced the signing of H.R. 2617. The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023” approved assistance to the situation in Burma.

U Yee Mon, Union Minister of Defense for the National Unity Government, responded to the passage of the NDAA/Burma Act FY23.

UN Security Council Adopts Resolution 2669. The Council “demands immediate end to violence in Burma.”

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken “welcomes the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2669 on Burma” but also insisted that “the Council still has much more work to do to advance a just solution to the crisis in Burma.”

Thomas Andrew, UN expert on Myanmar, says UN Security Council resolution on Burma not strong enough. Andrew says “action” and not “demanding that certain actions be taken” is required.

Statement of Acting President Duwa Lashi La On Passage by the US Congress of the Burma Act. Acting President Duwa Lashi La said, “The Burma Act will provide much needed hope and support to the struggling people of our country. We also thank the Burmese diaspora and people of good conscience across the U.S. who worked tirelessly in support of this achievement.”

The Chin National Front welcomes the signing-into-law of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes elements of the Burma Act, and also the UN Security Council resolution on Myanmar. The CNF states that, “These two important developments of the past year will give significant and transformative impetus and energy to the resistance movement.”

Barbara Woodward, UK Ambassador to the UN, voted for the first Security Council resolution on Myanmar that was passed. Ambassador Woodward said, “today we have sent a firm message to the military, that they should be in no doubt: we expect this resolution to be implemented, in full. We have also sent a clear message to the people of Myanmar, that we seek progress in line with their rights, their wishes and their interests.”

UN Security Council resolution a small but important step in addressing human rights crisis. Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said, “The Council must follow up with regular open meetings and enforce its demands with additional resolutions under Chapter VII [and] . . . impose comprehensive arms embargo, including on aviation fuel, and targeted sanctions against its military leaders.”

Volker Türk, UN Human Rights Chief, calls for protection of thousands of Rohingya refugees crossing the sea and risking their lives to flee war and persecution. Türk said, “I urge countries in the region to put in place a coordination mechanism to ensure proactive search and rescue, the  disemberkation of Rohingya refugees on their territories, and their effective protection.”

Anthony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State, reaffirms the United State’s commitment to the people of Burma. On the eve of Burma’s Independence Day, Secretary Blinked said, “On behalf of the United States of America, I reaffirm our commitment to the people of Burma as they mark the 75th Anniversary of Burma’s independence on January 4.”

Derek Chollet, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, raises concern over the Burma military regime’s plans to hold elections. Counselor Chollet said the regime’s plans to hold elections, “. . . stand no chance of being free and fair. The regime’s illegitimate elections will not represent the will of the people, who are striving for genuine peace and democracy in Burma.”

USAID Burma Lincoln Scholarship Program encourages “individuals interested in Business & Economics and related studies” to apply.

CAM’s Advocacy Activities

CAM helped organize with the American Baptist Churches of USA a prayer service and rally to support Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, who was unlawfully detained in Burma.

Radio Free Asia interviewed Mr. Hmung on the passage of U.S. Appropriation Act FY23, which includes not less than $136 million assistance for Burma.

Voice of America (VOA) Burmese interviewed Mr. Hmung on the NDAA/Burma Act FY2023.

DVB TV News interviewed Zo Tum Hmung on the Appropriation Act FY23, which includes not less than $136 million assistance for Burma.

DVB TV News interviewed Zo Tum Hmung, Executive Director. This is related to the Prayer Service at the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC and the protest in front of the Burmese Military Attache in Washington, DC demanding the release of Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, Rev. Thian Lian Sang and others.

Mr. Zo Tum Hmung at the protest in front of the Burmese Military Attache in Washington, DC demanding the release of Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, Rev. Thian Lian Sang and others.

Join CAM in our Advocacy Activities! 
CAM is investigating and documenting the situation of the Chin ethnic and religious minority in Myanmar/Burma and the Burmese military’s atrocities against them. Based on its latest report, CAM advocates the U.S. government to engage in the following: 

1. To provide humanitarian assistance to Chin State, Sagaing Region, and other conflict-affected areas in the form of cross-border aid via Mizoram, India and other neighboring countries.

2. To organize a Congressional fact-finding delegation to the Indo-Burma and Thai-Burma border areas to investigate and document the situation of Chin and other internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

3. To put robust pressure on the Burmese military to cease the persecution of the Chin people in Chin State and Sagaing region, in particular the burning of churches and residences and the killing of pastors.

4. To investigate and document the Burmese military’s atrocities against the Chin people, which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, as a necessary step to ensure accountability for the military, the State Administrative Council, and any affiliated entities.

Join CAM’s efforts in advocacy by writing a letter to your congressman/woman and ask them to write a letter to Secretary Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power urging the following: 

1. To put pressure on the Burmese military a) to allow the UN agencies including UNHCR to go to Chin State to deliver humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons in Chin State, Burma, especially in Thantlang townships. We learned that UNHCR has sought a travel authorization from the military to travel to Chin State, but the military has not granted it.
b) to permit the UN agencies to establish offices in Chin State immediately, especially UNHCR in Hakha, the capital of Chin State.
c) to halt the inhuman acts and also hold accountable the military  who committed crimes. 

2. To engage India to allow UNHCR in New Delhi to register over 20,000 newly arrived Chin refugees in Mizoram State, India and also to deliver aid to both the refugees and the local communities that are welcoming them.

To learn more ways to advocate with CAM, click here

In 2020 and 2021, CAM produced three reports: After the 2021 Military Coup in Myanmar/Burma: Challenges for Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees; Unsafe: Chins Seeking Refuge in Malaysia; and New Delhi, India; and Unprotected: Chin IDPs in IDPs in Chin and Rakhine States, Myanmar/Burma. CAM continues to advocate that the crimes against the Chin people in Myanmar/Burma are crimes against humanity and should be brought to the IJC and the ICC. 

CAM’s newest report, Seventeen Months After the Military Coup in Myanmar/Burma: Escalating Persecution of Chin Christians in Chin State and Sagaing Region, was released June 2022 and documents the Burmese military’s atrocities against the Chin people, including the burning of churches and killing of pastors. 

Map of Chin State, Myanmar
Map used from The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census Chin State Report


Map of Mizoram State, India
This map is derived with permission from a Human Rights Watch (HRW) map of Chin State, Burma, and Mizoram State, India. ©2008 John Emerson/HRW

About CAM

The Chin Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAM) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Ellicott City, Maryland with a Washington, DC office.  CAM empowers the Chin communities in Maryland to be successfully integrated into American society. CAM also advocates for durable solutions for Chin and other refugees and internally displaced persons, and religious freedom and human rights in Burma.

Chins, virtually all of whom are Christians, are an ethnic nationality from Burma. They became Christians primarily due to the missionary efforts of the American Baptist Churches USA. They are a major recent U.S. refugee group that fled from Burma to neighboring countries to escape ethnic, political and religious persecution by the Burmese military since 1962. In 2001, about 1000 Chin asylees came to the U.S through Guam, resettling largely in Maryland, Indiana, Florida, and Texas. Since 2002, the U.S. has resettled many more Chin refugees coming through Malaysia and India. Chins now number 70,000 across the United States, with about 5,000 making Maryland their home.



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