SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 2000-A

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Published date:
Tuesday, February 29, 2000

These orders were issued during the period mid-1998 through December 1999 and have been selected from over 350 such orders. They include orders restricting the movements and activities of villagers, demands for forced labour, support for military operations, extortion of money, food, goods and building materials, and 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. Many of the orders demanding forced labour were issued well after May 14, 1999, which is when the SPDC leadership claims to have issued a general order to all of their military and administrative units to halt conscription of forced labour under the Villages Act and Towns Act, colonial-era laws which allow authorities to press-gang labour under certain circumstances. In practice, the military and SPDC authorities violate the conditions of these Acts (for example, that only able-bodied and unemployed men be conscripted) in most of their demands, and almost never even make reference to these Acts when demanding forced labour from villages.

Note: Some details have been blacked out with ‘xxxx’ for Internet distribution.

Following are the direct translations of close to 300 written orders sent from State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Army units and local authorities to villages in Papun, Toungoo, Dooplaya and Pa’an Districts of Karen State, southeastern Burma. They were issued during the period mid-1998 through December 1999 and have been selected from over 350 such orders. They include orders restricting the movements and activities of villagers, demands for forced labour, support for military operations, extortion of money, food, goods and building materials, and 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. Many of the orders demanding forced labour were issued well after May 14, 1999, which is when the SPDC leadership claims to have issued a general order to all of their military and administrative units to halt conscription of forced labour under the Villages Act and Towns Act, colonial-era laws which allow authorities to press-gang labour under certain circumstances. In practice, the military and SPDC authorities violate the conditions of these Acts (for example, that only able-bodied and unemployed men be conscripted) in most of their demands, and almost never even make reference to these Acts when demanding forced labour from villages.

Originals of these orders were obtained by KHRG monitors in each region. 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 levels. 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 village elders to whom the orders are addressed and sent, who are referred to as ‘Chairperson’ and ‘Secretary’ in the text. 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". Village elders are deluged with orders like these almost every day, from all the Army camps near their village as well as the various levels of SPDC authorities. For every order reproduced here, hundreds more are issued every week; these should be seen only as a small representative sampling. 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.

Orders in this report have been divided into main topics. For each topic a short summary has been included to explain the context in which the orders were issued. Within each topic, the orders have mainly been sorted starting from the most recent and proceeding to the oldest, with a few exceptions. Some orders span 2 or more topics, such as those which demand forced labour as well as extortion money; in these cases we have taken into account the main focus of the order in categorising it.

Notes on the Text

Most of these orders were handwritten, some typed, and carbon-copied if sent to more than one village. The orders were written in Burmese with the exception of some of those included under ‘DKBA Orders’, which were written in Sgaw Karen where noted. All of them were issued by SPDC authorities and military units except those included under ‘DKBA Orders’ and ‘Karen Peace Army Propaganda Letter’.

We have attempted to accurately reproduce the visual page layout of each order, and underlining, etc. are as they appear in the order. ‘Stamp:’ gives the translation of the rubber-stamped unit identifier affixed to many of the orders, while ‘[Sd.]’ denotes the usually illegible signature of the issuing official. The language of many of the orders sounds awkward because Burmese grammar is very different from English; for example, the ordering of phrases within a sentence is almost opposite, sentences are often very long and convoluted, and personal subject and object pronouns are often omitted in Burmese. We have translated the words and expressions as directly as possible, though we have sometimes had to make minor changes in the sequence of the words for the wording to make sense and have the exact same meaning in English. Furthermore, many SPDC Army officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are semi-illiterate so they write with terrible grammar and frequent mistakes. Where necessary, we have added notes in italics in square brackets for clarification, but all other text is as it appears in the orders. 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. As in the originals, all numeric dates are shown in dd/mm/yy or dd/mm 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. We have noted the equivalent Gregorian calendar date where it is not already specified. Village names, people’s names, Army camp names and some other details have been replaced with ‘xxxx’, ‘yyyy’, ‘aaaa’, ‘bbbb’, etc. where necessary to protect villages from retaliation. These different letter combinations are sometimes used to distinguish between several people or villages being referred to within the same order.

Most orders are addressed to the ‘Chairperson’, which is the SPDC-appointed Chairperson of the village PDC, while other orders are addressed to the ‘Village Head’ or ‘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. Some of the orders address the village headwoman colloquially as‘Mother’. At the village level, the ‘Chairperson’ is usually victimised by the local military; however, at the village tract and township levels the ‘Chairperson’ is often a corrupt SPDC appointee who works closely with the local military. For example, there are many orders below sent from the Village Tract Chairmen of some of the village tracts in Papun and Toungoo districts, passing on the Army’s demands for forced labour to the village Chairmen at the lower levels.

Many orders call for ‘loh ah pay’, a Burmese term referring to a traditional practice of contributing one’s labour for small village or temple projects in order to earn Buddhist merit; however, the labour demanded in these orders is forced under threat and is not actually ‘loh ah pay’ at all. Rather than translate this misuse of the term, we have left it intact where it occurs in the orders. 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. ‘Operation servants’ are forced labour porters for frontline operations. Many of the orders demand that the village head ‘bring information’ or ‘report information’ to the Army camp; this is a summons for the village head to report intelligence on opposition movements near the village, any visitors to the village, and all activities of the villagers. 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. The texts of the orders often refer to the addressee using a polite term which directly translates as ‘Gentleman’, or ‘in Gentleman’s village’. People’s names are often prefixed with honorifics such as ‘Saw’, ‘Pa’, ‘U’, or ‘Maung’ for men, and ‘Naw’, ‘Daw’, or ‘Ma’ for women. 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 ‘Frontline’ battalions, indicating that they operate in conflict areas. They also refer to the ‘Tactical Command’, also known as ‘Strategic Command’, a field operations command which usually controls 3 full Infantry or Light Infantry Battalions from a headquarters in the region.

 

Restrictions on Activity and Movement

SPDC Army units try to control every aspect of the daily life of villagers, and to this end they regularly issue orders restricting all of the villagers’ regular activities and movements. In many areas villagers are under a tight curfew, only allowed to be outside their villages from sunrise to sundown and not allowed to sleep in their farmfield huts, which makes it extremely difficult for them to produce a successful crop, particularly if their fields are far from the village. Where travel between villages is allowed at night, villagers are not allowed to use flashlights but must use firebrands (burning sticks) to light their way; the SPDC views flashlights as ‘tools of rebels’ which allow a person to travel through the dark without being spotted by their soldiers. In theory, these restrictions are intended to prevent the villagers from being able to contact opposition forces, but in practice they go far beyond this and are used as a form of psychological intimidation and subjugation. They are also used to ban villagers from trading in goods independently of the monopolies set up by local military officers. Villagers are told that if they violate these restrictions or if they run from SPDC soldiers (which they often do in fear of being grabbed for forced labour), they will be shot with no questions asked. Many are in fact shot for such violations, as can be seen from interviews published in other KHRG reports. In the most cynical document included below (Order #4), a village headwoman was forced to thumbprint and sign, with witnesses, a prepared document stating that her village would gladly accept ‘whatever’ punishment is decided upon by the authorities if her village fails to report intelligence or to obey restrictions on their activities. In effect, they are forcing her to sign an acceptance of her own arrest, torture or execution, or the burning or forced relocation of her village.

