Sinlung /
20 June 2014

World Refugee Day: Burmese Family Flees Religious Persecution

'I am really amazed to live in this kind of fine apartment, using electricity for 24 hours, driving a nice car on a very smooth road'

Three of Steven's children and a friend pose for a picture in their home in Indiana. (UNHCR) Yahoo News - Three of Steven's children and a friend pose for a picture in their home in Indiana.

Steven Van Biakthang fled from Myanmar to the United States in 2008. He belongs to the Chin people, an ethnic group who are persecuted for ethnic and religious reasons. This is his story:
  Steven Van Biakthang now works in a clinic as outreach coordinator for Burmese people. (UNHCR)
Steven Van Biakthang now works in a clinic as outreach coordinator for Burmese people. (UNHCR)


'In 2008, my family and I ran away from my country because of religious issues. From there, l started the kind of life that I have right now. I am just wondering and would like to ask this question to everyone: who would want to live in a country where there is no freedom of politics, religion, speech, and discriminates against its minority ethnic groups because of its own race, origin? Therefore, we came to Malaysia for our safety and refuge. Through the help of UNHCR, we were able to be registered and got refugee status and resettled to United States of America in 2010.

I am now working in a clinic as outreach coordinator for a group of Burmese people from one company in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Also serving the Lord at International Life Ministry. God blessed us with three kids and they learn fast and I am so happy to see them adopting the education that is given here in the States. I am really amazed to live in this kind of fine apartment, using electricity for 24 hours, driving a nice car on a very smooth road and good communications. I meet with different colourful people and become friends with them, enjoy all kinds of good food and good health.

I hope to reunite with my sister and her family soon. As of now, I just have hope for my kids. I hope one day they will become educated people and help Burma to develop in all areas that they can for the people. Especially for my Chin people who live in Chin state. I hope for my people to be free.'

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