Investigation on violations of human rights in the Chin State

The information on the discriminatory restrictions and systematic violations of the rights to freedom or belief of Chin Christians was brought to the attention of the Commission through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The information was provided by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Independent Expert on minority issues and Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. According to the information, the following were alleged to have taken place or to be happening:

(a)        Discriminatory restrictions on renovating and constructing Churches

(b)        Closure of Churches and house Churches

(c)        Destruction of religious symbols

(d)        Forced labour, forced relocation and land confiscation to build Buddhist infrastructure

(e)        Violations of freedom of assembly for religious purposes

(f)        Arbitrary arrest, detention, torture of Church workers, pastors and missionaries

(g)        Induced or coerced conversion and forced assimilation through food or job security and education policies.

To investigate these allegations, the Secretary of the Commission and 2 Members went to the Chin State from 14 to 19 December 2012. The Commission team went to Phalam, Hakhar, Titain, Bar and Lonbam villages and Kalay in Sagaing Region and met with the responsible departmental heads, Christian religious leaders and the villagers. Through interviews with these peoples and visits to the locations of violations, the team was able to examine the actual situation concerning the allegations. The detailed findings of the Commission team were conveyed to the Office of the President and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for onward transmission to the Special Rapporteurs concerned.