 Some of the orders included below are ironic because they restrict the production of alcohol and gambling in the villages, while at the same time SPDC soldiers constantly demand alcohol from villagers (as can be seen below under ‘Extortion of Food, Money and Materials’) and force village elders to sell tickets in the Army’s own illicit lotteries. Such orders can be seen as a cynical method of control, forcing villagers to do something while at the same time declaring that activity illegal so that they will always feel at the mercy of the military. Army units also force villages to regularly provide ‘registration lists’ of their population, livestock, tools and belongings, which are used to calculate demands for forced labour, meat, extortion money, etc.

 Some of the orders below demand to know the names of anyone in the village who possess firearms. SPDC authorities forbid villagers from possessing any but the most primitive flintlock firearms, which they use for hunting and to protect their crops from pests. At the same time, SPDC Army units often threaten to punish the village if a gunshot is heard anywhere in the area. Once they obtain the list of those who possess firearms, these are likely to be the first villagers arrested, tortured and accused of being rebels whenever a shot is heard nearby.

Order #1

                Stamp:                                            Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                         Column x Headquarters
      Column x Headquarters                                Letter Number: xxx / Col. x / Oo 1
                                                                       Date: 1999 September 23
To:
          Village Head
          xxxx village

Subject:     To inform all villagers who live in the villages

1) We the Army Column are searching out and fighting the Nga Pway ['ringworms', derogatory SPDC slang for KNU/KNLA] in the jungle, in the mountains, in the rivers and the valleys by day and night. We the Army have mistakenly shot the villagers.

2) We the Army do not want to shoot innocent villagers. We inform the villagers as follows so that this will not occur again:

  1. Do not hunt or beat the bush [to flush out game] with guns in the jungle.
  2. Do not run away when you see the Army. If you run away we will consider you to be Nga Pway and you will be shot.
  3. Do not go from one village to another at night. If it is an emergency matter, go along the path using a lamp or firebrand. Do not use a flashlight. If the lamp suddenly goes dark, you must continue on by singing a song.

3) We inform you that action will be taken against villagers and villages who do not follow the above.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Column Commander
                                                                       Column x Headquarters
                                                                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #2

                   Stamp:                          To:                                        21-9-99
Frontline # xxx Infantry Battalion              Chairperson
              Company #x                              xxxx village

Subject:     Report any unusual information every day

  1. Regarding the above subject, to provide all unusual information from the village, report one piece of information every day.
  2. When [you] send the information, [you] also have to report the occupations, movements, and activities of the people in the village.
  3. [We] have heard the sound of percussion-lock firearms ['too mee thay nat'] around xxxxvillage. [You] haven't sent information to our army camp about these gunshots.
  4. If we hear the sound of percussion-lock firearms shooting again, [we] will shoot with a big one [mortar or artillery] from our camp, the Chairperson must know in advance.
  5. [You] must send one piece of information every day to our army camp. Don't report that there is nothing (unusual), you are hereby informed.     

Note:      Chairperson,

    1. The meaning of 'information' is unusual information about the rebels or social obligations, activities, health and the movement of guests. [You] must send information every day.
    2. On 22-9-99, the 35 houses in xxxx village must send 35 bundles of firewood to yyyyvillage, under the Church.
    3. Send 1 bottle of honey to arrive on 25-9-99.
    4. When the Chairperson from yyyy village comes, [you] must come to report to our Camp.[We] arrived at the Chairperson's village on 21-9-99 but [you] didn't come to meet with us. From now on don't be like that.

                                                                          [Sd.] 21-9-99
                                                                       Camp Commander
                                                                            xxxx Camp
                                                                     Company Commander
                                                                           #x Company 
                                                                   #xxx Infantry Battalion

['Unusual information' means intelligence about opposition military movements. As specified in Note #1, the Army is also demanding information about any and all activities of the villagers, including a daily report of all guests, visitors and people passing through the village, who are often arrested by the military and tortured for information on the opposition. The percussion-lock firearms are simple homemade shotguns which are the only thing the villagers are allowed to use for hunting.]

Order #3

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

In xxxx Village Tract, do not give paddy, rice or set kyay ngwe [protection money] to the enemy.[We] will burn and relocate the villages who give these. [We] will decree them to be hard core[enemies]. Call one person from each house and explain this [to them].

                                                              [Stamped:]     Column Commander
                                                                                 # xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #4

Pledge

1. My name is Daw [Mrs.] xxxx . Village: xxxx village , one of the elders. For the collection[transport] of [Army] rations along the xxxx / yyyy bullock-cart path, to provide security, women / men villagers from my village must send information on time and quickly (to xxxx camp) about everything unusual we see along the path from mile numbers 35 to 36; and will do sentry duty for the whole area to obey the order.

2. If I don't report unusual information from my area, in the event that soldiers or civilians are [subsequently] killed, injured, or rations are lost, my village will take responsibility and in accordance with whatever is decided by the persons in authority [we] will reimburse [pay compensation] and accept any punishment with full satisfaction [without complaint], I sign this pledge below.

               [Thumbprint]                                    [Thumbprint]

                  Witnesses:                                        Pledge Giver:

Name:          Daw yyyy                           Signature:               X              
Place:             xxxx                                Name:                Daw xxxx      
Signature:             X                               Place:                xxxx village   
                                                            Occupation:   Village Head       
          --------------

Name:           [blank]                    
Place:           [blank]                    
Signature:      [blank]                    

          --------------

Name:           [blank]                    
Place:           [blank]                    
Signature:      [blank]                    

[This is a document prepared by the Army which a village headwoman was forced to thumbprint and sign with another village elder as witness.]

Order #5

19/7/99

To [blank]

I am writing this letter to inform the Chairperson from xxxx [village]. The Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]troops who stay in Hla Gone town [said that] if you take down wooden rafts or bamboo rafts, you must let them know first before you take them down, even for buffaloes and cattle. If you do not inform them, they will not take the responsibility when you arrive in Bilin [town] and get arrested.

                                                                                  (for) U xxxx 
                                                                                  Chairperson
                                                              Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                     yyyy village, Papun Township

Order #6

                                                                      Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                      xxxx [camp]
                                                                      Ref. #: xxx / 10 / Oo 1
                                                                      Date: 1999 January 2nd 
To:      Frontline #yyy Infantry Battalion
           yyyy [camp]

Subject:  To release villagers' families from xxxx village tract who do shifting paddy cultivation

1) It is learnt that while clearing the western part of yyyy village tract, Frontline #yyyInfantry Battalion Column #x arrested a total of 26 women and children from families of xxxxvillage who are working and staying in farming huts. They have now become yyyy village family members.

2) Now their husbands and family members are reporting to the Army Camp at xxxx village that they have failed to arrive back yet.

3) Those arrested women and children are temporarily living in the fields for their shifting cultivation and they are legally registered in xxxx and yyyy village tracts. Moreover, they have served dutifully the troops under Na Ta Ka [Southwestern Regional Command] control region of our Army.

[page 2 of original begins here]

4) Therefore, to release the 26 family members I am sending this letter with 2 people from the Village Peace & Development Council, xxxx village tract, where they were previously registered.

