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Monday, March 09, 2009

Chp 229. Still hung-up on the HRW report :-(

Why am I still so hung-up on this issue? My friends are telling me to let it go and forget about it. “They apologized and the moment had passed,” they say. But the more I think about it, the more restless I become.

In this age of quick internet connectivity where anybody can access anything, being accused of a blatant lie like the one that is brazenly displayed in the HRW official site has caused grievous mental trauma to many Mizos.

Many of us have written to the HRW too, but none of us received a reply. Anyway, we weren’t expecting a reply and we feel much better knowing that we’ve at least brought this to their notice. Kudos to all of you who have written to the HRW once again. I salute thee.

My post The Demonization of Mizoram too received a very high visit-count and I humbly thank all my readers for that.

Below are some of the news floating around the online space after this unfortunate incident took place. It is plain sad (and a wee bit pathetic) that prominent news agencies like BBC, AP, Reuters, FoxNews etc that were extremely quick to highlight this HRW report and splash it all across their front-page, did not bother to publish the HRW’s explanation at all!

Anyway, here you go, some of the news related to this topic. reported:

Chins living in Mizoram on Wednesday expressed regret over allegations of discrimination and maltreatment against them in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website.

Representatives of more than 20 chin organisations including leaders of church denominations said that their community is happy with the treatment from their Mizo cousins. reported:

“We are grateful to the kindness and hospitality being shown to us by our Mizo cousins in India’s Mizoram. We strongly condemn such baseless information provided to the global human rights group that tarnished the image of the Mizos. We will find out who had disseminated such wrong information,” Cheery Zahau, co-ordinator of Women League of Chinland said here today.

“With the Indian government refusing to give refugee status to the thousands of Chin refugees staying in Mizoram, we will have no place to go if Mizos are hostile to us,” she added.

Rozathang, president of Zo Human Rights Global Network, also said, “We are extremely sorry for what has been mentioned in the HRW’s website. We will hold the responsibility while at the same time we apologise to the Mizo people.”

Mizzima: Mizos blame Chins for HRW Report:

The Young Mizo Association (YMA), a social organization in Mizoram state, on Tuesday, at a meeting with at least 23 Chin organizations demanded they refute a human rights report on Mizo’s treatment of Chin published by HRW.

“He [Zoremthanga, President of CYMA] said that HRW's report on YMA and Mizo authorities is not true and is exaggerated,” said the representative adding, “He asked us to apologize for the report.”

Chin state in western Burma and India’s Mizoram state share a porous border of about 400 kilometers. Traditionally, the Chin and Mizos regard each other as ancestral cousins and there has been constant interaction between the two communities despite international boundaries separating them.

And the Mizos were the first community in India to have staged a mass rally in support of the monk-led protest in Burma in September 2007 and condemned the Burmese junta for its brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

Mizzima: Report not aimed at Chin, Mizo confusion: HRW:

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia researcher of the US-based Human Rights Watch said the report focuses on the persecutions suffered by the Chin people in Burma and the subsequent difficulties faced in fleeing their homeland and does not aim at creating a misunderstanding between the two communities – Chins and Mizos.

“YMA felt that Chins who talked to us have disgraced them, though they had helped them. But YMA should take a look from the human rights point of view,” Ganguly said.

She said it is a fact that Chin people receive help from the Mizo people as they flee their home country, but HRW, as a human rights group, had documented the lack of protection by state agencies for any form of violation against the Chin people.

Ganguly said, “No Chin had ever complained to us about the Mizos.”

"Mizo people certainly help Chin people. That's why so many Chin people are living in Mizoram. Chin people also praised the Mizos for having helped them" Ganguly said.

And e-Mizoram, which in my books is the BEST source of Mizoram related online news today, reported (in Mizo) courtesy ZALEN newspaper:

Chin Community in Mizoram (CCM) thuchhuain a tarlan dan chuan Human Rights Watch, Thailand-a awm ten January ni 28, 2009 khan Bangkok-ah report an tlangzarh a, he report zingah hian Mizoram mipuite chungchang belhchian dawllo tak thuziak a awm tih sawiin an dem takzet thu an puang a. Hetiang hian an sawifiah nghal bawk.

HRW report (252)-a YMA-in Chin mite Mizoram atanga hnawhchhuahna order a siam anga thu ziak hi diklo taka ziak a ni a. Hetianga thuchhuah hi Central YMA in a siam kan hre lo. September 2008-ah Mizoram atanga hnawchhuahna order avanga chhuak an awm lo.

HRW report (263)-a Mizote rilru puthmang anga thuziak ‘Chin mi pakhat tihhlum hi ui pakhat tihhlum tluk lek a ni’ tia an ziak hi, Mizo mipuite hmuhsitna leh an zahawmna tihbawrhban theihna thuziak a ni a. He ngaihdan hi Mizote rilru puthmang ang lo taka ‘Report’ hi Zo Hnahthlak unaute inkara inhmuh thiamlohna thlen thei, tawngkam chhe tak a nih avangin kan dem takmeuh a ni.

