SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 99-C Karen and Mon States

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SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 99-C Karen and Mon States

Published date:
Wednesday, August 4, 1999

Following are the direct translations of some written orders sent from SPDC and DKBA Army units and local authorities to villages in Pa’an and Dooplaya Districts of Karen State and Kyaik Mayaw township of Mon State, southeastern Burma. All of them were issued in the period November 1998 - July 1999. They include orders announcing the commencement of a major forced labour canal project in Mon State in April 1999, orders for forced donations by dozens of villages to an Army-organised Buddhist temple festival, demands for village donations to establish an SPDC-recognised school, a letter of resignation which an NLD member in Karen State was forced or coerced to sign, dozens of demands for forced labour of various kinds, demands for money, food and building materials, and orders issued by the DKBA in Pa’an District. There are also orders summoning village elders to attend ‘meetings’ at which SPDC Army officers or officials dictate demands for forced labour, money and materials and threaten the village for any failure to comply.

[Some details have been omitted or replaced by ‘xxxx’ for Internet distribution, and copies of the Burmese originals are not included.]

Following are the direct translations of some written orders sent from SPDC and DKBA Army units and local authorities to villages in Pa’an and Dooplaya Districts of Karen State and Kyaik Mayaw township of Mon State, southeastern Burma. All of them were issued in the period November 1998 - July 1999. They include orders announcing the commencement of a major forced labour canal project in Mon State in April 1999, orders for forced donations by dozens of villages to an Army-organised Buddhist temple festival, demands for village donations to establish an SPDC-recognised school, a letter of resignation which an NLD member in Karen State was forced or coerced to sign, dozens of demands for forced labour of various kinds, demands for money, food and building materials, and orders issued by the DKBA in Pa’an District. There are also orders summoning village elders to attend ‘meetings’ at which SPDC Army officers or officials dictate demands for forced labour, money and materials and threaten the village for any failure to comply.

This report does not aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the human rights situation in these areas, but to provide a reference containing examples of several kinds of orders received by villages in several different regions. More information on the human rights situation in each District is available in other existing KHRG reports. Originals of these orders were obtained by KHRG monitors in each region, with the exception of Orders #1-3, 10-13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 48, 59, and 76-79, which were obtained by the Human Rights Section of the Federated Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), and Orders #18 and 45, which were obtained by the Burma Initiative. KHRG would like to thank both of these organisations for allowing us to translate and publish these orders in this report. For every order reproduced here, hundreds more are issued every week; these should be seen only as a small representative sampling. Most of these orders were handwritten, some typed, and carbon-copied if sent to more than one village. They were issued by local SPDC and DKBA Army commanders and Peace & Development Councils (PDCs), which are local-level SPDC administration at the Township, Village Tract and Village level. While the Township and often Village Tract PDCs consist of SPDC officials under direct military control, the Village PDC chairperson and members are appointed, often against their will, by the local military. These are the people referred to as ‘Chairperson’ and ‘Secretary’ in the orders. They are responsible for providing forced labourers, money, materials, intelligence etc. as demanded by the military and the higher-level PDCs, and they are the first to be arrested and tortured if they fail to do so; this is what is meant by threatening phrases such as "if you fail it will be your responsibility".

Orders in this report have been divided by topic. For each topic a short summary has been included to explain the context in which the orders were issued. The orders were written in Burmese except Orders #97 and #98, which were written in Sgaw Karen by the DKBA. Village names, people’s names and Army camp names have been replaced with ‘xxxx’, ‘yyyy’, etc. where necessary to protect villages from retaliation. 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 unit stamp affixed to many of the orders, while ‘[Sd.]’ denotes the usually illegible signature of the issuing official. Italic text in square brackets has been added by KHRG for clarification where necessary, but all other text is as it appears in the orders. Note that Burmese grammar is very different from English, and therefore some of the phraseology sounds awkward because we have tried to reproduce the wording as exactly as possible.

As in the originals, all numeric dates are shown in dd/mm/yy format. Some orders use Burmese dates: the year 1361 is the period from April 1999-April 2000, the months begin at each new moon and are divided into the moon’s ‘waxing’ and ‘waning’ phases. In all of these cases the original order also specifies the Gregorian calendar date. In Burmese, numerals are usually written in parentheses; in the translations these have been omitted in most cases where they would not be used in English. Most orders are addressed to the ‘Chairperson’, which is the SPDC-appointed Chairperson of the village PDC, while other orders are addressed to the‘Headman’, who is head of the village elders; these are usually the same person, and often it is actually a woman because the villagers feel that women, particularly elderly women, will be detained and tortured less often than a male headman would be. Many orders call for ‘loh ah pay’, which we have translated literally as ‘voluntary labour’, though it is the term used by the SPDC to call for forced labour. The term ‘wontan’ also appears frequently; we have translated this literally as ‘servant’, and it is used by the SPDC to refer to porters and other forced labourers. Reference is made to ‘servants’ fees’, also known as‘porter fees’; these are the routine extortion fees which villagers must pay to all Army battalions in their area. Many orders contain phrases like "if you fail it is your responsibility" or "we will not take any responsibility for your village"; these are threats that village elders will be arrested and detained under torture or houses will be looted and/or burned for failure to comply with the order. Some Battalions in the orders call themselves ‘Advance’ or‘Frontline’ battalions, indicating that they operate in conflict areas.

Copies of the Burmese originals of selected orders are included at the end of the report [these have been excluded from this Web version]. The translations of these orders are marked with an asterisk (*) to indicate this. The poor quality of many of the copies is due to the poor quality of paper used by SPDC units and their use of carbon copies. Copies of the full set of Burmese orders in this report are available (with appropriate details blacked out) on approved request from KHRG.

 

Abbreviations

 

                    SPDC     State Peace & Development Council, military junta ruling Burma
                    PDC       Peace & Development Council, SPDC local-level administration
                                  (e.g. Village PDC [VPDC], Village Tract PDC, Township PDC [TPDC])
                    DKBA     Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, Karen group allied with SLORC/SPDC
                    IB           Infantry Battalion (SLORC/SPDC), usually about 500 soldiers fighting strength
                    LIB         Light Infantry Battalion (SLORC/SPDC), usually about 500 soldiers fighting strength
                    KNU       Karen National Union, main Karen opposition group
                    KNLA     Karen National Liberation Army, army of the KNU
                    Kyat       Burmese currency; US$1=6 Kyat at official rate, 300+ Kyat at current market rate
                    Viss        Unit of weight measure; one viss is 1.6 kilograms or 3.5 pounds
                    Pyi         Volume of rice equal to 8 small condensed milk tins; about 2 kilograms / 4.4 pounds
                    Taun      Burmese unit of measurement equalling 1.5 feet or ½ metre (elbow to fingertip)
                    Twa       Burmese unit of measurement equalling 8-9 inches or 20-22 cm (one handspan)

Table of Contents


   

Page

Preface

 

1

Abbreviations

 

2

Table of Contents

 

3

Map (to view the map click here)

 

4

     

The Canal Project in Kyaik Mayaw Township

Orders #1-2

5

Rice Growing Quotas

Order #3

9

Forced Contributions to a Pagoda Festival

Orders #4-6

10

Establishment of a School

Order #7

14

NLD Resignation Letter

Order #8

16

General Demands for Forced Labour

Orders #9-42

17

Demands for Food, Materials and Money

Orders #43-73

30

Summons to ‘Meetings’

Orders #74-94

42

DKBA Orders

Orders #95-104

50

     

Copies of Selected Original Orders in Burmese

 

56

The Canal Project in Kyaik Mayaw Township

The two orders below relate to a large-scale forced labour project which the SPDC announced and began in April 1999 in Kyaik Mayaw township, just southeast of Moulmein in Mon State. The project involves the digging of 14 irrigation canals. Though money is being collected from all villagers in the region to "hire machines", in projects of this nature the authorities usually keep all of this money and then force the villagers to work by hand. If this occurs, this project could go on for several years, and the villagers will also be forced to maintain the canals once they are established.

Order #1*

Minutes of the meeting concerning the canal which will be dug to get water for the fields in Kyaik Mayaw township, held at the Township Peace & Development Council office, Shwe Hin Tha Hall, on April 6th 1999 at 1000 hours.


Meeting attendance

1) U Aye Thein                        District Land Officer, Mawlamyine [Moulmein] District
2) U Khin Maung Win                Chairperson, Township Peace & Development Council
2*) U Kyaw Myint                     Secretary,                       - ditto -
4) U Tin Khine                         Member (1),                     - ditto -
5) U Tin Kyeh                          Member (2),                     - ditto -
6) All heads of departments
7) All members of Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils

[*Note: the third item above is mistakenly numbered ‘2)’ in the original, so we have left it that way.]

Discussion

District Land Officer U Aye Thein gave a speech. Although the Secretary of the District Peace & Development Council had to attend this meeting, he had another important matter [to attend to] so I have come here on behalf of the District Supervisor of Agriculture. Kyaik Mayaw township has many water resources, so to increase the agricultural acreage we are digging canals. The people of the villages must dig the canals yourselves. After the Water Festival [in mid-April] we must dig the canals. Concerning the digging of the canals, to systematically manage the public labour all department heads must be involved. For the development of the agricultural sector, the departments concerned have to perform duties in the field. That was the content of his speech.

The Chairperson of the Township Peace & Development Council stated that we intend to dig 14 canals in the year 1999-2000, and that after digging the canals we will cultivate 50,000 acres of paddy field in the coming year. [Page 2 of the document begins here.] We will cultivate more than last year, and it will also provide suitable protection against flooding for the fields in Kyaik Mayaw township. For the digging of the canals, we have already assigned the duties for each village to the department heads. [Each department head will be sent to supervise the work of one or more villages.]

The Chairperson of the Township Peace & Development Council then read out the list of department heads who would supervise each village and the length of canal which must be dug by each village.

The members of the Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils then discussed this again, and said that after the Water Festival they are occupied with the dry season paddy harvest time and with preparing to cultivate the rainy season paddy, so that it is difficult to get public labour to dig the canals. If possible, we should collect money to hire heavy machinery for digging.

