CAM Monthly News Update March 2022

The Situation of IDPs and Refugees in Myanmar/Burma

The Myanmar UNHCR Displacement Overview from March 28, 2022 indicated there are now over a half a million people, 558,000, displaced inside the country and 33,600 displaced to neighboring countries since the military coup in February 2021. Factoring in displacement that existed prior to the military coup, there are now 980,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar/Burma in neighboring countries and 904,000 internally displaced.

According to UNHCR, as of March 28, 2022 there were 36,300 IDPs in Chin State and 33,600 Chin refugees in Mizoram State since the February 2021 coup . A reliable source in Mizoram informed CAM that the Mizoram government has been providing assistance to Chin refugees such as shelter and food. The number of Chin refugees in India has continued to increased.

CAM has learned from a reliable source that UN agencies in Myanmar/Burma, including UNHCR, are not allowed to travel to Hakha, Chin State to deliver humanitarian assistance to the IDPs.

On March 16, the Burmese military based in Hakha entered the village of Zokhua in Chin State and left on March 21 according to a local source familiar with the situation in Zokhua (identity not disclosed due to security reasons). The military stayed in Christian Churches including the Sang Fen Memorial Church which was built in memorial of the late Reverend Sang Fen who was one of the earliest Christian converts and preachers among Chin people under the American Baptist Mission in Chinland. The military also destroyed the church properties. CAM learned that the military were about 300 led by the Light Infantry Battalion 266 based in Hakha. All the villagers have been displaced.

On the morning of March 28, 2022, the Tatmadaw, led by Battalion 266, burned down nine homes and destroyed several others in Tinam Village. Civilians in the village have been displaced to surrounding villages, informed by a local source which is not disclosed due to security reasons.

Sang Fang Memorial Church, built in memorial of Rev. Sang Fen, one of the earliest Christian converts and preachers among Chin people under the American Baptist Mission in Chinland. The church was occupied by the Tatmadaw on March 16, 2022.
Photo by: Rev. Dr. Stephen Hre Kio

Displacement trends of IDPs (green) and internationally displaced (red) from Myanmar/Burma since the military coup of February 2021 as of March 28, 2022.
Source: UNHCR Myanmar Emergency Overview Map, March 28, 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.
Source: UN OCHA Humanitarian Update No. 11

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 March 28, AAPP indicated there have been 1,714 killed, 12,989 arrested, and 1,974 arbitrarily detained since the military coup.

On March 27, 2022, Myanmar military’s top general Min Aung Hlaing vows to ‘annihilate’ resistance groups and to intensify action against militia groups fighting the military-run government. He spoke at a military parade marking Armed Forces Day. He also urged ethnic minorities not to support groups opposed to army rule and ruled out negotiations with them. Official translation of his speech states the Tatmadaw “will annihilate them [resistance groups] to the end.”

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

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the H.R. 2471 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which includes providing $136,127,000 in assistance for Burma. The Bill is significant because it includes a commitment to “support peaceful efforts to establish… a federal union” in Burma. This is one of the first times the U.S. government has mentioned a “federal union” with regard to Burma in an official document. H.R. 2471 also makes funds available to the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (NUG), the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), as well as the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), which indicates firmly support for the prodemocracy movement in Burma and is an important step in recognizing the NUG as the legitimate government.

On March 15, 2022, the European Parliament issued a Joint Motion for a Resolution on Myanmar. The resolution urged assistance to travel through cross-border channels to ensure it gets to civilians and demanded the military junta be brought to justice and accountability for their grave international crimes.

On March 17, 2022, Members of Myanmar Democratic Network in Perth, Western Australia met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the arrangement of Senator Dean Smith le Vince Connelly, MP. Mr. Ram Tin Thei who participated in the meeting informed CAM that the delegations requested for support including humanitarian assistance, refugees, and supporting the National Unity Government, and others. The delegations are thankful to the Prime Minister for his time and support.

On March 21, 2022, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the Biden Administration has determined the atrocities committed by the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya. The statement was made at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and is the eighth time the U.S. has made a declaration of genocide. He went on to state, “it’s also important to recognize that for decades the Burmese military has committed killings, rape, and other atrocities against members of other ethnic and religious minority groups. Reports of these abuses are widespread; they’re well documented.  They’ve occurred in states across Burma.  That history, and the determination we’re making today, are fundamental to understanding Burma’s current crisis.”

