January 28, 2009

III. Abuses Committed by the Tatmadaw  (Burmese Army)

The Burma Army arrested me. They tortured me and put me in jail for one week. They beat me on my head and ears-I still have a hearing problem. Then the army forced me to work at road construction and repair the army camp. I spent one month in the army camp. I cut bamboo, carried it on my shoulder. Then the army forced me to sign a pledge saying that if I provided the CNF with food or assistance again I would be arrested and put in jail.
-Chin man who fled Burma in 2004, now living in India [55]
We are all cultivators and agriculturists. We have to work daily for our food. But half the time we are forced to go and do labor for the army. It came to such a point that we had nothing to eat even though we were working night and day. My family of three decided to leave and migrate to Mizoram.
-Chin man who fled Burma in 2005, now living in India [56]
In my village [in Chin State] there are only 60 households left. All the others have fled. There was a time when we had about 400 households. No one can live there because of these activities of the army. There are no more young people left…People are so poor now that none of us ever has a proper meal. We mostly have to live on watery gruel.
-Chin woman from Matupi township, Chin State, Burma [57]

Restrictions on fundamental freedoms, forced labor, torture, arbitrary arrests, unlawful and prolonged detention, and attacks on religious freedom are just some of the abuses perpetrated by the Tatmadaw in Chin State. Many Chin described to Human Rights Watch the arbitrary and abusive behavior of Tatmadaw soldiers, and villagers' fear of them. The Tatmadaw control many aspects of Chin people's lives, from curtailing their freedom of movement to restricting their ability to grow food and cultivate their land without being interrupted by forced labor or coerced to plant certain crops. A Chin pastor who left Burma in February 2005 and is now living in New Delhi told Human Rights Watch, "When we meet the army we are shaking. There's no law for them. Whatever they want is law."[58]  

Extrajudicial Killings

Extrajudicial killings by the Tatmadaw in Chin State often occur in conjunction with other human rights abuses, such as arrest, torture, or forced labor. The Tatmadaw particularly target village headmen and those suspected of having contact with ethnic opposition groups, such as the Chin National Front (CNF) or its armed branch, the Chin National Army (CNA), for extrajudicial killings.

One Chin pastor reported on an incident in 2006 in Falam township. He told Human Rights Watch:

The SPDC was searching for the CNA throughout the entire township. They beat the local village council headman and shot him dead.[59]

According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, in a similar incident in March 2007, the SPDC executed three village headmen in Matupi township, after accusing them of failing to report the presence of CNA and providing support to the CNA.[60]

The Chin Human Rights Organization has documented 16 extrajudicial killings, including four children, perpetrated by the Tatmadaw and police in Chin State between 2005 and 2007.[61] None of the perpetrators in these cases have been brought to justice.

The right to life is considered a non-derogable norm under customary international law, binding on all states without exception. The right to life is protected under article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states "every human being has the inherent right to life...No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."[62] The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Burma has ratified, also protects the right to life.[63] Despite this, the SPDC is responsible for committing extrajudicial killings in Burma.

Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, and Torture

The SPDC regularly arrests and imprisons members of the Chin community, including children, to stifle political dissent, intimidate and oppress ethnic villagers, and restrict basic freedoms. To justify arrests, the SPDC largely relies on overly vague and broadly interpreted laws, some of which are remnants from the British colonial era.[64] In accordance with these laws, anyone suspected of posing a threat or opposition to the military government may be arrested and imprisoned. (Arrests of those on religious grounds are covered separately below, under "Religious Repression.")

When interrogating detainees, security forces use torture to extract information and to punish, intimidate, and degrade anyone perceived as a potential threat to the military government. Political prisoners and supporters of armed opposition groups, such as the Chin National Front (CNF) and the Chin National Army (CNA), are particularly vulnerable to torture by security forces.

S.H.T. told Human Rights Watch how he was just 16-years-old when police arrested, tortured, and detained him for three days in 2000, accusing him of being affiliated with the CNA even though he never had any contact with the CNA or other opposition groups.[65] He said:

[The police] beat me with a stick and they used the butt of their guns. They hit me in my mouth and broke my front teeth. They split my head open and I was bleeding badly. Repeatedly, they hit me in my back with their guns. Because of this, my back is still injured and I have trouble lifting heavy objects. They also shocked me with electricity. They had a battery and they attached some clips to my chest. They would turn the electricity on and when I couldn't control my body any longer, they switched the battery off. They kept doing this for several hours. They did the same thing to the pastor's son. They told me they would only stop beating us until we told them information about the CNA. We kept telling them we didn't know anything.[66] 
               

S.H.T. then spent three months in hospital recuperating from injuries sustained during his detention.[67]

On February 17, 2007, a farmer in Hakha township was returning from his fields when soldiers accused him of being involved in a shooting incident between the CNF and SPDC soldiers the night before. Although the village headman verified that he was a farmer and not a member of the CNA, the soldiers still arrested and beat him.[68]

Security forces often bind, blind-fold, and beat those they arbitrarily arrest. C.H. told Human Rights Watch how military intelligence officers arrested and beat him on October 15, 2006, after he gave money to the CNA:

[The military intelligence officers] tied my hands and covered my eyes. They slapped me and hit me. They said I was arrested because I had helped the CNA financially. After that, they brought me to Thantlang jail where I was imprisoned for one month. The entire way to Thantlang, they beat me. They kicked me in the back and slapped me.[69]

Military intelligence officers beat, interrogated, and tortured C.H. for three days. They held him for one month without charge or an opportunity to challenge the terms of his imprisonment.[70]

Despite the existence of legal structures, there is essentially no rule of law in Burma. Under section 61 of Burma's Criminal Procedural Code of 1898, suspects may be held without charge only for a period of 24 hours, and section 340 protects the right to legal representation. In practice, suspects in Burma may be held for months, if not years, without charge and are regularly denied access to lawyers. In November 1999 the SPDC arrested T.S.V. from Falam township for bringing Chin-language Christian bibles into Burma, which is prohibited under Burma's 1965 Censor Law. T.S.V. said:

I asked for a lawyer but the military intelligence officers told me I couldn't have a lawyer. Before we went to court, the soldiers covered my eyes and beat my legs. In the court, the judge just said, 'You are not allowed to bring bibles into the country but you still did this. You don't respect our laws and our country. Because of this, you are sentenced to three years in detention.'[71]

Army and detention officials force detainees to sign false confessions or statements and demand cash payment in exchange for release.[72] After a detainee is released, the SPDC continues to monitor their activities. As a condition of release, former prisoners are typically required to refrain from engaging in any sort of "subversive activity" and report periodically to the local authorities.[73] If these conditions are not fulfilled, the authorities are permitted to re-imprison former detainees without a warrant in accordance with section 401 of Burma's Criminal Procedure Code. 

N.C. from Hakha township recounted how the SPDC arrested and tortured him multiple times for his involvement in politics. In 1990, N.C. was a campaigner for Pu Lian Uk's independent party. Pu Lian Uk was a politician initially affiliated with the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD). After failing to secure the candidacy of the CNLD in Hakha township, Pu Lian Uk ran as an independent candidate and successfully won a parliamentary seat in the 1990 elections. In 1991, N.C. spent two months in detention being interrogated by military intelligence officers due to his involvement in politics. N.C. told Human Rights Watch:

[The military intelligence officers] collected some small stones and forced me to crawl over the stones on my knees. They also tied my hands together and hung me from the ceiling. They used sticks to beat me. They had a tub of water and they covered my face with a cloth and would dunk my head under the water until I fell unconscious. When I regained consciousness, they would do it again. They also used a round stick and rolled it down my shins. For the entire week, they didn't give me any water for drinking. I was so thirsty so I told them I wanted to use the toilet. When I got to the toilet I drank the toilet water.[74]

Military intelligence officers arrested N.C. again in 1996 for engaging in political discussions and held him for 13 months, torturing him in the same way. The last time members of military intelligence arrested N.C. before he fled Burma was in 2000:

They used the same tactics of torture. It is always the same. During that time, one soldier kicked me in my back and broke one of my ribs. While the military intelligence tortured me, they would say one thing, 'The Chin people must be extinguished from all of Burma.'[75]

Former prisoners remain vulnerable to re-arrest by the SPDC. N.C. told Human Rights Watch how in September 2000 the judge found him "not guilty," but said he had no authority to release him and handed him over to military intelligence.[76] N.C. spent more than seven years total in prison for engaging in political discussions. N.C. eventually fled to Malaysia. Two of his daughters continued to have problems with the military even after he left Burma. N.C. said:

The Burma Army continued to come to my house. They even beat members of my daughter's family when they came looking for me. Because of that, my daughter, her adopted daughter, and my son-in-law fled to Malaysia too. The authorities arrested another daughter of mine. I don't know if they have released her yet.[77]

The SPDC routinely arrests, imprisons, and tortures anyone involved or alleged to be supporting armed ethnic opposition groups, such as the CNF and CNA.[78]

L.U., from Thantlang township, told Human Rights Watch how in April 2001 he witnessed Tatmadaw soldiers torture all the men in his village after they discovered CNA members in the village. L.U. said:

My father is a pastor and when the students from Rangoon Bible College visit our village, they come to our house. In April 2001, they came to our house and we held a fellowship service during the night. Two CNA members came and participated in that fellowship. The CNA had never come to our house before.[79]

Later that night, an SPDC soldier made a routine check on the family's house. When the soldier entered the house, the CNA members saw him, wrestled his gun from him, and ran from the house. The soldier ran after them.[80] A half-hour later, three more SPDC soldiers raided the house. L.U. said:

[Burma Army soldiers] came in and hit me in the head with their gun. I still have a scar from where they hit me. I was bleeding a lot and fell to the floor. The army then ordered everyone outside. They forced everyone to take off all their clothes and tied everyone up with their hands behind their back in their underwear only. The soldiers arrested my father and they tied his hands and legs together. They also covered his mouth with cloth. They shot all over my house and broke our windows. Then they tried to burn down the house.[81]
[The soldiers] pulled all the villagers out of their houses and gathered everyone in the middle of the village. There are about 500 people in my village. That night, the army was so angry with us that they tortured our village. One of my friends had part of his ear cut off by a Burmese soldier. The soldiers forced all the men to take off their shirts and trousers and they beat them on their backs with an iron bar.[82]

At the time of this incident, L.U.'s father was a member of the village council. That night, the army arrested all the village council members and their families, including women and children, and took them to a detention facility in Thantlang town along with other villagers who were staying at L.U.'s house, including his wife and children. The soldiers beat L.U. and put him into a cage. Although he managed to escape and flee to Mizoram, his wife and two children were not so fortunate.[83] L.U. said:

[My wife and children] are still in jail in Thantlang. The army arrested them at the same time they arrested me in 2001 and they have been in jail ever since…My children are now nine and seven years old.[84]

Forced Recruitment and Attacks on Village Council Members

Village council members and the village council headman or president are responsible for the management of village affairs. The headman is selected by the council members or, in some areas, appointed by the SPDC or military commander in the area. The SPDC pressures members of the village council to oversee the implementation of SPDC orders. Village headmen, in particular, are required to produce villagers for forced labor and militia training, arrange food for soldiers patrolling through the village, and supply information to the government and army about the movements of armed ethnic groups in their area. Headmen who fail in any of these tasks, especially those suspected of helping ethnic opposition groups, are subjected to detention, interrogation, beatings, and torture by the SPDC.[85]

T.K.L., who fled Burma in February 2002, explained his father's position as headman in a village in Tonzang township. He said:

My father didn't want to be the village council headman but the villagers [on the village council] elected him in 2001. Once elected, it is not possible to refuse. The elected headman has to serve at least one two-year term. I think they elected my father because he is very good in the Burmese language and the headman always has to communicate with the SPDC.
The village headman holds a lot of responsibility for the actions of the villagers so it is very common for headmen to have problems with the SPDC…Now, the SPDC are building a camp [near my village] so there is a constant military presence in the village. I can't say how many times the SPDC came to our village but they came many times. My father was afraid to refuse any order of the SPDC. If he refused their order, they would take action against him. When other headmen refused orders from the SPDC, they were killed, beaten, or arrested.[86]

If villagers fail to fulfill the demands of soldiers, village leaders often suffer the consequences. In August 2007, villagers from Paletwa township could not raise a sum of money demanded by the SPDC. One woman from the village said:

Some families could not afford to pay the money demanded by the SPDC. The SPDC blamed the headman for not providing enough money. They beat him very badly. They broke open his lip and he was bleeding very badly. He was unconscious for some time. When he finally recovered consciousness, he was vomiting blood.[87]

In addition to fulfilling the demands of SPDC, village council leaders are similarly pressured by armed opposition groups, such as the CNF, to gather donations from villagers. Serious consequences befall village leaders if the SPDC suspects that they have provided such support. A Chin refugee leader from Matupi township said:

[The Chin people] are sandwiched by both sides. If the village does not pay up they will be harassed by the CNF. If they pay and the army finds out, they will be imprisoned and even killed.[88]

M.K., a former village headman from Matupi township, described the problems he encountered in October 2003 after the Tatmadaw discovered his support for the CNF. M.K. said:

The SPDC asked the village council presidents to arrange everything-get the porters, supply food-everything was on me. At the same time, the CNF came to the village, asking for tax and food. They held many meetings with the village council members. We gave food and taxes.
The Burma Army immediately arrested me. They tortured me and put me in jail for one week. They beat me on my head and ears-I still have a hearing problem. Then the army forced me to work at road construction and repair the army camp. I spent one month in the camp. I cut bamboo, carried it on my shoulder. Then the army forced me to sign a pledge saying that if I provided CNF with food or assistance again I will be arrested and put in jail.[89]

A month after the army released him, the CNF came again to his village. After he failed to report their visit to the village, the Tatmadaw ordered his re-arrest. M.K. fled to Mizoram before they could arrest him.[90]

Another former headman from Thantlang township described how the army tortured him on December 13, 2004, following a battle between SPDC soldiers and an armed opposition group. He said:

[The army] covered my head with a plastic bag-suffocating me. They grabbed me by the back of my neck. The purpose was to suffocate me. The first time they did this was for five minutes. Then they did it again, up to 15 minutes. Two or three times I fell unconscious and fell down. This kind of torture [by suffocation with plastic bag] is one hundred times worse than beating.[91]

A Chin pastor recounted how the SPDC killed one village leader and arrested village leaders from 12 other villages from Falam township in 2006 when the SPDC suspected the CNA was in the area. The authorities then ordered the 12 villages to pay 200,000 Kyat (US$170) to secure the release of the village leaders. He said:

After giving the money, the SPDC released the leaders and the situation calmed down. The authorities beat the village leaders badly during the arrest and also in jail. Their faces were all swollen from the beatings. The leaders all had to sign a statement to the SPDC promising that they would report if any foreigners came to the village.[92]

Conditions in Detention

Several former prisoners gave detailed descriptions of the harsh conditions in lock-ups and detention facilities throughout Chin State. Cells are overcrowded, unsanitary, and insect infested. Detainees are deprived of adequate provisions of food, clean drinking water, and other basic amenities. A Chin pastor who spent two months in jail in 2000 said:

In jail, we didn't have anything to sleep on. We all just slept on the concrete floor. The guards gave us two small meals of dal and a small bucket of water that we had to use both for drinking and bathing. Although it didn't seem like the water was very clean, it was all we had to drink. We could not complain. There was no separate toilet and we all slept, ate, and did everything in the same room.[93]

T.M., who was arrested by the Tatmadaw in January 2000 and detained for over a year in an army camp in Thantlang township, said:

The biggest problem in detention was that the army guards didn't give us enough food. They would only provide a little bit of rice but it had too many small stones and pieces of glass in it. Only after we picked all these stones and glass out of it could we eat it. The drinking water was also not so good. We were given only three cups of water. That was our drinking water and also our bathing water.[94]

Due to the harsh conditions of detention, prisoners in Burma are susceptible to illnesses and poor health. Although Burma's Prison Manual provides prisoners the right to medical treatment, in reality such treatment is limited or denied.[95] One former Chin prisoner, who spent almost three years in detention in Kalaymyo from 1999, told Human Rights Watch that officials refused to allow him to see a doctor or receive medicine when he was sick.[96] 

Prison Labor Camps

In Burma being sent to a hard labor camp is like getting a death sentence.
-Former village headman from Chin State [97]

There are at least three prison labor camps located in Chin State: two in Falam township and one in Hakha township. [98] Prison labor in Burma is typically reserved for "convicted" prisoners or criminals as opposed to political prisoners. Those sentenced to "prison with hard labor" are required to perform physically strenuous and dangerous labor for the Tatmadaw with little rest, food, or other provisions. Prison laborers are either taken to prison labor camps or kept in segregated areas of regular detention centers.

A former inmate who in 2000 to 2001 spent more than a year detained in a Kalaymyo detention center, where prison laborers are detained along with regular prisoners, described the treatment of those sentenced to prison labor:

During the rainy season in July and August, the Burma Army kept us upstairs and they held the ones going for hard labor downstairs. Everyday there were five or six people dying downstairs because of the hard work they had to do during the rainy months. The prison laborers suffered from malaria and other diseases. Whenever an inmate died, they wouldn't open the lock at the prisoner's ankle to release the body from the other prisoners who are chained together. They just chopped the leg off and wrapped the body in a blanket and threw it away.
The prison laborers had to work in the field cultivating rice. Some people who are big, the army made them work as a horse to pull the tractor. The inmates who were sent for hard labor had to work on the vegetable plantations. When it was time to harvest, the police took all the vegetables and sold them in the market. They just kept all the money. [99]

As a member state of the United Nations (UN), Burma is deemed to accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of its foundational documents. According to article 9 of the Universal Declaration, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." The Universal Declaration's rights have been codified into widely-ratified international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Burma is not a party.[100] According to article 9 of the ICCPR, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention."[101] The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Burma has ratified, prohibits the arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of children.[102] Children must also be protected from all punishment on the basis of the opinions or the activities of their parents.[103]

The ICCPR also provides procedural protections to those deprived of their liberty, including "a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal," mirroring article 10 of the Universal Declaration.[104]

Other international instruments, such as the UN Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (Basic Principles), UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Body of Principles), and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Standard Minimum Rules) provide basic standards for the treatment of prisoners relating to personal hygiene, food rations, clothing and bedding, access to medical treatment, and prohibition of torture.[105] The treatment of prisoners in Chin State falls far below the standards elucidated by the UN.