(a) U aaaa         N.I.C. # [blank]
(b) U bbbb [names of the 2 villagers bringing the letter; NIC= National Identity Card]

                                                                                [Sd. / 2-1-99] 
                                                                           Battalion Commander
                                                                          # xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                                               (for) Temporary Battalion Commander

20-1-99 - and the money 200 Kyat [different handwriting, related to money paid to the Army]
21-1-99 -         "                          500
22-1-99 -         "                         500

[This letter was sent from one Army unit to another, to inform them that the 26 women and children arrested while working their fields and detained by IB #yyy are legitimate villagers from the garrison village of IB #xxx, and should therefore be released. This letter gives an indication of the risk villagers face every time they try to work fields far from their village, even when they are women and children who obviously have no connection to the opposition. In many cases the soldiers arrest and detain them simply to obtain ransom money. The note at the bottom is not part of the original letter, but is a village head's notes on money he/she later had to pay to the Army.]

Order #7

To:      Chairperson
           Secretary
           Village Peace & Development Council 
            xxxx village                                                                    Date:23-4-99

Subject:        Prohibition to prevent the distilling and selling of alcohol

Regarding the above subject, in Gentleman's [your] village do not distill alcohol secretly and sell it. If [we] discover and capture [you], serious action will be taken in accordance with the law. The village must inform [us] by making a register of the names, ages, and fathers' names of those who have recently distilled alcohol and send it now as soon as [you] receive this letter, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                               Intelligence Officer
                                                                      Frontline # xxx Infantry Battalion
Copies to:
                xxxx Army Camp
                 Frontline # xxx Infantry Battalion 

[This order is ironic given that one of the things most frequently demanded from villagers by SPDC troops is alcohol. Note also that home-distilled or fermented alcohol plays a central part in the rituals of the Animist Karen minority, and without the alcohol they cannot properly make offerings to the spirits.]

Order #8

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
            [illegible] 

Subject:        Proclaiming the order of prohibition

1)   Beginning from 18-1-99, all villages in the control area of #xxx Light Infantry Battalion,xxxx mobile column, are prohibited from having any illegal lottery, gambling or Cher Htee [Thai lottery] except for the Aung Ba Lay Thein Htee [official SPDC-run lottery] acknowledged and announced by the Government.

2)   In the period after the start of this ban, if we find anyone gambling or obtain reports of gambling serious action will be taken.

3)   Therefore, to stop gambling in your village, find out evidence using various means and take action, you are hereby informed.

Date:        17-1-99                                                                      [Sd.] 
Ref. No.:   1000 / 1 / xxxx                                                    Mobile Column
                                                                                       Column Commander
                                                                                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                            Majorxxxx

Order #9

                     Stamp:                
Village Peace & Development Council 
              Papun Township
                 xxxx village
                                                To:   All Village Chairpersons
                                                        aaaa, bbbb, cccc, dddd,
                                                        eeee, ffff, and gggg villages

Subject:        Sending an announcement letter

1) Regarding the above subject, at one of the sugar cane plantations in xxxx village, buffaloes and cattle have entered many times at night to eat and destroy it. [We] have arrested these buffaloes and have fined the owners of the buffaloes and cattle.

2) When [we] fined the owners of the buffaloes and cattle, [they] gave [the fines]. But for one of the newborn buffaloes, no owner appeared so [we] are detaining and caring for it in xxxxvillage. Chairpersons from the relevant villages, inform and announce this to all the people in your villages, that if your villagers have lost any buffaloes they should come and look, and pay to retrieve [them]. 

3) When [they] come to retrieve, if they can describe the buffalo exactly we will decree that they are the true owner of the buffalo.

4) When the owner of the buffalo comes to retrieve the buffalo, [he/she] will have to pay the price of the sugar cane which was destroyed by the buffalo and the daily wages for those who have taken care of it.

5) [We] first captured and started to take care of this buffalo on 28-2-99. Until now [we]haven't seen any of the owners. Chairpersons of the relevant villages, regarding this buffalo, if the owner stays in your village come to retrieve it.

[page 2]

Regarding this announcement, [we] will wait from 7-3-99 until 22-3-99. 

6) If the announced period is over and the owner hasn't come, [we] will decree that this buffalo has no owner. Once it becomes ownerless, no one can come to protest regarding this buffalo, we are letting the Chairpersons of the relevant villages know, you are informed.

                                                     Date: 7-3-99
                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                        (for) Chairperson
                                                        Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                                xxxx village, Papun Township

[This is a 2-page carbon-copied order sent to several villages. This is a regular tactic used by SPDC authorities and Army units, who use villagers' land for their own plantations and then when villagers' animals wander into the plantations the troops capture the animals and either kill them or heavily fine the owners, to the extent that the owners are afraid to reclaim their livestock. The fines decreed are usually much more than the destruction, if any, which was caused. However, as this order comes from a Village-level authority and was sent to the heads of all surrounding villages, it may or may not be influenced by the local military authorities; note however that the issuing village has an SPDC Army base in it.]

Order #10

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

Subject:        To compile and send the register of cattle which carry goods in the village

Regarding the above subject, send the register of cattle which carry goods and other cattle in the village to the Camp. Keep to the specified deadline of 4-4-99, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                          Camp Commander
                                                                                xxxx Camp 

[These registers are used to demand cattle for hauling labour, to extort meat from villagers, and to determine village wealth for cash extortion purposes. One of the dates is most likely wrong; either it was sent on 3-4-99 and due on 4-4-99, or sent on 3-3-99 and due on 4-3-99.]

Order #11

            Stamp:                                                                     Date: 6-3-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion 
         Company #x                        To:   Chairperson / Secretary

Subject:        Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, come without fail to xxxx camp on 7-3-99 at 10 o'clock in the morning, you are informed. Bring the register of those in the village who use percussion-lock firearms ['too mee thay nat'].

[The meeting] Will be held tomorrow at 10 o'clock.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                 xxxx Camp
                                                                          xxxx [officer's name]


Order #12

                   Stamp:                                      Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion              xxxx camp 
        Column x Headquarters                           Letter #: 01 / 5 / 100 / Oo 1
                                                                    Date: 1999 January 29th 
To:   Chairperson
         xxxx village 

Subject:         Compile a register of houses, population, and bullock carts in the village

Regarding the above subject, from the Gentleman's [your] village record the number of houses, population, register of [villagers'] names, and number of bullock carts ([with] names of the owners) and send it to arrive at xxxx Army Camp on 31-1-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning. Send [it]without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                            xxxx Army Camp


Order #13

To:
        Chairperson
        xxxx Village                                                             Date: 23-11-98

Subject : Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, #xxx Infantry Battalion's xxxx Camp Commander and Chairpersons of villages plan to hold a meeting, so come without fail according to the timetable below. If someone fails [to come] it will be their own responsibility (effective action will be taken). Chairpersons who come to attend the meeting should bring with them the list of village families, population list, occupations [list], and list of people living in their fields.

Meeting Time:     1998 November 25th, 12 o'clock
Place:                 xxxx Camp

[This order is unsigned. The lists are for use in controlling the movements of villagers and transients, and for calculating demands for extortion and forced labour.]


Order #14

                        Stamp:                                                    28-10-98
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
              xxxx Village Tract

                                 To:     New and old Chairpersons and Secretary
                                           Saw aaaa, Saw bbbb, Saw cccc
                                           xxxx [village]

Subject:        To change from the old to the new Chairperson

Chairpersons and Secretary, regarding the matter of confirming the new Chairperson, the new and old Chairpersons and the Secretary, all three of [you], come to meet with the Column Commander and the Camp Commander on 29-10-98, Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock, you are informed. When you come, bring the register that [I] already gave [you], with the signatures of a witness and people who are changing [old and new Chairpersons], you are informed. Regarding the matter of coming to meet with the Column Commander, do not come with nothing [i.e. do not come empty-handed, without a gift]. Come without fail, you are hereby informed.         

