October 26, 2023, Comment off
The Myanmar Military’s Human Rights Violations against the Chin People after the Military Coup
(From February 2021 to October 1, 2023)
From our careful observations and monitoring, human rights violations against the Chin people have worsened since the 2021 military coup d’état. The following report is made to highlight the horrible atrocities committed by the Myanmar Military and to help in the process of restoring peace and justice.
1. Deaths of the Chin People
As of October 1, 2023, the Myanmar Military has committed various human rights violations against the Chin people, resulting in the deaths of 528 Chin people. Arbitrary arrests, offensive attacks against the Chin people as if they were foreign enemies, and the use of heavy weapons and airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of 217 Chin civilians. Another 311 Chins were killed due to the clashes between the Myanmar Military and the Chin resistance or defense forces.
(a) Deaths of Civilians
From the beginning of the Myanmar military coup on February 1, 2021 until October 1, 2023, 217 Chin civilians were killed. These 217 people (38 women and 179 men) were killed by the Myanmar military’s airstrikes, landmines, heavy weapons and deadly tortures.
(b) Deaths of Underage Children
Out of a total of twenty-four dead children under the age of 18, four were girls and twenty were boys. Some of them are mentioned below.
- On August 25, 2021, a 10-year-old boy who was hiding inside his house in Thantlang was shot to death by the Myanmar Military.
- On May 22, 2022, a 6-month-old child died while fleeing the war due to an offensive operation on Mindat by the Myanmar Military.
- On June 18, 2022, a 7-month-old child died while fleeing the war due to an offensive operation on Mindat by the Myanmar Military.
- On October 19, 2022, the Myanmar Military bombed a school in Buanlung Village, Hakha Township, Chin State with a drone, killing 2 boys aged 6 and 7.
- On August 14, 2022, a 17-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy in Haimual Village, Tedim Township, were arrested by the Myanmar Military. Both were killed and buried after the sister was repeatedly raped.
- On April 10, 2023, a 12-year-old boy was among the 9 people killed in an airstrike by the Myanmar Military in Webula Town.
- On April 16, 2023, at around 4:00 PM, 2 fighter jets from the Myanmar Military dropped 17 bombs on Panpa Village, Mindat Township, Chin State, resulting in the death of a 4-year-old boy.
(c) Deaths from Landmines
Chin State is a mountainous region and farming is the main source of income for livelihood. Upland farms or plantations are made in all accessible areas of Chin State. Since the Myanmar Military placed landmines along the way to their farms, 21 Chin people have been killed from 2021 to March 1, 2023. Among them were 5 children under the age of 18, 1 woman and 15 men.
- On March 1, 2022, at around 10:30 AM, a 24-year-old man was killed when a 12-wheeler truck he was driving ran over a land mine on the Kale-Gangaw road near Setaw Village, Kale Township. (Setaw village is also known as Angteng in Chin).
- On April 2, 2022, two local men, 60 and 30 years old, were killed by a landmine on their way to the farms on Mindat-Matupi road near Makyaing Village, which is about 30 miles away from Mindat Town, Chin State.
- On September 21, 2023, a 52-year-old man was killed by a landmine on his way to the farm.
- On September 26, 2023, at around 10:00 AM, a 6-year-old boy was killed by a mine planted by the Myanmar Military near U Vom Thu Maung Park in Mindat.
The information above describes some of the 21 Chin people who died as a result of the Myanmar Military’s landmines. Looking at the types of mines that exploded, it was clear that they were not hand-made mines. Therefore, they were classified as landmines planted by the Myanmar Military.
2.Deaths of the Chin Resistance Members
When the Chin people protested against the Myanmar military’s unlawful coup on February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military responded with violent crackdowns, using a variety of deadly weapons. This triggered the emergence of the Chin resistance forces. There were frequent clashes between the Chin resistance members and the Myanmar Military. As of October 1, 2023, nearly 750 battles took place and 311 Chin resistance members have been killed due to attacks with heavy weapons, light weapons and air strikes conducted by the Myanmar Military. Within these 311 resistance members, 296 were men and 15 were women. The nature of the deaths of the 311 are as follows:
- 15 were killed by air strikes
- 23 by landmines
- 11 were tortured to death after getting arrested
- The bodies of 9 were burnt to hide evidence after they were killed
- 18 died for lack of medical treatment after getting injured
- 235 were killed during the clashes between the Myanmar Military and the local Chin resistance forces.