By conducting arbitrary arrests, denying basic legal procedural protections, and subjecting prisoners to torture and inhuman conditions, the SPDC is in contravention of international norms, as well as customary international law. 

Forced Labor

If there are 365 days in a year, the SPDC calls us to work for them 165 days. That leaves us only with 200 days for ourselves. 
-Chin woman from Thantlang township, Chin State, Burma [106]
We are like slaves. We have to do everything [the army] tells us to do.
-Chin man from Matupi township, Chin State, Burma [107]

Burma joined the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1948. In 1955, Burma ratified the 1930 Forced Labor Convention (No. 29). Article 1 of this Convention states, "Each Member of the International Labor Organization which ratifies this Convention undertakes to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labor in all its forms within the shortest possible period." As a member of the ILO, Burma has a duty to respect the provisions contained in the ILO's eight fundamental or core conventions, which includes the 1959 Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (No. 105).[108] Burma is also a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that children be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development.[109]

Pursuant to its obligations under international law, in May 1999 the military government issued Legislative Order No. 1/99 on the Eradication of Forced Labor, making forced labor illegal.[110] Despite such measures, the military government has consistently failed to uphold its obligations to prevent forced labor.

In 1991, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) reported to the ILO the commission of serious and extensive forced labor abuses in Burma. Following an independent ILO investigation in 1999 that found conditions in Burma "grossly incompatible" with ILO membership, the ILO adopted a resolution in June 2000 calling on all ILO constituents-governments, employers, and workers-to end any activity that might encourage or enable Burma's military government to commit forced labor violations. In the face of such sanctions, the SPDC issued another order, Order Supplementing Order No. 1/99, which reaffirmed the criminality of forced labor.[111] On February 26, 2007 the ILO established an individual complaint mechanism to report violations and seek redress for violations of forced labor in Burma.

According to a March 2008 ILO statement, forced labor continues to be a serious problem in Burma.[112] In 2007, the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), which monitors and documents violations of forced labor, collected 3,405 cases of forced labor in Burma, 1,053 of which occurred in Chin State.[113] Despite this, the SPDC denies the existence of forced labor in Burma. In June 2006, the SPDC Minister for Information said, "Tatmadaw men are doing everything in accordance with laws and rules…Forced labor is never used."[114]

Article 2(1) of the 1930 Forced Labor Convention (No. 29) defines forced labor as "all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily." In Chin State, village headmen typically receive orders from Tatmadaw officials, including local army unit commanders and Tactical Commands I and II, requiring a certain allotment of workers. The village headman is responsible for collecting workers from each household. Those called for labor are assigned to work on government projects without compensation or daily provisions and under threat of punishment. The army arrests Chin villagers who fail to comply with orders for forced labor.[115]

Forty-four Chin interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they worked as forced laborers for the Tatmadaw and 52 reported having served as forced porters for the Tatmadaw. A cross-border trader from Paletwa township described the problem of forced labor in Chin State:

Sometimes [the Tatmadaw] calls us to work one to two times a month... Sometimes we only have to work for three days…Sometimes we have to go for one month. Other times we have to build houses for the SPDC soldiers, or construct fences for the army camp, or build their duty posts. They don't provide anything for us. We have to bring everything with us-our food, the tools to do the work-everything. The person responsible for overseeing the laborers is the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) so the VPDC can excuse someone if they are too sick to work. If someone doesn't work, then the VPDC will ask for food or for money instead.[116]

Forced labor is particularly common in rural villages where Tatmadaw officials call up laborers many times in a month and force them to work for prolonged periods of time sometimes without breaks until the job is done. As a result, many Chin are unable to tend to their fields or maintain their personal livelihoods.

L.T.P., a 32-year-old woman who left Falam township in 2003, said:

We have to do a lot of work for the SPDC without getting paid any salary. We have to work for one full day and then we cannot do our own work for that day. Sometimes they called me one time per week; sometimes two times in one week.[117]

The jobs assigned to forced laborers are often time-consuming, physically strenuous, and dangerous. Chin interviewees described constructing army camp barracks, sentry posts and other buildings, digging trenches, working on road construction which includes the task of breaking up large rocks and sorting them, cutting wood in the forest, and working on tea or jatropha plantations.

Tea and Jatropha Plantations

As in other parts of Burma, the military government has increased efforts to develop potentially lucrative tea and jatropha plantations in Chin State. [118] According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, some 14,000 acres of land in Chin State have been designated by the SPDC for developing tea plantations. [119] In some instances, army officials confiscate land for these plantations from villagers without compensation. SPDC officials order villagers to purchase seeds and work the fields. The villagers, however, never receive any portion of the yield and are punished if the yield is insufficient.

A man from Matupi township said the SPDC was forcing people to plant tea and Jatropha when he left Burma in September 2006:

[The Tatmadaw] is forcing us to make plantations of tea and Jatropha whether we want it or not. I had to plant Jatropha. We had to buy the saplings and plant them on our land. Then we had to water it and make sure they survive. This we do every day at the cost of our food crops. I planted them in August, which is actually not the time to plant.
The first saplings died and then we had to do a second round of planting. We are like slaves. We have to do everything the soldiers tell us to do. [120]

Another Chin from Matupi township further described to Human Rights Watch the difficulties Chin villagers face as forced laborers on these plantations:

               

The Burma Army gave us free tea seedlings to plant which we had to plant whether we wanted to or not. But the seedlings were not good and they all died after we planted them. Then the army forced us to buy saplings again and plant. They made our village buy 8000 saplings for one hectare of land. Altogether we had to fill eight hectares of land. We had to buy one sapling at the rate of 25 Kyat…
As the soil is not good in our village we had to go with these saplings to a place about two days walk away. We camped there and planted the tea. That's why people are all fleeing. We are spending our whole time doing the unpaid work for the Burma Army which does not even provide food...
The Burmese government sanctions the loan to the villagers to buy the saplings. Hardly a week passes by before they start pressuring the village headmen to pay back the money. Then they threaten if the people cannot pay it back. It's hell. [121]

One woman told Human Rights Watch how her father and brother are unable to support their family on their salaries, but the soldiers continue to force them to work planting tea leaves in the plantations. She said:

If the crops are not successful, then my family needs to pay fines. We even need to buy the seeds to plant in the fields. If we can't pay the fines or buy the seeds, the SPDC just take it from the salaries of my father and brother. No one can own anything privately in Burma. The SPDC even takes the land away from the rightful owners to grow their own plantations. [122]

In some areas of Chin State, the SPDC requires villagers to pay money to support the military government's bio-fuel program. [123]

Children, the elderly, and the infirm are not exempt from contributing labor on government projects.[124] A 74-year-old man said he fled Burma in 2003 because of forced labor and arbitrary fees.[125]

I recently fled to Mizoram after I could not take care of myself any longer. I could not do forced labor and had to keep paying fines. … As an old man there is no way for me to get money to pay up to all the demands…. [The army] made us buy the tea saplings and plant them. We have nothing to eat but for months on end we have to keep ourselves busy doing all this government forced work.[126]

The only way to avoid forced labor is by paying an arbitrary amount of money to Tatmadaw officials. Those who cannot work and also cannot pay are subject to arrest for failing to obey Tatmadaw orders.[127]

Some say that they were beaten and mistreated by the Tatmadaw during forced labor.[128] One man from Falam township described how the SPDC beat his brother because he was unable to work:

The SPDC often called my elder brother for work but he had health problems. He has a mental disorder and also weak lungs. One time in 1994 or 1995, the SPDC called for laborers and my brother told them that he could not go because of his poor health. They wouldn't listen to him so they beat him. They kicked him and beat him with their guns. My brother had a lot of bruises and his face was swollen. After that, my family decided to move to [a village in Sagaing Division].[129]

                                                                           

In the new village, however, his family continued to have problems with forced labor:

Sometimes they call the entire village to work for a short time- maybe two or three days. Sometimes the SPDC decides to show off their power by making all the villagers leave their own work in order to do work for the SPDC. If we don't have the time to do the work, then we have to pay a fine through the village leaders. The SPDC, however, is always ready to beat the people. They always have their guns ready.[130]
               

Forced Portering

According to interviewees, the SPDC forces many Chin, including children, to serve as porters, carrying equipment, supplies, food rations, and other items for soldiers patrolling from one village to another. Several interviewees told Human Rights Watch that the Tatmadaw called them to porter at least once a week.[131] One woman from Falam township said:

Every time the SPDC soldiers come to our village they make us porter for them. [132]

Frequent demands for forced labor and portering interfere with people's ability to earn their livelihoods. Farmers and their families, who depend on their harvests for their sustenance and livelihoods, are particularly affected.[133] S.H. told Human Rights Watch how he and a dozen other farmers in Hakha township tried to avoid portering during the harvesting season by hiding. The SPDC found them and arrested them. S.H. said:

