(Washington, D.C.) April 1, 2012 — The Chin people in Mizoram State, India, live in a protracted, urban refugee situation and face daunting problems related to protection, livelihood, health, and education. While many of them have been there for years, new arrivals continue to flee into Mizoram, including many youth who are fleeing forced conscription by the Burmese military.
Since 1988, tens of thousands of Chin people have fled from Chin State, Burma, seeking refuge in neighboring Mizoram State, India. Fleeing the widespread and persistent ethnic, political, and religious persecution by the Burmese military regime, their numbers in Mizoram have grown to an estimated 100,000. The Chins seeking refuge make up almost 10% of Mizoram's population, which is 95% Christian.
While Mizoram is known in India for its natural beauty and high literacy rate, the state is less well known to people outside of India. Mizoram is a landlocked, mountainous state among the remote seven northeastern states of India. The northeastern states are connected to the rest of India by a narrow strip of land between Nepal to the north and Bangladesh to the south. Chins in Mizoram State have for the most part been out of sight and out of mind for the international community.
We have been moved by the courage, resourcefulness, and deep faith of the Chin people and encouraged by the compassion, hospitality, and deep faith of the people in Mizoram. Our hope is to be a catalyst for concerned governments, churches, and organizations to join together with them in good faith to address the protection and humanitarian challenges of the Chins in Mizoram and to reduce the humanitarian burden on Mizoram State and India.
A roundtable approach is solutions oriented. The people involved talk and listen to one another with openness and respect, come to know one another, build working relationships and trust, place challenges of mutual concern in the center of the table, and work toward a common understanding of those challenges, and of how to meet them together.
Seeking Refuge: The Chin People in Mizoram State, India
by Matthew Wilch and Zo Tum Hmung.
For further reading, please visit chinseekingrefuge.com