June 6, 20006
Respected Sir Osmund Carlheim,
My name is Peter Sang Lian Thang and I write this letter to share our lives and concern to your attention. On behalf of the Chin Community in Norway (CCN), I would like to introduce the Chin people here in Norway. We, the Chins are one of the ethnic groups from Burma which is ruled by notorious military dictatorship. Due to the systematic torture and oppression of the military rulers in Burma, tens of thousands of Chins have left their homeland. It is estimated that there are over 50, 000 Chin refugees in India and over 15, 000 in Malaysia.
The first Chin refugee was granted resettlement by the Norwegian Government in 2002. Today, there are about 500 Chin refugees here in Norway. Thanks to the Norwegian Government for accepting us and taking care of us. The situation in Burma is still the same, and unstable politically, so many refugees are fleeing everyday to other countries in search of refuge. Both inside and outside the country, the Chin people have been facing several problems. In Burma, there are more than 1300 political prisoners, including noble laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and hundreds of thousands are internally displaced. The military regime has been continuing systematic torture, oppression, forced labors, rape, and human rights violations inside Burma that caused the Burmese citizens flee from their mother country.
Most of the refugees who have come to Norway are uneducated and some of them are totally illiterate. Therefore, we need more attention and assistance to help the Chin refugees integrate and access to local resources here. As Norway is one of the most advanced counties in the globe both technologically and economically, we hope that the essential assistance may be provided to the Chin refugees that would definitely help them learn to be efficient residents as soon as possible. We are in need of assistance in getting the essential information, assistance for social and human services.However, we count these problems as challenges as well as opportunity to help one another.
Facing such challenges, the Chin Community in Norway (CCN) was formed in July 2004 by a group of Chins who have been assisting their fellow Chins met their day today needs. As the need of the Chin refugees is beyond the capacity of the CCN to provide the essential social and human assistance, and to help the Chins integrate to the local social order, the CCN is in serious need of the assistance from any possible source. The CCN laid out 5 aims and objectives for which the organization has been working on.
One of the greatest challenges we face to meet our objectives is to help the Chin refugees integrate to the local community. While trying to assist the Chins, we also face great challenges due to language barriers and lack of the essential job skills, for which challenge, we, the CCN strongly believe that there is ways to meet that challenges.
The Chin Community in Norway sets the Chin community communication network, where the assistance information are posted as often and much as possible for both the new comers and for the existing refugees. To minimize misunderstanding of Municipal issued documents, letters from other department like health and social services, and other essential communication, the CCN provides volunteer service in translating those documents into Chins, but the volunteer contribution of the Chin community members is far from meeting all the demands and needs of the refugees as the numbers and needs of the refugee increases.
To be able to help the need of these refugees more effectively, we need cooperation and help from organizations like UDI and IMDI which are dedicated to assisting refugees in local integration and equal opportunity and rights for all. Therefore we the Chin Community in Norway would like to request:
1. that the IMDI will take the need of local Integration for Chin refugees as a special case;
2. that we can have regular contact with the IMDI so that the requests and outcries of Chin refugees in Norway can be heard without delay;
3. that the IMDI will add information in Chin language on the IMDI’s webpage;
4. that the IMDI assist Chin Community in Norway in arranging and facilitating the information sharing workshop or meeting in municipalities where Chin refugees can freely join.
Peter Sang Lian Thang
President of Chin Community in Norway
Hestespranget 6, 4460 Moi
Tel; 47 51400833