[The Tatmadaw] also arrested and beat all the village council members. We were all beaten badly. [The soldiers] used a stick to beat us. They didn't give us food for three days.[134] 

The SPDC released them only after "the pastor appealed on our behalf" and provided 300,000 Kyat (US$250) to the authorities.[135]

Women are particularly at risk of sexual violence and other abuses as porters. The Women's League of Chinland, a nongovernmental organization focusing on the human rights of Chin women and girls, documented six cases of rape against Chin women serving as porters for the army committed between June 1993 and January 2003.[136] A Chin woman from Thantlang township told Human Rights Watch how soldiers beat her when she was a porter in April 2006:

The army has called me many times to porter, more than 10 times. When I cannot carry their bags, they beat me. [The soldiers] get angry and slap us and kick us. They tell us to go faster. Normally, I'd have to porter for two to three days. It's not possible to refuse. One time I tried to refuse to go because I was so tired and the things we are made to carry are very heavy. When I tried to refuse, they beat me. They said, 'You are living under our authority. You have no choice. You must do what we say.'[137]

C.B.T., who was forced to porter since he was 16-years-old, described to Human Rights Watch how the soldiers treated porters:

I would carry rations for a day for the soldiers, carrying about 16 kilograms for twelve miles. The older boys and young men would have to carry 30 kilograms. When they could not keep up-they could not walk like an army-the sergeant asked in Burmese why they were lagging behind. The porters did not understand Burmese and did not answer so [the soldiers] beat them. They slapped them and hit them with a stick and with a gun butt. Three or four were beaten.[138]

Freedom of Association and Assembly

In Chin State, as in other parts of Burma, political expression and dissent is severely circumscribed. According to section 144 of the Myanmar Penal Code, unauthorized assemblies of more than five persons are prohibited.[139]

In Chin State, the army closely monitors the National League for Democracy (NLD), the country's largest pro-democracy party led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Since the SPDC ordered the NLD to close its offices in 1989, they have remained closed. But the NLD in Chin State continues to attract a large membership. In times of political instability, these NLD members are targeted by the military government.[140] 

In August and September 2007, many Chins living, working, and studying in Rangoon became involved in the large scale protests in Rangoon. Protests against the SPDC also took place in Hakha, Kalaymyo, and other Chin towns. In early September 2007, members of the NLD led demonstrations in Hakha, Chin State. The authorities later questioned and banned five NLD leaders from future gatherings.[141]

Despite a heightened military presence, on September 19, 2007, 200 monks marched through the streets of Kalaymyo in Sagaing Division, where the population is mostly Chin.[142] Thousands of Chins joined the monks during the next several days.

According to D.C.L., a Chin student leader, on September 24 about 800 students marched from Kalay University to the town center of Kalaymyo with posters calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.[143] On September 25, the government reacted harshly, D.C.L. said:

[M]ilitary officials in civilian clothes searched the campus for people participating in the protest. They were searching for me and 17 other student leaders. They had taken a video of me on September 24 and they showed my picture to my professor and he identified me. They said they wanted the 18 to report to their office. All the student leaders went into hiding. After we heard that they were searching for us, we fled.[144]

On September 27, 2007, in the midst of the crackdown, the army arrested two prominent Chin pro-democracy leaders, Pu Cin Sian Thang of the Zomi National Congress and Pu Thawng Kho Thang of the United Nationalities League for Democracy from their homes in Rangoon.[145] The Tatmadaw held them for a month at Aungtarpay Interrogation Center in Kyaikkasan, Rangoon.[146] The army re-arrested Pu Cin Sian Thang on November 21, and detained him for another week at an undisclosed location.[147]

Forced Sweeps against Chin National Front (CNF)/Chin National Army (CNA)

If the SPDC believes the CNF/CNA is active in an area, they order Chin villagers to conduct exhaustive searches for combatants or their weapons in the surrounding forests.[148] A woman from Falam township described to Human Rights Watch how the SPDC forced her family, including five of her children, to search for the guns of the rebel group in the forest for three months in 2004. The family had to spend the nights in the forest.[149]

Another woman from Falam township said the Tatmadaw severely beat her father during a similar operation in February 2005 when he was forced to participate in a sweep for the CNF/CNA. She said:

His body was bruised and swollen all over. There was lots of blood in his urine. Even now he still has some blood in his urine. He also continues to suffer from pain in his stomach.

Her family fled to Mizoram because of this incident.[150]

Once a person is identified as a possible CNF/CNA supporter, the SPDC may search for that person for years. Pressure extends not only to the person directly involved with the CNF/CNA but also to their family members and relatives. One man, whose three sons joined the CNF, told Human Rights Watch how he fled Chin State after the Tatmadaw pressured him to produce his three sons who joined the CNF. He said:

My life crumbled when the Burma Army started demanding that I call my sons back home. My three sons all joined the CNF. There was no way I could call them back. Then there was a shooting incident in November 2005 in Matupi township. The Burma Army blamed the shooting on one of my sons. Since then, the Burma Army has been haunting me, demanding that I produce my sons or face a harsh prison sentence.[151]

Religious Repression

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has ranked Burma as one of the world's worst offenders of religious freedom, designating it a "Country of Particular Concern."[152] In urban areas, churches and other religious institutions appear to operate without excessive interference. In rural Burma, the military government repeatedly demonstrates its intolerance towards non-Buddhist religions.

The introduction of Christianity, particularly the concentrated efforts of American Baptist missionaries in 1899, changed the nature of Chin society. Today more than 90 percent of Chin from Burma are Christian, with most Chin adhering to the tenets of the American Baptist Church. Chin State is the only state in Burma where a majority of the population is not Buddhist.[153]

In keeping with SPDC's ambition to create a single national identity, the SPDC suppresses the culture, language, and religions of non-Burman ethnicities in Burma.[154] In Chin State, the military government promotes Buddhism over all other religions through threats and inducements, restricts proselytizing and conversion to Christianity, interferes with worship services, restricts the printing and importing of Christian bibles and literature, destroys churches, crosses, and other religious symbols, restricts renovation and construction of church buildings, and limits Christian conferences, celebrations, and events.

T.B., a Chin pastor who served as a missionary on the Arakan-Chin border, told Human Rights Watch how SPDC forced him to worship in Buddhist temples. He said:

Twice while working in a village, SPDC soldiers brought me to a pagoda and told me to pray as a Buddhist. They would try to force me to worship their god. I told them that I am a Christian missionary and like a monk so I couldn't worship in their temples. They said that this is a Buddhist country and that I should not practice Christianity. They said, 'Why don't you worship Buddha? Why are you here if you are not Buddhist? This is a Buddhist country.' When they said these things, they also threatened me with their guns.[155]

As one Chin man from Sagaing Division explained:

                                                                                                                                                                          

It seems like the SPDC is trying to destroy Christianity in Burma. They are doing this covertly… Most of the villagers are poor and we are told by the SPDC, 'If you change your beliefs and convert into good Buddhists, then we will give you some amount of money.'[156]

Another Chin pastor, R.H., and his wife, M.T., said the SPDC authorities threatened them with imprisonment for converting a Buddhist couple to Christianity in April 2007 and they had to pay the authorities to avoid arrest. The SPDC warned them that they would be watching them closely.[157]

[T]he SPDC local authorities called the couple that we converted at night and forced them to attend one week of USDA [Union Solidarity Development Association, an SPDC controlled "social welfare" organization] training as punishment for converting. The authorities told them, 'You should not worship western gods. Only eastern gods are good for Burma.' After that, the couple was afraid to come to the church for two to three months.[158]

The SPDC actively interferes with Christian worship services in Chin State.[159] A woman from Thantlang township told Human Rights Watch that SPDC officials warned them not to worship, gather together, or pray loudly.[160] Another woman from Thantlang described how the SPDC disrupted an evening prayer service. She said:

[T]he SPDC came to the church and shouted at the parishioners that we shouldn't be going to church. They ordered us to stop our worship service. We had no choice so we all just went home.[161]

It is illegal to print or import Chin-language bibles and other religious material under the 1965 Printers and Publishers Registration Law and the 1965 Censor Law.[162] In accordance with this law, the SPDC burned 16,000 copies of Chin and other ethnic language bibles in Sagaing Division 2000.[163] One Chin man from Falam township described how the army arrested him in November 1999 for bringing about 30 Christian bibles into Burma from Mizoram.[164] He subsequently spent two years and seven months detained in a Kalaymyo detention facility.[165]

Several Chin interviewees told Human Rights Watch about the destruction of Christian churches and crosses by the SPDC in Chin State.[166] An 18-year-old girl from Matupi township interviewed in 2008 said:

The SPDC destroyed our prayer room a couple of years ago and they used the material from our prayer room to build their own houses.[167]

In other instances, Buddhist pagodas are erected on site of the destroyed church or cross, as happened in 1999-2000 in Falam township, when the SPDC pulled down a cross and in its place erected a pagoda.[168] Buddhist pagodas are built in areas of Chin State where there are very few Buddhists with money and labor extorted from Chin Christians.[169] Chin religious leaders and other Christians who fail to abide by the religious restrictions and requirements mandated by the SPDC risk arrest, imprisonment, and even death.[170] One man from Tonzang township told Human Rights Watch how the SPDC threatened to arrest him in June 2003 for trying to protect a cross they planned to destroy and replace with a pagoda.[171]