The decisions were made as follows.

Decision 1

If they cannot get public labour for the digging then the Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils concerned must collect money and contribute.

Decision 2

The money to be collected is 500 Kyat from each family. If they have fields add 350 Kyat per acre. At Let Pan, Kayan, Kyone Sein, and Babu Gone collect 500 Kyat from each family and add 1,050 Kyat per acre, because the canals will directly affect those villages.

Decision 3

Concerning the digging of the canals, the department heads must explain the situation and collect the money at the wards / villages under their responsibility, and make a speech concerning this. Report back on 10-4-99 about field work.

Decision 4

When you collect the money do not misuse it. The Township Peace & Development Council … [the remainder of this page of the document was lost.]

 

Decision 5

The deadline date for collecting the money is 11-4-99.

Decision 6

When digging the canals with labour / machines, the members of Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils must supervise carefully the digging which is under their responsibility.

Decision 7

The digging of the canals is the responsibility of the public who live in the township. They must do it successfully and compulsorily. The members of the Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils responsible must understand that action will be taken to stop their duty [if they are undutiful; the wording is unclear but appears to mean that they will be removed from their duties if they fail].

Decision 8

The digging of canals must start on 18-4-99.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 in the morning.

 

Reference:    500 / 5-18 / Ma Ya Ka                                                    [Sd.] 
Date:           1999 April 9th                                                              Recorder
                                                                                          (U Kyaw Myint – Secretary)

Distribution:
          - meeting attendees

Copies:
          Chairperson, District Peace & Development Council, Mawlamyine [Moulmein]
          Office Copy

[This order is fairly typical of the administration of major SPDC projects. Orders come from higher levels, then responsibility is handed down to the Townships to allocate forced labour and forced payment to the villages. The demands are then dictated to the village leaders, referred to here as "Ward / Village Tract Peace and Development Councils" at meetings like this one. Note that under "Discussion", these village leaders tried to protest that their villagers are too busy with farm work to do heavy forced labour digging canals, but their concerns appear to have been brushed aside. Not only will the villagers have to do forced labour, but they will also have to pay huge sums of money which are supposedly for the digging of the canals; some of the demands for money resulting from this meeting can be seen in Order #2.]

 

Order #2*

                                                                    Township Peace & Development Council
                                                                    Kyaik Mayaw township – Kyaik Mayaw town
                                                                    Reference: 500 / 5-18 / Ma Ya Ka
                                                                    Date: 1999 April 23rd
To:     Chairpersons
          All Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils
          Kyaik Mayaw Township [handwritten:] xxxx [village]

Subject: To contribute money on time for digging canals in 1999-2000

For the digging of canals in Kyaik Mayaw Township in 1999-2000, to hire machines for digging, the ward / village must collect money according to their allotment and send it to the Township Peace & Development Council by the deadline of 27-4-99. If you cannot contribute the money, all wards / villages will start to dig on 30-4-99 the length for which you are responsible, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                                         Chairperson
Copies:
          Chairperson, District Peace & Development Council, Mawlamyine [Moulmein]
          Departmental Heads – assigned to field work in the villages under their                      responsibility, you are informed

          File Copy
          Office Copy

[For background to this order, see Order #1. ‘The length for which you are responsible’ refers to the length of canal which has been assigned to each village based on village size. This order was typed and sent to all villages in the township, with the village name written in afterwards by hand.]

Rice Growing Quotas

The following order, sent out to all villages in Kyaik Mayaw township of Mon State, tells each village tract how much wet rice acreage they must cultivate in the 1999 growing season. The quota for the township (52,444 acres) has been handed down from higher levels, and this order breaks this quota down into an acreage for each village tract. The acreage quotas are imposed so that the SPDC can meet its targets when it confiscates a quota of rice from every farmer after the harvest. These quotas are usually set at 12-15 baskets of paddy per acre, and farmers are forced to sell their quota to the authorities at less than half of market price or face arrest. In practice, when the farmers hand in their quotas the corrupt local officials steal much of this money by claiming that the rice contains straw or impurities, and the farmers end up receiving only 20-25% of market price. (For examples of this, see "Death Squads and Displacement", KHRG #99-04, May 1999.) No exceptions are granted even if the crop fails due to natural disasters, so many farmers have to buy rice on the open market just to fill their quota.

Order #3*

                                                                   Township Peace & Development Council
                                                                   Kyaik Mayaw township – Kyaik Mayaw town
                                                                   Reference: 500 / 5-16 / Ma Ya Ka                                                                    Date: 1999 April 22nd 
To:     Chairpersons
          All Ward / Village Peace & Development Councils
          Kyaik Mayaw Township [handwritten:] xxxx [village]

Subject: Assignment to cultivate rainy season paddy acreage

1) We have a plan to cultivate 52,444 acres of rainy season paddy. To achieve this target, xxxx ward / village group is assigned to cultivate xxxx acres of rainy season paddy.

2) The ward / village group responsible for these xxxx acres must do this in negotiation with the organisations concerned. We assign each farmer, type ba ya ka [indicating a strong degree of order], to achieve the target for rainy season paddy on time, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                                         Chairperson
Copies:
          File Copy
          Office Copy

[This was a typed order copied to several villages, with the village name written in afterwards by hand. 52,444 acres is probably the quota of acreage dictated to the Township authorities by higher levels within the SPDC, and the Township then reallocates this amount to each village based on village size. After the harvest, the farmers’ rice quotas will most likely be calculated based on the assumption that the villages have produced a total of 52,444 acres of rice whether they have or not, even if the crop fails or if they do not have access to that much land.]

Forced Contributions to a Pagoda Festival

The following three orders relate to a pagoda festival which was held in the large village of Nabu in Pa’an District, central Karen State. The first order ‘invites’ all villages in the area to attend a meeting about it, the second order reports on the results of the meeting and dictates how much each village must donate, and the third order scolds a village for not having turned in their donation on time. Forty-four villages were forced to contribute to this celebration, and the total amount was much more than should have been required; much of what was collected may have been kept by the local military authorities. It is also important to note that this burden imposed on the villages is in addition to the usual forced labour and money which they are forced to provide to the military each month. Most subsistence farmers in this region are struggling to survive as it is, and can scarcely afford to ‘donate’ anything more, even for a religious celebration. Villagers also regularly complain that they give to the monks and the temples as they can on their own and make merit in this fashion, whereas being ordered to give to the temple is not in line with Buddhist tenets at all.

Order #4

To:      Village Chairperson
          Chairperson of Pagoda Trustees
          Village Youth Chairperson
            xxxx  village                                                                                Date:18-2-99

Subject: Invitation to attend the meeting to discuss the celebration of Buddha Zaniya               worship

Regarding the above subject, Aung Myay Set Kyar pagoda is enshrined in Nabu monastery compound. Even though[living] among other religions, people have celebrated Buddha Zaniya worship annually for many years now, arranged by the Battalion Commanders and leaders of the village, all of whom are Buddhist.

To preserve the traditions of the ancients who celebrated Buddha Zaniya worship, in order to celebrate the same while we are alive, the meeting will be held according to the programme below.

Programme

Place           - Aung Teik Dee Monastery, Nabu village
Date/Time   - Year 1360, 10th waxing day of Da Baun (Tuesday) at noon, 12 o’clock; date                        23-2-99.

                                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                                          Major Win Naing Oo

                                                                                  Chairperson of the Celebration
                                                                                     #547 Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                              Army region of Kawkareik Township

[This order was copied and sent out to many villages. It is a typed order with the village name filled in by hand. The heads of many villages were ordered to attend this meeting, after which the Army sent out Order #5. ‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda.]

 

Order #5*

[The following order has 3 pages; the first page is the main letter, followed by a list 2 pages long. It is a typed document with the village name filled in at the top by hand.]

                                                                Nabu, Aung Teik Dee Monastery
                                                                Buddha Zaniya Worship Celebration Committee
                                                                Date: 1999, February [blank] 
                                                                         1360, [blank] waxing day of Da Baun
To:      Head of Village

            xxxx  village

Subject:           To come and bring the donated money / rice for the celebration of Nabu                        Aung Teik Dee Buddha Zaniya worship

1) According to the meeting which was held on the 10th waxing day of Da Baun, 1360 (24-2-99), Wednesday, we allocated the requirements for the celebration of Buddha Zaniya worship at Nabu Aung Teik Dee monastery, to send donated money / rice, meat / fish, and produce, by the list in Appendix A [see below], you are hereby informed.

2) Therefore you must send the donated money from the village, rice, meat/fish, produce and firewood, on the 2nd waning day of Da Baun, 1360 (2-3-99), Tuesday, by noon, 12 o’clock, to the financial and budget controlling committee at Nabu Aung Teik Dee monastery, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                                      Major Win Naing Oo
                                                                        Chairperson of Celebration Committee
                                                                                #547 Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                       Nabu Army region

Appendix (A)
Donation List


#

Village Group

Money donated

Rice

______

Tins  Pyi

Chicken

(viss)

Cooking Oil

(viss)

Produce

(viss)

Firewood

(cartloads)

1

Naut Hin village

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

2

Kaw Yay Ka village

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

3

Kaw Kyaik village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

4

Taw Pein village

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

5

Tee Hser Kaw village

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

6

Thaya Gone village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

7

Nan Kaw Htay

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

8

Noh Baw Heh village

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

9

Myatpadine village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

10

Kaneing Paw Taung

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

3

11

Laung Yi village

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

12

Kaw Palan village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

13

Tee Swan village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

14

Hto Ko Ko village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

15

Nabu Da Gone Tine

4500 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

16

Paya Gone village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

17

Da Weh Dan village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

3

18

Tha Yeh Daw village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

19

Naung Htat Pan

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

20

Kaw Paung Yat

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

21

Kaw Tha Su village

1300 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

22

Noh Wah Kalay Da Gone Tine

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

23

Ta Kyah Chaung

2200 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

24

Weh Kin Eh village

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

25

Nyaung Done village

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

26

Naung Ta Man

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

27

Ta Weh Lah village

1800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

28

Noh Tee Leh village

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

29

Tee Po San village

5000 K

1

8

1

1

3

 

