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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Zomis (Chins) in Burma

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Date(s) Item
Aug 1990 Burmese rebels appealed to donor countries to cut off aid to Rangoon and halt investments until Burma's military government hands over power to the winners of May elections. A rebel spokesman, Michael Thangleimang, the Secretary of the Chin National Front (CNF) stated, "Our military rulers will never hand over power unless holding on proved too costly for them. They do not care very much for international opinion, but they would care if aid was cut off" (Reuters, 08/22/90). Japan and Germany are the main aid donors to Burma. The CNF is a part of the 23-member coalition, the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB), which was formed in November 1988. Thangleimang said the DAB did not participate in the elections because "we had no illusions about the military rulers". He was in New Delhi to discuss the situation in Burma with Indian political parties.
Jun 1991 The latest results broadcast by Rangoon Radio indicate that the two parties of the Chin minority group -- the Zomi National Congress (ZNC) and the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) B won 2 seats each in the elections for the 485-seat national parliament (BBC, 06/21/91).
Jan 1992 Tarn Thang Lian Paul, a former parliamentary representative and the General Secretary of the ZNC, has been expelled from the party (Xinhua News Agency, 01/26/92).
Mar 1992 Based on the submission of the Election Commission, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has abolished 9 political parties including the ZNC and the CNLD for various reasons. The Commission has also revoked the registration of some political parties. In scrutinizing political parties, the Election Commission stated that some have been unable to present specific party membership and party branch lists, others have even been unable to specify their party's political aims and objectives, and some of their responsible personnel have been found to be lacking in abiding by existing laws. Other parties reportedly had neglected their organizational activities because they thought their party's standing was based on representatives being elected. These parties have either failed to send lists of party strength or were not able to clearly present their political philosophy and programs.
Feb 1993 During January of 1993, more than 45 hectares of poppy plantations were destroyed in northwest Myanmar's Chin state. In the past four years, Burmese police forces have destroyed over 2800 hectares of poppy plantations throughout the country (Xinhua News Agency, 02/07/93).
Apr 1994 The 700-member national convention which has been meeting since January of 1993 has approved new guidelines on the structure of Burma's political system. The national convention consists of eight groups which represent national races, peasants, government servants, political parties, and those who were elected during the 1990 elections. The new guidelines state that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar will be comprised of seven states and seven regions and will be governed by an executive president. The seven states will each be associated with an ethnic group (the Shans, Kayins [Karens], Rakhines [Arakanese], Mons, Chins, KaChins, and Kayahs). The seven regions are mostly inhabited by Burmese people. Each of the states and regions will have its own legislature, judiciary, and administration. The national convention did not indicate when these new guidelines will be put into effect. As of early 1996, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) still holds power in Myanmar (Asian Political News, 04/11/94).
Aug 1996 The founder and former President of the Chin National Front (CNF) is in the custody of the SLORC. He was living in Mizoram (Japan Economic Newswire, 08/31/96).
Jan 1997 Representatives of fifteen ethnic groups from across Burma, including the Chin National Front (CNF), attended a meeting in Karen-held territory on January 15. The groups signed the Mae Tha Raw Hta agreement which calls for the establishment of a democratic, federal union in Burma. Among those present at the meeting were representatives of the Wa, KaChin, Karenni, and Mon groups with whom the ruling junta has signed ceasefire agreements over the last few years. The delegates also expressed support for Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and for the need for a tripartite dialogue between the Burmese regime, the NLD, and ethnic groups. The State Law and Order Restoration Council’s (SLORC) efforts to draft a new constitution were described as a "sham" (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97)
Feb 1997 Seventeen ethnic rebel factions including the KaChin Independence Army (KIA) and the Karen National Union (KNU) meet in KNU-controlled territory under the banner of the newly-revived National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF fought against the military in the 1970s and 1980s until the KIA signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 1992. A spokesman says that several rebel groups are set to renege on their cease-fire deals and resume fighting. Reports indicate that the government has launched a military offensive in Karen areas to stop the groups from reuniting (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97; Reuters, 02/06/97).
Feb 1997 The US State Department’s Human Rights Country Reports notes that there are Chins among non-recognized refugees in India’s northeastern states, particularly in Mizoram. Their presence is generally tolerated. Recent tensions between security forces and Chin National Front (CNF) insurgents operating in Burma have allegedly resulted in the detention, interrogation, and expulsion of some persons associated with the CNF (US Department of State, 02/97).
Jul 1997 The Burmese government denies accusations by the US State Department that Rangoon is persecuting religious ethnic groups including the Chins, most of whom are Christians (British Broadcasting Corporation, 08/02/97).
Aug 1997 Reports note that fighting between the Chins and the Burmese military is largely unreported. It also says Rangoon is offering rewards to Buddhists who marry Chin women and wean them away from the Christian church which is seen as the mainstay of secessionist activity (Federal News Service, 08/21/97).
Aug 26, 1997 Canada and the US have imposed economic sanctions against Burma due to its human rights record (BBC, 08/26/97).
Sep 1997 The Burmese military is focusing on recruiting students in Chin state through military-type middle schools in which orphans or young kids study. A former student says most of the 80 students at his school were sent for army training after completing the 8th standard (Bangkok Post, 09/20/97).
Jul 1998 The Chin National Front (CNF) rejects the Burmese regime’s preconditions for the opening of cease-fire talks. The preconditions include a surrender of arms by the Chin National Front (CNF) and the exclusion of political issues from the talks, with the exception of rural development (British Broadcasting Corporation, 07/22/98).
