SLORC ORDERS TO KAREN VILLAGES: SET 94-D

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SLORC ORDERS TO KAREN VILLAGES: SET 94-D

Published date:
Wednesday, August 24, 1994

Following are the direct translations of some typical SLORC written orders received by Karen villages, copies of which have been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. All of the orders were signed by SLORC officers or officials, and in most cases were stamped with the unit stamp. Photocopies of the order documents themselves are available on request.

An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group

Following are the direct translations of some typical SLORC written orders received by Karen villages, copies of which have been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. All of the orders were signed by SLORC officers or officials, and in most cases were stamped with the unit stamp. Photocopies of the order documents themselves are available on request. Where necessary, the names of people, villages, and army camps have been blanked out and denoted by ‘xxxx’ to protect the villagers. Many of the orders end with phrases like "Should you fail to obey it will be your responsibility". The villagers know that this means that should they fail for any reason, SLORC will likely send troops to loot the village, destroy some houses, seize porters, or in some cases shell the village with mortars. Most of these orders are several months old, but they give a good reflection of the kind of harassment villages face every month from SLORC troops. Thousands of such orders are issued, many are lost, and may villagers are afraid to entrust them to others. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the courageous villagers who were willing to provide us with this powerful evidence of SLORC oppression.

Notes: While SLORC stands for State Law & Orders Restoration Council, it administers locally through State or Divisions LORC, Township LORC, Village Tract LORC and Village LORC. This abbreviation LORC (Law & Order Restoration Council) is used throughout this report. In some orders we have translated ‘Month 10’ as ‘October’, ‘Month 11’ as ‘November’, etc. Calling the months by their numbers is common in Burmese.

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Order #1

Stamp:
#61 Infantry Battalion
Office of Army Column #1                                                                                             Date 21-3-94

To: Chairman
      xxxx village

Subject: Notification

1) We have received information that there are more than 100 enemy troops in xxxx village.
2) We are going to have a battle with them, so all the villagers had better get out of the village.
3) When we didn’t burn down Ma Oo village after the battle there, the higher authorities were not pleased.
4) Therefore in the future, after a battle occurs at any village, that village must be burned down, and all the valuables belonging to the villagers must be confiscated.
5) Reply that you have received this letter, and if there are no enemies in your village then the village chairman and the army column commander must come and see me.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]

                                                                                                                        Intelligence Officer

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Order #2

Stamp:                                                                                            Township LORC
"Precisely, Truly, & Quickly"                                                              Kya In Seik Gyi
                                                                                                                    Letter No. 10/1-1/Ma Wa Ka (KISG)
To:                                                                                                                Date: 1994-March-10
        Village Headman
        xxxx Village
        Kya In Seik Gyi Township

Subject: Come and give compensation money for the cost of the bridge

1) Regarding the above subject, we already informed you to come to the office on 2-2-94 to pay the amount of   30,000 Kyat , in words   (Thirty Thousand Kyat only)  to rebuild the lower Thingan Chaung bridge, which was blown up by the insurgents on 24-1-94. But we have found that up to this moment the money has not yet been delivered.
2) Therefore, your village must deliver the payment for repair of the lower Thingan Chaung bridge not later than 25-3-94, and if you fail to do so effective action will be taken against you.

                                                                                                            [Sd. Aung Khin Myint 10/3/94]
                                                                                                            (on behalf of) Chairman

                                                                                                            (Aung Khin Myint, secretary)
Copies to: #32 Infantry Battn., Kya In Seik Gyi
                Office Copy

[Note: This order is a carbon copy of the original, with the village name and the amount to be paid penned in by hand, so money was clearly demanded from several villages, the amount probably depending on the size of the village.]

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Order #3

   Stamp:
Village LORC                                                                                                                         19-11-93
xxxx Village                                 To:
Kyaik Mayaw Township                         Mr. yyyy, rubber plantation owner

Subject:…… Come and sell rubber

Regarding the above subject, you were informed to come and sell rubber in the amount of 30 pounds per acre to the army boots factory of No. 545 Military Weapons Company [the word used means a 'company’ of soldiers in the military sense, not a commercial ‘company’]. As you have not come to supply your rubber to us up to this day, we inform you to come sell it to us tomorrow, 20-11-93.

If you cannot sell it to us come and report why you cannot. If you don’t come it will be your responsibility.