30

Kaw Kalaung

3500 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

31

Kaw Su village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

32

Tee Kalay village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

33

Kaw Hto village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

34

Inn Shay village

4500 K

1

8

1

1

3

3

35

Ka Nein Paw

5000 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

36

Kaw Nyain village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

37

Nan San Lit

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

38

Tee Wah Su village

3500 K

1

 

1

1

3

3

39

Naung Kaing

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

40

Mi Pah Leh village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

41

Mon Su village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

42

Naung Ta Bweh

5000 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

(2)

[Following is the 2nd page of the table, 3rd page of the order]

#

Village Group

Money donated

Rice

______

Tins Pyi

Chicken

(viss)

Cooking Oil

(viss)

Produce

(viss)

Firewood

(cartloads)

43

Weh Lit village

2800 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

44

Paya Ngote Toh

3150 K

1

 

1

1

3

 

45

LIB 547

5000 K

4

8

       

46

LIB 548

5000 K

           

47

LIB 549

5000 K

           

48

Htaut Pote[Supply Corps]

5000 K

           

49

G. E. [General Engineers]

7000 K

           

50

Dee Kay Bee Ay[DKBA]

5000 K

3

         

 

[Notes on the above order: In the table ‘K’ has been used in translation of the abbreviated Burmese symbol for Kyat. For this celebration, this order is demanding that the 44 villages named ‘donate’ a total of 141,250 Kyat, 44 tins and 128 pyi of rice, 44 viss of chicken, 44 viss of cooking oil, 132 viss of vegetables/produce, and 33 cartloads of firewood, while the local Army battalions, Supply Corps, ‘G.E.’ (the General Engineering Corps of the Army) and the DKBA are supposedly to contribute an additional 32,000 Kyat and 7 tins and 8 pyi of rice. One ‘viss’ is 1.6 kg / 3.5 lb, one ‘pyi’ of rice is about 2 kg / 4.4 lb (depending on the grade), and one ‘tin’ of rice is about 17 kg / 37 lb; in other words, the total amount demanded from the 44 villages is approximately 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) of rice, 70 kg (155 lb) of chicken and the same of cooking oil, and 211 kg (464 lb) of vegetables. In addition, even at a conservative estimate of 100 kilograms per cartload, 33 cartloads of firewood would total 3,300 kg (7,260 lb). These demands are being placed on villages which are already having a great deal of difficulty surviving under the burden of SPDC demands and forced labour, and they are being given no more than a week to comply. The back of page 3 of this order was inscribed "QUICKLY". In addition, much of the money and food will probably not be used for the celebration, but will simply be taken by the Army officers.]

Order #6*

             Stamp:                                        Nabu, Aung Teik Dee monastery
#547 Light Infantry Battalion                       Buddha Zaniya Worship Celebration Committee
        Battalion Office                                 Date: 1999 March 5
                                                                        1360, 5th Waning day of Da Baun

To:     Head of Village
            xxxx  village

Subject:           To come and bring the donated money/rice for the celebration of Nabu                        Aung Teik Dee monastery Buddha Zaniya worship

1) For the usual annual celebration of Buddha Zaniya worship at Nabu monastery, we need donated money / rice / meat and fish / produce / firewood for the celebration, so send them on the 2nd waning day of Da Baun, 1360, you were already informed.

2) Until now you still haven’t sent the requirements for the celebration, the donated money / rice / meat and fish / produce / firewood. These must be sent by the 7th waning day of Da Baun, 1360 (7-3-99) (Sunday). Do not fail, you are informed again.

                                                                                           [Sd. / Major] 
                                                                         Chairperson of Celebration Committee
                                                                                 #547 Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                        Nabu Army region

[This is a typed order with the village name filled in by hand, prepared to be sent to several villages. It refers to the matters raised in Orders #4 and #5.]

Establishment of a School

The following order is a notification to local villagers of a meeting which was held to decree the establishment of a new ‘sub-high school’ in xxxx village of Pa’an District, central Karen State. This is a high school which is recognised but not supported in any material way by the authorities, which is common in Burma. The villagers pay for the school, the teachers and all the materials, but the school is only allowed to exist if it teaches the SPDC-approved curriculum.

Order #7

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command

Minutes of the meeting held on June xx 1999 at 1300 hours at xxx Light Infantry Battalion concerning hiring 6 senior assistant teachers (male/female) for the sub-high school [see note below] to be opened atxxxx


Meeting Attendees

1) The following persons attended the meeting:


(a)

Lieutenant Colonel xxxx

Battalion Commander

(b)

Lieutenant xxxx

Battalion Captain

(c)

Lieutenant xxxx

Intelligence Officer

(d)

Sergeant xxxx

Intelligence Sergeant

(e)

Sergeant Major xxxx

Battalion Sergeant Major

(f)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(g)

xxxx

xxxx village

(h)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(i)

xxxx

xxxx village

(j)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(k)

xxxx

xxxx village

(l)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(m)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(n)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(o)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(p)

xxxx

xxxx village

(q)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

(r)

Daw xxxx

xxxx village

 

The Battalion Commander gave an opening speech [summarised in the paragraph below]

2) The reason for holding this meeting now with the village heads and chairpersons is to open a sub-high school in the 1999/20[00] educational year in xxxx. Six senior assistant teachers (male/female) must be hired from the town to teach at the sub-high school. The salary for the teachers will be 5,000 Kyat each, so 30,000 Kyat will have to be paid [per month]. Food allowance for 1 [month] will be 20,000 Kyat, so the cost will total 50,000 Kyat per month. I want to say that the villages must donate this money as you can. Next year we will get a quota of teachers (male/female) from the State, [page 2 of the document begins here] and there will be no need to continue hiring teachers (male/female) so there will be no need to donate money. The delegations from the villages who were attending the meeting spoke and said that they will donate the money for education, and the decision was made to donate the money as shown below.

3) To send the donated money in 6/99 to LIB xxx, the village heads must explain to the villagers so they will understand. On the first waxing day of every month, collect the money. The decision was made to send the donated money for 6/99 as follows.

 


#

Decision

Responsibility

1

aaaa [village]

1000 K

19-6-99

2

bbbb

700 K

"

3

cccc

1000 K

"

4

dddd

1000 K

"

5

eeee

1000 K

"

6

ffff

1000 K

"

7

gggg

1000 K

"

8

hhhh

500 K

17-6-99

9

iiii

500 K

19-6-99

10

jjjj

500 K

"

11

kkkk

500 K

14-6-99

12

llll

500 K

17-6-99

13

mmmm

500 K

19-6-99

14

nnnn

500 K

"

15

oooo

500 K

14-6-99

16

pppp

500 K

"

17

qqqq

500 K

19-6-99

18

rrrr

500 K

"

19

LIB 549

10,000 K

LIB 549

[Page 3 of the document begins here]

4) The meeting was adjourned at 1400 hours.

                                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                                                   Lieutenant xxxx 
                                                                                                        Recorder
Reference:   xxxx / xxxx / xxxx 
Date:           1999 June

 

Distribution:

 

aaaa village hhhh village oooo village
bbbb village iiii village pppp village
cccc village jjjj village qqqq village
dddd village kkkk village rrrr village
eeee village llll village Office Copy / File
ffff village mmmm village  
gggg village nnnn village  

 

[Notes: The above distribution list is shown in 3 columns, though it appeared in 1 long column in the original. In the above order we have used ‘sub-high school’ as the translation of "dweh bet a’tet dan kyaun", a village high school which is recognised but not supported by the SPDC; the villagers must hire and pay for the teachers and for all or a portion of the building and other materials. This order demands that the 18 villages named pay a total of 12,200 Kyat for the month of June 1999, to go with 10,000 Kyat which is supposed to be contributed by the Light Infantry Battalion; altogether this makes less than half of the 50,000 Kyat specified per month, though this may be because the school is not yet open.]

NLD Resignation Letter

Over the past one to two years, the SPDC has tried to undermine the National League for Democracy (NLD) party which won the 1990 elections in many ways, and one of the most prominent has been by forcing or coercing NLD members to resign from the party by threatening their jobs, their livelihoods and their families. KHRG obtained the letter below from xxxx District in central Karen State. It is a form letter produced by the SPDC which NLD members are forced or coerced to sign, requesting NLD Headquarters in Rangoon (Yangon) to accept their resignation for reasons of "food, clothing, shelter and the state of my health". Similar letters have been used throughout Burma.

Order #8*

To:     Chairperson
          National League for Democracy Headquarters
          Yangon
                                                                                                                                            Date: xx-3-99

Subject: Asking to resign from membership

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, at xxxx Township ( ) Ward xxxx village , son/daughter of U xxxx , National Identification Card number xxxx, held by U / Daw xxxx , for my food, clothing, shelter and the state of my health, I have no wish to do political activities anymore. Therefore I request and inform you to allow my retirement.

                                                                                                    Signed   [Sd.] 
                                                                                                    Name   U xxxx  
                                                                            National Identification Card #   xxxx  
                                                                                                    Address   xxxx village  
Copies to:

                    Chairperson, Township Commissioner Office, xxxx town

[This is a form letter which NLD members in the region are coerced or forced to sign to resign from the party. The entire letter has been pre-typed and copied; only the blanks (underlined in the above translation) are left for the NLD member to fill in. "Son/Daughter" and "U/Daw" (Mr./Mrs.) are printed in this form and the member crosses out whichever does not apply to him/her. On this letter the NLD member crossed out "Ward" because he is from a village and not a town ward. Other than that, he only filled in the underlined blanks and his NIC card number as shown; the rest was already on the form. Items shown as crossed out appear as they are in the original.]

