Protection of Minorities

 

 

There has been estimated between 100 and 135 ethnic groups in Burma today, but SLORC highlights the Burman aspects of culture. Ancient symbols of Mon culture are being eroded and claimed as Burman. Ethnic languages are not allowed in SLORC-run schools, in which the curriculum is determined by central authorities. Information, laws and officials do not speak indigenous languages, and people are often abused simply because they cannot speak Burmese.

 

Movement is restricted for ethnics, and ID cards go so far as to distinguish between Burman, Ethnics or Mixed. Discrimination is easy when all major transactions require an ID card. Harassment is wide-spread by soldiers and the citizenship law disqualifies many Burmese citizens of the rights because their ancestors were not born in Burma.

 

A BRIEF LOOK AT ONE ETHNIC GROUP

 

A Chin student has to study in Burmese once he or she is admitted to school. The 90% Christians are victims of severe religious intolerance by the Buddhist state of Burma. For example, Chins alone are highly discriminated in career and employment unless they fully embrace Buddhism. Now, Buddhist shrines called pagodas are being built on every prominent hill and mountain tops of Chinland against the expressed wishes of the Chin people. In certain cases, the Crosses built on hill-tops are forcibly removed and replaced by Pagodas. Moreover, in order to turn Chinland into a Buddhist state, Burmese government is insidiously trying to proselytise the Chins by first cutting off all kinds of foreign churches and organisations' assistance to the poor Chin Christian children and then offers money, food etc., to those children who will them be finally confined to Buddhist monasteries. Now Christian literature is restricted and reaching & teaching of Christianity are censored.

 

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE EFFECTS OF AN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT

 

Total Co of France and Unocal Corp of the US, in the name of their economic interests in Burma, have intentionally neglected the obvious fact that the Tatmadaw-SLORC campaigns for strengthening its military control in ethnic territories have always directly hurt the rural ethnic populations. Both Total Co and Unocal Corp, by virtue of their agreement with SLORC for the gas pipeline project, have automatically already demanded and required SLORC to ensure security of the project area, which is an integral part of the ethnic guerrilla war zones in Burma. The fact that SLORC is a human rights violator on its own cannot be used as a camouflage by Total Co and Unocal Corp to hide their social and moral irresponsibility over the innocent ethnic populations, who are affected directly or indirectly by their gas pipeline project. Both Total Co and Unocal Corp are partially responsible for all human rights violations committed by SLORC in terms of securing their gas pipeline project – for they have hired the SLORC paying several hundred million dollars to secure the gas pipeline project. Both Total Co and Unocal Corp must therefore be brought to account for their virtual collusion with the well-known human rights violators SLORC and the resultant massive suffering and hardship having been faced by the hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings on the construction of the Ye-Tavoy Railway, which is the most obvious cause and reason of the urgently required security for the Total-Unocal gas pipeline project.

 

 [See also under “Freedom of Belief” and “Rights of the Child” and “Eye-witness Accounts”, interview 20, 25, 31, 39-40, 109]