                                                                                                                [Sd. T--- 19/11/93]
                                                                                                                (Chairman)

                                                                                                                Village LORC
                                                                                                                xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

[Note: In ‘No. 545 Military Weapons Company’ the word used means ‘company’ in the military sense, a unit of about 100 soldiers. Like in some Communist countries, the SLORC has some companies of soldiers which are devoted primarily to producing military equipment. ‘Come and report’ means bring money instead of rubber, especially since he probably can’t get the rubber by tomorrow. "It will be your responsibility’ most likely means ‘You will be arrested’. Although the signature at the bottom is illegible, this name must be omitted.]

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Order #4 through Order #8 were sent to the same village, and demonstrate the kind of constant demands for money every village is faced with. This does not include the regular looting of their food and other belongings, as well as being taken as porters and for other slave labour.

Order #4

 Stamp:                                                                                                                                         8-10-93
Village LORC                                             To:
xxxx Village                                                Chairman, secretary, and members
Kyaik Mayaw Township                               yyyy Village

 

Subject:… To make contributions to the 4th Mon State Chairman’s Trophy
                                            Boat-Racing Tournament

Regarding the above subject, according to the Kyaik Mayaw Township LORC order dated 4-10-93, No. (1464) 4-5/Ma Wa Ta, owners of enterprises in your village, for example anyone who owns a machine for splitting logs, must pay 50 Kyat, rubber plantation owners 50 Kyat per person, and also every house must pay 5 Kyat.

We in inform you to collect the contribution money from enterprise owners, rubber plantation owners and the working people at the rate of 5 Kyat per house, as soon as possible, and deliver it to the house of the village chairman on 12-10-93 as soon as possible.

12-10-93 It [the boat-racing tournament] will be held at Azin Reservoir, Mudon.
15-10-93    It must be sent to Kyaik Mayaw.

                                                                                                            [Sd. T--- 8/10/93]
                                                                                                            (Chairman)

                                                                                                            Village LORC
                                                                                                            xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

[Note: Presumable ‘it’ means the money must be sent from the village to Kyaik Mayaw on 15-10-93. As this is 3 days after the tournament, ‘it’ is hardly likely to be used for boat racing.]

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Order #5

Stamp:                                                                                          22-10-93
Village LORC                                     To:
xxxx Village                                        Chairman, (xxxx) Village
Kyaik Mayaw Township

Subject: To deliver money for salary of government servicemen for October, contribution money
             for the boat racing, second stage of the road payments, and other general expenses

Regarding the above matter, we decided at a meeting that the salary for the government servicemen for October, 75 Kyat per household, will be delivered as soon as possible, but up to today you haven’t done anything about it. We inform you to bring the money before the township’s monthly meeting on 25-10-93, including all old debts and the contribution money for the boat racing tournament, all together.

                                                                                                        [Sd. T--- 22/10/93]
                                                                                                        (Chairman)

                                                                                                        Village LORC
                                                                                                        xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

[Note: The term ‘government servicemen’ used here could mean anything from porters to soldiers or civil servants. Regardless of who the money is supposedly for, it will most likely just go into the pockets of military officers. In the order, ‘October’ is actually written as ‘Month 10’, which is common in Burmese]

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Order #6

 Stamp:                                                                                                                                 7-11-93
Village LORC                                     To:
xxxx Village                                        Chairman, secretary, and all members
Kyaik Mayaw Township                       yyyy Village

Subject:…. Sending salary for government servicemen for November

Regarding the above subject, we have already asked you for the salaries for government servicemen for November, to be delivered on 5-11-93. But after checking we found out that the salary money has not been sent yet.

On 7-11-93 the Da Gone Tine Army Column came and asked for the November servicemen’s salary. So Please send the salary money as soon as possible after receiving this letter. If you fail, you’ll have to settle it with the army column.

                                                                                                        [Sd. T--- 7/11/93]
                                                                                                        (Chairman)

                                                                                                        Village LORC
                                                                                                        xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

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Order #7

Stamp:                                                                                                                             10-1-94
Village LORC                                         To:
xxxx Village                                             Chairman, secretary
Kyaik Mayaw Township                           yyyy Village
                                                                zzzz Village Tract

Subject:.. To prepare the salary money of government servicemen for January and the third
               money collection for the Rangoon-Mergui long-distance highway

Regarding the above subject, in order to deliver the money in the minimum time we want the authorities concerned to prepare the salary for government servicemen for January and the money for the Rangoon-Mergui highway. You promised that you would deliver the salary for government servicemen for January on 15-1-94, and the money for the Rangoon-Mergui long distance highway on 31-1-94. Therefore we would like you to give a good explanation to the villagers so that they deliver the two payments before the deadline.

