The Chin Forum is a platform open to all Chin of different political views and/or affiliations who are interested in working together for common democratic objectives. The Forum is not a political party but an organization focused on doing research and documentation projects to assist the Chin peoples’ struggle for freedom and democracy. The Forum, among others, aims to continuously strengthen the unity among the Chin democratic forces and also with all the other democratic forces of Burma, including the other ethnic nationalities and the Burmans. To pursue its aims and objectives, the Chin Forum formed three working groups at its inception in Ottawa (1998) and following the resolution reached during the Round Table Meetings of the Working Group (I) and the Chin Forum Management Body in Washington DC (15 March 1 April, 1999) there are now altogether six Working Groups.
The first Chin Seminar was held on April 29 to May 2, 1998 with the aims of promoting unity among the Chin democratic forces. The said seminar, sponsored by the EURO-BURMA office, commenced with an opening by Rev. Dr. Chum Awi, former General Secretary of Zomi (Chin) Baptist Convention; opening speeches by Hon. Pu John Mangtling Cinzah (Ex-Chin Member of Parliament and former Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs and Foreign Affiars); Hon. Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB); Mr. Harn Yawnghwe, Director of EURO-BURMA office, Mr. Jack Sterken, Burma Donors Secretariat; and Mr. Gary Rosema, Burma Relief Center.
The Seminar was attended by 17 Chin compatriots, including elected Members of Parliament, respected intellectuals, and freedom fighters inside and outside Chinland of the Union of Burma. Following the Chin Seminar, all the participants agree to form the Chin Forum.
The Chin Forum Statement
1. The Chin Seminar, organized by the Chin National Front, and attended by 17 Chin compatriots, including elected Members of Parliament, respected intellectuals, and freedom fighters from inside and outside Chinland of today’s Union of Burma, was held successfully held in Ottawa, Canada, on April 29 to May 2, 1998.
2. The Chinland, a formerly free State, was co-founder of the Union of Burma under the Panglong Agreement.
3. The military regime discarded the 1947 democratic Constitution which safeguarded the Panglong Agreement. Therefore, We, the Chin people, consider ourselves as a free nation until and unless a constitution which guarantees our rights is proclaimed.
4. The problems of the Union of Burma started because of unequal treatment of the nationalities by successive Burmese governments since independence. This unequal treatment has been increased by the military dictatorship especially in the areas where non-Burmans reside.
5. The military regime has convened a sham National Convention which handpicked delegates to prolong and legitimize the military dictatorship. This National Convention deepens the national hatred and suspicions instead of solving the political crisis.
6. Since the military took over power, there are rampant human rights violations, religious and racial persecutions causing an exodus of Chin refugees to India as well as other countries.
7. The cease-fire arrangement between the military and some other armed nationality opposition groups can not solve the present political crisis because of the absence of political dialogue.
8. In order to solve the political crisis of the Union of Burma and the refugees situation, we demand tripartite dialogue which has been called for by the United Nations as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This involves dialogue between the Burman Democratic Forces, the Burmese Military and the Non-Burman Democratic Forces.
9. Under genuine democracy and the right of self-determination in its fullest extent, we are willing to work together to consolidate unity among all nationalities in Burma to form a Federal Union.
Date: May 3, 1998
Place: Ottawa, Canada