SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 96-C Ye-Tavoy Railway, Dooplaya District

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SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 96-C Ye-Tavoy Railway, Dooplaya District

Published date:
Monday, May 27, 1996

This report contains direct translations of several SLORC orders sent to villages in 1995 in Mergui-Tavoy and Northern Dooplaya Districts.

Note: Some details have been omitted or replaced by ‘xxxx’ for Internet distribution.]

This report contains direct translations of several SLORC orders sent to villages in 1995. Orders #1 thru #15 were issued in the Ye-Tavoy railway area and concern railway labour. The Burmese copies of these orders were provided to KHRG by XXXX. Orders #16 and #17 were issued to Karen villages further north in Dooplaya District.

The orders from Ye-Tavoy area partly concern a change in the railway route - after 2 years of the forced labour of thousands of people clearing and building a railway embankment from Yah Pu to Kalein Aung, SLORC suddenly decided the streams along this route require too many bridges so the route would be moved several kilometres to the west, passing along the eastern bank of the Heinze Basin through Mintha and close to Ain Da Ya Za. The villagers now have to begin the forced labour all over again. For more information on the route change see "Forced Labour in Mon Areas", KHRG #96-20, 22/5/96. The prime focus of forced labour on the railway now is in trying to complete the Kyaun Sone-Kalein Aung section using the Nwe Lay labour camp, as noted in Orders #3, 4, and 9. It should also be noted that several of the village tracts called for labour in these orders are along the gas pipeline route or very close by, such as On Bin Kwin (where French oil company TOTAL's base camp is located), Kanbauk, Hpaungdaw, and Ain Da Ya Za. Kywe Thone Nyi Ma is just north of the pipeline route. These villages are not only suffering from railway labour, but also from other labour for the SLORC pipeline security battalions sent into the area - see "Effects of the Gas Pipeline Project", KHRG #96-21, 23/5/96. Some of the orders clearly state that as soon as villagers get home from forced labour building a military base on Heinze Boke Island they are immediately considered available and called for labour on the railway. As villagers in the area say, forced labour is non-stop.

Some of the orders call for 'professional' or 'paid' labour; this means the villagers are supposed to raise money among themselves and pay the people they send for forced labour. Other orders are actually receipts verifying that village elders have paid the appropriate extortion money of 3,000 - 3,500 Kyat per person to avoid sending forced labour.

All numeric dates in the orders are given in dd/mm/yy format. Some details of the orders have been replaced by 'xxxx' or 'yyyy' where necessary to protect people. However, the Battalion numbers and some other details of the orders are sensitive, so please ensure that this report does not go to any SLORC representatives.

TOPIC SUMMARY

Railway labour (Orders #3-10), railway route survey labour (#1,2), Heinze Boke island military camp labour (#9), extortion to avoid forced labour (#6-8,11-13), 'paid professional' labour (#3,4), summons to meetings (#14-17).

Orders

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Order #1.

                                                                                                        Township LORC
                                                                                                        Ye Pyu Township
                                                                                                        Reference: 099/4-8/Ma Wa Ta (Ye Pyu)
                                                                                                        Date: 1995/August/2
To:   Chairmen
        Quarter / Village LORCs
        Kalein Aung/Kanbauk/Pha Chaung/Ain Da Ya Za/Nat Gyi Zin/Mintha
        Ye Pyu Township

Subject: To cooperate with the railway route-finding team

1. The route-finding team from Tavoy for Ye-Tavoy railway construction will come and search in our village tracts on (5-8-95).

2. When this team arrives in our village tracts, we have to clear the bushes. Each village tract must provide (50) labourers with their tools to help them to do their work.

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                (for) Chairman
                                                                                                                (U Myint Soe - Secretary)
Copy to:
- No. 8 Commanding Operations Headquarters - Tavoy
- No. 1 Tactical Command Headquarters of South-East Division - Tavoy
- Division LORC - Tenasserim Division - Tavoy
- District LORC - Tavoy
- Railway Project Myanmar - Tavoy town
- Local working groups implementation (Kalein Aung - Kanbauk)
- Township Surveying Department - Ye Pyu Town
- Office copy/for clearance only

[This is the team which surveyed the new route after SLORC decided to change the route, scrapping the embankment built by years of forced labour from Yah Pu to Kalein Aung.]