General Demands for Forced Labour

The orders below are from three different areas: Pa’an District in central Karen State, parts of Dooplaya District to the south of Pa’an District, and 200 kilometres further south in the southern end of Dooplaya District. Some are for forced labour cultivating food for the Army (e.g. Order #9), some are for road labour (e.g. Orders #16 and #19), some are for military porters (e.g. Order #15), and most of the remainder demand ‘servants’ and ‘messengers’ to do rotating shifts of forced labour at local Army camps. This is a standard practice of the SPDC Army. Most Army camps demand 3 to 10 people from each of the surrounding villages in rotating shifts. The villagers must take along their own food and stay at the Army camp for two days to a week, doing labour as messengers, sentries, building and maintaining buildings, bunkers, trenches and fences, clearing scrub, cutting and hauling firewood, hauling water, short-distance portering and any other duties demanded of them. Usually they are not released until their replacements are sent; some of the orders below call on village leaders to ‘replace the servants’ (e.g.Orders #20 and #38), and Order #20 even threatens that "If the servants run away because you haven’t come and replaced them, we will shoot and catch them, so come quickly and replace them". It is difficult for villagers to go for all of this forced labour, so they are often delinquent in complying with these orders. Usually the Army responds by sending threatening and angry letters (e.g. Orders #10 and #15), until after the third letter the village has little option but to comply or face the possibility of very serious punishment which usually includes the arrest and torture of village elders.

Order #9*

          Stamp:                                                                 #xxx Infantry Battalion 
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                    xxxx
Military Control Command                                                 Reference: 1000 / xxx / xxxx 
                                                                                      Date: 1999 June 12th

To:     Chairpersons
          xxxx / yyyy village groups
          Village Peace & Development Council

Subject: To send volunteer servants

For cultivation at #xxx Infantry Battalion [camp], send 5 cattle (with plough) and 15 people (with mattocks) toxxxx on 13-6-99, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                          (for) Battalion Commander
Copies to:
                    Office Copy
                    File
xxxx

[The SPDC in Rangoon has reduced rations to its Army units in the field and has ordered them to produce more food themselves or take it from the villagers. As a result, Army units are now demanding more food from villages and are also taking their land and demanding that the villagers do forced labour farming to produce food for the soldiers.]

 

Order #10*

                                                                     Stamp: 
To:     Chairperson                       Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
          (xxxx) village                                        Column x                               Date: 4-6-99

Subject: Send servants quickly

Regarding the above subject matter, although we already informed you to quickly send servants from xxxx village, until today you still haven’t sent them. [This is the] Last warning and notification to quickly send them. If you fail I will take no responsibility, the responsibility will concern the village. You are hereby informed that this is the last warning.

                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                              (for) Column Commander

[The back of this order is stamped twice "IMPORTANT". This order was sent the day after Order #11 below, and to the same village.]

 

Order #11*

                                                                 Stamp: 
To:     Chairperson                         #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
          xxxx village                                      Column x                                           3/6/99

Subject: Come and meet at the Column

Regarding the above subject, headman of xxxx village, come with 10 servants and meet at the Column. If you fail, the responsibility will be the headman’s, you are hereby informed.

    Stamp:                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                                   Intelligence Officer
IMPORTANT                                                          #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The 10 ‘servants’ are villagers for a shift of forced labour.]

 

Order #12

                                                                Stamp: 
                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
To:     Chairperson                                     Column x                                          3/6/99
          xxxx village

Subject: Come and meet at the Column

Regarding the above subject matter, headman from xxxx village, come with 10 servants and meet at the Column. If you fail, the responsibility will concern the headman, you are hereby informed.

          Stamp:                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                                Intelligence Officer
       IMPORTANT                                                               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The 10 ‘servants’ are villagers for a shift of forced labour.]

 

Order #13

To:     Chairperson                                      Stamp:                                            2/6/99
          xxxx village                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                Column x

Subject:            Come and meet at the Column

Regarding the above subject, come with 6 servants from xxxx village and see [us] at the Column. If you fail the responsibility will concern the Chairperson, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The 6 ‘servants’ are villagers for a shift of forced labour.]

 

Order #14

     Stamp:

#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                  To:    Village Headman
   Column x Headquarters                               xxxx village                           Date: 26-5-99

As soon as you receive this letter, bring 2 servants from your village and come to the Column at xxxx village. Come quickly to the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                      [Sd. / 26-5-99 / 2ndLt.] 
                                                                                    (for) Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #15*

To:     Headman                                           Stamp: 
          xxxx village                            #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                    Military Control Command

As soon as you receive this letter, come quickly and bring 4 operations servants [frontline porters] to the Column. Why must we call many times? What is it? Find the answer. I won’t write next time.

Place: Temporary Movement                                                               [Sd.] 
Date:  19-5-99                                                                      (for) Intelligence Officer
                                                                                             #xxx Infantry Battalion

[‘I won’t write next time’ is an implied threat that if the headman fails to comply this time the Army will come to the village to inflict punishment.]

 

Order #16*

To:     Headman                                              Stamp:                                      19-5-99
          xxxx village                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                      Column x

From xxxx village, send 1 servant with food for 3 days on 20-5-99 to #xxx LIB, and send 1 volunteer from each family for the Nabu – Daw Lan road construction with panniers, mattocks and crowbars [‘dtan ta ywin’] on 20-5-99. Do not fail, you are hereby informed.

If you fail, the responsibility will be yours.

                                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                                          Intelligence Officer
                                                                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The panniers which the villagers must bring are for carrying dirt, a mattock is a large hoe used for digging and levelling, and the tool we have translated as ‘crowbar’ is ‘dtan ta ywin’, made of iron and looking like a crowbar, but usually 4 to 5 feet long and straight except for a slight bend at one end; these are often used for breaking into hard soil and deepening narrow holes.]

 

Order #17

                                                                 Stamp: 
To:     Headman                                 #xxx Infantry Battalion                               17-5-99
          (xxxx) village                        Military Control Command

As soon as you receive this letter, report quickly with 2 servants at the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                                          Frontline #xxx, Col. x

 

Order #18*

                                                                                                         Place:  14-5-99 
                                                                                                         Date:             
To:     Chairperson of xxxx [village]
          xxxx [chairperson’s name]

I am writing here like before, you must send [a] messenger with his own food for 3 days to the camp. Now the camp is busy.

We know that xxxx [village] already got a chay tha [barking deer], so why haven’t you sent it to the camp? We know that after that, U xxxx, xxxx and xxxx from your village have already arrived back at the village, so you must report to the camp. We are allowing them to stay back in the village under the guarantee of yourself andxxxx. If you do it like this next time, no good. Send messengers daily and regularly.

Next day [meaning tomorrow] send tinned fish, chillies / pumpkin, and meat with the messenger. Any time we call, the Chairperson must come. We need pat [a type of very large leaves used for roofing and other things], send it quickly. That’s all.

                                                                                          Friendly, [Sd.] xxxx[camp]

[Note: The 3 men who are being ‘allowed’ to stay in their home village only under the guarantee of the headman are probably 3 villagers who have previously been arrested and detained on suspicion of being in contact with the opposition. The grammar in this letter is quite bad, as is reflected in parts of the translation; for example, he uses ‘next day’ when he apparently means ‘tomorrow’, and expressions like ‘no good’. With regard to the demand for messenger(s), he never makes clear whether he means it in the singular or plural.]

 

Order #19*

To:     Headman                                         Stamp: 
          xxxx village                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                      Date: 7-5-99

Subject: To come as voluntary servants

1) From your village, 1 person from each family (with panniers / mattocks) come to LIB xxx on 8-5-99 (Saturday) morning at 0800 hours. Do not fail (do not fail), you are hereby informed.

2) If you fail, the responsibility will be on the headman and leaders of the village, you are informed again.

Place:  xxxx                                                                                       [Sd.] 
Date:   7-5-99                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #20*

To:                                                                                                                6-5-99 
          Headwomen Mothers (xxxx village, yyyy village, zzzz village)

*     Come quickly and replace the following servants from Mothers’ villages:


1)  Aaaa [villager’s name]
2)  Bbbb
3)  Cccc

xxxx village }
xxxx village }
xxxx village }

3 persons

4)  Dddd
5)  Eeee

yyyy village }
yyyy village }

2 persons

6)  Ffff
7)  Gggg

zzzz village }
zzzz village }

2 persons

*     If the servants run away because you haven’t come and replaced them, we will shoot and catch them, so come quickly and replace them, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                                     Mobile Column

[Soldiers often refer to elderly village headwomen as ‘Mother’. Villages are always forced to provide forced labour on a rotating basis, and usually those who are doing forced labour at the Army camp are not released until their replacements arrive. This order is demanding that the village heads bring new people to replace the forced labourers currently at the Army camp. ‘We will shoot and catch them’ is an odd expression regularly used by SPDC units; literally translated it is simply ‘shoot catch’ or ‘shoot arrest’. Either way, the meaning is clear.]

Order #21

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To: xxxx village 
   Column x Headquarters

Headman, as soon as you receive this letter please come quickly and bring 3 voluntary labour servants with you to the Column, you are hereby informed.

Date:    26-4-99                                                                      [Sd. / 2nd Lt.] 
Place:   xxxx                                                                  (for) Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was copied to be sent to several villages and had the village name written in afterward.]

 

Order #22

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                             22-4-99
          xxxx [camp]

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

As soon as you receive this letter, you must come quickly with 5 servants to my Column. If you fail, the responsibility will be the Chairperson’s, you are hereby informed.

xxxx                                                                                             [Sd.] 
I invite you cordially.                                                           Column Commander 
          [Sd.]                                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The 5 ‘servants’ are villagers for a shift of forced labour. The note in the bottom left corner of the order is just a personal note to a villager other than the village head.]

 

Order #23

To:     Headman
          xxxx village                                                                                              5-4-99

You are hereby informed to send 2 servants tomorrow (6-4-99) at 8 o’clock in the morning.

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                 [Sd. / 5/4] 
            Column x                                                                                Intelligence

 

Order #24

To:     xxxx village                                                                                            28-3-99
          Chairperson / Secretary

As soon as you receive this letter, please come quickly, bring one messenger and meet [me].

                                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                                                   Captain xxxx
                                                                                        Mobile Company Commander

[‘Bring one messenger’ means to bring a villager who will be kept at the camp as a forced labour messenger to send letters between Army camps and order letters to villages.]