                                                                       [Sd.] 28-10-98        
                                                                         Chairperson
                                                   Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                      xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Towship

[All changes in village heads must be approved by the local military authorities, who often demand a village head of their own choosing.]

Permits and Passes

This section includes documents issued to villagers by SPDC authorities and military units as a means of controlling their movements and activities. Villagers caught without such documents face summary detention and torture, being taken as porters for indefinite periods, or possibly an accusation of being a ‘rebel’ followed by summary execution. Villagers can do nothing without a pass issued by the military, or by the Village or Village Tract Peace & Development Council which have been authorised by the military. If a villager carrying a pass issued by his/her Village Peace & Development Council is subsequently arrested and accused by the military, the village authorities who issued the pass will also be arrested; because of this, the military can feel confident that the village heads are too afraid to issue passes to anyone who may be subject to military suspicion. As an added burden, villagers are often forced to pay for these passes.

The first document below is a standard family registration list, which must be held by every family for presentation to military authorities whenever requested. The information in this list is used to allocate forced labour and extortion demands, and also to check for any visitors or strangers in the village who can be arrested and accused as ‘rebels’. The other documents are standard passes to travel from one village to another, to work the farmfields, to carry rice to or from the village, to buy or sell livestock, and to possess a primitive flintlock firearm. In many areas villagers are forbidden to spend the night at their fields in order to make it impossible for them to have any contact with opposition forces. However, this makes it impossible for villagers whose fields are a long distance from the village, so in some cases they can obtain passes to sleep one or more nights at their fields, such as those included below. Note that the passes specify exactly where they are allowed to stay and how much rice they are allowed to take with them; this is supposedly to prevent them taking food to the opposition troops. They are usually allowed to take much less food than is required even to feed themselves for the duration of the pass. The same logic applies to the passes which must be obtained to carry rice or other goods to or from the village, and the passes to buy or sell livestock. The military uses every restriction possible in its attempt to cut off all contact between the villagers and the opposition, and to block any food supplies from reaching the opposition.

Order #15

Register of family population

#       Name        Age   Father's     Sex     Relation      Occupation    Village
                                    name
1       U aaaa           50   U kkkk          M   [Family] Head    Farmer        xxxx 
2       Daw bbbb      48   U mmmm      F     Wife               Farmer           "    
3       Naw cccc       24    U aaaa          F     Daughter         Farmer           "    
4       Maung dddd   22    U nnnn         M     Son-in-law       Farmer           "     
5       Naw eeee     22    U aaaa          F      Daughter         Farmer           "     
6       Saw ffff        17        "              M     Son                 Farmer           "     
7       Saw gggg      17        "               M     Son                 Farmer           "     
8       Pa hhhh         7          "              M     Son                 Student          "     
9       Naw iiii         1    Maung dddd    F     Grandchild                            "    
10     Pa jjjj           11    Pa pppp         M     Nephew          Student       yyyy  

                                            Family population:   Male      (6) persons
                                                                         Female   (4) persons
                                                                         Total      (10) persons

Stamp:                                                      Stamp:
Village Law & Order Restoration Council              #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 
                       4-8-97                                                       11-8-97
     xxxx village, Papun Township                                     Column #x

                                                     [Sd.] 11/8/97
                                              (for) Frontline LIB #xxx

                                                                                   Daw xxxx
                                                                             (for) Chairperson
                                                             Village Law & Order Restoration Council
                                                                     xxxx village, Papun Township

[This is a family registration document which each family must have in their possession. If soldiers find anyone in their house who is not listed in the document, the unlisted person(s) are arrested and tortured as suspected oppositionists or taken as porters, and in some cases the whole family may be arrested or taken for labour.

Order #16

Recommendation Pass for Travelling

Name                     _________________________________
Age                        _________________________________
Father's Name         _________________________________
Occupation             _________________________________
Religion                  _________________________________
Address                  _________________________________
Destination             _________________________________
Purpose                  _________________________________
Dates permitted      _________________________________

Subject: The village chairperson recommends that those ( ) persons mentioned above are honest.

                                                                             Village Head
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                                          [Sd. "Dawxxxx"] 
                                                                             xxxx [village]
                                                                               xxxx region

[This is a blank form filled in for use as a standard travel pass by the village authorities.]

Order #17

Recommendation

                            Stamp:
xxxx Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                  Than Daung Township         

From xxxx village, Naw aaaa , father's name U bbbb , age ( 20 ) years, is permitted to go to yyyy village , the surrounding hill fields, cardamom gardens and betelnut gardens, from 23/8/99 to 28/8/99. Naw aaaa is permitted to take with her ([blank]) milk-tins of rice and ([blank]) packets of [cooked] rice to eat.

Name Naw aaaa is permitted only for the day / to sleep overnight.
Place to sleep overnight: ( yyyy village, near the peanut plantation ) 

                                                                              [Sd.] xxxx
                                                                         (for) Chairperson
                                                       Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                         xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a typical permit which villagers in the area must obtain simply to go to their fields during the day. In this case the villager is being allowed to stay several nights in her fields before returning to the village. The document is a typed and copied form letter with the personal details written in.]

Order #18

Recommendation

                             Stamp:
xxxx Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                  Than Daung Township         

From xxxx village, Saw cccc , father's name U dddd , age ( [blank] ) years, is permitted to go to yyyy village plantation , the surrounding hill fields, cardamom gardens and betelnut gardens, from 5/7/99 to 12/7/99. Saw cccc is permitted to take with him ( 12 ) milk-tins of rice and ( [blank] ) packets of [cooked] rice to eat.

Name Saw cccc is permitted only for the day / to sleep overnight.
Place to sleep overnight: ( yyyy village, near the plantation ) 

                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                    (for) Chairperson
                                                   Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                    xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a typical permit which villagers in the area must obtain simply to go to their fields during the day. In this case the villager is being allowed to stay several nights in his fields before returning to the village. The document is a typed and copied form letter with the personal details written in. Note that though the pass is supposedly for one week, the villager here is only allowed to take 12 milk-tins of uncooked rice with him - enough for 6 meals at the most.]

Order #19

Recommendation letter to buy and carry

                Stamp:                           To:   IB #xxx
             [illegible]                                 La Ka Ya [military training]school
         xxxx Village Tract                           Frontline IB #yyy
                                                             xxxx Camp
                                                             yyyyCamp                        Date: 9-6-99

Subject:        Permission to buy and carry rice

Regarding the above subject, the villagers in the list below from xxxx village, xxxxVillage Tract, are permitted to buy and carry rice for their food. They are truly recommended [i.e. they are guaranteed as honest villagers].

(1) Saw aaaa                Rice (2) sacks
(2) Saw bbbb               Rice (2) sacks
(3) Saw cccc                 Rice (2) sacks
(4) Saw dddd               Rice (2) sacks
(5) Saw eeee               Rice (2) sacks
(6) Naw ffff                 Rice (1) sack

                         [Sd.] 8-6-99                                              [Sd.]8-6-99
                         Chairperson                                          Camp Commander
  Village Tract Peace & Development Council                         xxxx Camp
    xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a typical pass letter which villagers must obtain from the authorities before they can buy or transport commodities between villages.]