The U.S. Committee for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the State Department’s determination of genocide and the gravity of the crimes, but further called the U.S. to action that holds the Burmese military accountable, including through the international legal system.

A Southeast Asian peace envoy met Myanmar’s military rulers on March 21. Prak Sokhonn, special envoy for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing. The visit was denounced by opposition groups as showing deference to the leaders of last year’s coup and disdain for the will of the people. Myanmar’s state-run MRTV in its nightly bulletin showed Prak Sokhonn and ASEAN’s secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi meeting the junta’s leader and later dining with its foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement at the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council on March 21. The High Commissioner called for accountability as fundamental to ending the crisis and stated, “Human rights violations and crimes being committed today by Myanmar’s military forces are built upon the impunity with which they perpetrated the slaughter of the Rohingya four years ago – and other, similar, operations against ethnic minorities over many previous decades.” The High Commissioner also urged more efforts to bring results from the 5-point plan achieved by ASEAN, from which little progress has been achieved. Further calls for urgent action by the international community were made.

On March 28, 2022, the Prime Minister of Australia announced they will give $95.5 million of assistance to the people of Myanmar this financial year. He discussed doing more to support the camps on the Thai Burma border as well as the Burma India border. He stated, “Our assistance is focussed on healthcare, including COVID19 support, education, food and household economic support. Our assistance reaches communities across Myanmar, but I would say particularly with the Chin, Kachin, Kayah, the Shan, right across, right across the ethnic minorities that have suffered so much.”

On March 29, 2022, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas announced more than $152 million in additional humanitarian assistance for those in Bangladesh, Burma, and elsewhere in the region affected by “the Burmese military’s genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing against Rohingya.” This came at the launch of the 2022 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis in Bangladesh. The additional funding brings the U.S. total assistance to help the plight of the Rohingya to more than $1.7 billion since August 2017, when over 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to safety in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

On March 29, 2022, President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Lee of Singapore to the White House. In a joint press conference they impressed their support of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and Burma’s return to democracy. President Biden stated, “Singapore and the United States agree that the military regime must urgently implement the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and return Burma to its path to democratic transition”.

Meeting of Members of Myanmar Democratic Network in Perth, Western Australia with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Arranged by Senator Dean Smith le Vince Connelly, MP. Mr. Morrison had visited Chin refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when he was the Minister for Immigration in 2014.
CAM’s Advocacy Activities
CAM issued a statement welcoming the assistance and urged the U.S. government to do more to help meet the UN’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan of $826 million to deliver humanitarian aid to 6.2 million displaced persons in Burma. CAM further urges members of the U.S. Congress to cosponsor the Burma Act of 2021, which includes establishing a Special Coordinator position at the State Department and to continue to support a federal union for Burma.Zo Tum Hmung of CAM was also interviewed on Voice of America in Burmese stating that the assistance is welcomed but not enough. Further, we need to advocate for the passing of the Burma Act of 2021.

CAM also issued a statement welcoming the determination of genocide made by the State Department and urged the U.S. to put more pressure on the UN Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court. Further, Zo Tum Hmung, executive director of CAM, was quoted in the Washington Post, indicating he is appreciative of the designation but warns that unless there is more accountability and pressure, the junta will only continue its crimes. “Issuing a statement is great, but it’s not enough. Time is critical, because if the military thinks the United States is too busy with Ukraine to deal with Myanmar, they will think they can do whatever they want.”

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, CAM Executive Director conducted a training with the youth of Bethel Baptist Church of Texas in Lewisville, Texas about the Burma Act of 2021 and the International Religious Freedom Summit to be held in DC on June 28-30, 2022. Mr. Hmung urged the youth to be more engaged with the advocacy with the U.S. Congress so that the U.S. will increase its efforts to help promote human rights and religious freedom in Burma.

Photo Source: CAM

CAM also issued statements in March condemning the burning of buildings and churches in Chin State and calling for accountability for the State Administration Council’s (SAC) actions, which amount to crimes against humanity and should be brought to the International Criminal Court. One statement was issued on March 8 regarding the burning of 16 houses in Dokthek Village, Chin State and the other was issued on March 30 regarding the destruction of Christian Churches in Zokhua VIllage and the burning of houses in Tinam Village in Chin State.

Join CAM in our Advocacy Activities!
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.
The Burma Act of 2021
CAM continues its advocacy in support for the Burma Act of 2021 and suggested various amendments including the principal of federalism as an amendment to the bill. To learn more about CAM’s advocacy related to this bill, please click here. The Burma Act was introduced in the Senate (S.2937) and the House (H.R.5497) on October 5, 2021.