 

Order #25

To:    xxxx village (Chairperson)                                                                           26-3-99

Chairperson, I inform you to send 5 servants to xxxx village. Chairperson, bring them yourself as soon as possible after you receive this letter.

                      Stamp:                                                                          [Sd.]
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                      (for) Column Commander

          Column x Headquarters

 

Order #26

To:     xxxx village                                                                                           24-3-99
          (Chairperson / Secretary)

As soon as you receive this letter, you yourself come quickly to the Column with one messenger from your village and meet, you are hereby informed. Come to xxxx village.

                                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                                 Captain xxxx
                                                                                        Mobile Company Commander

[‘With one messenger’ means to bring a villager who will be kept at the camp as a forced labour messenger to send letters between Army camps and order letters to villages.]

 

Order #27

To:     Village headman/headwoman                                                                  19-3-99
          xxxx village

You are informed that when you receive this letter you must come and bring 5 servants to the Column as soon as possible.

                                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                                          (for) Column Commander

                                                                                        Frontline LIB #xxx, Column x

 

Order #28*

To:     Village headman/headwoman                                                                 19-3-99
          xxxx village

I inform you that this is the second letter for you to send 5 servants today, as soon as possible after receiving this letter. If you fail I will take severe action.

                    Stamp:                                                                         [Sd.]
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                    (for) Column Commander

        Column x Headquarters                                               Frontline #xxx LIB, Column x

[Note: this was a follow-up to Order #29, sent the day before.]

 

Order #29

To:     Village headman/headwoman                                                                 18-3-99
          xxxx village

I inform you to send 5 servants today at 5 p.m. to my Column at xxxx. Do not fail.

                                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                                           (for) Column Commander

                                                                                         Frontline #xxx LIB, Column x

 

Order #30*

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village                                                                                            17-3-99

From xxxx village send 500 leaves and 40 servants / from yyyy [village] 20 servants, send them on March 19th in the morning at 0800 hours on time, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                                                    Camp Commander
                                                                                                         xxxx [camp]

[The leaves referred to are large flat leaves used for roofing or wrapping purposes.]

 

Order #31

To:     xxxx village                                                                                          13-3-99
          Chairperson / Secretary

Subject: To discuss about servants

To discuss about servants from your village, come to xxxx village on 14-3-99 on time, on time, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                                 Captain xxxx
                                                                                        Mobile Company Commander

[‘To discuss about servants’ means to assign forced labour duties to the village. The repetition of ‘on time’ is from the original order.]

 

Order #32

             Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
   Column x Headquarters

To: Village Headman.  As soon as you receive this letter, bring 2 voluntary servants, come with the Pagoda Trustees and meet the Column Commander at xxxx, you are hereby informed.

Date:   4-3-99                                                                              [Sd.] 
Place:  xxxx                                                                       Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda. ‘Voluntary servants’ means forced labourers for a the Army camp.]

 

Order #33

             Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
   Column x Headquarters

To: Village Headman.  You yourself bring 2 voluntary servants to the Column. Do not fail, you are hereby informed.

Date: 2-3-99                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                                    (for) Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The term ‘loh ah pay wontan’ translates as ‘voluntary servants’, but really means forced labourers.]

 

Order #34

To:     Headman                                                     Stamp:
          xxxx village                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                                           Column x

Even though I have already informed you to send 5 servants from xxxx village group for the use of LIB xxx, you have failed to send them. On 17-2-99 you must send them with the headman (without fail). You are informed for the second time.

Note: If you fail, you are informed that the responsibility will be the headman’s.

                                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                                Intelligence Officer

                                                                                          #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #35

To:     Headman                                                     Stamp: 
          xxxx village                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                           Column x

For use by LIB xxx, send 4 servants from xxxx village with the Headman on 15-2-99. Do not fail, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order means that the village headman must go himself to the Army camp and take 4 villagers with him for forced labour.]

 

Order #36

To:     Headman                                         Stamp:                                           14-2-99
          xxxx village                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                               Column x

You are informed to send 5 servants for the use of LIB xxx. Send them on 15-2-99 together with the headman, and do not fail to send them.

                                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                             Intelligence Officer

                                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #37

To:     Headman                                          Stamp:
          xxxx village                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                                Column x

You are informed to send 4 servants from xxxx village for the use of the LIB xxx Column on 15-2-99, bring them with you and do not fail.

                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                           Intelligence Officer

                                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #38

          Stamp: 
#xxx Infantry Battalion                      To:    Headman                                     [undated]
        Column x                                         xxxx village

When you receive this letter, bring rice for 3 days and replace the 2 servants with the Column. Bring also 8 pyiof rice, inquire and come to the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                                    Column Commander

[8 pyi of rice is about 16 kg / 35 lb. The ‘2 servants’ are villagers doing a shift of forced labour; most villages are forced to provide a certain number of forced labourers at all times, replacing them every few days. The rice is to feed these forced labourers.]

 

Order #39

To:     Chairperson, Hseh Ain Mu [leader of a group of 10 houses]
          xxxx village

I sent a letter to you to send a servant to the Column, but you haven’t sent any until now. I order you to send as soon as possible.

I order you to send 2 baskets of sticky rice.

                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                                   Column Commander

                                                                                                            IB #xxx

 

Order #40*

               Stamp:                                                Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                  xxxx camp
  Military Control Command                                   Reference: 1000 / 01 / xxxx 
                                                                          Date: 1998 December 17th

To:     Chairpersons
          wwww / xxxx / yyyy / zzzz [villages]
          villages

Subject: Calling for voluntary labour

To clear the scrub [along] the fence of Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion and in the pagoda compound, wwww,xxxx, yyyy, and zzzz villages must send 50 large bamboo, 50 packs of leaves, and 50 volunteer labourers from each village with their own mattocks [large hoes] and machetes. Come on 19-12-98 and 20-12-98, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                      [Sd.] 
Copies to:                                                                         (for) Battalion Commander
Office Copy

[This order was typed and copied to 4 villages. The ‘leaves’ requested are large leaves usually made into shingles for use in roofing, but which can also be used for other things such as temporary walls or packing things. The same officer then sent Order #41 to an officer in another Battalion.]

 

Order #41

To:     Battalion Captain                                                                                 17-12-98
          LIB xxx

Brother, we here at xxxx camp have had a storm and our fences and huts have fallen down, so we’ve asked the help of 50 volunteer labourers from each of wwww / xxxx / yyyy / zzzz [villages], to come on the 19th/20th.

Therefore Brother, give me extra days. During this period, Brother is also calling [for him to visit or report]. We [also] have to clear the bushes and scrub at xxxx pagoda.

                                                                                                    Respectfully,
                                                                                                   [Sd. ‘xxxx’] 
                                                                                               Intelligence Officer
                                                                                                 Frontline LIB #xxx
                                                                                                      xxxx camp

[This is a letter from one officer to another. It appears that he is asking for a postponement of a planned meeting because he needs to stay at his camp to supervise villagers doing forced labour rebuilding the camp and then clearing the scrub around the pagoda.]

 

Order #42

                    Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                             15/12/98
         Column x Headquarters

To:     Headman (xxxx [village])

Send 2 servants from your village tomorrow on time, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                      [Sd. / 15/12/98] 
                                                                                                               LIB xxx 
                                                                                                      Col. x[Column x]

Demands for Food, Materials and Money

The orders below are from three different areas: Pa’an District in central Karen State, parts of Dooplaya District to the south of Pa’an District, and 200 kilometres further south in the southern end of Dooplaya District. They include demands for building materials, food, liquor, and cash. Only one or two of the orders states that the villagers will be paid anything for these, and in practice they generally are not. In most of the cases below these are for use at the local Army camps, though it is not unusual for the Army to demand things from the villagers and then sell them for their own profit. Even when the demands require a large amount of labour by the villagers, such as demands for sawn planks or hundreds of handmade leaf roofing shingles, the elders are given no more than a day or two to deliver. If they do not, increasingly threatening letters come until they have no choice but to comply or face the possibility of severe punishments. Some of the orders demand venison on a regular basis (see for example Orders #51#52, and #58) as though it were easy for the villagers to hunt and kill a deer every day. On hearing that a local villager had killed a barking deer, an Army officer in Dooplaya District wrote to the village headman angrily demanding why the kill had not been sent to his camp (see Order #18). On deciding to build a small hospital/clinic in Pa’an District, the local military called a meeting and decreed that villages must divide the entire cost between them (see Orders #71 and #72). Other things which are demanded require the villagers to pool their money and buy things to send to the camp, or to pay to compensate the owners of livestock which has been demanded. Villages are plagued by dozens of such orders every month, in addition to the cash they regularly have to pay to the Army (see for example Order #73) and the forced labour they must do.

Many of the orders below make demands for ‘leaves’ or ‘roofing sheets’. The leaves are called ‘loh lah’ in Karen; similar to teak leaves, they are large and roundish, averaging 8 inches to a foot in diameter. They dry out and fall to the ground in hot season (March-May) and are collected in baskets. They are then used for many purposes such as wrapping things, though their main purpose is roofing; for this, they are woven into long shingles measuring about 12 inches by 3-4 feet. The process is labour intensive because the villagers must first cut bamboo into strips and shave it into ties. The leaves are then strapped to the bamboo-strip frame and tied on with the shaved bamboo. These shingles form a good roof for a maximum of 2 years, after which they must be replaced.

Order #43

Chairperson
xxxx [village]                                                                                            Date: 2/7/99

Chairperson, send 8 pieces of pyinkado [a type of ironwood] measuring 4" x 4" (4 inches square) and 8 taun [12 feet / 4 m] long, send it today, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                        Signed xxxx, LIB xxx

 

Order #44*

                                                                Stamp: 
Chairperson                                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
xxxx [village]                                    Battalion Headquarters                                 1/7/99

-     Chairperson, the Battalion Commander wants to make an offering to the nats [spirits] with a hen and cock pair, they must not be too big or too small, we need them medium sized and alive. If you can, send them this evening, and if you cannot send them this evening you must send them tomorrow early in the morning.

