SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 96-D

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Published date:
Monday, July 29, 1996

This report contains direct translations of State Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC) orders sent to villages and town quarters in Karenni (Kayah State) in 1995. Most of them are demands for frontline porters and bullock carts for SLORC troops to use in their offensive against the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). The orders contain: demands for frontline porters, demands for bullock carts, calling for mules or horses instead of porters, extortion of fees for Sports Festival, and a plea from a village for porter fees to be reduced.

 

This report contains direct translations of State Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC) orders sent to villages and town quarters in Karenni (Kayah State) in 1995. Most of them are demands for frontline porters and bullock carts for SLORC troops to use in their offensive against the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). The KNPP made a ceasefire with SLORC in March 1995, which SLORC broke in June 1995 with fresh attacks against Karenni positions, and these orders to villagers reflect part of the result. Order #7 demands money from Loikaw townspeople to pay for a SLORC Sports Festival, and reflects a common pattern in Burma: the military plans an event to make itself look good, then forces the civilian population to pay for it and do forced unpaid labour setting it all up, then parades the event in the media as something done by the military 'for the people'. Similar festivals and rallies throughout the country are held in the same way.

These orders provide only a small sampling of the hundreds of such orders issued every week throughout Karenni, and though this set is dated 1995 similar orders are still being issued; this set can be seen as a small and incomplete representative sampling. Right now the situation in Karenni is rapidly deteriorating as SLORC conducts a mass forced relocation campaign to support its military offensive against the KNPP. Already at least 183 villages have been forced to move to military-guarded sites where there is no food or farmland, and others have been forced to sign papers that they will be forced to move if any shots are fired in their area. 

Most of the orders below are typed form letters which were sent to several villages and town quarters. All were typed on Burmese typewriters, with the exception of #4 and Letter #8, in which a village pleads for a reduction in 'porter fees'. We have attempted to accurately reproduce the visual page layout of each order, and underlining, etc. are as they appear in the order. 'Stamp:' gives the translation of the rubber unit stamp affixed to most of the orders. Italic text in square brackets has been added by KHRG for clarification where necessary.

The orders refer to 'Chairmen' and 'Members' of Village, Village Tract, Quarter, Township and District LORCs (Law & Order Restoration Councils), which are SLORC's local and regional administration. At Township level and above, these are usually loyal and corrupt SLORC officials. At village tract (a group of 5 to 20 villages) and village levels, they are SLORC-appointed and sometimes loyal and corrupt, sometimes not - especially at village level, where many have been appointed against their will and are regularly interrogated, beaten or tortured for failing to fulfill the demands in orders such as these. This is what is meant by the phrase 'If you fail it will be your responsibility' which appears in many of these orders. 'Voluntary labourers' or 'servants' means unpaid forced labour. Some details such as village names have been replaced by 'xxxx' or 'yyyy' in this report to protect them; even so, please handle this material responsibly and do not pass it directly to any SLORC representative in its present form.

 

Topic Summary

Demands for frontline porters (Orders #1-3), demands for bullock carts (#4), calling for mules or horses instead of porters (#5), extortion of fees for Sports Festival (#7), plea from a village for porter fees to be reduced (#8).

 

Orders

Order #1.

        Stamp:                                                                        Township Law & Order Restoration Council
    Township LORC                                                                 Deemawso Township
Deemawso Township                                                             Ref: 200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx)
                                                                                          Date: 1995 July 22

To:   Chairman
        xxxx Quarter / Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Council
        Deemawso Township

Subject: To collect voluntary labourers for the frontline

Reference: Under Reference #200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx) issued by us, dated 20-7-95

1) In the above letter [the 'reference' letter of 20/7/95] we asked for 16 volunteer labourers from your quarter / village tract to replace the 250 labourers who are on duty at the frontline operation. Now I inform you that you can send them on 26-7-95. The deadline is 27-7-95 without fail.

2) We inform you to know that you must send the exact number assigned. Should you fail, it will be your responsibility.