There are also restrictions on building and repairing churches in Chin State.[172] In order to build or repair a church, the community must first obtain permission from the Religious Affairs Ministry, the police, township authorities, and block-level authorities. Obtaining permission is typically an arduous and expensive process that hinders building and repair of church buildings.[173]  

Chin Christians hoping to organize religious events are similarly hampered.[174] A Chin man from Sagaing Division explained the SPDC's procedures to apply for permission to hold a religious event. He said:

First, we have to prepare an application, then we have to go to the village council to get their signature, then the village council passes the application to higher offices. We also have to pay an amount of money for permission… Whenever we organize a program, the SPDC sends the [military intelligence services] to monitor our discussions.[175]

The SPDC also uses forced labor to interfere with the Chin's religious practices. According to a farmer from Falam township who left Burma February 2008, the SPDC "forced us to do labor on Sunday as a way to disrupt our prayer services."[176] Chin Christian pastors are not exempt from forced labor and may be called by the SPDC on Sundays and religious holidays. In Falam town, one man reported that the pastor is called one to three times each month.[177] 

Restrictions on Movement

The SPDC regularly monitors the movements and activities of Chin villagers and limits travel through arbitrary restrictions. At times security forces physically abuse those who do not comply. These restrictions on freedom of movement isolate the Chin people from each other and limit inter-community contacts and associations.

According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, villagers in parts of southern Chin State are prohibited from staying at their farms overnight.[178] In other areas of the state, Chin villagers are required to obtain permission and pay money to the authorities in order to travel outside their village.[179] T.T., a cross-border trader from Paletwa township who still lives in Burma, told how villagers must pay money at the village gate to SPDC officials each time they travel outside the village.[180] There is no set fee or law governing this practice; the amount is arbitrarily determined by authorities in control of the area.[181]

At checkpoints located along all the major roads of Chin State, Tatmadaw soldiers require villagers to show their national identity cards and typically demand money. Another man from Paletwa township said:

There are a lot of checkpoints to go through and at the checkpoints they charge some fees. At every village, the SPDC charges arbitrary fees. It is very difficult to travel in Chin State.[182]

Tatmadaw soldiers also impose additional arbitrary charges on cross-border traders carrying goods from Chin State to Mizoram, and failure to comply may result in arrest.[183] No laws exist to validate the payment of such fees, but soldiers arrest people with impunity.

To cross into Mizoram at official checkpoints, Chin villagers must surrender their national identification cards and pay set fees to immigration, customs, and police officials of 200 to 2,000 Rupees (US$4.50 to $45), which are determined by the officials depending on the goods they are carrying.[184] Upon return to Burma, villagers must pay again to get their cards back.[185] This process allows the SPDC to monitor the movements of the Chin and extort more money from travelers. To circumvent SPDC checkpoints and patrolling soldiers, Chin refugees fleeing from the military cross illegally into Mizoram, typically relying on rugged forest footpaths and taking great risks along the way.

SPDC soldiers regularly confiscate money and property from cross-border traders who transport their goods in order to sell them in Mizoram. The SPDC either demands money as a "business tax" from traders who carry goods from Burma to sell in Mizoram or SPDC soldiers simply take money outright from traders.[186] K.T., a female cross-border trader from Thantlang township reported an incident in June 2005 where SPDC soldiers demanded money from her and her friend. When they could not pay, the SPDC threatened them with arrest, and took their horse and their goods worth 200,000 Kyat (US$170).[187] Products and goods extorted from traders are reportedly later sold by SPDC officials for personal profit.[188]

To monitor the movements of the Chin people, the SPDC requires all Chin households to maintain registration lists. If a family member on the list is absent during regular household checks, particularly if the family is suspected of being sympathetic to a Chin opposition group, the family is punished.[189] R.T., who left Matupi town, Chin State, in September 2006, told Human Rights Watch:

The Burma Army is doing a head count in every village. In my area they have made it mandatory for all the households to keep a list of the family members pasted on the door of the house and also to keep a copy with the family…If a person on the list is not in the house, they will raise questions about the whereabouts or if the person has fled the country, the family will have to bear the punishment, like one person of the family will be imprisoned.[190]

 All house guests must also be approved and registered with the local authorities. P.H.L., a Chin church leader living in Saiha, Mizoram, said that the system began in 2004-2005 but the government has become stricter since 2006 in order to monitor people's movements.[191] Unregistered visitors are subject to fines, beatings, and imprisonment.[192]

Forced Military Trainings and Conscription

Forced recruitment for military training has been reported throughout Chin State, particularly in areas where armed opposition groups are suspected to be active.[193] The local and regional Tatmadaw commanders order village headmen to produce a certain number of trainees, typically men between the ages of 35 and 45 but also women, younger men, and children. Trainees are required to report to army camps or a village common area, such as a football field. The trainings last between one to eight weeks during which time trainees are supervised by Tatmadaw soldiers and forced to engage in military training exercises.

These types of trainings are periodically organized by the Tatmadaw for the stated purpose of promoting national unity and to prepare villagers to provide military support and village protection when called. In some instances, the Tatmadaw force villagers to perform village sentry duty after completing a training program. The only way to avoid the trainings is to pay substantial sums of money to the authorities. Otherwise anyone who fails to attend military training risks arrest and imprisonment.[194]

R.T., who left Chin State in September 2006, described to Human Rights Watch the trainings he experienced in Matupi township, and said that those who ran away from the training camp were subject to a three-year prison sentence.[195]

Nineteen-year-old C.B.T. from Thantlang township explained how the SPDC ordered the forced recruitment of men, women, and children over the age of 16 from his village to participate in a two-month training program. He said:

[The police] came to our village four or five times. They held discussions with leaders from several villages and collected young people. When they can't find [recruits], they beat the village council headman with wooden batons. Then they collect youth as they want. …Sometimes if the police want to call some girls, they already know where the girls are living and select their own, with the army soldiers accompanying them to the house. When the young people are collected they are shaking in fear, but they don't cry. Some of the girls cry when they return.[196]

C.B.T. said that the army trained about 250 children and young people from 18 villages during a two-month course in September 2004 in a particular village in Thantlang township, followed by another 180 people in November-December 2004. When the army summoned him and his younger brother to attend a training in January 2005, they fled to India.[197]

A woman from Thantlang township said the SPDC forced women to attend trainings that took place in her village during 2004-2005. She said:

We had to do everything the same as in a military training. We had to learn how to shoot, how to crawl, everything… The authorities beat many people during the training. One person was ill and they still forced him to attend. He was so weak and could not move very fast. I saw them slap him and hit him. Because I was watching them do that, they slapped me.[198]

Since all villagers must contribute money to feed the trainees, some families go into debt, and some send their children to Mizoram to find work.[199] Interviewees identified forced trainings held by the SPDC and agents of the SPDC as a major reason for people leaving their villages in Chin State. As one interviewee said in August 2006:

Because of [these trainings] the younger men have all left their homes and run away to other places. Only women, the old and feeble, and children are left in the villages.[200]

Conscription of Child Soldiers

Human Rights Watch's October 2007 report, Sold to be Soldiers, documents the widespread forced recruitment of children into the military in Burma, often by soldiers or police who are ordered or induced to fill battalion recruitment quotas by their superiors.[201] Despite extensive evidence to the contrary, the SPDC denies the presence of child soldiers in its armed forces. Although the military government established the Committee for the Prevention of Military Recruitment of Underage Children in 2004, the SPDC has failed to take concrete action to eliminate the practice of conscription of children into the military.  

As in other parts of Burma, Chin children are highly vulnerable to being forcibly recruited into the Tatmadaw.[202] Two former Chin soldiers serving in the Tatmadaw reported a significant presence of children within their respective battalions. S.K. said 20 soldiers in his battalion at the time of his desertion in 1994 were under the age of 18.[203] Another former Chin soldier said at least 80 soldiers in his battalion in 2003 were younger than 18.[204] A 37-year-old man from Falam township told Human Rights Watch how the army forced his sister's son into the army in 2005 when he was 16-years-old:

                            

He was traveling by train to look for work when the SPDC took him. When the army took him, he was only 16-years-old. Until today, they still haven't released him. His mother only heard that he was doing okay but she hasn't received any other information from him.[205]

The 1959 Conscription Act authorizes conscription to the Tatmadaw for a period of six months to two years of men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27. Particularly in the face of high desertion rates, the army relies on conscription policies to maintain a strong military presence throughout the country. In Chin State, forced military conscription is another reason many are fleeing, as confirmed by a female Chin community leader in a 2006 interview with Human Rights Watch:

There is forced conscription going on now even in the city and towns-before it was confined to the remote villages. People don't want to join the Burma Army anymore. This is forcing more and more people to flee the country.[206]

Extortion and Confiscation of Personal Property

Many times the SPDC force us to give them our chicken or rice. They come and ask for these things. If we don't give it freely to them, they just take it. They will kill our chickens in front of us and take it all.
-An 18-year-old girl from Matupi township, Chin State, Burma [207]
                                                                                                                        