-     Send 6 pieces of pyinkado [a type of ironwood] 4 inches square and 12 feet long, quickly.

                                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                                             LIBxxx

 

Order #45

To:          Chairperson, xxxx village                                                                    25-6-99

Ko xxxx, as soon as you receive this letter come to xxxx camp, you are hereby informed.

When you come bring with you daung tam pet [toddy-palm leaves] for roofing a hut. We have to discuss and negotiate about business. Come on 26-6-99. Do not fail, you are respectfully informed.

                                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                               Friendly and respectfully,
                                                                                                          xxxxcamp

 

Order #46

             Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                    To:    Chairperson                               22-5-99
          Company #x                                          xxxx village

Send 100 roofing sheets from your village to the camp today, you are hereby informed.

Send them to xxxx camp today.

Date: 22-5-99                                                                                [Sd. / 22-5-99] 
                                                                                         (for) Company Commander
                                                                                                    Company #x

[‘Roofing sheets’ refers to long shingles of large flat leaves held together with slivered bamboo.]

 

Order #47

To:     Chairperson                                    Stamp:                                             22-5-99
          xxxx village                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                            Company #x

If we can get 5 viss [8 kg/18 lb] of pork from your village, send it to xxxx monastery on 23-5-99, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                             [Sd.]

 

Order #48

U xxxx [village elder’s name]:

We received the durian that you sent. Control the villagers, don’t enter the village. May you be healthy. Special thanks to you.

                                                                                                         Friendly,
                                                                                                          LIB xxx
                                                                                                          15-5-99

[The meaning intended by "don’t enter the village" is unclear, whether it means that the villagers have been forcibly relocated and are not allowed to return or that they should not let the opposition enter the village. Durian is a large strong-smelling forest fruit; sometimes called the ‘king of fruits’, it is very popular throughout much of Southeast Asia.]

 

Order #49

To:     Village Head                                    Stamp:                                            15-4-99
          xxxx village                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                              Column x

I inform you to send today to LIB xxx, Column x, one wristwatch, one pair of shoes and one neck scarf, which I dropped on 11-4-99 in xxxx village group.

                                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                             Intelligence Officer

                                                                                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #50

To:     xxxx Chairperson / Secretary                                                                    10-4-99

Writing Here

On the next day send venison with 1 bottle of pure sesame oil, and 50 or 60 kyat tha [800-1,000 g / 1.75-2.2 lb]of chicken, send it compulsorily.

                                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                                                 Col. x / Cpy. x

[The expression ‘Writing here’ or ‘I am writing here’ is frequently used in SPDC and DKBA orders, particularly when the writer is not very literate. ‘The next day’ is used here to mean tomorrow. ‘Col. x / Cpy. x’ stands for ‘Column x / Company x’.]

 

Order #51*

To:     xxxx village                                                                                     8-4-99
          Chairperson / Secretary

As of today at 1000 hours, the venison has not arrived here. We already ordered you to send venison every day at 0700 hours. Why don’t you send it? Reply to this.

                                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                               Captain xxxx
                                                                                    Mobile Company Commander

[Note: Villagers do not raise deer, they must hunt them if they want venison. Furthermore, they have no way of preserving meat for more than 2-3 days other than drying it, so this order expects them to hunt and kill a deer at least every few days – not an easy thing to do.]

 

Order #52

To:     xxxx village                                                                                  6-4-99
          Chairperson / Secretary

You haven’t sent the venison from your village for 5 days. Today you must come and explain together with the venison.

                                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                                              Captain xxxx
                                                                                   Mobile Company Commander

 

Order #53*

To:     xxxx village                                                                               30-3-99
          Chairperson / Secretary

You must send 200 leaves from your village to xxxx on 31-3-99 on time. Therefore this evening take 200 leaves with a bullock cart and come to xxxx village. xxxx village must also send [the same], you must go together with them. Also, headman, come and see [us] and arrange the matter of servants.

                                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                                             Captain xxxx
                                                                                  Mobile Company Commander

[Note: The ‘leaves’ requested are large leaves usually made into shingles for use in roofing, but which can also be used for other things such as temporary walls or packing things. The ‘matter of servants’ means that the Commander will dictate demands for forced labourers.]

 

Order #54

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
    Column x Headquarters

To:    Village headman.  We are sending a messenger. We have difficulty with [lack of] food. Give him 1 bottle of liquor and 1 chicken compulsorily, you are hereby informed.

Date:    15-3-99                                                                        [Sd.] 
Place:   xxxx                                                              (for) Column Commander
                                                                         Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #55

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Asking for help with 10 planks of timber

We need tables at the guesthouse of Frontline LIB #xxx. Send 10 6" x 1" planks, length 5 taun [8 ft/2.5 m], on 16-3-95 [sic: 99]. Do not fail. Asking for help.

Date:    14-3-99                                                                              [Sd.] 
Place:   xxxx camp                                                         (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                          Frontline LIB #xxx
                                                          Stamp: 

                                            #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                      Headquarters

 

Order #56

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Informing you to send 500 Kyat [typo: should read "sheets"] and 50 bamboo

You are informed to send 500 shingles of leaf [roofing shingles] and 50 bamboo [posts] to LIB xxx, they must be sent to arrive on 18-3-99 (without fail) to be sold [to us]. We will buy all of these at the regional price. I remind you that if you fail to send them by the deadline the responsibility will be on the headman.

Place:  xxxx                                       Stamp:                                       [Sd.]
Date:   14-3-99                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion         (for) Battalion Commander

[This is a typed and carbon copied order with the village name written in by hand.]

 

Order #57*

To:     Mother Headwoman                                                                                 13-3-99

I am writing here. Please send 3 bottles of liquor with this soldier.

Send quickly.

Thanks.

 

Order #58*

To:     Mother Headwoman

Last night we asked you to send 3 bottles of liquor but we received only one. So please send venison, 2 bottles of liquor and a hen now.

[This order was left unsigned and undated. It apparently came the day following Order #57.]

 

Order #59*

          Stamp:                                                                                     Date: 11-3-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion                       xxxx village 
       xxxx camp                                 Headwoman

The Camp Commander is writing here. The reason is that #xxx Operations Control Commander is asking [us/you] to help with 500 bamboo. Send 100 bamboo from xxxx village to Sa Ka Ka #xxx [short for Operations Control Command#xxx] at xxxx. Do not fail, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                                  Camp Commander
                                                                                                        xxxx camp
                                                                                               #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #60

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                  To:     Chairperson

     Column x Headquarters                              xxxx village                          Date: 11-3-99

I already ordered you to send 25 viss [40 kg/88 lb] of pork from the three villages, your village, yyyy village, and zzzz village. I already paid the money to the headman of yyyy village, so you should negotiate with that headman and send it as soon as possible, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                [Sd. xxxx / 11-3-99/ 2nd Lt.]
                                                                                   (for) Column Commander

                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #61

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

    Column x Headquarters

To:     Chairperson                                                                        Date: 11-3-99
          xxxx village

On 8-3-99 I already ordered you to send 25 viss [40 kg/88 lb] of pork. Send it now to yyyy village as soon as possible, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd./11-3-99/2nd Lt.]
                                                                                    (for) Column Commander

                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #62

To:     Headman                                          Stamp:
          xxxx village                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                                Column x                                                   1/3/99

You are informed to send one sheet of split bamboo, length 7 taun [3.5 m/11 ft] and width 7 taun, to Light Infantry Battalion #xxx to use for the hospital for the village group.

They must be sent on 3/3/99.

Note: Do not fail to send.

                                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                                     Intelligence Officer

                                                                              #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #63

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                 To:    Headman                                   1/3/99
             Column x                                        xxxx village

For use by #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, we need roofing sheets so send 500 sheets from your village and we will pay 5 Kyat for each. Do not fail (do not fail) and send them on 3/3/99 on time, you are hereby informed.

Note: Do not fail.

                                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                                         Intelligence Officer
                                                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was copied and sent to several villages, with the village name written in later. ‘Roofing sheets’ refers to long shingles of large flat leaves held together with slivered bamboo.]

 

Order #64

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                To:     Headman
             Column x                                        xxxx village                  Date: 28/2/99

From your village go and send 50 pieces of bamboo to #xxx Light Infantry Battalion on 3/3/99, you are hereby informed.

Note: Do not fail.

                                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                                        Intelligence Officer
                                                                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[Note: This order was carbon-copied and sent to several villages, with the village name written in afterward by hand.]

 

Order #65

To:     Headman                                              Stamp:
          xxxx village                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                                    Column x

You are informed to send 75 roofing sheets for the use of LIB xxx on 26-2-99. Do not fail to send them.

Send them to yyyy village.

                                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                             Intelligence Officer
                                                                                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #66

To:     Headman                                                                                      26/2/99
          xxxx village

Send with your servant 1 package of Thukita, onions, and garlic for the medic. If you need medicine, come and take it.

                                                                                                    With thanks,
                                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                                                     (Mechanic)

[‘Your servant’ means the forced labourer whom the village has been ordered to send to the Army camp. Thukita are a popular brand of cheroots. The order is signed by the Mechanic of the local battalion.]

 

Order #67

To:      xxxx  village                                  Stamp: 
                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                               Column x

From   xxxx  village, send 75 roofing sheets for use by LIB xxx to yyyy village on 26-2-99, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                              [Sd.] 
                                                                                     Intelligence Officer
                                                                               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The ‘roofing sheets’ refer to long shingles made of large flat leaves held together by slivered bamboo ties. This order was carbon-copied to several villages, with the village name written in afterwards.]

 

Order #68

To:     Headman
          xxxx village

I already asked you for 1 chicken (big) and 1 packet of Ajinomoto [MSG seasoning crystals] for my medic. Send them with your villager.

                                                                                                 With thanks,
                                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                                    Mechanic

 

Order #69

[The following list was written by a village elder, simply listing some of the things his village has been ordered to send to a local Army camp and the related costs.]