Order #20

Recommendation

                        Stamp:         
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
               xxxx Village Tract

Saw aaaa, who lives in yyyy village, xxxx Village Tract, is hereby truly permitted to watch his plantation land using a percussion-lock firearm ['too mee thay nat'].

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                              Chairperson
                                                        Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                          xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township 

[Written on the back:]

Total Expenses

Captain xxxx                                                                 5,000 Kyat
Cost of buying things for the Column Commander 
        when [he] stayed in xxxx                                       4,500 Kyat
Making copies of recommendation papers                        2,000 Kyat
When the Column came                                                 4,000 Kyat

Each village the first time                                              1,000 Kyat
Recommendation papers                                                2,000 Kyat
Eating Expense                                                                850 Kyat
The third time                                                                800 Kyat
                                                                                  4,650 Kyat

Total expenses                                                             4,650 Kyat
Had to give the price for one sack of rice
        to the xxxx in charge of rations                             3,500 Kyat
Total                                                                           8,150 Kyat

[The front of this order is a permission letter for a villager to carry a simple flintlock shotgun, and on the back a village elder has compiled some of the expenses which the village has incurred in meeting the demands of the local SPDC forces. 'Recommendation papers' are the travel passes which villagers have to obtain from village heads in order to go outside the village.]

Order #21

                    Stamp:
Village Peace & Development Council 
               Date: 19-5-99
             Papun Township
                xxxx Village

Permission letter to travel

                                 Name:                U aaaa
                                 Age:                   53 years old
                                 Father's name:    U bbbb
                                 Address:             xxxx [village]
                                 Destination:        yyyy village
                                 Purpose:            To go and pick up the [woman]schoolteacher

The above mentioned U aaaa is truly a villager from xxxx and is permitted to travel, we hereby recommend.

                                                                                 (for) xxxx
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                               Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                                     xxxx Village, Papun Township 

[Villagers need letters like these every time they travel from village to village or they face arrest, detention and possible torture or being taken as a porter.]

Order #22

To:    IB #xxx                                                                      Date: 16/2/99
         Frontline IB #yyy
         xxxx camp
         yyyy camp

Subject:        To buy a cow

Regarding the above subject, for their food, the villagers below from xxxx village will truly buy and transport a cow, they are hereby verified.

1. U aaaa, 2 female cows

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                          Camp Commander
                                                                                xxxx Camp 
                                                                           Frontline IB #xxx

[This is a pass letter permitting a villager to go and buy 2 cattle.]

Order #23

                              Recommendation                                    Stamp:
                                                                           Frontline #xxxInfantry Battalion
                                                                                        #xCompany

                        Name:                     U aaaa
                        Father's Name:        U bbbb
                        Age:                        53 years
                        Address:                  xxxx village, yyyy village tract,
                                                     Papun Township

We recommend the above as a true xxxx villager.

                                                                                [Sd. / 6/10/98]
                                                                       (for) Company Commander
                                                                                  #xCompany
                                                                           #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This document is issued as a travel pass to move between villages. Villagers risk arrest if they go anywhere without such a pass.]

Order #24

                Stamp:
Peace & Development Council                         Village Peace & Development Council
         xxxx Village Tract                                  xxxx Village Tract - Papun Township
                                                                    Letter No. x / Ya Ya Ta (xxxx)
                                                                    Date: 1998 August 18th
Recommendation

For the villagers' sustenance, for village head Daw aaaa's and the villagers' sustenance, the daughter of bbbb who stays in xxxx village will truly carry 10 sacks of rice from yyyyto xxxx village. [We] give permission to carry it.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                             Village Peace & Development Council
                                                               xxxx Village Tract, Papun Township

[One sack of rice weighs 50 kilograms, so this does not mean that the villager will literally carry them but that she has bought rice to transport to her village, and this letter has been issued as a permit to transport the rice to her village. Normally villagers are not allowed to take rice into the hills because SPDC forces believe it will be used to feed Karen troops.]


Order #25

                 Stamp:        
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
     Column #x Headquarters                            (18-5-98)
                                                     Already sent the information

According to the register of the village population, [the bearer] is truly a villager fromxxxx village. From 19-5-98 to 29-5-98 travel is permitted from xxxx village to yyyyvillage, you are hereby recommended.

                                                                                    [Sd.]18-5-98 

[This document is a travel pass, typical of those required by villagers to travel outside their villages.]

 

 

Forced Labour

The most systematic and burdensome abuse inflicted on villagers by SPDC military units and authorities is forced labour, and the orders included below give some impression of the constant stream of demands for all kinds of labour which villages have to face. They include demands for one person per family to go for forced unpaid road labour, various numbers of villagers to go as porters carrying munitions and supplies for mobile military columns, forced labour building and maintaining Army camps, carrying Army rations and supplies, acting as unarmed sentries, military messengers and general servants at Army camps, and various other forms of labour. We have also included orders which demand bullock carts and boats for use by the Army, because such orders implicitly force the owner to go along and do forced labour driving his/her bullock team or boat. Orders for villagers to do forced labour as sentries and for village elders to ‘report information’ to the Army, which are also forms of forced labour, are included in the next section entitled "Orders to Provide Military Support". Note that many of these orders demanding forced labour were issued well after May 14, 1999, which is when the SPDC leadership claims to have issued a general order to all of their military and administrative units to halt conscription of forced labour under the ‘Villages Act' and the 'Towns Act’. In practice, the military and SPDC authorities almost never even make reference to these Acts when demanding forced labour from villages.

Most of the orders are addressed to the village head, who must then decide which villagers must go to fill the quota demanded by the Army. A rotating system between the families of the village is generally used to do this, in order to spread the burden as evenly as possible. However, with so many different forms of forced labour being constantly demanded by every Army unit and SPDC authority in the area, families find that they must send someone for forced labour at least once every week or two. Some of the demands are on an ad hoc basis, such as orders to spend a week building a road or a day fencing an Army camp, while other orders demand ‘servants’ on a ‘rotating’ basis, which means that the village must provide a certain number of forced labourers on a rotation of a few days to a week. The villagers must take along their own food and stay at the Army camp for their rotation, 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. They are usually not released until their replacements arrive; hence some of the orders below in which Army officers write things such as "Send the replacements for the 5 servants because they have been here for 7 days already." Some orders specifically demand men or that no children be sent (see Orders #59 and #101), but most orders leave this up to the villagers. Women often go because the men do not dare face the soldiers (see for reference Order #35), and children often go so that their parents can continue to work in the fields. Order #106 specifically demands that ‘all those aged above 12 years … including women’ go to the camp the following day for forced labour. Many of the orders demand that the village elders personally accompany the labourers from their village to the camp (using language such as ‘Gentlemen, come yourselves to bring them’); this is so that on arrival the officers can interrogate the elders for intelligence on opposition movements and the activities of villagers, and so that the elders can be put to supervising the forced labour of their villagers.