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Order #2.

                Stamp:                                                                                                                  Date: XX-8-95
            Village LORC
xxxx Village Tract - Ye Pyu Township                      To: Chairman/Secretary
          Date: XX-8-95                                                   xxxx village

Subject:   To clear for the railway

Regarding the above subject, gentlemen, you have to send (XX) people with machetes to xxxx village by this evening, XX-8-95 at 4 p.m., for voluntary labour.

Note: Do not fail.
                                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                                                                    Village LORC
                                                                                                                    xxxx village - Ye Pyu township

[Note: this is to clear for the railway route-finding team mentioned in Order #1.]

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Order #3.

                                                                                                            Township LORC
                                                                                                            Ye Pyu Township
                                                                                                            Reference: 099/4-8/Ma Wa Ta (Ye Pyu)
                                                                                                            Date: 1995/August/31
To:   Chairmen
        Quarter / Village LORCs, All Village Tract LORCs
        XXXX village tracts

Subject: Increasing professional labour force for railway construction and to send full labour force

1. The sections of Ye Pyu and Kalein Aung on the Ye-Tavoy railway construction must be completed as quickly as possible. This is why we are increasing the paid labour force to (XX) people on (1-9-95).

2. You must send the paid labour force to Nwe Lay camp on 1.9.95. All the paid workers must be male adults. No Children. Members of the village LORC have to go and stay by rotation for implementation and supervision and arrange the full labour force.

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                (for) Chairman
                                                                                                                (U Myint Soe - Secretary)
Copy to:
- District LORC - Tavoy town
- No. 410 LIB - Kalein Aung village - Ye Pyu township
- Camp leader - Frontline No. 410 LIB - Nwe Lay camp - Ye Pyu township
- Office copy / by clearance only

[Note: 'paid labour force' means the villagers are supposed to pay people to go and do railway labour. In fact, many villagers just have to go themselves to fill this quota without pay.]

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Order #4.

                                                                                                    Township LORC
                                                                                                    Ye Pyu Township
                                                                                                    Reference: 099/4-8/Ma Wa Ta (Ye Pyu)
                                                                                                    Date: 1995/August/31
To:   Chairmen
        Quarter / Village LORCs, All Village Tract LORCs
        XXXX village tracts

Subject: Increasing professional labour force for railway construction and to send full labour force

1. The sections of Ye Pyu and Kalein Aung on the Ye-Tavoy railway construction must be completed as quickly as possible. This is why we are increasing the paid labour force to (XX) people on (1-9-95).

2. You must send the paid labour force to Nwe Lay camp on 1.9.95. All the paid workers must be male adults. No Children. Members of the village LORC have to go and stay by rotation for implementation and supervision and arrange the full labour force.

                                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                                                    (for) Chairman
                                                                                                                    (U Myint Soe - Secretary)
Copy to:
- District LORC - Tavoy town
- No. 410 LIB - Kalein Aung village - Ye Pyu township
- Camp leader - Frontline No. 410 LIB - Nwe Lay camp - Ye Pyu township
- Office copy / by clearance only

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Order #5.

     Stamp:                                                                                                                     Date: XX-9-95
  Village LORC
XXXX Village                                      To:     Chairmen
Date: XX-9-95                                              (xxxx - yyyy villages)

Subject: Volunteer labour for Ye-Tavoy railway construction

Regarding the above subject, the XXXX village tract has responsibility for (XX) people. According to the work sharing, your villages have the responsibility to send (xx) people. That is why you must send these villagers to XXXX village on XX-9-95.

Note: Do not fail.                                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                                                                    (XXXX)
                                                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                                                                    Village LORC
                                                                                                                    XXXX village tract

[Note: This order was sent to all villages in XXXX village tract, with varying numbers of people demanded depending on the village size.]

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Order #6.

