Chin people of Burma/Myanmar
Chin people, one of the major ethnic groups of Burma/Myanmar, believed to have their roots/origin from Tibet, China, are today spreading across the world as a result of the Military’s mismanagement of the country’s economy and politics. For decades under various names of administration, the Military regime in one of the most isolated and poorest countries in Southeast Asia continues its negligence to any positive and meaningful changes for its ethnically diverse but impoverished citizens. Like other nationalities the Chin people experience all levels of restrictions and oppressions from, among others, learning their own languages in schools and professing their political and religious beliefs. Once the ‘rice bowl of Asia’, a proud nation of Burma/Myanmar has now turned into a large prison with approximately 50 million prisoners. Many view the long-lasting crisis in Burma/Myanmar as the lack of constitutionally assured equality, undemocratic Government, and abuses of power combined with corruption by the authorities.
The genesis of Chin Refugees
One serious consequence of the conflicts in the country among others is that millions of people from all walks of life have left the country and taking refuge mostly in neighboring countries. The refugee influx became high, especially after the Military regime crushed the people upraising in 1988, which remains the most significant democratic movement with the bloodiest casualty in Burma/Myanmar modern history. Even after the Military sponsored November 7, 2010 election, which many believe as a positive one that could bring incremental change and generate better living conditions, people continue to flee. Fleeing from the country for many has now been the only option left to secure their rights and survive oppression. According to figures available online, the total number of estimated Chin refugees in neighboring countries; India, Malaysia and Thailand, is not less than 200, 000 with India the largest hosting country followed by Malaysia.
Chin refugees in Norway
The first Chin refugee name Van Thang was accepted by Norwegian government in 2002. He came to Moi town in Rogaland county where he was joined by several more Chin refugees a few months later. Many believe that his good attitude and hardworking for the local community gave better chance for other Chins to get a positive impression in Norway.
Most Chins in Norway came from Malaysia under the arrangement of UNHCR Malaysia which is working tirelessly to protect and send Chin refugees to safer countries. Among countries that have chosen to accept Chin refugees, Norway is one of the most popular destinations for refugees from Burma. As of today, there are about 1500 Chin refugees in Norway with at least half the number are under the “Introduction Program” which is a specially designated program for newly arrived immigrants that focus on local integration. One challenge that owns community faces is language, which is clearly the most important key to success in Norway.
The formation of CCN
The most important driving force that led to the formation of community-based voluntary organizations in Norway was a strong desire in our society to assist each other more effectively especially in the area of local integration. Another important factor was encouraging suggestions from Norwegians, who foresaw the need to have such an organization for a newly arrived group of immigrants.
After a series of discussions that took months and deep analyses on the possible cause and effect of the organisation, its structure, functions and future, the first group of Chin refugees, estimated 40 individuals gathered in Froland on the 26th of July 2004 and founded a much needed voluntary organisation, Chin Community in Norway (CCN). The CCN has gone through several leadership changes and many other challenges both within and from outside that in many times almost cripples the organisation. However due to the commitment of our members and leaders it is able maintain its work to this day.
CCN invites members and supporters to contribute as much as possible to the organization’s ongoing and upcoming activities.
CCN’s Aims and Objectives
Founded in July 2004 by a group of Chin refugees living in Norway, the Chin Community in Norway (CCN) is a not-for-profit organization primarily dedicated to the social well-being of Chin people in Norway.
The organization has the following aims and objectives;
1. To build unity and a well-organized Chin society in Norway.
2. To assist Chin people in their attempt to adopt local integration.
3. To assist organizations and groups that are fighting for human rights and democratization in Burma.
4. To assist Norway-bound Chin refugees in all possible means.
5. To protect and promote Chin’s culture, costume, and literature.
Committees and its Structure
Size: six members and two advisors
1. Board of Directors Chairman
2. Executive Director
3. Communication Director
4. Sport Committee
5. Culture & Entertainment
6. Media and Litterature
7. Representatives (One or two each from member’s resident area)