It is difficult for villagers to go for all of this forced labour, so they are often delinquent in complying with the orders. Usually the Army responds by sending threatening and angry letters, often written in red ink, 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. None of the labour mentioned in the orders below is undertaken voluntarily, but always under the direct or implied threat that the village elders or villagers will face serious punishments for any failure to comply. Some of the orders below warn that any failure to comply will be punished, while others mete out specific punishments to villagers who do not perform, demand fines or replacement labourers from the villages, and demand the names of any villagers who have failed to appear or have run away from forced labour (see for example Orders #28, 29, 32, 107 and113). Order #118 threatens that the village will be forcibly relocated to an Army-controlled site if it fails to complete the assigned forced labour clearing a roadside, while Order #107 warns that the Army will shell the village if the village head does not bring 5 villagers for forced labour. The military authorities usually refer to the work and the labourers themselves as ‘loh ah pay’, a Burmese term referring to a traditional practice of contributing one’s labour for small village or temple projects in order to earn Buddhist merit; however, the labour referred to in these orders has no connection whatever to the type of work meant by ‘loh ah pay’. Rather than translate this misuse of ‘loh ah pay’, we have left it intact where it occurs in the orders. One type of forced labour is called ‘set tha’, which essentially means forced labour as military messengers, general servants, errand-runners and occasional sentries at Army camps. It is important to note that not only do these orders demand forced labour, but after being written by an Army official they are almost always delivered to the villages by civilians doing ‘set tha’ forced labour as messengers. Many of the orders also refer to forced labourers as ‘servants’ (‘wontan’), ‘loh ah pay servants’, or occasionally ‘operations servants’, which means frontline porters.

Some of the orders included below demand payment of fees in lieu of forced labour. These can take various forms. In the most common form, the villagers simply cannot do all the forced labour demanded of them and still produce a crop to survive, so they hire someone to go in their place or pay a ‘fee’ which is essentially a bribe to the military in lieu of going. This is sometimes disguised under the wording of ‘paying the Army to hire labourers’, but in fact the Army simply pockets the money and demands others to do forced labour instead. In some cases the military demands far more labour than is actually required because they are actually seeking payment rather than labourers. Another form of forced labour fees is shown inOrders #127 and #128. These orders have been issued by the head of a Village Tract Peace & Development Council who is working closely with the military in the area. In this area, the military gives orders to the Village Tract telling them how many forced labourers they want from the villages. The Village Tract authorities know that the villages cannot provide the labour, so they hire itinerant labourers through agents in town to fill the military’s quota. They then divide the burden of forced labourers between the villages in the village tract based on the size (number of households) of each village, and send out an order for each village to reimburse them for the hiring price at a rate of 4,000 Kyat (or in some cases 4,250 Kyat) per forced labourer. Essentially this is the most indirect form of forced labour, where each village must gather money from each family, which is then used to pay the village tract authorities to hire labourers to meet the military’s demands. In most regions the forced labour works on a more direct basis, and even in this particular region this system does not prevent the military from issuing ad hoc demands for forced labour directly to the villages on a regular basis.

The orders below have been divided into 3 categories: general forced labour, forced labour on infrastructure, and forced labour fees. ‘General Forced Labour’ mainly includes rotating and ad hoc labour at Army camps, portering, forced labour as messengers, servants, etc. Many of these orders do not specify the exact nature of the forced labour, so some of these actually relate to infrastructure. Orders under ‘Forced Labour on Infrastructure’ include those for building and rebuilding roads and bridges, and several orders forcing villages to clear the scrub along roadsides to create a ‘killing ground’ which makes it harder for opposition troops to ambush SPDC columns and convoys, and also makes it harder for opposition troops to move across the roads. Orders under ‘Forced Labour Fees’ directly relate to the collection of money from villages in lieu of forced labour. Note that other sections of this report also include orders which either directly or indirectly entail forced labour, particularly the sections "Orders to Provide Military Support" and"Extortion of Food, Money and Materials".

A) General Forced Labour

 

Order #26

 

                 Stamp:         
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                  To:   Chairperson
              Company #x                                                        

[I am] Writing this letter. To carry the rations tomorrow, send 10 people from Chairperson's village to me. Do not be late. Arrive at 5 o'clock in the morning. I will be waiting.

P.S.  Reply when [you] receive this letter.                                Yours,
                                                                                      [Sd.] 15/11[/99]
                                                                                     Camp Commander
                                                                                           xxxx Camp

[The 'rations' are Army rations which are usually dropped at the roadheads by military convoys once every month or two; entire villages are then ordered to carry the rations from the roadheads to Army camps and outposts throughout the region.]

 

Order #27

 

                 Stamp:         
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

To:
        Chairperson, send without fail 10 male loh ah pay servants on 8-10-99 to xxxx. (Chairperson or Secretary must come to bring them.) Come and arrive on the 9th at 12 o'clock noon.

                                                                       [Sd.] Captain, 8/10/99
                                                                      (for) Column Commander
                                                                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 


Order #28

 

               Stamp:                                To:                                        13-9-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                  Chairperson
                 Company #x                              xxxx village

Subject:        [We] already ordered the following things from the Chairperson of the village

 

  1. [We] already ordered you to send a messenger (every day) but [you] have failed, so the fine is 1,000 Kyat.
  2. [We] will order you again on the day when [you] must send a messenger.
  3. Take the census of every house and send the combined registers to the camp to arrive on 14-9-99.
  4. Report the list of overnight guests. If [you] don't report it, [you] will be fined 500 Kyat.
  5. If [we] call for loh ah pay, [you] have to come on time.
  6. [You] have to come to the camp and sign to get permission to transport rice.
  7. On Tuesdays and Fridays, those who will go to the market must come first to the camp to get permission.

 

Regarding the above subjects, [we] already gave orders to the Chairperson, so if [you] don't obey, serious action will be taken.

                                                                                [Sd.] 13-9-99
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                  xxxx Camp
                                                                         Company Commander
                                                                                 #x Company
                                                                         #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[Villages are supposed to send 'messengers' on a daily rotation to do errands at the Army camp. The house registers which are requested are used to determine rates of extortion and demands for 'loh ah pay' forced labourers. In Burma, all overnight guests must be registered with the authorities or the host and their whole family risk being arrested. The final two items refer to the permission which villagers must obtain to transport rice into or out of their village, go to market or go anywhere at all. All of these demands are routine and typical, though it is rare to see them expressed so clearly all in one document.]

 

Order #29

 

                    Stamp:                                                              22-9-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                 Company #x

                        To:     Chairperson
                                  xxxx village

Subject:        Collecting firewood in the village / Chairperson come to meet

1.  Regarding the above subject, from our camp [we've told you to] collect one bundle of firewood, but as of today [it] hasn't arrived yet. 

2.  On 21-9-99 [I] sent a letter but [you] didn't reply at once. Send a messenger every day on time. 

3.  Whether the Chairperson is healthy or not, [you] haven't informed us. Chairperson, keep to the specified time and come today, 22-9-99, at 1200 hours.

4.  If you are not well, hire a carrier and come.

5.  If [you] don't come, [I] will refuse permission and prohibit the carrying of rice to xxxx village, and will prohibit the transport of market goods.

6.  Carrying rice to yyyy village is permitted. Carrying to xxxx village is not permitted, you are informed.

7.  Regarding the above subject, summoning [you] because [I] want to meet and discuss this. If [you] don't obey and come, you must be punished and labelled as being solidly against the nation, and serious action will be taken. Come today.