   Stamp:                                                                                                                         Date: XX-9-95
Village LORC                                                     To:   Chairman
XXXX Village                                                             VLORC
Date: XX-9-95                                                            (xxxx village)

Subject: Volunteer labour for Ye-Tavoy railway construction

Regarding the above subject, by order from Ye Pyu township, XXXX village tract must dig (1,440) kyin [1 kyin = 10'x10'x1' of stones or earth]. According to the work sharing, it is your village responsibility to dig (XX) kyin. To hire labour for (1) kyin costs 350 Kyats.
Therefore, you must send your villagers to XXXX village on XX-9-95.

         [Sd.]                                                                                      Note: Do not fail.
        (XXXX)                                                                                      If you fail, it will be your responsibility.
     Secretary-1
    Village LORC
XXXX village tract

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Order #7.

    Stamp:                                                                                                                              Date: XX-9-95
Village LORC                                                     To:    Chairman
XXXX Village                                                              VLORC
Date: XX-9-95                                                            (xxxx village)

Subject: Volunteer labour for Ye-Tavoy railway construction

Regarding the above subject, by order from Ye Pyu township, XXXX village
tract must dig (1,440) kyin [1 kyin = 10'x10'x1' of stones or earth]. According to the work sharing, it is your village responsibility to dig (XX) kyin. To hire labour for (1) kyin costs 350 Kyats.
Therefore, you must send your villagers to XXXX village on XX-9-95.

          [Sd.]                                                                                    Note: Do not fail.
         (XXXX)                                                                                     If you fail, it will be your responsibility.
     Secretary-1
    Village LORC
XXXX village tract

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Order #8.

                Stamp:                                                                                                                              Date: XX-9-95
            Village LORC
xxxx village - Ye Pyu Township                                  xxxx village Chairman and Secretary
            Date: XX-9-95                                               BE INFORMED

Subject: xxxx village must dig (XX) kyin. One hole for 350 Kyats, total amount XXXX Kyats. You must send this amount to XXXX village on XX-9-95.

Do not fail.                                                                                                          [Sd. / XXXX]
                                                                                                                         Secretary
                                                                                                                         Village LORC
                                                                                                                         XXXX village tract

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Order #9.

                                                                                                                Township LORC
                                                                                                                Ye Pyu Township
                                                                                                                Reference: 099/4-8/Ma Wa Ta (Ye Pyu)
                                                                                                                Date: 1995/June/22
To:   Chairmen
        Village Tract LORCs
        On Bin Kwin/Zadi/Hpaungdaw/Yah Pu/Zimba

Subject: To send volunteer labourers for the railway construction

1. The labourers from Zadi, Hpaungdaw and On Bin Kwin village tracts who have been working at the building of Heinze Island military camp are now taking a rest. I inform you to send (XX) people from each village tract to Nwe Lay labour camp on the Ye-Tavoy railway construction project on (25.6.95).

2. The people from Yah Pu and Zimba village tracts have been taking a rest from voluntary labour. I inform you to send (XX) people from Yah Pu village tract and (XX) people from Zimba village tract on (25-6-95).

3. Your village tracts have the responsibility to build themselves some buildings [shelters] for the railway construcion labourers. A member of the Village LORC himself must bring the labourers and a member of Village LORC has to be in charge and supervise the construction work.

                                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                                                            (for) Chairman
Copy to:                                                                                                                 (U Myint Soe - Secretary)
- District LORC, Tavoy town
- Group leader, "Local working groups implementation"
- Kanbauk area/Kalein Aung area: 
            To send and supervise labourers from Ye Pyu township, I inform you about this.
- Office copy / by clearance only

[This order reflects the constant burden of forced labour; as soon as villagers get back from labour on Heinze Island, they are immediately considered available for labour on the railway.]

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Order #10.

   Stamp:                                                                                                                          Date: XX-8-95
Village LORC                                              To:   Chairman
XXXX Village                                                      Village LORC
Date: XX-8-95                                                   (xxxx village)

Subject: Volunteer labourers for Ye-Tavoy railway construction

Regarding the above subject, according to the rotation for the Ye-Tavoy railway construction, you have to send (xx) people to XXXX on XX-8-95 without fail.