  1. 50 pieces of bamboo
  2. 5" x 1", 10 taun [15 ft/5 m]. 15 sheets. [wooden planks]
  3. 4" x 2’ " "
  4. Cement, 1 bag 1,500 Kyat.
  5. Split bamboo, 1 sheet 700 Kyat.

 

Order #70

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To send 15 myaw [a type of wooden poles]

To repair the bridge and to build the stage at LIB xxx, in our organising area, we need wooden poles. If we get circumference of 6 [handspans], 3 twa sain [double-handspans; i.e. a circumference of 4 feet or more] we can cut them. Send 15 each [village] to LIB xxx on 2-1-99. Do not fail to send them (without fail), you are informed.

You are informed again that if you fail it will be the responsibility of the headman and the pagoda trustees.

Place:   xxxx                                     Stamp:                                      [Sd.]
Date:    29-12-98                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion        (for) Battalion Commander

                                                    Headquarters                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order with the village name written in. The order mentions the Battalion’s "organising area" (si yone yay neh myay); in its Burmese usage, the term to ‘organise’ people means to gather them on your side, sometimes implying to bring them under your control. ‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda.]

 

Order #71

To:     Chairperson / Headman
          xxxx village

Subject:     Calling a meeting

1) Concerning the construction of the xxxx village group hospital, the meeting will be held on 15-12-98 at noon, 1200 hours, at xxxx monastery. Headman, come yourself without fail (without fail), you are hereby informed.

2) If you fail to attend the meeting the responsibility will be yours, you are hereby informed.

Place:    xxxx                                   Stamp:                                       [Sd.] 
Date:     14-12-98                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion         (for) Battalion Commander
                                          Military Control Command          #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was typed and carbon-copied, with the village name letter written in by hand. The demands resulting from this meeting can be seen below in Order #72.]

 

Order #72*

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To donate money

1) Concerning the construction of xxxx village group hospital, the meeting was held on 15-12-98. According to the decision at the meeting, your village must pay a money donation totalling xx,000 K, in words, xxxx thousand Kyat only.

2) The first instalment of the above-mentioned money donation must be paid on the full moon day of Pya Tho, 1360 (1-1-99). The second instalment must be paid on the full moon day of Da Bo Dweh, 1360 (31-1-99) to the Battalion Captain at #xxx Light Infantry Battalion. Do not fail (do not fail), pay the money, you are hereby informed.

Place:    xxxx                                                                  [Sd. / Captain] 
Date:     16-12-98                                                   (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                           #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was typed and the village name was written in later by hand. The dates in the year 1360 are dates on the Burmese calendar. It is normal for the Army to call meetings at which they dictate amounts of money and forced labour which villages must give for projects, then when the projects are finished the Army claims full credit.]

 

Order #73

To:     Chairpersons                                                                              24-11-98
          wwww / xxxx / yyyy / zzzz villages

This month is going to end. Today come and pay the servants’ fees like I already said.

[This order is unstamped and unsigned. "Servants’ fees", commonly called "porter fees" by villagers, are simply extortion money demanded from villages, usually on a monthly basis. The money is not used to feed or care for ‘servants’, who must take their own food and take care of themselves. Villages which pay must still send forced labourers as well, but if they fail to pay these fees they are punished with extra shifts of forced labour, arrest and torture of village elders, or other punishments.]

Summons to ‘Meetings’

The orders below are from three different areas: Pa’an District in central Karen State, parts of Dooplaya District to the south of Pa’an District, and 200 kilometres further south in the southern end of Dooplaya District. They call the village elders to ‘meetings’, usually at the local Army base. Usually these meetings are completely one-sided: an Army officer dictates demands for forced labour, money or materials to a village elder and gives deadlines, or scolds and threatens the elder for being lax in meeting previous demands. Sometimes the elders are ordered to report on all movements of resistance forces in their area, and are threatened with punishments if any of the information later proves to be inaccurate. The commanders often call all the village heads in their local area to come to the camp at the same time so they can allocate demands to each village, and in this case the orders are copied and sent to as many villages as are required. The orders commonly threaten the elders that if they fail to come "the responsibility will be yours", or "the responsibility will fall on the village". The former means that the elder will be arrested and punished, the latter that the village will be punished in some form, which can mean forced relocation, looting or the burning of some houses. Several of the orders also contain an added note to "bring along servants" (for example, Orders #88#89 and #95); in other words, the village head is informed to bring some villagers with him to do forced labour at the Army camp. Village heads are usually afraid to go to these meetings, so on receiving these orders they often disappear off to their farmfields or to other places. This usually results in further angry and threatening letters from the Army officer, until after the third or fourth letter the village head has to decide whether to go to the camp or flee his/her village.

Order #74

To:     Chairperson                                                                                   Date: 9-6-99
          xxxx village

Tomorrow morning at 0900 hours, come to the Column at yyyy village.

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                           [Sd.] 
   Battalion Headquarters                                                      Intelligence Officer

[Note: on the back of this order was typed "Secret".]

 

Order #75

                    Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                     19/5/99
         Column x Headquarters

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

As soon as you receive this letter, Chairperson, come yourself to yyyy camp today (19th) to meet with the Column Commander. Do not fail.

                                                                                           [Sd. / 19/5/99] 
                                                                                    (for) Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #76

To:     Headman
          xxxx village

We have important matters to discuss with you. As soon as you receive this letter come and meet, you are hereby informed.

Note: Writing only one letter. [i.e. I won’t ask again, an implied threat]

Place:  Temporary Movement                                                        [Sd.] 
Date:    17-5-99                                                              (for) Intelligence Officer
                                                                                       #xxx Infantry Battalion

[There is a stamp on the back of this order indicating "#xxx Infantry Battalion, Military Control Command".]

 

Order #77

To:     U xxxx                                                                             Stamp: 
          Chairperson (xxxx village)                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                     Column x / Date: 9-5-99

As soon as you receive this letter, come and meet at the Column. If you fail, the responsibility will be yours, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #78

               Stamp:                                                                                        22-4-99
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                To:     Chairperson
          xxxx [camp]                                       xxxx village

As soon as you receive this letter, come quickly and meet at the Column. If you fail, the responsibility will be the Chairperson’s, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                         [Sd. "xxxx"] 
                                                                                (for) Column Commander
                                                                       Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #79

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                To:     Chairperson
          xxxx [camp]                                                      xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to the village headman

Regarding the above subject matter, we want to hold a meeting with all village headmen and Paya T’ga Kyaun T’ga [meaning lay male donors to the monastery/pagoda] from xxxx village on 23-4-99, so come to the Column. Do not fail (do not fail), you are invited.

Place:  xxxx                                                                                     [Sd.] 
Date:   22-4-99                                                                       Battalion Commander
                                                                                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #80

                    Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                         To:     Chairperson
        Military Control Command                                            xxxx village
                                                                                         xxxx Township

Subject: Invitation to a meeting

Chairperson from the village, come and meet with the Column Commander of Frontline LIB #xxx on 22-3-99 (Monday) at 8 o’clock at xxxx village. If you don’t come and see [him], we will take serious action against the Chairperson of the village, you are hereby informed.

Place:   xxxx                                                                                [Sd.] 
Date:    21-3-99                                                            (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was typed and carbon-copied, with the village name letter written in by hand.]

 

Order #81*

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village
          xxxx Township

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

All Chairpersons from the villages must come and see the Battalion Commander of Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion on 20-3-99, Saturday, at 10 o’clock on time. If you don’t come and see [him] serious action will be taken against the Chairpersons of the villages, you are hereby informed.

                                                                Stamp: 
                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                   Military Control Command

Place:   xxxx                                                                              [Sd.] 
Date:    18-3-99                                                            (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #82

               Stamp:                                To:    Chairperson
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                           xxxx village                        Date: 15-3-99
Column x Headquarters

We have to discuss with you. As soon as you receive this letter come quickly to the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                   [Sd. / 15-3-99 / 2ndLt.] 
                                                                                   (for) Column Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #83

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion            To:     Chairperson / Village Headman
    Column x Headquarters                         xxxx village                                 Date: 12-3-99

We have to discuss with you. As soon as you receive this letter come quickly to the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                    [Sd. / 12-3-99 / 2ndLt.] 
                                                                                       Column Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #84

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
    Column x Headquarters

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village                                                                           Date: 11-3-99

[I] have to discuss with you, you must come to the place of the Column on 12-3-99 in the morning at 7 o’clock, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd. / 11-3-99 / 2ndLt.] 
                                                                                   (for) Column Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #85*

                    Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                      To:     Chairperson
        Military Control Command                                        xxxx village
                                                                                     xxxx Township

Subject: Invitation to a meeting

Secretary and Chairperson from the village, come and meet with the Column Commander of Frontline LIB #xxx on 12-3-99, Friday, at 10 o’clock at xxxx village. If you don’t come and see [him], we will take serious action against the village, you are hereby informed.

Place:   xxxx                                                                                [Sd.] 
Date:    11-3-99                                                            (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                          Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order was typed and carbon-copied, with the village name letter written in by hand.]

 

Order #86

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village                                                                            Date: 10-3-99

Subject: Come and meet

As soon as you receive this letter, come and see [us] at xxxx camp. Don’t fail, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                      [Sd. / 10/3/99] 
                                                                                                    Camp Commander
                                                                                                         xxxxCamp

 

Order #87

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                To:     Chairperson
    Column x Headquarters                             xxxx village                           Date: 8-3-99

We have to discuss with you. As soon as you receive this letter come quickly to the Column at xxxx village, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                   [Sd. / 8-3-99 / 2ndLt.] 
                                                                                      Column Commander
                                                                           Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #88*

              Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
    Column x Headquarters

To:   Headman of the village, as soon as you receive this letter you and the pagoda trustees come to the Column and meet tomorrow at 0700 hours. Do not fail, you are hereby informed.

Date:    3-3-99                                                                           [Sd.] 
Place:    xxxx                                                                (for) Column Commander
                                                                            Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Bring 3 servants.

[‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda.]