                                                                            [Sd.] 22-9-99
                                                                        Camp Commander 
                                                                              yyyy Camp

[This is a seriously threatening letter. Firstly, if the officer forbids the transport of rice and market goods to and from the village this may bring starvation on the villagers, and the village head is additionally threatened with being labelled as a 'destructive element'. 'Carriers' and 'messengers' mean villagers to do forced labour as porters and 'set tha' messengers respectively.]

 

Order #30

 

           Stamp:                                                                             14-9-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion
      #( ) Company

To:    Chairperson
         xxxx village

Subject:        Informing [you] to send the new labourers

The labourers from xxxx village have done their duty for 20 days already. Therefore we inform the Chairperson to come on 14-9-99 with the new labourers to change.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                   (for) Company Commander
                                                                             #( ) Company
                                                                      #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This order refers to villagers doing a shift of forced labour who must be replaced before they will be released. The Company number has been left blank.]

 


Order #31

 

To:                                                                                        13-9-99
        Village Head, xxxx village

Subject:        To send 1 servant

A servant from xxxx village ran away on 11-9-99. Informing you to send 1 servant to yyyy camp today.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                        (for) Column Commander
                                                                          Column x Headquarters
                                                                   Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #32

 

To:    Chairperson                                                                Date: 12-9-99
         xxxx village

Subject:        The Chairperson must come and meet with the Camp Commander

Village Chairperson, there are emergency matters to take care of, so as soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly to meet the xxxx Camp Commander. If [you] fail, the responsibility will fall on the Chairperson, letting you know so you are hereby informed.

Chairperson, from 8-9-99 until now the messengers from the village have not come. Therefore, [send] a register of the names of the messengers who were on duty from the 8th until now, and [we] will fine these messengers.[We] will fine the messengers who were on duty 1,000 Kyat [each], letting you know so you are hereby informed.

                                                                              [Sd.] 12-9-99
                                                                          Camp Commander
                                                                                xxxx Camp

[Written in addition on the back of this order was 'Come to meet today'.]

 


Order #33

 


            Stamp:                                                                          11-9-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion
      #( ) Company

To:      Chairperson
           xxxx village

Subject:        Informing you to send back the servant

1) One rotation servant from xxxx village ran away as he pleased.
2) We inform you to replace the 1 servant who ran away on 11-9-99.

                                                                                [Sd. / 11/9] 
                                                                         Company Commander
                                                                                #( ) Company
                                                                         #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #34

 

To:     Chairperson                                     Stamp:                        Date: [blank]
           xxxx village                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                                   Column #x Headquarters

Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labourers]

Send one person per house from Gentleman's [your] village without fail for loh ah pay on the 28th at (0600) hours to yyyy village, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.]

 


Order #35

 

Chairperson

Subject:        The matter of loh ah pay labour

Tomorrow at 6 o'clock in the morning, come without fail and arrive at the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office with food for 3 days. No less than 5 persons.

Note:        They can be women or men.

                                                                                      [Sd.]

 


Order #36

 

                Stamp:                                To:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                   Chairperson
                                                                 Secretary
                                                                 xxxx village

Chairperson/Secretary, bring along with you 10 persons for loh ah pay labour this evening.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                       (for) Column Commander
                                                                Frontline #[blank] Infantry Battalion

 


Order #37

 

         Stamp:
Infantry Battalion #xxx 
       Company #x 

To:
      Chairperson
       xxxx Village

As soon as you get this letter, Chairperson yourself come with a servant and report. Also, bring along 2 pyi[about 4 kg/9 lb] of rice and 1 bottle of cooking oil.

                                                                                     [Sd:] xxxx

[To come 'with a servant' means to bring one person from the village to do a shift of forced labour at the Army camp.]

 


Order #38

 

To:
      aaaa / U bbbb [elders' names]                                  Stamp:
      xxxx Village                                           Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                       Column #x Headquarters

 

-  We are releasing servant xxxx two days early. His turn is supposed to be 5 days, but his duty is finished.
-  At this moment, send an elephant to carry coconut trees to build xxxx bridge.
-  Send quickly ironwood 3 by 1 [3"x1" planks] and 60 feet [long].

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                         Battalion Commander
                                                                        #xxx Infantry Battalion

[The first point notifies the village elder that the villager has finished the task he has been forced to do so he is being released before the originally specified time. The second and third points also involve forced labour, because no one can control an elephant except its regular owner/mahout so this person must go (possibly losing significant income he could have made with his elephant otherwise), and the ironwood planks demanded are hard to find and very labour-intensive to saw.]

 

Order #39

 

To:    Village Head                                                                        25-8-99
         xxxx village

Subject:        To send servants

Letting the village head or the deputy village head or village elders know to come with 5 duty servants toyyyy village, where the local Column Commander is staying today.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                             Column Commander
                                                                           Column x Headquarters
                                                                     Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #40

 

To:    Chairperson

Subject:        [We] need wood for building the new high school. So for loh ah pay from the villagers, your villagers have to come and carry the timber to [the site] near xxxx village. [They] have to do loh ah pay and[come] with a packet of rice each.

Gathering place:      xxxx VPDC [Ya Ya Ka]
Time:                      Morning at 6:30 (10-8-99)

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                          Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                            xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This particular Village Tract Peace & Development Council works very closely with the local military who appointed them, so it is difficult to know whether this order really originated with the military or the PDC. This particular PDC is known for receiving orders directly from the military and passing them on to the villages.]

 


Order #41

 

                 Stamp:                               To:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                    Chairpersons             Date: 13/7/99
              Column #x                                    VPDC
                                                                 aaaa / bbbb / cccc / 
                                                                 dddd / eeee / ffff [villages]

Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labour] and attend a meeting
        
1. For the use of xxxx Army Camp, send loh ah pay labourers to arrive on 14-7-99 at 7 o'clock in the morning as listed below.

                (a)        aaaa village                (70) persons
                (b)        bbbb village               (20) persons
                (c)        cccc village                 (25) persons
                (d)        dddd village               (15) persons
                (e)        eeee village               (40) persons
                (f)        ffff village                  (15) persons

1. [sic: 2.] Therefore send the loh ah pay labourers at the specified time, and Village Chairpersons, [we]will hold a meeting on 14-7-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning, so come on time without fail, [you] are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                     Army Camp Commander

Chairperson must bring 140 150 limes when you come to the meeting.

[Copies of this order were sent to all villages listed at the top.]

 


Order #42

 

To:    Chairperson
         xxxx village                                                             Date: 30-6-99

Subject:         To send village servants for rotation

To do loh ah pay for Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion, [send] 1 servant from each village, Chairperson yourself come to bring them to xxxx Army Camp to arrive on the 4th waning day of first Wa Zoh month [1-7-99] , you are informed.

                                                                           [Sd.] 
                                                             (for) Column Commander
                                                                        xxxx Camp

 

Order #43

 

                Stamp:                                     To:     Chairpersons
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                             VPDC
               Column #x                                             aaaa / bbbb / cccc /
                                                                          dddd / eeee / ffff [villages]

                                                                                                       29/6/99
Subject:                To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

1. For use at xxxx Army Camp, send the number of loh ah pay labourers specified in the list below to the army camp, to arrive on 30-6-99 at 7 o'clock in the morning.