The remaining money for government servicemen for December and the second payment of the Rangoon-Mergui highway money must be sent as soon as possible.

Dated 10-1-94                                                                                             [Sd. T--- 7/11/93]
                                                                                    (Chairman)

                                                                                                                Village LORC
                                                                                                                xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

[Note: In the order ‘Rangoon-Mergui’ is written using the SLORC names, ‘Yangon-Myait’.]

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Order #8

Stamp:                                                                                                                         12-2-94
Village LORC                                         To:
xxxx Village                                            Chairman, secretary
Kyaik Mayaw Township                          yyyy Village

Subject:… To send the third highway payment and money for government servicemen for
                February as soon as possible.

Regarding the above subject, we have already informed you to deliver the third highway payment on 31-1-94 by installments, but it has not been delivered yet. We inform you again to send the third highway payment and February salary for government servicemen on 14-2-94 at the latest. When you bring this money bring along the account papers of your previous payments as well.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. T---]
                                                                                                                    (Chairman)

                                                                                                                    Village LORC
                                                                                                                    xxxx Village, Kyaik Mayaw Township

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Order #9

[Note: This order was sent from Intelligence to a SLORC Sergeant, who passed it on to the villagers to be enslaved for work.]

                   Stamp:                                     To:
         #32 Infantry Battalion                                 Sergeant M---
Battalion Command (Intelligence)                                                                                             Date 12-3-94

Subject: Raising the ground level at the ends of L--- bridge with soil

1) This group of volunteers must fill in the low road level with earth in order to level it with L--- bridge. The road level must be 1½ feet higher than the bridge.

2) Don’t release the villagers until the task is done.

                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                            Intelligence Officer

                                                                                                            #32 Infantry Battn.

[Note: ‘1½ feet’ is our translation of a unit of measurement from the elbow to the fingertip.]

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Order #10

Stamp:                                                                                    Township LORC
"Precisely, Truly, & Quickly"                                                     Kya In Seik Gyi
                                                                                                 Letter No. 110/1-1/Ma Wa Ka (KISG)
                                                                                                 Date: 1994 March 11
To: Chairman / Village Headman
        xxxx Village
        Kya In Seik Gyi Township

Subject: Volunteers for filling up soil at L--- bridge

1) Regarding the above subject, volunteers from your village must fill up both ends of the L--- bridge with earth, which is on C--- road, in Kya In Seik Gyi.
2) We inform you that at 7:00 on the morning of 25-3-94 you must provide us with volunteers at the rate of 1 person per household.

Note: The authorities concerned will be there to inspect the work.

                                                                                                                [Sd. illegible, 11/3/94]
                                                                                                                Chairman

Copies to: #32 Infantry Battn., Kya In Seik Gyi
                Office copy

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Order #11

To: Chairman

Headman of xxxx village Mr. yyyy: As instructed by our superiours, to level the road surface of the L--- [Army] Camp bridge, you must bring along spades and baskets. wwww and xxxx villages have been informed of this. If nobody comes, effective action will be taken against these villages.

                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                            L--- Camp Commander

[Note: The date 13/3/94 is written on the back of this order]

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Order #12

 

              Stamp:                                                                                  Township LORC
"Precisely, Truly, & Quickly"                                                                 Kya In Seik Gyi
                                                                                                             Letter No. 121/1-2/Ma Wa Ka (KISG)
                                                                                                             Date: 1994 March 10
To: Chairman / Village Headman
        Wards / Village LORC
        Kya In Seik Gyi Township

Subject: Prohibiting bullock carts on motor roads
Aim: According to TLORC letter dated 23-2-94, Letter No. 121/1-2/TLORC (KISG)

1) Regarding the above subject, we have already informed you by the letter referenced above that bullock carts are prohibited from using the car roads. Instead, they must use the track cut beside the car road.
2) Any bullock carts found using the car road will be fined 500 Kyat in accordance with Article #4, paragraph E decided by the Township Road Construction Supervision Committee on 8-3-94.
3) Therefore, notify the people in your village to act according to these instructions so that unnecessary problems do not occur.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                        Chairman

Copies to: #32 Infantry Battn., Kya In Seik Gyi
                Township Officer, Township Police Station, Kya In Seik Gyi
                Office Copy

[Note: This order, copied on a Gestetner machine, was distributed to villages throughout the area. The ‘car roads’ are only dirt tracks, and barring the villagers from using them makes it much harder for them to get around, while effectively restricting the roads to military traffic - despite the fact that it is the villagers who are forced to build and maintain these roads in the first place.]