HRW report (285/286)-a tarlan, "Chin mite tan thlanmual hran, khaw pawnah Mizo-ten an siamsak" tia an tarlan hi thu dik a ni lo. Riangvaite thlanmual hi tu tih hriat loh leh ruang latu awm lo mitthu te tana sorkar siam a ni lo. Chin mite kan thih hian kan awmna veng thlanmualah YMA buaipuia vui kan ni. Chuvangin, Chin mite tana khaw pawna siamsak anga ziak hi thu belhchian dawllo a ni.

HRW Report (297,298,299)-a tarlan, India Danin naupang kum tlinglo hna thawhtir chungchangah hian retheih luat tuk avangin chhhungkaw tan naupangte pawhin hna an thawk bawk a ni. Tihluihna avanga thawk an awm hriat a ni lo.

Somehow, somewhere, there is this deep empty hollow void within me… Something is missing, and I can’t quite figure out what. I am definitely not satisfied at the way things are moving, and I’m sure many of you aren’t either. Why am I feeling this strange depression and incompleteness deep within?

Is it because of the barely little reaction from my Government? I expected a lot more from our politicians and this incident shook my entire trust and faith in these people who are supposed to lead us forward into the 21st century. Lead us where? To a future where every netizen despise us because of the lies in this report?

Is it because of the fact that the CYMA got involved? I am not a big devotee of some of the actions of the YMA, but I am not a nonconformist either as the YMA is very close to my heart and soul. Am I angry that an “NGO” had to bail us out in the end when there are other proper channels of doing it? Doesn’t this somewhat highlight the incompetency of our Government when it comes to PR?

Is it because of the apologies that flew around in the aftermath? I kept asking myself, “Is an apology from the respected Chin leaders really required?” Because first of all, the damage had been done and no amount of apologies could repair the dent in our reputation until and unless the HRW retract their report. Secondly, why should they apologize when it was clearly not them who made such ludicrous statements?

Is it because the YMA demanded an apology from the Chin community? Though that may sound like the obvious thing to do for some, there is also that feeling of a “pity apology” once an apology is made after it is demanded. Not that I am demanding or expecting an apology from the Chin community, but why was there no reaction from the Chin community before the YMA moved into the picture?

Is it because of the way the HRW said the report was not meant to taint Mizoram’s reputation and that we should look at this report from a human rights perspective? I wonder what that means. Do you? I try my best to look at this report from a “human rights perspective”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and I still fail to see how that justifies all the lies in it. What is this “human rights perspective”? Does it mean tarnish the image and reputation of anything and anybody so as to highlight the plight of those who are abused and oppressed?


See, that’s the irony. Not being able to substantiate what bothers me, bothers me even more!

I don’t mean to come down harshly on our newly elected Congress Government, but I am surprised there hasn’t been much of a development from their part.

I mean, if this same accusation took place in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, or any other place in India, there would already be curfews and violent hartals led none other than the local politicians who would all be quick to grab this opportunity to become the “savior of the people”.

I am not suggesting that our Mizo politicians resort to this violence, but at the same time I do wish they had done a little bit more…

Seriously, dear Congress politicos and supporters, do you have any idea how the world is looking at you now because of the HRW report?

Here’s one such report, again from the same HRW site.

Burma/India: End Abuses in Chin State

On December 2, 2008, Mizoram state elections resulted in a sweeping victory for the Indian National Congress, the country’s governing party, which has not been in power there for a decade. In the past, members of Mizoram’s Indian National Congress have called for action against Chin migrants and have been even less sympathetic than the previous state government to the plight of those fleeing human rights abuses in Burma.

Urrrmmm… any comments? Or you’re all just going to keep mum on this too? Do what you want, for nobody can force you to say anything. But do remember that when Mizoram’s name gets defiled, every Mizo’s name gets defiled too. And when that day comes, we the people will do everything in our power to correct it. We won’t wait any longer for a political figure to step up.

As for me, I will be visiting “Mizoram House” at Mumbai more frequently in the next few days because my friend Ben, Admin of is there. There is also another person I have fixed an appointment with - She is a committee member of CYMA and is extremely interested in my article and this issue. We shall discuss the steps we as an individual can take, to make the HRW take notice of our protest.


vana said...

Bro, helamah chuan a boruak a dai leh tawh :(. Ms-i vang vek alom. Let go hi a har thin a, 'ser' hi a awm reng tawh thin ci a le. Kei zawng, Zoro-te, Greater Mizoram te hi ka phur teh ual lova, Mental boundary hi a tawk viau ka ti. Zia a in ang tawhlo luttuk a, ram 1 ah pawh awm ila kan in en hrang thovang.

Anonymous said...

"..incompetency of our Government when it comes to PR.."
Our government hasn't yet realised the importance of the internet, it's irrelevant in their minds because they think the only people who frequent it are online-chatting, orkutting, porn-surfing geeks like me, but they need to know that its the most widespread media in the world, and people believe half the things they read on the internet, if not more.
They need to wake up and join the world, as did Obama in his campaign. They will definitely be surprised how many people from all over access their information, and they will gain respect from the online community.

