CONTINUING SLORC HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN KAREN STATE
Report by the Karen National Union
Manerplaw, February 8, 1994
Despite the SLORC's recent calls to "peace talks", their human rights abuses are continuing in all Karen areas, and in some areas (such as Mergui/Tavoy district of Tenasserim Division) they are even getting worse. The following list gives some examples of SLORC human rights abuses which have occurred between December 1993 and February 1994. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but only a small sampling of the hundreds of human rights violations committed against Karen civilians by SLORC troops since December.
On 31 December 1993 in Paw Autaw village, Kyauk Kyi Township, Burma Army Light Infantry Regiment #60 commanded by Capt. Nyi Soe arrested Saw Ther Toe, son of Saw Tin Shwe, and accused him of being a Karen National Union sympathizer. The soldiers tied him up, stabbed his arms and legs with knives, burned out both his eyes and dragged him through the streets of the village. They kept him alive until 6 January 1994, when they executed him.
On 18 December 1993 at 10 p.m., soldiers from Burma Army regiment 234 shot and killed Naw Lah, a Karen woman aged 36, in Ha Taw Pah village in Toungoo District.
On 22 January 1994 the SLORC held a "Union Solidarity and Development Association" (a new mass organization being formed by SLORC to gain legitimacy - to have a chance at a place in university or a civil service or other job, civilians must join) rally in Toungoo. Villagers from the surrounding townships of Yay Tar Shay, Oke Twin, Toungoo, Pyu, and Kyauk Kyi were forced to march to the rally after being threatened that their villages would be punished if they did not go.
The following civilians from Naw Yu village in Kyauk Kyi Township were arrested and imprisoned by Capt. Khin Maung Oo of Burma Regiment #60 in January 1994:
|No.||Name||Sex||Age||Father's Name||Date of Arrest|
|Saw Soe Win
Saw Maung Ni
Naw Sher Ma Ma
Naw Mi Thein
Saw Lar Set
Saw Toe Dee
Saw Maung Thaung
Saw Win Maung
Saw Ber Lar
|Saw Hla Maung
Saw Aye Maung
Saw Maung Ni
Saw Koe Toe
Saw Aung Htoo
Saw Maung Shwe
Saw Maung Karr
Saw Maung Karr
All of these villagers are now imprisoned in Kyauk Kyi township. SLORC troops have threatened that they will be executed if their families cannot pay 20,000 Kyat for each of them. The same troops also stole 14 cattle from the village.
On 2 February 1994, Burma Army Regiment 60 commanded by Capt. Nyi Soe arrested Saw Cho Cho, son of Saw Chit Ngwe of Tor Por village in Kyauk Kyi Township. He was accused of being an informer for the Karen National Union and was severely beaten and kicked with military boots. The troops tried to force him to confess to being a Karen informer, but Saw Cho Cho refused. He was taken to Kyauk Kyi town and thrown in prison. His parents were then informed that their son would be released if they paid 20,000 Kyats, but his parents are poor farmers and cannot raise the money. Saw Cho Cho is still detained in Kyauk Kyi prison.
On 25 January 1994 Capt. Aye Myint and his troops from LIR 119 took 7 baskets of paddy, 1 basket of hulled rice, and 32 kilograms of jaggery from villagers in Tar U Ni village in Thaton Township.
On 29 January 1994 a SLORC truck hit a land mine and was destroyed. In retaliation the two nearest villages, Tor Klor Khee and Tor Klor Po Khee were fined 300,000 Kyats by Burma Army regiment 120.
On 21 January 1994 Burma Army regiment 39 came to Shah Lo village (in Toungoo Township) and stole property worth 700,000 Kyat from Mehn Sun. They then burned down his house.
On 24 January 1994 40 soldiers of Burma Army regiment 39, commanded by Capt. Mya Shwe, opened fire on a group of cattle traders driving cattle near Kyautager and Maw Khee villages in Toungoo district. One of the traders was killed. The soldiers stole 26 of the cattle.
On 23 January 1994 Burma Army regiment 73 came to Kyauk Tan and Hsaw Wah Der villages in Nyaunglebin Township and ordered the villagers to leave the village immediately. The soldiers then burned down all their homes, and they were not allowed to return to their fields to harvest their rice.
