SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 94-E

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Published date:
Friday, September 2, 1994

Following are the direct translations of some SLORC written orders sent to villages in the area of the Ye-Tavoy railway line between Mon State and Tenasserim Division, which is currently being constructed entirely by the slave labour of tens of thousands of Mon, Karen, Tavoyan and Burman villagers (see the related report "The Ye-Tavoy Railway", KHRG 13/4/94). These orders are now months old, but copies of them have only recently been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. The work has been ongoing since late 1993, and similar orders are still being issued now. 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 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, execute villagers, or in some cases shell the village with mortars.

Following are the direct translations of some SLORC written orders sent to villages in the area of the Ye-Tavoy railway line between Mon State and Tenasserim Division, which is currently being constructed entirely by the slave labour of tens of thousands of Mon, Karen, Tavoyan and Burman villagers (see the related report "The Ye-Tavoy Railway", KHRG 13/4/94). These orders are now months old, but copies of them have only recently been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. The work has been ongoing since late 1993, and similar orders are still being issued now. 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 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, execute villagers, or in some cases shell the village with mortars.

Note: While SLORC stands for State Law & Order Restoration Council, it administers locally through State or Divisional LORC, Township LORC, Village Tract LORC and Village LORC. This abbreviation LORC (Law & Order Restoration Council) is used throughout this report.

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Order #1

Stamp:
To:  Chairman                          Frontline #63 Company
       xxxx village                      #62 Light Infantry Battalion                                                         Date: 1-12-93

Chairman:

We need 50 government servants to build along the railway line. Therefore send 50 government servants right away, each with a machete, and 10 tree-cutting [2-man] saws. Send the men with supplies for 7 days to Bauk Pin Gwin village right away.

Send them tonight or tomorrow morning at 0600 hours without fail… Chairman, come along and see me, I hereby inform you.

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander

#3 Company
#61 Light Infantry Battalion

[Note: "government servants" is the direct translation of an expression often used by SLORC officers to refer to porters in written orders. Between themselves, they often refer to porters as "ghosts". This written order shows that they also use "government servants" to refer to many forms of village slave labour.]

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Order #2

The original of this order is 2 pages long and was apparently sent to many villages throughout Ye township.

SECRET                                         URGENT
                                                       Township LORG group

                                                       Mon State - Ye Township
                                                       Letter #100/2-10/TLORC(

Date 1994 January 11

To: Chairmen
      All Ward / Village LORC groups
      Ye Township

Subject: For all villages to cooperate to build the Ye-Tavoy railway line

1) The project of building the Ye-Tavoy railway line (Ye - ?? Kwin Lam Bai) we’re going to implement as described below.


a) Work Site #1 (between Chaim Tuang and Kalaw)

No.

Village

Deadline to send the labour
to the specified place

[Army] Camp
to report to

1)
2)
3)
4)

Chaung Taung
Nit Kayin
Kaw Dut
Hla Mine

14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94

Chaung Tuang
"
"
Kalaw Gyi

b) Work Site #2 (between Kalaw and Ko Mine)

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Ha Ngan
Kalaw Gyi
Maw Kanet
Taung Bone
Ayut Taung
Thaung Pyin
An Din
Thingan Kyun
Abaw

14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94

Kalaw Gyi
"
"
"
"
Ko Mine
Ko Mine
"
"

SECRET

Page 2 of the original order

SECRET
2

c) Work Site #3 (between Ko Mine and Seneh Mine)

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Zee Pyu Thaung
Ee Sin
Ko Mine
Galah Gote
Du Myaw
Du Yah
Kaw Line
Thee Ree Ma La
Thee Ree Nan Da

14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94
14-1-94

Ko Mine
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"

d) Work Site #4 (Bauk Pin Gwin)

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

Thee Ree Kay Ma
Thee Ree Say Ya
Yan Gyi Aung
Aung Minga La
Aung Thu Ka
Aung Myitta
Kaw Hsa

*
* We are going to inform you
* of your worksite and deadline
* again [i.e. later]
*
*
*

 

2) We hereby inform you, the people of the wards and villages, to go to the worksite with all the tools you will need. Do it without fail, as has already been arranged (Without Fail).

Note: We have already arranged for train transportation from the villages along the railway route
          on 13-1-94. Therefore contact the authorities who are responsible for you.

                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                        Chairman

                                                                                                        (U Soe Win)

Copies to: - Chairman, State LORC group, Moulmein Township
                - Chairman, District LORC group, Moulmein Township
                - Commander Group, Military Command
                - Battalion Commanders, #61, 106, & 343 Battalions, Ye Township
                - Office Copy

SECRET

[Notes: The reason this is so ‘Secret’ is that it is ordering slave labour from 29 different villages, while the SLORC claims internationally that all the workers are paid volunteers. Under Work Site #2, the first army camp listed is spelt slightly differently than Kalaw Gyi is spelt under Work Site #1, more like "Kalaw a’Gyi". This is probably a mistake by a semi-illiterate SLORC official. The place names "Ko Mine" and "Seneh Mine" actually mean "Nine-Mile" and "Twelve-Mile’ respectively. The note at the end about arranged transportation means the villagers should report to certain sites along the line on 13 January, and they will be transported to their labour site; they should therefore notify the authorities of when and where they’ll be arriving.]