We also have to pay many, many taxes. If we can earn 1,000 Kyat (US$0.80), then 500 (US$0.40) goes to SPDC.
-Chin woman from Thantlang township, Chin State, Burma [208] 

Chin interviewees indicated that soldiers take whatever they want when they patrol through their villages regardless of the owners' consent.[209] Cattle, chickens, pigs, and other livestock are the most commonly confiscated items. Human Rights Watch spoke with one man who cited these problems as the reason that led his family to flee from Falam township:

Actually, the reason my family and I moved to [a village in Sagaing Division] is because of the difficulty of living in the Chin Hills because the SPDC would come so frequently to our house and demand our cattle and chickens. We couldn't survive so we had to move. We lived in Falam for five years and the SPDC came at least 30 times. They took whatever they wanted.[210]

Local and regional army commanders also order villagers to provide supplies to soldiers. According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, during the first week of July 2007, the SPDC ordered villagers in Matupi township to provide three cups of rice and one chicken to the SPDC every month. The order came wrapped around a bullet, a clear warning to villagers of dire consequences should they fail to fulfill the demands.[211] In June 2008, the SPDC ordered 11 villages in Matupi township to provide nine tins or 117 kilograms of rice despite increasing food shortages in the area.[212]

One man told Human Rights Watch that the military in 2006 took his father's land and house in Matupi township, forcing his family to move to a rented house.[213] Reports by Chin organizations confirm the confiscation of Chin people's land to make way for army bases, training fields, and other SPDC projects.[214]

Soldiers and SPDC authorities also extract large sums of money from Chin villagers through arbitrary and excessive "taxes," bribes, fines, and fees. A Chin woman from Paletwa township further explained the arbitrariness of taxes or fines collected by the SPDC:
[The SPDC] collects money-maybe 300-500 Kyat (US$0.25-0.40) from each house-every time they come to our village, which is about two to four times a month. These are orders, not a request. We are afraid to refuse the orders of the SPDC so we just give them whatever amount they demand. We do not want them to make trouble for us. If someone is too poor, the village council will borrow money from the other households in order to provide for those who cannot pay.[215]

Constant demands on villagers to sacrifice food, livestock, property, and money to give to the SPDC have made it difficult for Chin to survive in Chin State. A 19-year-old Chin woman, who was forced to leave school in order to find work as a cross-border trader to support her family in Burma, said:

Our main expenses are food and paying fees to the SPDC. The SPDC makes us pay about 500 to 1,000 Kyat (US$0.40-0.80) per house per year in addition to other fees. We have to pay whatever the soldiers ask for because we are afraid that they will beat us or arrest us.[216]

Sexual Harassment and Violence

The army would come to my village. Everyone was scared. When they are around the women all stay inside their homes and they dare not come out and expose themselves for fear of rape and molestation.

                -Chin woman who fled Burma at age 15 in 1999 [217]

Chin women and girls live in fear of rape and other forms of sexual violence by Tatmadaw soldiers. Several Chin women described to Human Rights Watch the level of fear in their village during Tatmadaw patrols.[218] One woman from Thantlang township said:

Whenever the army comes to my village, most of the women hide. Otherwise, they call all the women and search our bodies. We are also afraid they might try to sexually abuse us.[219]

The Women's League of Chinland, a nongovernmental organization focusing on the human rights of Chin women and girls, documented 34 cases of rape against Chin women and five cases of rape against Chin girls committed between 1989 and June 2006, a majority of which took place near army camps.[220]

A 19-year-old Chin man from Matupi township said the Tatmadaw soldiers harass young Chin women and girls. He told Human Rights Watch about an incident he witnessed when Tatmadaw soldiers forced him and eight others, including one girl, to sing during a festival at an army camp:

We had no choice but to obey them. While we presented our song, the soldiers jeered at and teased the girl. One of them even came forward and touched her breasts. This was humiliating to all of us and made us all angry. But there was hardly anything we could do. On the last night of the festival, the soldiers threw water on the girl who was singing.[221]

Tatmadaw soldiers are also reportedly encouraged or given incentives to marry local Chin women.[222] According to the Women's League of Chinland, the SPDC promises Burman soldiers 100,000 Kyat (US$80) to marry an educated Chin woman.[223] Such policies can lead to increased sexual harassment and forced marriages for ethnic women.

A 24-year-old Chin woman, who fled to Mizoram after an SPDC soldier tried to force her to marry him in 2002, described her experience:

One SPDC soldier proposed to marry me...He came to my house and locked the door behind him. He asked me if I would marry him. I told him that I didn't want to marry him. He kept insisting and I got scared. I managed to unlock the door and run away.[224]  

She told how the soldier returned a second time and threatened her:

[He] took me aside and pointed his gun at me and said, 'If you don't marry me, I will kill you. Even if you refuse me, I'll still sleep in your bed. You can shout but there is nothing anyone can do.'[225]

[55]Human Rights Watch interview with M.K., New Delhi, India, June 2005.

[56]Human Rights Watch interview with K.T., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, October 2005.

[57] Human Rights Watch interview with S.V., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[58] Human Rights Watch interview with N.D.T., New Delhi, India, February 2005.

[59]Human Rights Watch interview with S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[60]Chin Human Rights Organization, "CHRO Condemns Summary Executions of Three Chin Village Headmen," Rhododendron News, Vol. XI, No. II, April 12, 2007.

[61]Chin Human Rights Organization, "Villager Shot to Death by Burmese Police in Thantlang," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. V, October 12, 2007; Chin Human Rights Organization, "CHRO Condemns Summary Executions of Three Chin Headmen," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. II, April 12, 2007; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Three Bodies Found after Weeks of Arrest by Military," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. II, April 9, 2007. Chin Human Rights Organization, "Village Headman Killed, Two Forcibly Recruited as Soldiers," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. IV, July 13, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Village Headman Shot to Death," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. III, May-June 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "A 17 Year-old Boy Summarily Executed by Burmese Troops," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. I, February 1, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Burmese Soldiers Killed Two Children, Injured Six Civilians in Random Shooting," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. VI, November 14, 2005; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Villagers Flee to India to Escape Brutalities," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. III, May 5, 2005; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Innocent Chin Beaten to Death by Burmese Army," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. II, March 21, 2005; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Innocent Villager Shot to Death and Burned," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. I, February 26, 2005; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Innocent Chin Villager Summarily Executed," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. I, February 9, 2005.

[62] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted December 10, 1948, art. 3; Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted December 16, 1966 (entered into force March 23, 1976), art. 6.

[63]Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted November 20, 1989 (entered into force September 2, 1990, acceded to by Burma August 14, 1991), art. 6 (1) (stating "States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life"). In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the word "child" in this report refers to anyone under the age of 18. Article 1 of the Convention, states, "For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier."

[64]The SPDC commonly uses the following laws to justify arrests: the Emergency Provisions Act (1950), arts. 5(e) and 5(j), prohibiting the spread of "false news" and disruption of "the morality of the behavior of a group of people or the general public" or the disruption of "the security or the reconstruction of stability of the union;" The Unlawful Associations Act (1908), which includes several articles criminalizing association with certain groups, mostly of a political nature; and the 1975 State Protection Law, which allows the state to detain without charge anyone suspected of "endangering the state sovereignty and security, and public law and order."

[65]Human Rights Watch interview with S.H.T., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008.

[66] Ibid.

[67]Ibid. Chin organizations have further documented the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Chin children in Burma, see"Child Prisoners in Burmese Concentration Camp," Khonumthung News, October 22, 2008 (reporting the detention of ten children in a Kalaymyo detention facility in Sagaing Division).

[68]Human Rights Watch interview with S.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 11, 2008.

[69]Human Rights Watch interview with C.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 11, 2008.

[70] Ibid.

[71]Human Rights Watch interview with T.S.V., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[72]Human Rights Watch interview with L.L.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008 (stating, "[T]he Army told me to sign a promissory note saying, 'I will obey the government rules; I will never preach again about Jesus Christ; and I will follow whatever the SPDC officers order me to do.' I signed this paper and then they released me. I signed because I didn't have any other choice."); Human Rights Watch interview with T.S.V., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008 (stating, "I had to give the detention officials a lot of money to be released. I provided 1.5 lakh Kyat [150,000 Kyat or US$130]. If I didn't give this money, the military intelligence might re-arrest me.");Human Rights Watch interview with S.H., S.H.T., C.H., and N.C., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10-14, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with T.D. and T.B., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008.

[73]Human Rights Watch interview with T.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008 (stating, "The authorities told me that I could not leave the village and I had to sign in every month.")

[74] Human Rights Watch interview with N.C., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008.

[75] Ibid.

[76]Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with S.H.T., S.H., C.H., V.L.K., L.U., and T.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10-14, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with T.D., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008.

[79] Human Rights Watch interview with L.U., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008.

[80] Ibid.

[81]Ibid.

[82]Ibid.

[83]Ibid.

[84] Ibid.

[85]Human Rights Watch interview with S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with H.Z., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Mizoram, India, August 2006; Human Rights Watch interview with S.N. and N.L.T., Mizoram, India, June-July 2005.

