CNF to Address Chin Refugee Concerns

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By Moe Kyaw – Chin political organization the Chin National Front (CNF) will enter discussions with UN agencies and other relevant actors to address difficulties facing Chin refugees, an official from the organization said.

The CNF’s General Secretary (3) Pu Htet Ni told Khonumthung News that his group had been “closely monitoring” matters concerning Chin refugees.

According to a June decision by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the agency will no longer resettle or designate refugee status for people from Chin State, describing it as no longer being an active conflict area. Protection of Chin refugees abroad will end in December 2019.

“We have to be aware that currently the CNF has tried to discuss with Union government for lasting peace in the country,” Pu Hetet Ni said. “Political negotiations and discussions are still underway. We have to consider that lasting peace is yet to be restored in the country.”

However, the CNF, he added, “will try to meet respective organizations, including the UNHCR and host nations, to find a durable solution for Chin refugees abroad.”

Yangon-based Chin representatives and UNHCR officials held a meeting at the UNHCR office in Yangon on November 24 and discussed matters concerning Chin refugees in Malaysia and India. The Chin representatives reportedly urged the UNHCR to reconsider the withdrawal of protection for these refugees, according to updates provided Salai Issac Khin, a former municipal minister of Chin State.

Until December 2019, Chin refugees abroad have two options: to continue using their refugee cards and keep their status until it expires on January 1, 2020, or to submit to an interview by UNHCR officials to determine whether they can keep their protected status.

Officials will inform them of the agency’s decision within two months of the interview date. Depending on the result, the refugees will be sent back to Burma, be allowed to continue living in the host country, or be allowed to continue on to a third country.

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