What Burma's Chin Refugees Need Beyond Aung San Suu Kyi
For over 60 years, a military regime has ruled over Burma (Myanmar). Its people know intimately what it means to be discriminated against, religiously persecuted, and beaten for one's ethnicity. But yesterday Sunday, April 1, the Burmese people voted for more than 40 vacant parliamentary seats. It's the first election in over 20 years in which the National League of Democracy (NLD) participated, and it won the majority of the available seats. NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi won her race for a seat in the lower house of parliament. She was placed under house arrest for 15 years for her strong, peaceful leadership in Burma. As the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi has led the Burmese people in resisting military rule in her country. She has fallen ill recently after weeks of hard campaigning, but she still embodies her people's great hope for a democratic, free, and resilient Burma.
Sunday's election seems to indicate that Burma's government is willing to reform in order to be accepted by the international community. But while these elections and the recent release of political prisoners are signs of progress, many have had longstanding concerns that there has been no peace between the military regime and the ethnic minority areas of Burma. In the past couple decades, the Karen, Kachin, Shan, Chin, Rohingya, and other ethnic minorities have fled en masse to neighboring Thailand, Malaysia, and India.
In fact, the presence of so many refugees in surrounding countries ...1