A survey by a Nobel Prize-winning rights organisation has revealed widespread abuse of the mainly Christian Chin people by the Myanmar regime, much of which may amount to crimes against humanity. The report by the US-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), released on Jan. 19 in Geneva, provides the “first quantitative data of human rights violations against the people of Chin State,” PHR said. A survey conducted among more than 600 households in the state in western Myanmar found abuses including forced labor, religious persecution, beatings, killings, disappearances, torture, rape and widespread pillaging. Almost all were committed by government authorities, primarily soldiers, the report says. “This report embodies the voices of Chin survivors of these atrocities and lets us hear an enslaved and brutalised population asking for assistance in the struggle for justice, for freedom and for life itself,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who co-wrote a foreword to the report along with Richard Goldstone, the former United Nations chief prosecutor. PHR, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, concluded that the violations met the criteria of crimes against humanity established by the International Criminal Court. The PHR report was welcomed by the London-based rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). It “completely confirms and corroborates” evidence CSW has gathered on fact-finding visits to Chin people on the Myanmar border since 2004, the group said. “Combined with the regime’s offensives against ethnic nationalities in eastern Burma, persecution of the Muslim Rohingya people and abuses in other parts of the country, we believe the evidence of possible crimes against humanity is now overwhelming,” said Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia team leader. The report was issued a week before Myanmar is due for a UN Universal Periodic Review, a process set up by the General Assembly in 2006 to review nations’ rights records. UK12929.1637
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