Note: If you fail, it will be your responsibility.

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                (XXXX)
                                                                                                                Chairman
                                                                                                                Village LORC
                                                                                                                XXXX village tract

[Note: this order was sent to several villages, with different numbers written in depending on the village size.]

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Order #11.

    Stamp:                                                                                                                              Date: xx-XX-95
Village LORC
  xxxx Village
Date: xx-XX-95

        Tenasserim Division - Ye Pyu Township - xxxx Village Tract

        From (xxxx village)

Chairman U xxxx - Secretary U yyyy, themselves, hired (xx) people for XXXX Ye-Tavoy railway construction in XXXX village.

(Receipt - xxxx - Kyats)

Correct

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                (XXXX)
                                                                                                                Chairman
                                                                                                                Village LORC
                                                                                                                xxxx village tract

[This receipt was given after village elders paid extortion money of 3,500 Kyat for each person absent from railway labour.]

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Order #12.

     Stamp:                                                                                                                      Date: xx-XX-95
Village LORC
  xxxx Village
Date: xx-XX-95                                          (xxxx village)

Chairman U xxxx, himself, hired (xx) people for voluntary labour on the Ye-Tavoy railway construction.

I received (xxxx) Kyat - xxxx Kyats

Correct
                                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                                                    (XXXX)
                                                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                                                                    Village LORC
                                                                                                                    xxxx village tract

[Note: this is a receipt after 3,000 Kyat per person was paid to the LORC.]

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Order #13.

    Stamp:                                                                                                                              Date: xx-XX-95
Village LORC
  xxxx Village                                              (xxxx village)
Date: xx-XX-95                                            Village LORC Chairman / U XXXX

For the Ye-Tavoy railway construction, yourself, U xxxx, hired (4) people at 3,500 Kyats each.
Total: (14,000) Kyats - Fourteen thousand Kyats.

Received - Correct.
                                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                                                    (XXXX)
                                                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                                                                    Village LORC
                                                                                                                    xxxx village tract

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Order #14.

To:   Chairmen
        xxxx / yyyy villages

Subject: Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, we want to discuss and consult with you about the new railway [i.e. the new route]. As soon as you receive this letter, come and meet at the army camp without fail. If you fail, it will be your responsibility.

Place:   XXXX camp                                                                                         [Sd./XXXX]
Date:    XX-8-95                                                                                              Company commander
                                                                                                                    No. X Company
    Stamp:                                                                                                       No. XXX LIB
  No. XXX LIB                                                                                                   XXXX camp
No. X Company

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Order #15.

    Stamp:
No. XXX LIB                                 To:   Chairman/Secretary
No. X Company                                   xxxx and yyyy villages
Village LORC

Subject:    Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, we want to consult and discuss with you on Taw Tha Lin Hla San XX [XX Sept. 1995]. You have to come and meet without fail, according to the order of #XXX Battalion commander. If you fail to come, it will be your responsibility.

Date: XX-9-95 12:00 hour

Place:    XXXX camp                                                                                          [Sd. / XXXX]
Date:     XX-9-95                                                                                               Company commander
                                                                                                                      No. X Company
                                                                                                                      No. XXX LIB
                                                                                                                      XXXX camp

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Order #16.

  Stamp:                                                                                                                                      Date: 19-3-96
No. XXX IB
                                                        Note: Come without fail at the fixed time.

To:   Chairman
        xxxx village

23-3-96 - At 10 a.m. you must arrive at xxxx village for the meeting. Do not come up with any excuse that you failed to come. If you fail to come, we warn you that serious action will be taken.

                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                        Intelligence - Corporal

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Order #17.

                                                                                                                                            Date: 21-3-96
                                                                                                                      To discuss important matters
To:   U xxxx
        Chairman
        xxxx village

23-3-96 - At 10 a.m. you must arrive at xxxx village for the meeting. Do not come up with any excuse that you failed to come. If you fail to come, gentleman, we warn you that serious action will be taken.

Note: Come without fail at the fixed time. Attendees must not be women. No representatives or delegations.

                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                            Intelligence - Sergeant
                                                                                            No. XXX IB