The Chin community based in Malaysia raised 18.9 million kyat (US$12,375) for internally displaced people (IDPs) fleeing clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township.
The Chin Emergency Relief Committee of Malaysia (CERCM) donated the funds through the Paletwa Social Volunteer Association. CERCM is made up of the Malaysia regional committee of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement signatory the Chin National Front, as well as Chin churches, civil society organizations, and individuals.
“We feel like our Chin brothers in Paletwa are suffering. We sympathize their suffering. We stand with them. That is why we are providing assistance to them,” CERCM’s Salai Yaw Mang told Khonumthung News. “We want both the Tatmadaw and the AA forces to seek ways for peaceful dialogue rather than making war. War doesn’t give anything positive to anybody. Innocent civilians are suffering a lot. Instead of using money for waging war, we want them to use that money for the peace process.”
He went on to say that the fighting was also hurting ethnic unity.
On June 7 and 8, more than 700 Chin civilians from the villages of Pein Nae Tapin, Thaema Chaunghte, Kyauk Pyin Htaung, Kywe Thaung and Long Tin to Paletwa town after the Burma Army and AA fought seven miles from the town.
The IDPs are staying at the offices of political parties including the National League for Democracy and the Union Solidarity and Development Party, as well as the school affiliated with the Anglican Church, and the homes of relatives.
According to Paletwa Social Volunteer Association, some people have already gone back to their homes, despite the ongoing instability.
“Some people returned to their homes because they are worried about their property in the village. Currently, there are no clashes between the Tatmadaw and the AA forces. But we cannot predict the situation—it’s still uncertain,” U Kyaw Aung, who is working with the Paletwa Social Volunteer Association, said. Civil society organizations in Chin State’s Mindat Township are also currently collecting donations for IDPs in Paletwa.