29 January 2019
PRESS RELEASE

Over one lakh Chin refugees in Mizoram: Chakma NGOs demand amendment of the CAB, 2019

New Delhi: In a memorandum submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs today, the Chakma NGOs have urged the Government of India to further amend the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the forthcoming Budget Session starting from 31st January 2019 to grant Indian citizenship to over one lakh Chin refugees settled in Mizoram. The US based Human Rights Watch in a report, “The Chin People of Burma: Unsafe in Burma, Unprotected in India”, in January 2009 stated “the Chin population in Mizoram is estimated to be as high as 100,000, about 20 percent of the total Chin population in Chin State”.

“The number of Chin refugees in India have become at least over 1.2 lakhs over the years. Further, in November 2017, about 1,600 Chins, many of whom were women and children, fled to Lawngtlai district of Mizoram following a military offensive against the Arakan Army (AA) militants in the Chin State. While some have returned home, around 1,440 refugees have reportedly refused to return due to insecurity”.- Stated Mr Dilip Kanti Chakma, President of the All India Chakma Students Union.

About 4,000 Chin refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in New Delhi but in June 2018, the UNHCR decided to cancel the “refugee status” of the Chin refugees with effect from 1 August 2018 and that the “cessation process” would be completed by 31.12.2019 on the ground that Myanmar has now become “stable and secure” for them to return home and, therefore, they don’t need “international protection”.

In view of the serious persecution faced by the Chin minorities in Myanmar and their unwillingness to return, the Chakma NGOs have appealed to the Government of India to bring further amendment to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to include Myanmar along with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Some NGOs of Mizoram have been unnecessarily targeting the Chakmas who are indigenous to Mizoram, have an Autonomous District Council under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India and never raised the issue of the Chin refugees.

[Ends]

This statement has been issued jointly by Rashtriya Chakma Tribal Sangh (RCTS), All India Chakma Students Union (AICSU), All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF), Mizoram Chakma Students Union (MCSU), Guwahati Chakma Students Union (GCSU), Barak Valley Chakma Students Association (BVCSA), Delhi Chakma Students Union (DCSU) and Meghalaya Chakma Students Union (MLCSU).

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