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Order #13

 

              Stamp:                                                                                     Township LORC
"Precisely, Truly, & Quickly"                                                                    Kya In Seik Gyi
                                                                                                                Letter No. 110/1-1/Ma Wa Ka (KISG)
                                                                                                                Date: 1994 March 8
To: Chairman and Headmen of the Village
        xxxx village

Subject: Invitation to a meeting

To construct the Kya In Seik Gyi - Chaung Ner Kwa road, we will meet and have a discussion regarding the work in the following list on 11-3-94 at 10:00 a.m., which will be held at the Township LORC office hall. You are invited to attend the meeting without fail.

1) In order to pave the road, supply 30 truckloads of firewood.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                        Chairman

Copies to: Office Copy

[Note: This is another stenciled copy with the village name and the ‘list of work’ at the end (in this case only 1 item) penned in. The firewood is presumably to heat up tar.]

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Order #14

To:                                                                                                                         Date: 20-2-94
        Chairman
        xxxx village

We inform Mr. yyyy to report to the company commander of #2 Company regarding the matter of supplying firewood and charcoal and to bring along 2 people from the countryside and the person who’s returned from the meeting at K---, altogether 4 of you. Come without fail.

                                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                            (for) Company Commander

                                                                                                                            #2 Company

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Order #15

                  Stamp:                                                                                                         Date: 12-3-94
        #32 Infantry Battalion                                 To: Chairmen
Battalion Command (Intelligence)                      xxxx & yyyy villages

Subject: Request for village heads to report

Regarding the above subject, we inform the village headman himself to report to the No. 32 Infantry Battalion headquarters without fail.      

We inform you that if you fail to come, it is the responsibility of the village headman.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                        (for) Acting Company Commander

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Order #16

                                                                                                                Frontline #61 Infantry Battalion
                                                                                                                Da Gone Dine
                                                                                                                Letter No. 1000/01/U1
                                                                                                                Date: 1994 February
To: Chairman
        Village LORC
        xxxx village

Subject: To come and meet the company commander

Regarding the above subject, we inform the chairman and all members of the Village LORC to come and meet with the commander of Frontline #61 Infantry Battalion at their headquarters at Da Gone Dine village on February 19, at 1200 hours exactly, without fail.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                    (for) Company Commander

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Order #17

 

 

Stamp: 
URGENT 
OFFICIAL   

Stamp:

Failure in duty to pay. Come & settle the matter, regardless of circumstances.

Stamp:                                                                            
Myanmar Agriculture & Development Band                   
The Bank of xxxx village                                                            
yyyy Township                                                                                           

To: Chairman
Secretary (xxxx village)

The following farmers have failed to pay back their loans for agricultural purposes. Send them immediately to pay the money.

FINAL NOTICE [in red ink]

1) U aaaa Father: U bbbb                                                               [Sd. illegible]
2) U cccc    "    : U dddd                                                                  Secretary
[etc. - the names of 8 farmers                                                    The Bank of xxxx village
    and their fathers’ names are listed]…                                         xxxx village

[Note: These ‘agriculture loans’ usually occur because after SLORC troops take most of a farmer’s rice and money, he is left with no seed grain at planting time - so he has to take a cash loan from SLORC at full interest (often payable in yet more rice) just to be able to plant a crop and prevent his family from starving. As this order shows, the SLORC does not hesitate to call in these loans, and those who cannot pay face the possibility of arrest or land confiscation and resale by SLORC officials.]

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Order #18

To: Chairman                                                                                                                 Date: 12-3-94
      xxxx village

You are to come to #32 Infantry Battalion as soon as you receive this letter. I am informing you that in case you fail to come, effective action will be 

[Sd. illegible]
           Intelligence Section