[86]Human Rights Watch interview with T.K.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[87]Human Rights Watch interview with H.Z., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[88] Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[89]Human Rights Watch interview with M.K., New Delhi, India, June 2005.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Human Rights Watch interview with N.L.T., New Delhi, India, June 2005.

[92] Human Rights Watch interview with S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[93] Human Rights Watch interview with T.B., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008.

[94] Human Rights Watch interview with T.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008.

[95]Union of Myanmar Department of Corrections, "Prison Manual." Human Rights Watch interview with T.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008. See alsoAssistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), Eight Seconds of Silence, 2005, p. 25; Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004), pp. 55-56.

[96]Human Rights Watch interview with T.S.V., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[97]Human Rights Watch interview with N.L.T., New Delhi, India, June 2005.

[98] Images Asia, Karen Human Rights Group, and Open Society Institute Burma Project, "All Quiet on the Western Front? The Situation in Chin State and Sagaing Division, Burma," January 1998, http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs/Western_Front.htm (accessed July 28, 2008).

[99]Human Rights Watch interview with T.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008.

[100]Burma is a party to three core international human rights treaties: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Woman, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

[101]Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted December 16, 1966 (entered into force March 23, 1976), art. 9.

[102] Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted November 20, 1989 (entered into forced September 2, 1990, acceded to by Burma August 14, 1991), art. 37.

[103]Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 2(2).

[104]Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, arts. 9, 14, and 15; Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 10.

[105] These documents provide standards relating to prisoners on personal hygiene (Standard Minimum Rules, arts. 15 and 16; Basic Principles, arts. 1, 5, 8-10; Body of Principles, arts. 1 and 8), food rations (Standard Minimum Rules, art. 20; Basic Principles, arts. 1, 5, and 8; Body of Principles, arts. 1 and 3), clothing and bedding (Standard Minimum Rules, art. 17; Basic Principles, arts. 1 and 5; Body of Principles, arts. 1, 3, and 8), access to medical treatment (Standard Minimum Rules, arts. 22-26; Basic Principles, arts. 1, 5, and 9; Body of Principles, arts. 1, 3, 22, 24-26), and prohibition of torture (Standard Minimum Rules, arts. 27-34, 37-39; Basic Principles, arts. 1, 5, and 7; Body of Principles, arts. 1, 3, 6, 21, 30, 33, 15).

[106] Human Rights Watch interview with T.P., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008.

[107] Human Rights Watch interview with R.T., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[108] ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 86th Session, Geneva, June 1998, http://www.ilo.org/dyn/declaris/DECLARATIONWEB.static_jump?var_language=EN&var_pagename=DECLARATIONTEXT (accessed on September 26, 2008) (stating "[a]ll Members, even if they have not ratified the Conventions in question, have an obligation arising from the very fact of membership in the Organization to respect, to promote and to realize, in good faith and in accordance with the Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those Conventions, namely…the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.")

[109] Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 32.

[110]The Union of Myanmar, State Peace and Development Council, "Subject: Prohibiting Requisition of Forced Labor," Letter No. 04/Na Ya Ka (U)/Ma Nya, November 1, 2000, http://www.mol.gov.mm/8.Home/Home_link/spdc(Eng).pdf (accessed September 26, 2008).

[111]Order Supplementing Order No. 1/99, translated by Human Rights Foundation of Monland, August 30, 2001, http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs/HURFOM's_Forced_Labour_Report.htm (accessed September 26, 2008).

[112] International Labor Organization (ILO), "Developments Concerning the Question of the Observance by the Government of Myanmar of the Forced Labor Convention, 1930 (No. 29)," Governing Body, 301st session, GB 301/6/1, Geneva, March 2008.

[113]Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), "Forced Labor in Burma (Myanmar) Country Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work," Report to the International Labor Conference, Geneva, June 2007.

[114] "Government Has Always Been Opening the Door for Peace Talks," New Light of Myanmar, June 11, 2006, http://www.myanmar.com/press_conference/2006/11-6g.html (accessed September 26, 2008).

[115]See, "Chin Human Rights Organization's Submission to the ICFTU and ILO Expert Team on Forced Labor in Burma/Myanmar," Chin Human Rights Organization, August 31, 2005, http://eng.chro.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=210&Itemid=24 (accessed September 26, 2008).

[116]Human Rights Watch interview with L.R., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[117]Human Rights Watch interview with L.T.P., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[118] Jatropha is a small tree-like plant commonly used in bio-fuel production. In Burma, the jatropha plant is also referred to as castor, physic nut, or jet-suu. Although castor is similar in appearance to jatropha, it is a distinct species. The term "physic nut" is a direct translation of the jatropha from Greek, while jet-suu is the Burmese translation of physic nut. Jatropha and castor plantations exist throughout Burma, and Chin interviewed for this report used these terms interchangeably. Ethnic Community Development Forum, "Biofuel by Decree: Unmasking Burma's Bio-Energy Fiasco," May 2008, p. 3, http://www.terraper.org/file_upload/BiofuelbyDecree.pdf (accessed June 4, 2008).

[119] Chin Human Rights Organization, "A Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma's Chin State," July 2008, http://www.chro.org/images/stories/File/pdf/chro_report_critical_point.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

[120]Human Rights Watch interview with R.T., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[121]Human Rights Watch interview with S.V., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[122]Human Rights Watch interview with L., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008.

[123] Chin Human Rights Organization, "SPDC Collected Money from Chin Farmers," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. III, June 6, 2007.

[124]Human Rights Watch interview with Z., Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[125] Ibid.

[126]Ibid.

[127]Human Rights Watch interview with L.B.K., Lunglei, Mizoram, March 4, 2008.

[128]Human Rights Watch interview with L.H.L., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[129] Human Rights Watch interview with H.L.K., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, March 4, 2008.

[130] Ibid.

[131]  Human Rights Watch interview with C.H. and N.M.K., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 11-12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with D.K.M. and L.T.P., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with K.T., M.T., and H.K., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6-7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with N.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008.

[132] Human Rights Watch interview with D.K.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[133]Human Rights Watch interview with S.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008.

[134]Ibid.

[135]Ibid.

[136] The Women's League of Chinland, "Unsafe State: State-Sanctioned Sexual Violence against Chin Women in Burma," March 2007, http://www.chinwomen.org/publications/publications.html (accessed June 4, 2008).

[137] Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[138]Human Rights Watch interview with C.B.T., New Delhi, India, January 31, 2005.

[139]Myanmar Penal Code, http://www.blc-burma.org/html/Myanmar%20Penal%20Code/mpc.html (accessed June 6, 2008), sec. 144, ch. VIII.

[140]Human Rights Watch interview with S.C., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, October 2005. Human Rights Watch interview with S.C., New Delhi, India, January 2005.

[141]"Peaceful Demonstration in Capital of Chin State," Khonumthung News, September 5, 2007; "TPDC Authorities Warn NLD Members in Chin State," Khonumthung News, September 7, 2007.

[142]"Heightened Security in Northwestern Burma," Khonumthung News, September 18, 2007; "Chin State NLD Members under Junta Scanner," Khonumthung News, September 14, 2007; "Hundreds of Monks Protest in Kalay, Burma," Khonumthung News, September 19, 2007.

[143]Human Rights Watch interview with D.C.L. and D.C., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 11, 2008; See also Chin Human Rights Organization, "Action, Words, and Prayers: Chin Solidarity for the Protests in Burma," 2007.

[144]Human Rights Watch interview with D.C.L., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 11, 2008.

[145]Pu Cin Sian Thang and Pu Thawng Kho Thang were elected to parliament during the 1990 elections. However, they never served in the parliament because the military government nullified the 1990 election results. As outspoken opponents of the military government, Pu Cin Sian Thang and Pu Thawng Kho Thang are closely monitored by the army.

[146]"Burmese Police Pick up Two Prominent Chin Politicians," Khonumthung News, September 27, 2007.

[147]"Myanmar Opposition says Arrests Undermine Talks," Reuters, November 22, 2007; "Junta Arrest Ethnic Leaders," Mizzima News, November 22, 2007.

[148] Human Rights Watch interview with B.L., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with S.V. and L.M., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[149] Human Rights Watch interview with D.K.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[150] Human Rights Watch interview with K.C., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[151] Human Rights Watch interview with Z.H., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[152]US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, "International Religious Freedom Report- 2007: Burma," http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90131.htm (last accessed July 24, 2008).

[153] Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004).

[154] See Dr. Lian H. Sakhong, "A Struggle for Democracy, Equality, and Federalism in Burma: An Ethnic Perspective," in The Chin Forum Magazine (Thailand: Chin Forum, 2008), p. 79-80.

[155] Human Rights Watch interview with T.B., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008.

[156]Human Rights Watch interview with H.L.K., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, March 4, 2008.

[157] Human Rights Watch interview with R.H. and M.T., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[158]Human Rights Watch interview with R.H. and M.T., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[159] Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with R., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, March 4, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with P.H.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, August 2006; Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[160]Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[161]Human Rights Watch interview with R., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, March 4, 2008.

[162] Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004), p.121.

[163]Ibid., p. 74.

[164] Human Rights Watch interview with T.S.V., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[165]Ibid.