On 24 December 1993 SLORC troops from #30 Burma Regiment ordered the village headmen of Kyo Waing and Noh Kaneh villages in Thaton District to take responsibility for "security" in their village tract areas. They were forced to sign papers guaranteeing that if one shell explodes in their entire village tract area, they will pay 50,000 Kyat compensation to SLORC, and if one truck is damaged by a land mine they will pay 100,000 Kyat as compensation.
On 9 January 1994, Regiment 4 of SLORC #33 LID (Light Infantry Division), commanded by Maj. Thaung Win, came to Lay Kay village in Thaton District. The troops burned down the houses of villagers Toe Par Thwe, Kyaw Bu, Kor Ler, Por Ther Khin, Maung Nyunt Tin, Ti Kyaw Ko, Tee Ler Ner, Maung Win and Naw Muh. They slaughtered an ox belonging to villager Ma Chaw, two oxen belonging to Tha Du Mo, an ox belonging to Maw Kwai, a cow belonging to Mor Than, one cow belonging to Maung Kyi Kot, and a buffalo belonging to Maung Nyunt Tin.
On 27 January the same regiment returned to the village and shot villager Po Li Kee, aged 20, seriously wounding him. They also captured two sisters, Naw Psaw Po and Naw Hser Chit, (father's name Ti Per Kyaw), tied them up and blindfolded them, and then they were gang raped by the soldiers.
On 2 February 1994, Burma Army Regiment 84 of #99 Light Infantry Division, commanded by Lt. Col. Aung Kyaw Min and Maj. Nyo Min Thein, ordered each of the following villages to send them 1,000 viss (1,600 kilograms) of jaggery (boiled and crystallized cane sugar): No Lor Plaw, No Aw Ler, Pyor Gor, Kyu Kyi, Pyo, Her Ter Rai, Met Thai, Met Ker Ner, and Tee Kyor Khee villages (9 villages altogether, all in Thaton District). Villages which could not produce the required amount of jaggery were ordered to pay 2,700 Kyat. The regiment also put strict restrictions on the movements of the villagers. All villagers who work in the surrounding forests had to register at the regimental headquarters and pay 500 Kyat for a permit.
On 3 February 1994 five villagers from Kyu Kyi village were returning from a funeral when they were arrested and severely beaten by SLORC troops from the same Regiment 84 of #99 LID. The villagers beaten were Maung Chit, Maung Shwe Ther, Saw Thay Ler, Saw Per Klai and Por Ker Ra, all men.
On 4 January 1994 Regiment 116 of #33 Division, commanded by Maj. Soe Win, came to Per Khee village in Thaton District, where they slaughtered and ate 30 chickens, one pig, and four goats, and stole 4 baskets of rice.
On 1 January 1994 the Burma Army launched military operation "Nay Min" in Toungoo District. Burma Army Light Infantry Regiments 39, 48, 73, 76, 60, 59, 28, 35, 85, and 71 are to be used in the operation.
On 25 December 1993, while villagers in the Karen village of Bee Cha, in Ler Mu Lah Township, Mergui/Tavoy District were preparing their Christmas celebration, SLORC troops of 17 Battalion commanded by Maj. Kyaw Kyaw approached the village. Most of the villagers managed to flee before the troops arrived. The soldiers entered the village and opened fire on the first house they saw which still had people in it. The entire house was riddled with automatic rifle fire and M79 rifle-fired grenades. Naw Weh Ber, aged 50 and her son Saw Ko Poh, aged 27, were killed, while Naw Weh Ber's daughter Naw Mu Sghee, aged 12, was severely wounded along with her friend who was visiting the house. The villagers later took the two girls to Tavoy hospital, but Naw Mu Sghee died on the way. Her friend survived the trip, but her condition was very serious and there have been no reports whether she is still alive. Soon after the killings, the SLORC troops captured the village pastor and forced him to bury the bodies at gunpoint. Three military trucks were then brought in from the army camp to loot the village. The soldiers ransacked every house, took everything and loaded it on the trucks. Before they left, they scratched in charcoal on the sign in front of the church, "Be careful - next time we'll burn down the village." The attack on Bee Cha was retaliation for an attack on SLORC troops by Karen soldiers not far away the previous day.
