Borderline Existence

Burmese Chin refugees in Mizoram State, India

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    Palm Sunday Procession, Lawngthlai, 2011.

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Borderline Existence: Burmese Chin refugees in Mizoram State, India

This project examines the Burmese Chin people who have fled ethnic, religious and political persecution and economic deprivation in Chin State, Burma, and who now live a largely marginalized existence in Mizoram State, India. Contending with a lack of refugee protections inside Mizoram compounded by chronic economic insecurity and problematic access to housing, healthcare and education, these photographs examine the Chin experience within the dynamics of their relationships with the host Mizo population. Defined by their common histories as well as overlapping religious, linguistic and geographic terrains, the Chin and Mizo populations are widely considered one people divided by an arbitrary international border. This project examines the effects of this division most evident in the lived experiences of the Chin who frequently hide their identity to avoid persecution by their very own ancestral brothers, and remain at risk of anti-foreigner driven deportations even after decades of residence in Mizoram.