3.Crimes against Religion
Christianity is the main religion of the Chin people. Below are crimes committed against the Christian religious buildings and religious leaders in the areas inhabited by the Chin people, since the military coup in 2021.
(a) Atrocities against Christian Religious Leaders
The Myanmar Military killed 5 Christian ministers,3 deacons, and sentenced 1 minister to 23 years of imprisonment with hard labor under Section 505 A of the Penal Code and Section 49(a).
- On September 18, 2021, the State Administration Council (SAC) troops shot and killed a Christian minister who was helping to extinguish a house fire caused by their heavy weapons in Thantlang Town. When the body was retrieved and examined, it was discovered that the ring finger had been cut off and the wedding ring and watch had been taken.
- On September 23, 2021, another Christian priest was arrested by the SAC troops and died during interrogation due to torture. His relatives only heard the devastating news on November 17, 2021.
- On December 6, 2021, a Christian priest was arrested by the SAC soldiers and tortured during interrogation. Although he received medical treatment for his injuries sustained, he unfortunately passed away on December 9, 2021, as his injuries were too severe.
- On December 12, 2021, a Christian minister was arrested and killed by the SAC troops. His body was dumped near the Kanpetlet Hotel and recovered by residents.
- On July 27, 2023, 3 elders of the local church and a minister at Mindat Town, Chin State were arrested by the SAC soldiers without any reason. Their bodies were hidden after they were brutally tortured and killed.
(b) Arson Attacks on Religious Buildings
Since the military coup in 2021, the Myanmar Military carried out aerial bombardment and arson on religious buildings. They stationed their troops and damaged materials inside the buildings. A total of 101 religious buildings were either destroyed or damaged. The affected churches are as follows:
- 9 churches in Kanpetlet Township
- 7 churches in Matupi Township,
- 7 churches in Mindat Township,
- 16 churches in Hakha Township,
- 35 churches in Thantlang Township,
- 13 churches in Falam Township,
- 6 churches in Tedim Township,
- 2 churches in Tonzang Township, and
- 6 Churches in Kalay District.
4.Using Civilians as Human Shields
Since the beginning of its offensive operations in Chin State, the SAC troops forcibly recruited civilians as guides, took them as hostages, and used them as human shields. In total, 134 innocent Chin civilians were captured and used as human shields from the SAC troops.
- On May 15, 2021, the SAC troops captured 15 civilians and used them as human shields during a military operation on Mindat.
- On June 5, 2021, in Mindat Township, SAC troops captured 7 civilians and used them as human shields during a clash near Mae La Gone village.
- On October 21, 2021, SAC troops captured 14 civilians from Hakha Town and used them as human shields along the Hakha-Thantlang road.
- In November 2021, SAC troops en route from Kanpetlet to Saw in Magway Region arrested 2 Chin civilians and used them as human shields.
- On January 9, 2022, near Webula in Falam Township, the SAC troops arrested 5 civilians on their way back from the farms and used them as human shields.
- On January 10, 2022, 10 civilians in Matupi Township, including a journalist and a 13-year-old child, were captured, and used as human shields, and later tortured to death by SAC troops.
- On February 24, 2022, a 40-year-old mother and 2 young daughters, aged 15 and 13 years old, from Chaungkhuah Village were taken hostage by the SAC troops and burned to death.
- On December 26, 2022, in Mindat, a family of 3 who went to town for medical treatment were arrested and used as guides by the SAC troops.
- In March 2023, the SAC troops marching from Kalay to Chin State arrested over 60 civilians on their way and used them as porters and guides.
- In August 2023, in the battle that took place near Kalay Township, Sekan Village, the SAC troops arrested 15 local civilians and used them as human shields.
The Myanmar Military has arrested civilians who oppose the coup under various charges. Among them are 1,000 Chin people. Out of them, 2 people died in prison and some others were released. There are still more than 500 Chin people who have been detained until now under various charges by the military. Some of them are mentioned below.