 

Order #89

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

    Column x Headquarters

To: [blank]

As soon as possible after receiving this letter, you are informed to come to the Column and see [me] tomorrow at 0700 hours, together with the Pagoda Trustees, and do not fail.

Date:   3-3-99                                                                         [Sd.]
Place: xxxx                                                             (for) Column Commander

[You] Must bring 2 servants.                              Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda.]

 

Order #90

To:     Chairperson                                    Stamp:                                    Date: 22-2-99
          xxxx village                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                            Company #x

As soon as you receive this letter, follow [the messenger] to the Column, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                             Company Commander
                                                                                                    Company #x

 

Order #91

To:     Headman                                      Stamp:
          xxxx village                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                            Column x                                          17/2/99

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

You are informed that the headman must go to #xxx Light Infantry Battalion in the morning at 7 o’clock, and do not fail.

Note: You must come without fail.
18/2/99, morning at 7 o’clock.

                                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                                       Intelligence Officer

                                                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #92

               Stamp:                                                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                              xxxx [base]
          Headquarters                                                          Ref. No. xxx / 100 / xxxx
                                                                                       Date: 1999 February 16

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject: To attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you must come and report to LIB #xxx headquarters tomorrow, 17-2-99, at noon, 1200 hours, and do not fail, you are hereby informed.

Note: If you fail, the responsibility will be yours.

                                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                                   (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order with the village name written in.]

 

Order #93

To:     xxxx village
          Chairperson / Secretary

We have to negotiate about important matters, so as soon as you receive this letter come quickly and meet.

                                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                                           Captain xxxx
                                                                                Mobile Company Commander

 

Order #94

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject: To attend a meeting

1)  You are informed that the Chairpersons of xxxx District Peace & Development Council and xxxx Township Peace & Development Council will hold a meeting on Monday 23-11-98 at 0800 hours at xxxx monastery. All of the Chairpersons / Secretaries / Pagoda Trustees in Light Infantry Battalion #xxx’s organising area must meet with them.

2)  I want to inform all of the Chairpersons, Secretaries and Pagoda Trustees members that they must attend the meeting on 23-11-98 at 0700 hours at xxxx monastery, do not fail to attend the meeting. [The preceding was underlined in red ink.]

3)  I inform you again that if you fail to attend the meeting the responsibility will be yours.

Place:   xxxx                                                                                [Sd.]
Date:    22-11-98                                                          (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order with the village name written in. ‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda. The order mentions the Battalion’s "organising area" (si yone yay neh myay); in its Burmese usage, the term to ‘organise’ people means to gather them on your side, sometimes implying to bring them under your control.]

DKBA Orders

The orders below are all from various parts of Pa’an District in central Karen State, which is the DKBA’s main area of operation. Most of the DKBA units in this area focus their activities on collecting money in various ways, by conducting or taxing commercial logging, demanding payments from villages, setting up road checkpoints to collect money from all vehicles and passengers, or by various other means. They are also involved in supervising forced labour of villagers on roads near their headquarters at Myaing Gyi Ngu (Khaw Taw). As a result of these activities, their orders to villages look very much like SPDC orders, except that they are often written in bad Burmese or almost equally bad Karen. The DKBA also tend to be more direct in their language if and when they want to issue threats. However, it is important to note that some DKBA units are worse than others, and while units in this area are issuing demands and threats to villagers, units in other areas, particularly Dooplaya District further south, often work to protect villagers as much as they can from the worst abuses of the SPDC.

All orders below were written in Burmese except Orders #97 and #98, which were written in Sgaw Karen. Instead of writing the DKBA’s name in Karen or Burmese, the officers usually write a series of Burmese characters which are pronounced "Dee Kay Bee Ay", but which have no meaning in Karen or Burmese. Where this occurs, we have used "Dee Kay Bee Ay" in the translations. In Order #98, the rubber stamp at the top of the order says "Karen Buddhist Army" in Sgaw Karen, and "D.K.B.A." in English letters, and the officer has written "May the Karen Buddhist Army be Exalted" (note the absence of "Democratic" in both cases). In Orders #100 and #103, DKBA is written in English letters.

Order #95*

To:     Chairperson                                                                                      Date: 8-6-99

Writing here, the Chairperson is hereby informed. Send quickly 2 servants now, and Chairperson yourself come and meet.

If you fail serious action will be taken.

Send them quickly as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                                   Brigade 999
                                                                                      Special Battalion Company x
                                                                                                     Sgt. Maj.

                                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                                   xxxxvillage
                                                                                            Dee Kay Bee Ay[DKBA]

[This DKBA order is written in fairly bad Burmese. ‘Servants’ means forced labourers.]

 

Order #96

To:                                                                                                         Date: 24-5-99
          xxxx village

          xxxx and yyyy [elders’ names]

Matter – Come and meet

The matter is that we have to discuss with you. Come to xxxx Dee Kay Bee Ay [xxxx DKBA] camp on the 13thwaxing day of Na Yon. Do not fail, I am letting you know.

Note: Do not fail.

                                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                             (for) Deputy Battalion Commander
                                                                                                Battalion #x
                                                                                               Brigade 999

                                                                                            Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                                                  24-5-99

[Na Yon is a month on the Burmese calendar.]

 

Order #97*

To:     Elder, xxxx village                                                                            Date:8-4-99

Subject: As you know, I have been asking you for many days already, but I have still not seen any of you come. Now people already need it, so in the next 3 days you must come and bring 15 logs of wood, as I asked of you. There is nothing else.

That is all.

Number 999 Brigade, Battalion x, Company x.

                                                                       On behalf of the Company Commander 
                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                     Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                                xxxx [someone’s name]
                                                                                   Urgent Army Matter

[This DKBA order was written in Sgaw Karen.]

 

Order #98*

Stamp:
Karen Buddhist Army
D.K.B.A.

                                                                                                           Date: 21-3-99

May the Karen Buddhist Army be Exalted

To:     xxxx [village]
          Elder [village head]

Subject:   Writing to inform you.  If you receive my letter, come tomorrow together with 5 people, [they] must come with the elder him/herself. Bring along the saw with you.

If this letter arrives and no people come, I will take action on you at once. Come along with the saw.

Writing to inform you of this.

Number 999 Brigade
Number x Battalion, Company x
Sergeant Major Saw xxxx

[This DKBA order was written in Sgaw Karen. Though the stamp says ‘D.K.B.A.’ in English lettering, in Karen it only says ‘Karen Buddhist Army’; the ‘Democratic’ is omitted here and also in the writing below. The 5 people being demanded are for forced labour.]

 

Order #99

xxxx area                                                                                          Date: Date:19-3-99
xxxx area Chairperson

Matter: Subject: [blank]

Regarding the above, xxxx area, xxxx area Chairperson, you must come to xxxx cave on 26-3-99 to discuss knee to knee [an expression meaning a close and intimate discussion] to invite you to a meeting, you are hereby informed.

Time: 1 o’clock
Note: Don’t fail. If you fail strong action must be taken against you.

                                                                                            [Sd. / 19/3/99] 
                                                                                           (for) Major xxxx
                                                                                        Lieutenant Saw xxxx
                                                                                       Battalion x, Organiser

                                                                                               Brigade 999
                                                                                      Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]

[The Lieutenant wrote "Date: Date:" and "Matter: Subject:" as they appear above; he is apparently somewhat illiterate.]

 

Order #100

To:     xxxx village                                                                                     17/3/99

As soon as you receive this letter, you and the Chairpersons for the 5 villages come here. And bring the money. Vvvv, wwww, xxxx, yyyy, zzzz [villages], all Chairpersons come here as soon as possible.

                                                                                            Don’t fail to come.
                                                                                                 Battalion #x
                                                                                                 Brigade 999

                                                                                           Sergeant Major xxxx
                                                                                                     DKBA

["Bring the money" probably refers to a regular payment of money demanded from the villages by the DKBA.]

 

Order #101*

To:     Chairperson                                                                            Date: 7/3/99
          xxxx village

Matter: Invitation to the meeting for explanation to the public

Regarding the above subject, Headmen, Seh Ain Gaun [leaders of each group of 10 houses], and Pagoda Trustees from your village group are invited to attend the meeting at xxxx cave on 13-3-99, in the morning at 9 o’clock.

Your village group must pay in advance 10,000 Kyat for the meeting expenses to Bo xxxx on 10/3/99.

Note: If you fail it will be the Chairperson’s responsibility.

                                                                                                        Boyyyy
                                                                                          Deputy Battalion Commander

                                                                                                      Battalion #x
                                                                                                      Brigade 999

[This order was sent by the DKBA. ‘Pagoda trustees’ (gaw p’ka) refers to a committee of lay villagers responsible for taking care of the monastery/pagoda.]

 

Order #102

To:     Village Head                                                                              Date: 15-2-99
          xxxx village

Subject:    You must come and see me at xxxx Dee Kay Bee Ay [meaning the DKBA camp in xxxx] tomorrow, 16-2-99, at 10 o’clock on time.

Note: If you fail I will take serious action. Only men must come.

                                                                                          Deputy Battalion Commander
                                                                                                       Battalion #x
                                                                                                       Brigade #999

[This order was sent by a DKBA Deputy Battalion Commander.]

 

Order #103

31-1-99

To:    vvvv, wwww, xxxx, yyyy, zzzz villages, I have responsibility now in these villages, and I ask the people to send 3 bundles of firewood.

Do not fail to send it.

Send it to my house.

That is all.

Lance Corporal xxxx
Battalion #x, [Brigade] 999

DKBA

 

Order #104

xxxx area                                                                                             Date: 7-12-98
xxxx area headman

Matter: Subject:      Loh ah pay [voluntary labour]

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, one person from each family in xxxx area must bring a mattock [large hoe], machete, and food for one day and come to xxxx D.K.B.A. tomorrow, 8-12-98.

Note: One person from each family with mattock and machete. Don’t fail. If you fail the responsibility will be yours.

                                                                                         [Sd. / 7-12-98] 
                                                                        Lieutenant of volunteer [labour] group
                                                                           (for) Deputy Battalion Commander
                                                                                          Battalion #x
                                                                                          Brigade 999