                                                                                                        [Sd. / 25/7/95]
                                                                                                        Chairman

                                                                                                        (Nyunt Way - Pa/2151)

Copies to: - District LORC, Loikaw Town
                - No. 102 Infantry Battalion, Ngwe Taung
                - No. 427 Light Infantry Battalion, Ngwe Taung
                - Township Police Superintendent, Police Station, Deemawso Town
                - Office Copy
                - For clearance only

[Note: this is a form letter sent to several villages, with the village name and the number they have to send out of 250 written in.]

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Order #2.

        Stamp:                                                                                     Township Law & Order Restoration Council
    Township LORC                                                                              Deemawso Township
Deemawso Township                                                                          Ref: 200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx)
Date: 1995 August 17

To:   Chairman
        xxxx Quarter / Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Council
        Deemawso Township

Subject: To send the full quota of voluntary labourers to the frontline

Reference: 1) District LORC #10 / 2-1 (DLORC) (1) dated 3-8-95, Loikaw Town
                 2) Our #200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx) dated 7-8-95
                 3) Our #200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx) dated 10-8-95

1) According to the above references Nos. 2 and 3 we were requesting 250 voluntary labourers to replace those at the frontline. For your quarter / village tract, you had to send 16 voluntary labourers, but you only sent us 7. We discovered that you must send 9 more voluntary labourers.

2) Therefore, the 9 remaining voluntary labourers from your quarter / village tract must be sent as soon as you receive this letter, or by the deadline of 21-8-95 at 10 a.m., to the Township LORC office, accompanied by the quarter / village tract chairman and members without fail. We hereby inform you again.

3) I inform you to do whatever is necessary to fulfill your duty to send the full number of voluntary labourers for your quarter / village tract.

                                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                                        (for) Chairman
                                                                                                        (Karl Cha - Secretary)

[Note: this is a form letter sent to several villages, with the village name and the number they have to send out of 250 written in.]

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Order #3.

        Stamp:                                                                                     Township Law & Order Restoration Council
    Township LORC                                                                              Deemawso Township
Deemawso Township                                                                          Ref: 200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx)
                                                                                                       Date: 1995 July 30

To:   Chairman
        xxxx Quarter / Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Council
        Deemawso Township

Subject: To collect and send voluntary labourers for the frontline

Reference: Our #200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx) dated 25-7-95

1) According to the above-referenced letter, we were asking you to send the exact number of volunteer labourers from your quarter / village tract to the Township LORC office, but we discovered that you did not send the full number.

2) Therefore, we inform you again that you must send without fail 9 volunteer labourers for the frontline from your quarter / village tract to the Township LORC office by 30-7-95 or 31-7-95 at 10 a.m.

Remark: If [you] fail, it will be your responsibility.

                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                                    (for) Chairman
                                                                                                    (Police 2nd-in-command Win Naing / Member #1)

Copies to: - District LORC, Loikaw Town
                - LIB 427, Ngwe Taung

[Note: this is a form letter sent to several villages, with the village name and the number they have to send written in.]

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Order #4.

To:    Chairman                                                                                                         Date: 7-8-95
         U xxxx

Subject:    Battalion 425 asking for 10 bullock carts

Regarding the above subject, Battalion 425 needs 10 bullock carts. Therefore, we inform you that you must bring these to xxxx village tomorrow, 8-8-95, at 6 a.m.

Remark: xxxx village, yyyy village and other eastern villages have already carried out their duties last week. Therefore I inform you that your village and the remaining villages which failed to do so must carry out your duties.

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Order #5.

        Stamp:                                                                                      No. 261 Infantry Battalion
    Infantry Battalion #261                                                                     Loikaw
Quartermaster Dept. Office                                                                 Ref: 261 / [initials]
                                                                                                        Date: 1995 October 9

To:    Chairman
         xxxx Quarter / Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Council
        [unclear]
                             Quarter / Village
         Loikaw Township

Subject:    Calling a meeting to purchase mules/horses

1) According to instructions from the higher authorities, in order to stop taking and using porters we need to discuss with the Township LORC and Quarter / Village LORC concerning the purchase of mules/horses for operations.

2) Therefore we inform you, gentlemen, to come and report to IB 261 headquarters office on 11-10-95 at 0900 a.m.