- On December 12, 2022, 25-year-old James was arrested by the military in a tea shop in Kalay, prosecuted under Section 505 A of the Penal Code and Section 52 of the Counter-Terrorism Law, and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
- On September 14, 2022, 32-year-old Za Lian Tluang was arrested by the military, prosecuted under Section Section 505 A of the Penal Code and Section 52 of the Counter-Terrorism Law and Section 16 (c) and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
6.Arson Attacks on Buildings and Residences
After the military coup, there have been more than 2,100 cases of arson targeting Chin people’s residences and buildings. (For those outside Chin State, only the buildings owned by the Chin people are included in this number.) Over 784 houses were burned down in 2021, over 952 houses in 2022, and over 301 houses in 2023 till October 1, 2023.
7.Home Raids and Forced Displacement
The Myanmar military widely used the ‘Four Cuts’ strategy in its offensive routes into Chin State. Along the route of their offensive march, they invaded homes and looted and consumed oil, rice, salt, meat, and fish, as well as blatantly defecated on the homes, wrote profanity on the walls, stole, and robbed household furniture and items. In addition, they were stationed in the villages, occupying the homes of the villagers. Since the SAC soldiers were stationed on the hilltops of Tuphei Village, Khuaimual Village and Hlanzawl Village in Falam Township, the civilians could no longer work on their farms. Moreover, the civilians had to leave their homes and hide in the forest for safety because the soldiers often entered the village to loot, arrest, and engage in various forms of misconduct. In addition, almost the entire city of Thantlang was set ablaze, so all the civilians had to leave their homes and flee from the war.
There were almost 100,000 Chin people who fled from their homes to safe havens due to the Myanmar military’s various forms for persecution and unlawful activities. In addition, there are those who fled abroad as refugees. Over 60,000 Chin people fled to Mizoram, and over 10,000 to New Delhi and other states in India. There are also 80,000 – 100,000 Chin people who fled to Malaysia as refugees.
After the Myanmar military coup in 2021, several clashes broke out between the resistance members and the military. During those clashes, the Myanmar military often conducted air strikes against the people as if they were attacking foreign enemies. From February 2021 to October 1, 2023, the SAC carried out at least 63 air strikes against the Chin people. In those 63 times, 239 bombs were dropped.
The military’s air strikes against the Chin people were carried out twice in 2021. A total of 6 military aircraft dropped 8 bombs, killing 7 people and destroying 34 residences and buildings.
In 2022, 9 air strikes were carried out with 16 military aircraft dropping 25 bombs. As a result, 5 Chin people were killed and 1 was seriously injured. Over 10 buildings were destroyed, including 8 residential houses, 1 Christian church and 1 school.
As of October 1, 2023, 52 air strikes were conducted with 55 military aircraft dropping more than 144 bombs. As a result, 52 Chin people were killed and 51 were injured. A total of 6 religious’ buildings, 125 residential buildings and 2 schools, fishponds, barns, sheds and tents were also destroyed.
9.Gang Rapes and Murders
The SAC soldiers not only gang-raped six vulnerable Chin women but also took their lives using weaponry.
- On April 1, 2021, in Kalay Township, a mother and daughter living in Letpanchaung Village were killed by the SAC troops. The 15-year-old girl was believed to have been raped before she was killed.
- On November 11, 2021, a 29-year-old mother of a newborn child was raped multiple times by the three soldiers stationed at the military camp in Aklui Village, Tedim Township.
- Also on November 11, 2021, in the same village of Aklui, a 35-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant was abused and raped by three SAC soldiers until she bled.
- On August 14, 2022, a 17-year-old underage woman living in Haimual Village, Tedim Township was arrested and buried to death by the Myanmar Military. Two days later, local residents exhumed the body, and a doctor’s examination confirmed that she had been raped multiple times.
- On November 6, 2022, the military raided Sekan Village, Kalay Township, gang-raped a 28-year-old woman repeatedly, and shot her to death, according to local witnesses.
The SAC troops carried out an illegal coup and committed human rights violations against the Chin people to this day. Since the resistance movement of the Chin people who opposed the military coup could not be suppressed;civilians who were not military objectives and their villages, homes, schools, and religious buildings were targeted using superior ground and air forces. Due to such targeted attacks, the basic rights of our Chin people, such as the right to live, the right to education, the right to worship, and the right to live safely, are being lost. According to the above records, the terrorist military is clearly violating internationally prohibited laws and human rights agreements.
It is vital to gather accurate evidence in order to take serious action against the terrorist military under international law. If the international community is not able to take effective measures against the terrorist military that commits various forms of persecution and brazenly violates the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not only the Chin people but also all ethnic groups of Myanmar who oppose the military dictatorship will continue to lose their basic rights.