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LIRS releases report on the resettlement of Chin people

Leading refugee and human rights experts are calling on the Central Government of India and India’s Mizoram State to respond to the protection and humanitarian crisis of up to 100,000 Chins from Burma, according to a recent report sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Women’s Refugee Commission, and World Relief.

“Our report shows that Chins from Burma face serious protection and humanitarian problems in Mizoram, India,” said Matthew Wilch, a U.S. human rights lawyer and lead author and editor of “Seeking Refuge: The Chin People in Mizoram State, India.”

“LIRS has a strong commitment to, and a proven service track record of, working with vulnerable populations,” said LIRS Vice President for Mission Advancement Stacy Martin. “The ethnic Chins, who have been languishing in statelessness for far too long, are among the world’s most vulnerable people, which is why LIRS supported this study and why we continue to advocate for their protection.”

The Chins’ forced migration from Burma has occurred continuously since the Burmese military took over in a military coup in 1962 and most heavily since the crackdown in 1988 against the pro-democracy movement in Burma.

“The United States must provide leadership to help end this humanitarian crisis,” said Eric Sigmon, LIRS director for advocacy. “The United States should work with the Indian government, UNHCR, and other NGOs to provide protection to the Chins, particularly the children and single and widowed women, and increase the strategic use of resettlement.”

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