Rangers Provide Aid in Conflict-Stricken Chin State
16 March 2020
Chin State, Burma
Chin civilians are suffering from daily clashes between the Burma Army and Arakan Army, which are displacing villagers throughout western Burma. From Jan. 28 to Feb. 21, a Free Burma Rangers team went on mission in the Falam and Paletwah districts of Chin State. In addition to visiting and aiding civilians in six villages, the Chin Free Burma Ranger team supported 140 newly displaced villagers from Maunghnamah Village in southern Chin State through the distribution of rice and medical supplies.
The civilians of Chin State face a food shortage. According to the Rangers, the Arakan Army has taken control of roads and rivers in Paletwah District to regulate the flow of supplies and spread of information in the area. This, coupled with the increase in fighting near the roads, has limited the movement of rice and other provisions. Outside of the fighting zones, the price per bag has increased from 2,000 rupees before the conflict to 3,650 rupees, rendering many of the Chin villagers unable to afford basic food necessities. Within the conflict area, there is no rice available. The Ranger team leader is working with local organizations to assist in the supply and movement of rice to civilians.
Villagers told the team about the human rights abuses they’ve suffered. The Burma Army often fires heavy weapons (artillery/mortars) in areas where civilians reside and, between Feb. 16-18, three villagers from Miletwah Village were injured by such attacks. The Rangers were told by villagers and local authorities that they feared the Arakan Army as they, like the Burma Army, are responsible for kidnappings, unlawful arrests, forced portering, and the seizing of food and other supplies.
The Rangers conducted Good Life Club (GLC) programs and medical clinics during the mission to spread help, hope, and love and to alleviate hardships endemic to the region. The team provided GLC programs in three villages and distributed GLC shirts, bracelets, and food to 300 children in the area. The teams’ medics also set up four clinics, treating over 350 patients in total.
The Rangers concluded the report by calling for further missions in Chin State. In addition to supplying more medicine and rice to civilians in need, the Rangers hope to hold workshops informing Chin villagers about basic human rights. The workshops will include information from: Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The team leader would like to thank all of those supporting and praying for the Chin people.