The Danger of Repatriation: An Argument for the Refugee Status of the Chin People of Myanmar

Authors: Kaitlin Stewart*,
Topics: Human Rights, Political Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Burma, Myanmar, Chin, Immigrants, Refugees, Cultural Geography, Human Rights, Asia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the pursuit of a homogenous cultural landscape, the dictatorial government of Myanmar oppressed minority groups within their country and forced them to flee their ancestral homelands from the middle of the 20th century. The Chin of northwestern Myanmar faced relentless persecution because of their Baptist Christian minority status. The military government confiscated land, used rape as a tool of terror, and confined the Chin people into labor camps within their own communities. As the military dictatorship of Myanmar murdered religious leaders and members of the community, they pushed the Chin into refugee camps in neighboring countries. In 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees revoked the refugee status of the Chin people, and repatriation and genocide await the Chin upon the act's completion on December 31st, 2019. This paper argues that unsafe conditions in the Chin State make it perilous for the Chin people to return to their homeland and therefore they must retain their refugee status.

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