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                (for) Battalion Commander

[This most likely means the villages are going to be forced to buy or provide mules and horses for the Battalion; and they will probably still have to provide porters as well.]

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Order #6.

         Stamp:                                                                                  Township Law & Order Restoration Council
   Township LORC                                                                             Deemawso Township
Deemawso Township                                                                        Ref: 200 / 2-13 / TLORC (xxxx)
                                                                                                     Date: 1995 July 27

To:    Chairman
         xxxx Quarter / Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Council
         Deemawso Township

Subject:     To attend a meeting

To discuss emergency matters we invite you, Chairman and all the members [of the village tract LORC], to attend (without fail) the meeting according to the following schedule:

                        Date:    27-7-95
                        Time:    2 p.m.
                        Place:   Township Law & Order Restoration Council

                                                                                                            [Sd. / 27/7]
                                                                                                            Chairman
- Office copy                                                                                          (Nyunt Way - Pa/2151)
- For clearance only

[Note: this is a form letter sent to several villages, with the village name written in.]

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Order #7.

                                                                                                    Quarter Law & Order Restoration Council
                                                                                                    xxxx Quarter
                                                                                                    Loikaw Town
                                                                                                    Reference: [blank]
                                                                                                    Date: 1995 February 1

To:    All Members of Families
         xxxx Quarter
         Loikaw Town

Subject:    To contribute funds to hold Student Sports Festival

Reference:    According to the decision made at the Township LORC office meetingdated 1995 January 20.

1) Regarding the above subject, a Student Sports Festival will be held magnificently in Loikaw Town in Kayah State in 1995.

2) In order to do so, every Quarter in Loikaw Town has to provide financial support according to the quota assigned.

3) To do so, the xxxx Quarter also has to contribute. Each family in the Quarter has to pay 70 Kyats which will be collected in 2 installments. The first amount of 40 Kyats will be collected on 1995 January 31st and the second amount of 30 Kyats on 1995 February 28th. We earnestly inform you to comply without fail.

                                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                                                Chairman
                                                                                                                Quarter LORC
                                                                                                                xxxx Quarter
                                                                                                                Loikaw Town

[This Sports Festival was held from 5 to 15 December 1995. By the time it was held, each middle school student in Loikaw was forced to donate 200 Kyat, each high school student 500 Kyat, each family 200 Kyat, and other funds totalling much more than the cost of the festival were collected from vehicle owners, etc. Sawmill owners were forced to provide all required timber. The students were also forced to rehearse and perform ceremonies or face being barred from the year's examinations. Some monasteries and homes were destroyed to widen Loikaw's streets. People were forced to donate food for the festival and do forced labour 'whitewashing' the entire town, building fences and improving roads. No SLORC money was spent. Source / For more information: Human Rights Yearbook 1995, HRDU, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, pp. 235-236.]

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Order #8.

To:    Chairman                                                                                                                 27-5-95
         xxxx village tract
         Deemawso town / Date: 27-5-95

Subject:     The matter of collecting 200 Kyats for servants' fees

Regarding the above subject, the village tract chairman informed yyyy village in xxxx village tract to collect 200 Kyats from each household.

However, yyyy village is already providing a daily quota of servants and bullock carts by rotation for #425 group [Battalion] operating in the frontline area. Therefore, we request you to reduce the amount of servants' fees.

yyyy village expenditures:                                                                           [Sd.]
            1) 1 pig           20 viss                                                                      Chairman / Secretary
            2) 3 chickens    5                                                                             viss yyyy village
            3) 3 sacks of rice to feed porters                                                      Deemawso township

 

[Note: The word 'servants' used in this context really means porters, and "servants' fees" are more commonly referred to as "porter fees", though SLORC generally avoids the use of the direct word for 'porter' in written orders. This is not an order, but a letter from a SLORC-appointed village head to the SLORC-appointed chairman of his village tract, pleading for the 'porter fees' (extortion money for the Army) imposed on the people of his village to be reduced on the grounds that the village already has to provide porters for the SLORC troops and food for those porters (as given in the 'expenditure' list). We have not obtained the response, if any, to this letter. One viss = 1.6 kilograms.]