On the same day, the same troops went to Beyo Po Kyi village, stole some belongings and shot dead Naw Say Heh (Karen, female) and Maung Shwe Win (Karen, male).
The following Karen villages in Mergui/Tavoy district were forcibly relocated in December 1993: villages around B'Saw Law were forced to move to Kalaing Aung, villages around Shwetapi were forced to move to Huan Gyi, and villages in the Baw Law Gyi area were forced to move to Yabu. The villages which were forced to move are all near the expected route of a planned gas pipeline from the Gulf of Martaban to Thailand, while the relocation sites are along the SLORC-controlled road near the coast. SLORC has moved several new infantry battalions into the area.
Survey work for the new Ye-Tavoy railway in Mon State and Tenasserim Division was completed in October 1993. Regional SLORC authorities have now informed all villagers in Thayetchaung Township, Paunglone Township and Ye Pyu Township that every family will have to do at least 2 months of forced labour on the new railway without payment, and they will have to bring all their own food. Each family has also been ordered to supply 20 railway sleepers; they will have to cut the trees in the forest and make these sleepers themselves. Each villager who owns an elephant has been ordered to convey 10 tons of logs to the railway. The orders specified that any family which fails to meet the demands will be punished. Villagers in the whole area are now doing their forced labour assignments on the railway.
On 19 November 1993, regional SLORC authorities circulated an order in Ye Pyu Township of Tenasserim Division that each family will now have to pay "porter fees" of 100 Kyat per family 4 times per month. The villagers now have to pay this, even though the average monthly income of a family in this area is only 100 Kyat. "Porter fees" are supposed to be used to pay wages to military porters, but porters are never paid. The penalty for an unpaid "porter fee" is to be taken as a porter yourself. Several hundred villagers from the area have already fled to the Thai border to escape this new tax.
The SLORC is now having a road built between Bo Pyin and Lay Nya in Mergui/Tavoy district, a distance of over 30 kilometres. Since early December 1993, SLORC #358 Light Infantry Regiment under Major Chit Maung has forced 5 villages to do labour on the road: Taung Din, Taung Yai, Chao Mun, Bong Kun, and Lay Oo Thaung. Every family is assigned 10 feet of road to complete by themselves; most of the work involves breaking and carrying rocks, and it takes most families 15 to 20 days to complete their assignment. They come the 3 or 4 kilometres from their village to the road and live on the roadside in shelters. They are given no pay or rations, and must bring all their own food. Families are threatened with a fine of 7,000 Kyat if they do not go to do the work, and some families have hired others to go in their place for 3,000 Kyat, if they can afford it. Recently the SLORC also ordered the people of Monora village to come and work on the road, but this village has strong connections with the KNU and they did not go or pay the fine. As a result, the SLORC fired 5 shells into the village, killing one villager and wounding 3 others. The villagers then saw no alternative, and went to work on the road. Work on this road is still going on now; to finish 30 kilometres with each family building a stretch of 10 feet will require the enslavement of about 10,000 families.
Since January 1994, villagers in Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District have been forced to dig an irrigation canal at Tha Htay Gone village for the 150 troops of SLORC #73 Light Infantry Regiment led by Capt. Ha Sein and company commanders Lt. Aung Nai and Tun Tun Oo. All the villages in the area have to take turns doing 3 day rotating shifts of hard labour on the canal. When a village has its turn, 200 people from that village must go for 3 days, and they must bring all their own food. They receive no pay or compensation.
Throughout all Karen areas, everyone in villages near military supply roads is now regularly forced to work maintaining the road and sweeping it for mines, often several days a week. All villages within reach of SLORC army camps are forced to send slaves on a rotating basis to do all manual labour at the camp, such as digging trenches and bunkers, building fences and barracks, chopping firewood, carrying water, cleaning, and serving as messengers. The villagers are also forced to send all required building materials to the army camps, as well as meat, vegetables, and rice.