[166]The Chin Human Rights Organization documented of the destruction of three Chin churches in Magwei Division, adjacent to Chin State, and crosses in Tonzang, Matupi, Hakha, Thantlang, and Falam townships, Chin State, in 2004. Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004), p. 52-59. See also Human Rights Watch interview with L., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008 (who spoke about the destruction of a church near her town in Falam township, which was later replaced by a church). Human Rights Watch interview with P.H.L., Mizoram, India, August 2006 (who spoke about the military destroying a cross in Hakha township in 1995 and replacing it with a Buddhist statue).Human Rights Interview with B.H., New Delhi, India, June 1, 2005 (who told Human Rights Watch about the destruction of a cross near his village in Tonzang township in June 2003, which was replaced by a Buddhist pagoda).

[167]Human Rights Watch interview with N.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008.

[168] Human Rights Watch interview with M.S.S., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008.

[169]Human Rights Watch interview with A.B.P.T., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with T.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008. See alsoChin Human Rights Organization, "Seven Villages Forced to Construct Buddhist Monastery," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. II, March 1, 2007.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with M.T. and L.L.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12-14, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with K.T., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with B.H., New Delhi, India, June 2005. The Chin Human Rights Organization and Christian Solidarity Worldwide have documented more than 136 arrests and at least 2 killings of religious leaders and others due to their religious affiliations and activities. Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004), pp. 60-71; Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "Report on Visit to the Chin and Kachin Refugees in India," March 2-9, 2004.

[171]Human Rights Watch interview with B.H., New Delhi, India, June 2005.

[172]Human Rights Watch interview with Z.K., R.H., and M.T., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with M.V., K.T., and T.Z.U., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008. The Chin Human Rights Organization documented the interruption and prohibition of at least 13 construction or renovation projects of churches and religious buildings throughout the 1990s. Salai Za Uk Ling and Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Religious Persecution: A Campaign of Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma (Ottawa: Chin Human Rights Organization, February 2004), pp. 49-50.

[173]Human Rights Watch interview with M.T., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[174] Human Rights Watch interview with Z.K., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with T.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 5, 2008.

[175]Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[176]Human Rights Watch interview with M.S.S., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008. See alsoHuman Right Watch interview with R., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, October 2005.

[177]Human Rights Watch interview with S.S.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008. See alsoHuman Rights Watch interview with L.L.M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 14, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[178]Chin Human Rights Organization, "New Restrictions on Farmers and Travelers in Southern Chin State," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. IV, July 10, 2007.

[179]Chin Human Rights Organization, "New Restrictions on Farmers and Travelers in Southern Chin State," Rhododendron News, Vol. X., No. IV, July 10, 2007; Chin Human Rights Organization, "SPDC Authorities Extort Money from Travelers," Rhododendron News, Vol X, No. I, January 25, 2007.

[180] Human Rights Watch interview with T.T., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[181] Human Rights Watch interview with T.Z.U. and L.R.N.K., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6-7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.T.P., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[182]Human Rights Watch interview with T.Z.U., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008.

[183]Human Rights Watch interview with L.K.H., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.R. and K.T., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6-7, 2008.

[184] Human Rights Watch interview with L.T.P., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.R.N.K., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with H.L.K., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, March 4, 2008.

[185] Human Rights Watch interview with P.H.L., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[186] Human Rights Watch interview with L.R., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[187]Human Rights Watch interview with K.T., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008.

[188]Chin Human Rights Organization, "Officials Auctioned Off Seized Goods for Personal Profit, Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. VI, December 13, 2007.

[189] Human Rights Watch interview with P.H.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[190]Human Rights Watch interview with R.T., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[191]Human Rights Watch interview with P.H.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[192]Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Lunglei, Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[193]Chin Human Rights Organization and Khonumthung News reported on recent SPDC orders to forcibly recruit trainees in Sagaing Division, Paletwa township, and Hakha township. Chin Human Rights Organization, "Money Extorted to Finance Military Training," Rhododendron News, Vol. XI, No. I, February 18, 2008; "Burmese Police Recruit under age Youth in Western Burma," Khonumthung News, Vol. XI, No. I, February 9, 2008; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Illegal Funds Collected from Chin Public," Rhododendron News, Vol. XI, No. I, January 19, 2008.

[194] See Chin Human Rights Organization, "SPDC Conscript Villagers in Militia Training," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. III, May 17, 2007; Chin Human Rights Organization, "200 Local Civilians Train for Militia," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. V, September 12, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "SPDC Conscripted Villagers for Militia Training, Collect Ration and Money from Civilians," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. V, September 10, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Villagers Forced to Attend Two Months Military Training," Rhododendron News, Vol. IX, No. IV, July 7, 2007; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Local Residents Forced to Take Military Training," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. IV, August 7, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Civilians Forcibly Conscripted for Militia Training," Rhododendron News, Vol. VIII, No. II, April 1, 2006; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Civilians Compelled to Take Militia Training, Conscription Order Issued," Rhododendron News, Vol. VII, No. I, January 10, 2005.

[195]Human Rights Watch interview with R.T., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[196] Human Rights Watch interview with C.B.T., New Delhi, India, January 31, 2005.

[197]Human Rights Watch interview with C.B.T., New Delhi, India, January 31, 2005.

[198] Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[199]Human Rights Watch interview with S.V., Mizoram, India, September 2006.

[200]Human Rights Watch interview with T.D., Aizawl, Mizoram, India. August 2006.

[201] Human Rights Watch, Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma, vol. 19, no.15(C), October 2007, http://hrw.org/reports/2007/burma1007/.

[202] Khonumthung News reported the forced recruitment of as many as 30 children into the police forces in Paletwa township. "Burmese Police Recruit under age Youth in Western Burma," Khonumthung News, February 9, 2008. See also "Burma Still Recruiting Child Soldiers," Khonumthung News, October 31, 2007.

[203] Human Rights Watch interview with S.K., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008. Battalions in Burma are typically composed of 400-700 soldiers.

[204] Human Rights Watch interview with K.Z.T., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 12, 2008.

[205]Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[206] Human Rights Watch interview with Z., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, August 2006.

[207]Human Rights Watch interview with N.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008.

[208]Human Rights Watch interview with T.P., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008.

[209]Human Rights Watch interview with L.H.L., C.H., and N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10-12, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., and T.K.L., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with K.T., M.V., and B.R.L., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6-7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L., A.B.P., and N.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008.

[210]Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008.

[211]Chin Human Rights Organization, "Burmese Soldiers Living Off Chin Villagers", Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. IV, July 18, 2007.

[212]Chin Human Rights Organization, "Villagers Forced to Feed Burmese Soldiers Amidst Looming Starvation," Rhododendron News, Vol. XI, No. III, June 24, 2008. One tin of rice equals about 13 kilograms of rice.

[213]Human Rights Watch interview with M., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008 (stating "My father had one house located on a mountain top overlooking the town. The military wanted to take that house because it served as a good lookout point. We are very poor so we only have a small hut. Soldiers came to our house and said, 'Why don't you build a proper house? If you can't build a proper house, then we will take your land and build a real house.' In December 2006, the Burma Army forced my family out of our house. Now my family rents a house in the village.") See alsoHuman Rights Watch interview with K.T., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 6, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with L.L., Lawngtlai, Mizoram, India, October 2005; Human Rights Watch interview with S.C., New Delhi, India, January 2005.

[214] Human Rights Watch interview with S.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, October 18, 2008. See also Chin Human Rights Organization, "SPDC Seized and Demolishes Houses for Training Ground," Rhododendron News, Vol. XI, No. III, May 19, 2008; Chin Human Rights Organization, "Confiscated Village Head House for Army Camp," Rhododendron News, Vol. X, No. V, October 12, 2007; "Myanmar Army Demolishes Houses for Training Ground," Khonumthung News, May 19, 2007.

[215]Human Rights Watch interview with L.R.N.K., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[216] Human Rights Watch interview with M.V., Saiha, Mizoram, India, March 7, 2008.

[217]Human Rights Watch interview with E.H., Mizoram, India, September 2005.

[218] Human Rights Watch interview with L.M., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 11, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with N.S., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, March 2, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with S.H., Aizawl, Mizoram, India, July 2005.

[219] Human Rights Watch interview with N.M.H., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12, 2008.

[220]The Women's League of Chinland, "Unsafe State: State-Sanctioned Sexual Violence against Chin Women in Burma," March 2007, http://www.chinwomen.org/publications/publications.html (accessed June 4, 2008).

[221] Human Rights Watch interview with A.A., Mizoram, India, October 2005.

[222] Human Rights Watch interview with N.T.C., L.M., V.B.T., K.T.L., and T.D., Mizoram, India, October 2005 – August 2006.

[223]Women's League of Chinland, "Hidden Crimes against Chin Women: The Preliminary Report," March 27, 2007, http://www.chinwomen.org/pages/posts/the-preliminary-reporthidden-crimes-against-chin-women15.php (accessed June 4, 2008).

[224] Human Rights Watch interview with P.T., Champhai, Mizoram, India, March 12, 2008.

[225] Ibid.