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Order #3

Stamp:
#343 Light Infantry Battalion                  To:    Chairman
Intelligence                                             xxxx village                                             Date: 13-1-94

 

Subject: Informing you about labour for the railway line

xxxx village must take responsibility for the railway line between Bauk Pin Bwin and Ma Lweh Taung Gya. The take to start work will be after the 20th. We will inform you of the exact location again [i.e. later]. We hereby inform you to contact the camp on the 18th and gather the villagers.

                                                                                                Friendly and Respectfully,
                                                                                                [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                Intelligence Officer
                                                                                                #343 Light Infantry Battalion

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Order #4

To: Chairman
       xxxx village
       xxxx village tract

Subject: Informing you to be involved in railway labour

xxxx village, you are responsible for the railway line between Bauk Pin Gwin and Taung Gya. You must start working on 31-1-94. xxxx chairman and village head, report to xxxx army camp on 30-1-94 to discuss this. We have hereby informed you.

                                                                                                                [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                Intelligence Officer

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Order #5

To: xxxx (chairman)                               Date: 28-2-94
      xxxx village tract

Subject: To come and meet the column commander

All the Village LORC chairmen of all the villages in the village tract, we inform you to come to the column office on 2-3-94 with U xxxx to have a discussion about labour. Come without fail, we hereby inform you.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                    Intelligence Officer

                                                                                                                    #343 Light Infantry Battalion

Location: xxxx camp

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Order #6

Stamp:
#343 Light Infantry Battalion                         To: xxxx 17-3-94
#4 Company                                                  Chairman
Date 17/3                                                       xxxx village

Dear Village Head: The part of the railway which your villagers are responsible for is already finished. Therefore, come and give the money for the labour that we hired. As soon as you receive this letter, come to the worksite or to Selay-Mine [Fourteen Mile] camp.

If you can’t come, send another of the village heads as soon as possible without fail. And xxxx, send him as well.

If you fail for any reason it will be your responsibility.

Yours,
[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
#4 Company
#343 Light Infantry Battalion

[Note: We had no chance to discuss this order with the villagers who received it, so it has a few possible meanings: a) the villagers have finished their slave labour assignment, but the military is still extorting more money from them for the labour that was theoretically "hired" to help them (for example, villagers have often been forced to pay to "hire" the bulldozers on site to "help" them when their slave labour assignment is possible to do with manual labour). b) The villagers’ labour assignment was finished by slaves from other villages before they got there, and the military is using this as an excuse to demand money for its generosity in not forcing the villagers to come. c) The villagers refused to go for labour so the military demanded cash instead, and the villagers haven’t paid yet (meanwhile, the military would simply have obtained the required slave labour from some other village).]

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Order #7

Stamp:
#343 Light Infantry Battalion                                  To:                                                 10-3-93 [sic: should be 94]
#4 Company                                                          Chairman
Date 10/3                                                               xxxx village

-    As soon as you receive this letter, xxxx village head, send the money to pay for labour and come to see me.
-    We’ve finished working, therefore if you can’t find me at the worksite come see me at the Selay-Mine [14-Mile] camp. Come as soon as possible.
-    Absolutely do not fail. Bring xxxx.

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander

#4 Company
#343 Light Infantry Battalion

[Note: The date of this order should definitely say 94 and not 93, because the labour on the railway had not even begun in March 1993]

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Order #8

Stamp:
#409 Light Infantry Battalion                         To: Chairman                                     26-12-93
Column 1 Headquarters                                xxxx village

Subject: Asking 3 big baskets of rice to feed the government servants

Regarding the above subject, we are asking you to bring 3 big baskets of rice to feed the government servants of the LIB #409 Column. As soon as you get this letter come and bring it to xxxx village, as soon as possible.

                                                                                                            
Along with this letter, bring the rice,
10 viss [16 kg.] of dried fish,
10 viss of fishpaste, and fresh living fish
 

[Sd. illegible, 26/12]

for Column Commander #409 LIB

[Stamp:] Intelligence Officer

#409 Light Infantry Battalion

[Note: In this case "government servants" means porters. Not only does the army not pay its slave civilian porters, it doesn’t even feed them - in this case it is stealing the food for them from local villages. The fish and fishpaste the officer added to the list as an afterthought will not be for the porters, but for the soldiers.]

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Order #9

Stamp:
#409 Light Infantry Battalion                         To:                                                             Date: 24-2-94
Column 2 Headquarters                                Village LORC chairman   
                                                                      xxxx village

We hereby inform you to come see the column commander as soon as you receive this letter. If you fail for any reason it will be your responsibility, we inform you. If you are absent, a bullet will come to you.

                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                            (for) Column 2, Column Commander