Burma Act of 2021
(as of March 31, 2022)
The Burma Act of 2021 Sponsors Democrat
Senate (S.2937) Senator Ben Cardin 25 0 1 26
House (H.R.5497) Rep. Gregory Meeks 60 18 0 78

Join CAM’s efforts in advocacy by writing a letter to your congressman/woman asking them to sponsor the Burma Act of 2021 as amended: 

Please support the BURMA Act of 2021 by becoming a co-sponsor to the bill. This would help restore the democratically elected government of Burma. It would establish an inclusive political dialogue in Burma, which would be a step toward establishing a federal democratic union.

Please also consider the following amendments to make the Burma Act of 2021 more relevant to the current situation on the ground in Burma:

1- Establish A Federal Democratic Union of Burma
It is important that the Act mention “federal democratic union,” not just democracy. The political crisis in the union of Burma is not only about promoting democracy or human rights. For over a half a century, the Burmese military regimes have been persecuting the ethnic nationalities and the religious minorities. Resolving the political crisis in Burma is about respecting minority rights and autonomy. That is what the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) have been fighting for all these years. A “federal democratic union” would help ensure those rights are safeguarded. NUG’s duties include “establishing a federal democratic union” (see building a federal democratic union” under the Duties of NUG (

It is important that the bill restores civilian governance and ensures strong oversight over the military, but it should also mention the importance of establishing a federal democratic union that safeguards full autonomy for the internal administration of states or regions.

2- Abolish the 2008 Constitution
The Act should clearly mention abolishing the 2008 Constitution rather than reforming it (see NUG’s duties to abolish the 2008 Constitution). The ethnic political organizations and ethnic armed organizations have the same goal to abolish it.

3- Do Not Advocate for a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement
The Act should also not advocate for the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). It ceased being a just and viable instrument for maintaining peace when the military illegally took power on February 1, 2021. If included in the Act, many ethnic political organizations and ethnic armed organizations will strongly oppose it. The Act should instead advocate an inclusive peace process that would lead to establishing a federal democratic union.

4- Include engagement with Malaysia and India
Both Malaysia and India should be included in the bill because they both have a large stake in the return of refugees. According to UNHCR in Malaysia, there are 154,860 refugees from Burma, of which 102,990 are Rohingyas (, CAM’s Report, September 2020:  According to the Mizoram State government, since February 1, an estimated 20,000 Chins have fled to Mizoram seeking refuge. New Delhi has about 3,000 refugees. Besides hosting a large number of refugees Malaysia is an influential political and economic nation in the region. India likewise is very influential, as a Quad member, and the world’s largest democracy. Both countries can and should play a big role to put pressure on the military regime in Burma to change its behavior.

5- Provide Karenni State and Mon State with humanitarian assistance
The Act should provide Karenni State (also known as Kayah State) and Mon State  with access to humanitarian assistance from UN Agencies and the international community. After the February coup, Karennis have been severely targeted by the military, creating over 82,000 new internally displaced persons. Also, at least eight Catholic churches in Karenni State have been destroyed by the military.

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 RefugeesUnsafe: 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.

Join the Burma Advocacy Group (BAG) convened by the American Baptist Churches Commission on Burma Refugees by participating in their signature campaign launched on March 1, 2022. The Burma Advocacy Group (BAG) is a group of leaders from associations, churches, community groups and acting with one voice to advocate for the passage of the Burma Act of 2021. The Goal of the Campaign is to gather and submit as many signatures as possible to our U.S. Senators and Representatives to request them to pass the (revised) Burma Bill that is under consideration. The Burma Advocacy Group believes the Burma Act of 2021 is our greatest opportunity to achieve 1) an end to the human tragedy and crimes against humanity in Burma; 2) an end the brutal military dictatorship in Burma; and 3) an opportunity to achieve a federal democracy in Burma for which the people of Burma have been giving their lives.There are a few different ways you can join the signature campaign:

  1. Point your phone camera at the QR code below which will take you to the web site to sign up and submit the petition.
  2. Go to and follow the instructions to sign up and submit the petition.
  3. Facebook:  Burma Advocacy Group.  Use the QR code to sign up and submit the petition.

About CAM
The Chin Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAM) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Ellicott City, Maryland.  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.