Category Archives: Chin famine relief

Report on the food distribution in February and March 2011

On 23 September 2010, the Burma Center Prague transfered donations of 100,078.00 Czech crowns to Indian Rupees and handed the money over to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO). CHRO decided to facilitate the distribution this time in a more remote area, in the Kanpetlet township, Chin State. In this area, there are still many rats devastating the fields, but in 2011 there is nothing left to destroy. Presently, there are no seeds are available for planting new crops. Therefore, the people are desperate and don’t have much hope for better times.

Similar problems are affecting the health situation. Many people are suffering from malaria and other climate-related diseases. Sick people cannot go to the hospital, nor can they afford the medicine to cure their illness when they don’t even have enough to eat. And, since securing food remains the main priority, the villagers have no means to pay tuition fees for their children.

On 4 February 2011, the funds were received in the Kanpetlet township by the local organization Rat Famine Emergency Relief Committee (RFERC). RFERC coordinated and monitored the distribution of rice. Burma Center Prague has the names of the persons who carried out the distribution, but these names are being kept confidential to avoid conflicts with Burmese authorities.


Preparation for Food Aid Distribution

After the relief fund was received, RFERC had a meeting and decided which villages were in greatest need of aid and how the food should be distributed. The committee decided and agreed that relief food assistance should be distributed to seven villages where the rat infestation has been most severe. After the committee confirmed the time, the committee informed and consulted with local religious leaders and heads of the villages that were chosen to receive aid about the villages’ populations and the number of households and families, and identified distribution places. Families were required to carry the donated food back to their residences.

Since the affected areas are situated deep inside the country, the committee decided it would be best to buy the rice inside Burma and transport it by car. Security issues had to be taken into account to the timing and logistics of the distribution, as these activities had to be pursued unofficially.


People’s reactions

All the villagers from the villages that received relief food assistance are very grateful and happy, and say a word of thanks from the depths of their hearts, and ask many blessings for the food aid providers. RFERC is also very satisfied with the implementation of the distribution and had very rewarding experiences when handing out the rice and would like to express its sincerest thanks to all the donors from the far away countries and to the organizations who coordinated the fundraising.

  • Total rice bags distributed: 195 bags, (9,750 kg)
  • Number of villages: 7 villages
  • Number of household: 246 households
  • Population who received aid: 1390 persons
  • Period of distribution: 2 months


“Thank you very much and may God bless you richly.”

Head of RFERC

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More attention needs to focus on Chin State

Today, a report entitled “Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State” was released by the organization Physicians for Human Rights. This report is extremely important for Burma, for the Chin people, and for our work.

For Burma

“Despite the November 2010 electoral exercise, the military still controls all branches of government in Burma. PHR calls for an official Commission of Inquiry on Burma, whose mandate should be to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law and to identify perpetrators of such abuses.”

While the world public appears to be paralised by the happy news about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, the nations of ASEAN predictably started to call for an end of sanctions against Burma, asserting that the elections have been “conducive and transparent”, as the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, puts it motivated by certainly anything else but the promotion of truth and human well-being.

It is perfect timing when these cynical strategists and businessmen have to find answers now to the hard facts that this report has produced. Global leaders cannot be reminded often enough about the relevance and universal validity of human rights and the interests of the powerless.

For the Chin people

“While the horrors of military rule in Eastern Burma have been better known and documented, we know much less about Burma’s Western regions, including Chin State, on Burma’s border with the Indian State of Mizoram.”

It is a tragic momentum in the suffering of Burma’s people that the lack of resources – and I am also talking about public attention – has led to a situation where crises seem to compete, like those in West and in East Burma. Historical disagreements between ethnic groups contribute to this unfortunate constellation. Our organization, the Burma Center Prague, has already two years ago drawn the conclusion to engage for West Burma, because systematic support has so far mainly streamed through Thailand. The proximity of West Burma to India gives a deceptive impression that friends are near. Although India is the world’s largest democracy, this fact, however, doesn’t seem to prevent it’s government’s from supporting the Burmese regime for its own economic and strategic interests.

It is crucial to emphasize that the west of Burma needs to be included in our considerations. It should, however, not replace the eastern regions. The cause for both crises, as distant as they may be, is largely the same and has its roots in Naypyidaw.

For the Chin people it will be very helpful that an organization operated by others than their countrymen confirms their own findings. The results are as clear as they could be:

“Nearly 92 percent of the households interviewed reported at least one episode of forced labor, such as portering of military supplies or building roads.”

Human Rights Violations in Chin State. Source: Physicians for Human Rights

Human Rights Violations in Chin State. Source: Physicians for Human Rights

The author Physicians for Human Rights even suggests that the atrocities committed amount to Crimes Against Humanity.

For our work

It has happened today, in the morning: The counter on made a leap to the 100% mark.

That means: Thanks to our supporters, we hit the second goal of our famine relief campaign – incredible 300,000 CZK. We obviously decided to raise our goal to half a million – money that is desperately needed to buy food and medicine for Burmese suffering from famine in Chin State.

The report of Physicians for Human Rights confirmed our conviction that our help really goes there where it is needed. If you decide to make major changes in your life to dedicate your energy to charitable goals, there is nothing better than knowing that your efforts make perfect sense.

But it is still a long way to go. Thank you for joining us!

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