Puibawiha said...

I zawhna siamte khi a pawimawh khawp mai. HRW hian report zozaite hi react ve ngei se la.

Kanidar said...

Engtin emaw tak chuan sawrkar beng han ben harh chu a ngai a ni, Kan hmangaih ve em em, kan ram riangte hi dawt thua a hmai bal mai tur chu rem ka ti thei lo tlat mai.

Evangeline said...

I think you are right, the feeling of outrage will last unless we get a public retraction of the report from HRW... Kei chu Ka ngaihtuah ringawt poh hian ka thin a la rim thei.. Kei chu kan sorkar lamah hi chuan engmah beisei lo....

Zorami said...

Hi!Well, kept mum in your first post because I never really gave a thought about this and the grave consequences it could bring.I apologize for being super ignorant.
It would be wrong if I say the government do not see things from a global perspective. I read your post twice, cause like I said I never paid much attention to this issue, to which I'm doing now.Maybe I know the reason for the emptiness within u-except for the HRW everyone else denies the report,and the HRW remains adamant and they r the most influential amongst them.
So....wat do we do to make them rephrase the accusations??

Anonymous said...

keep the faith bro ..keep the faith... rest take it me sooner or later....


Anonymous said...

As the Chins keep circulating their CHRO newsletters all over the globe, Mizos need to be aware of the repercussions. The world will see the Chins as innocent victims and Mizos as their abusers and tormentors. If we continue to ignore these false accusations by the Chins and let them, go unanswered I'm afraid that we Mizos will get a bad name.We have to engage with the rest of the world and could use this as an opportunity to educate the rest of the world about Mizo culture and attract foreign business and interest in the region. We are being outwitted by the Chins, they also plan to present this report to the UN. This is not a hate campaign but the record has to be set straight.
Whenever the US makes human rights abuse charges against countries like China, for example, they immediately respond back with an attack at the US's foreign policy and actions against minorities like the Native Americans and Blacks in the country. That's how seriously othercountries take such accusations of human rights abuse. If we Mizo's are going to play in the big leagues then;

in response to the HRW report our Mizo leaders should build on the following things namely;

1. Documentation of crimes committed by Chins in Mizoram and
elsewhere in India or complaints filed against them for misdeeds;This can
serve as proof that the Chins are not being persecuted but were being punished
lawfully of the crimes they have committed.

2. Documentation if any of how the Mizoram government and church has
helped them and given them aid in the past;

3. Information about the state of Mizoram, income and poverty level and
unemployment rate in the state and compare that to the rest of the
country, to show that Mizoram is not financially capable to absorb all
the costs of refugees/immigrants from Burma, as the Chins want to
portray that there is tons of money and jobs around around to take care
of them;

4. Some explanantion about the history of Mizoram, to give them an
understanding about our history of suffering, that we understand some of
the struggles of the Chins but that we do not want them to think that
they are the only ones who have suffered from the hands of their
government and that the Chins need to direct their accusations against
their own government and not those who have tried to help them.

The Chins are biting the hand that feeds them and we need to put a stop
to this. They are making us look like monsters to the rest of the world
and we cannot and should not allow them to define who we are so we need
to speak up with a united voice loud and clear so that they learn their
lesson. we need to gather this information and have hard facts posted on the website

The Presbyterian Church in the USA was sent a copy of their newsletter which made
them write a tough letter to the Synod in Aizawl.

The so called apology by the Chins means nothing, it is too little too
late unless they post an Official Letter and written apology on the Chin
Human Rights Website and they send a written apology to major newspapers
to be published and a written apology to YMA and to the churches.
In the apology they also need to demand that the accusations are removed
from the HRW website. A public protest march to the governors mansion
to demand something be done about these accusations are some of the ways
you play in the big league.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
Number.1 of your many suggestions is not in good taste. You talk about documentation of crimes committed by Chins in Mizoram and I see colors of vendetta in you when you talk something of that sort. I may be mistaken but it goes on to prove the way many of us look at the Chins and relate them to crimes. I feel the same pain like you do when I see my state being defamed.
Lets voice our concern but lets spare thoughts for the Chins as well. if I tell you that a YMA leader raped a women belonging to the minority community a few years ago, would u suggest that we document such incidents too for the whole world to knw??

luliana said...

Bro, chawlh hmangin ka haw mek..icon sex video bak ti ti a awm lo.. :( Internet hian zoram a la thleng lo emaw ni aw, te ka ti rum rum :(

illusionaire said...

Thanks for your feedback and comment everyone. I got Amy's new email id from CYMA and mailed her again, but I haven't received any reply so far. Anyway I am happy I did my part at least and we are watching this issue carefully.

I will be in touch with my CYMA source again, who is currently scheduled for a surgery due to breast cancer. Right now, let us pray for her well being. More update later.

Do keep visiting. Thanks.

Bennett said...

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