Jul 23, 1998 Chin leaders back the demand of the National League for Democracy (NLD) that a parliament, mandated by the 1990 election results, be convened (The Nation, 07/23/98).
Aug 1998 Amnesty International says that thousands of Chin refugees are fleeing to India. No further information is available (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 08/06/98).
Aug 26, 1998 Burma bans all ethnic members of the NLD from traveling to Rangoon to set up a parliament (BBC, 08/26/98).
Aug 27, 1998 Small anti-government protests, some organized by students, are held in Chin state. Anti-government pamphlets are also distributed in Haka, the state capital. Reports note that the military has laid land-mines near its border with India to monitor the actions of the Chin National Front (BBC, 08/27/98).
Sep 1998 In testimony before US politicians, U Bo Hla-Tint, a member of the opposition National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma stated that life for those living in Chin State and Sagaing Division, the parts of Burma that border India, has reportedly become increasingly difficult and dangerous. An estimated 110,000 Burmese refugees now reside in India with 50,000 currently in refugee camps and over 60,000 non-registered in the country. He says the outflow of refugees is due in part to the large-scale military buildup by the Burmese army. Since the early 1990s, over 20 new battalions of Burmese soldiers have reportedly been established in this area. In Chin State alone, there are now 10 battalions as compared to the one that was stationed there before 1988. This enhanced military presence has reportedly promoted an increase in human rights abuses. Along with the area’s militarization, a number of infrastructure projects have been initiated by the regime: the building of roads, irrigation canals and dams, which are constructed almost exclusively through the use of forced labor. Villagers have also been taken as porters to carry supplies and ammunition and freedom of movement has been severely restricted. In many areas of Chin State a de facto curfew is in effect and those who do not comply are subject to fines and arrest (Federal News Service, 09/28/98). The news report notes that the Burmese regime has glorified Buddhism to a state religion and is guilty of-- not only persecuting people of a particular belief system -- but of using religion as a vehicle to foster tension, suspicion and resentment among the country's population. The regime has reportedly instituted a system of "punishment and rewards" based upon religious affiliation. The majority of people in Chin State are Christian, as are the Kukis and Nagas of the Sagaing Division. Refugees from these ethnic groups claim that Burmese soldiers have disrupted religious services and forced Christians to build Buddhist monasteries and pagodas in Christian villages. Churches and graveyards have been desecrated by being turned into army camps. In the Sagaing Division, the regime has allegedly placed restrictions on attending church services; it has destroyed churches and religious symbols and orders Christian pastors to obtain permission before they can perform their religious duties (Ibid.).
Dec 1998 A Canadian company will conduct explorations for nickel and assorted minerals in Chin State (Mining Annual Review, 12/98).
Dec 12 - 14, 1998 Burmese opposition groups state that twenty-three ethnic and political organizations attend a seminar on National Solidarity at Thoo Mwe Klo in Karen territory from December 12 to 14. The organizations sign an agreement that calls for the abolishment of the military government, the establishment of a democratic, federal union, the convening of the parliament based on the NLD electoral victory in 1990, and a ban on foreign investment until the regime changes. A Coordinating and Organizing Committee is formed to implement the organizations’ decisions. Among those who sign the agreement are the All Burma Muslim Union, the Muslim Liberation Organization, the Arakan League for Democracy, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Chin National Front, the Chin NLD, the Karen National Union, the Shan Democratic Union, the ABSDF, and representatives of the Wa, Palaung, and Lau ethnic groups (British Broadcasting Corporation, 12/21/98).
Feb 1999 Authorities report that 25 members of various anti-government armed groups have surrendered. They include members from the Chin National Army (CNA), Chin National Force (CNF), Kayin national union (KNU), and Naga National Council (NNC) (Xinhua News Agency, 02/17/99).
Mar 1999 Jane’s Intelligence Review states that India’s intelligence organization, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), aided Burmese rebel groups in acquiring arms from Khmer Rouge members in Thailand for nearly two years. The groups include the Chin National Army, the Karen National Union, and the Arakan Army (03/01/99).
Mar 17, 1999 Myanmar's government will no longer permit Chin women the right to tattoo their faces (Japan Times, 03/17/99).
Jun 1999 Five minority groups still fighting the Burmese junta meet in Karen territory near the Thai-Burma to form an alliance. After two days of meetings, the groups agree to cooperate on military, intelligence, and political issues to unify the groups. Hosted by the Karen National Union, the meeting is also attended by the Shan State Army, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Chin National Front. A commander of the Shan State Army says that the rebels are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the Burmese forces (Agence France Presse, 06/16/99).
Feb 18, 2005 A member of the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) was interrogated by the Burmese military following the detention of leaders form the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD). (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political. 2/20/2005. "Burmese opposition radio says two ethnic group leaders questioned.")
Mar 10, 2005 Forces from the Chin National Front (CNF) ambush a Burmese military convoy, killing two government soldiers. (BBC Monitoring International Reports. 3/19/2005. "Two Burmese Soldiers Killed in Rebel Ambush.")
May 1, 2005 The Burmese regime halts construction of new Christian churches in Chin state and prohibits Chin Christians from conducting religious services at existing churches. (Source: BBC Monitoring International Reports. 5/7/2005. "Services Banned at Christian Church in Burma's Chin State.")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010