                        (a) aaaa village                (70) persons
                        (b) bbbb village               (20) persons
                        (c) cccc village                 (20) persons
                        (d) dddd village               (40) persons
                        (e) eeee village               (30) persons
                        (f) ffff village                  (10) persons

2. Therefore, send the loh ah pay labourers on time according to the quantity specified, you are informed.

3. To hold a meeting for the village chairpersons, come to the army camp to arrive on 30-6-99 at 10 o'clock, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                     Army Camp Commander
                                                                         (xxxx Army Camp)

 


Order #44

 

                   Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion              To:    Chairperson
          Frontline Headquarters                                  xxxx village

Subject:        Informing [you] to come and bring servants

When Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion was patrolling for regional control and security, when we stopped in yyyy village we had a problem with servants. Chairperson yourself come to send 5 loh ah pay servants fromxxxx village with rations for 3 days to arrive today at yyyy village, intelligence department, you are informed.

Date:        25/6/99                                                           [Sd.] 
Place:       yyyy village                                (for) Regional Battalion Commander

['We had a problem with servants' means that they could not round up enough villagers as porters for their patrol or forced labourers to take back to the Army camp.]

 


Order #45

 

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion              To:    Chairperson
               #x Column                                       VPDC
                                                                     xxxx [village]               25/6/99

Subject:        To send a motorised longtail boat

If you gentlemen have Daw xxxx's motorised longtail boat, the Army needs to use it. When you get this letter, just send it.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                  At Tat xxxx

[This order carries the implicit demand that the boat owner/driver go along to drive the boat.]

 


Order #46

 

To:       Chairperson, Secretary                                                 24-6-99

Subject:        To buy and carry rice

Regarding the above subject, 15 loh ah pay servants from Chairperson's village must come to xxxx village tomorrow at 7 o'clock. [You] must report information to the Camp. [You] must give 1,500 Kyats cash to the Column for the servants' food every 15 days. Therefore, send 1,500 Kyat in cash with the servants tomorrow. [I am] writing this letter to inform you.

                                                                            [Sd.] 24-6-99
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                         xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This order is written in red ink, which is interpreted by villagers as an indication of urgency and an implied threat. It is the village head who must report intelligence to the camp, while the 15 other villagers being demanded must do some form of unspecified forced labour. Such forced labourers always take along their own food because they know the Army will not feed them; the demand for regular payments for their food is probably just direct cash extortion. It also implies that this labour will be permanent and carried out on a 15-day rotation basis.]

 


Order #47

 To:

        Daw aaaa (Village Head)                                             17-6-99
        xxxx [village]

The Column says that mother's village, xxxx, should cut wood between 28-Mile and 34-Mile. Therefore, mother should tell loh ah pay labourers from the village to report to yyyy camp.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                           Camp Commander [Sd.]
                                                                                    yyyy camp

['28-Mile' and '34-Mile' refer to road or pathway milestones, so the area covers a stretch of 6 miles.]

 

Order #48

 

               Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairpersons
             Column #x                                         VPDC
                                                                     aaaa / bbbb / cccc /
                                                                     dddd / eeee / ffff [villages]

                                                                                         Date: 14/6/99
Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

1. For use at xxxx Army Camp, the above villages must send loh ah pay labourers to the army camp, to arrive on 15-6-99 at (0700) hours, according to the list below.

                        (a) aaaa village               (70) persons
                        (b) bbbb village              (15) persons
                        (c) cccc village                (20) persons
                        (d) dddd village              (10) persons
                        (e) eeee village              (40) persons
                        (f) ffff village                 (10) persons

2. When [you] send the loh ah pay labourers, they must bring plastic sheets themselves, and the loh ah paylabourers from bbbb village have to go from xxxx to yyyy camp and arrive at (0800) hours in the morning, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 14/6/99
                                                                     xxxx Army Camp Commander

[This was a carbon-copied order sent to many villages. The plastic sheets they must bring are to worn to protect themselves from the rain.]

 

Order #49

            Stamp:         

#xxx Infantry Battalion                 To:   Chairperson                         10-6-99
        Intelligence                                xxxx Village 
       Army (Land)

Subject:        Come to send information to yyyy Camp within this night

Regarding the above subject, Chairperson (or) Secretary yourselves from xxxx village must come to yyyy Camp tonight with one person to replace the guide [to replace the villager currently doing forced labour as a guide] for the Column. Bring information without fail. This is an emergency matter so bring information without fail, you are informed.

                                                                           [Sd.] 10/6/99
                                                                        Camp Commander
                                                                             yyyy Camp

 

Order #50

             Stamp:                                                                       8-6-99

#xxx Infantry Battalion 
        Company #x 

Ko aaaa,

Sending this letter right now with the villagers from xxxx village to carry rice. From the 50 sacks of rice left by Captain bbbb, give 11 sacks of rice to these villagers. [I] will ask [them] to come and carry the rest of the rice within the day. I will give them a recommendation letter together with my [this] letter when the villagers come. You check it and give them the sacks of rice. If [we] need help, [we] will ask it from Ko aaaa[you]. Right now, [we] don't need it. When [we] need, I will tell [you]. Send back this letter and the recommendation letter for the rice along with the villagers. If [you] have any problems, write a letter to me.

                                                                            With friendliness,
                                                                                [Sd.] 8/6/99
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                  yyyy Camp 

[This is a letter from an Army officer to a village elder. The Captain has left 50 sacks of rice at the elder's village, and this officer has now rounded up villagers to do forced labour carrying it the rest of the way to his camp. This letter is to verify to the village elder that it is okay to hand over some of these sacks of rice to the villagers to be carried away; the villagers will have to make several trips to carry all of it.]

 


Order #51

                 Stamp:                                                            Date: 4-6-99

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                Col. x 

To:      Village Head
           xxxx [village]

-        Village head and 3 messengers, come on 5-6-99 and report without fail to yyyy.
-        Come before 9 o'clock.
                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                           Intelligence Officer

 


Order #52

 

           Stamp:                                                                       Date: 4.6.99
Infantry Battalion #xxx 
        Company #x 

To:
          Daw aaaa 
          xxxx Village Head

Subject: Informing [you] to come to the Army Camp

                Regarding the above subject, xxxx Village Head Daw aaaa must come with a messenger [someone to do forced labour as a messenger] on 5.7.99 [sic: 5.6.99] at 9 o'clock to yyyy Army Camp, you are informed.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                 #x Company
                                                                          #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #53

 

                        Stamp:                                                            1-6-99
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
               xxxx Village Tract

To:       Chairperson, Secretary, Village Mother, Village Father
            yyyy [village]

Subject:        The matters of rotating for guide duty and servants' fees 
                     + the matter of clearing the rice taxes

Chairperson and Secretary, as soon as [you] receive this letter, you are requested to come right now to xxxx.[We] have to discuss and clear up the above subjects. You are requested to bring the money at the same time. It is important so come without fail, [we] write this letter to inform you.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                            Chairperson
                                                       Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                         xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 


Order #54

 

To:                                                                                               31.5.99
        Chairperson
        xxxx village 

Subject:        From xxxx village, the village head must come and bring the carpenters who will build the bridge and villagers immediately upon receiving this letter to yyyy camp, you are informed.

Bring the rice that you borrowed.
                                                                                      [Sd.]        
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                  yyyy camp

[Both the carpenters and the villagers will be used as forced labour to build the bridge.]

 


Order #55

 

          Stamp:                         To:    Chairperson / Secretary
#xxx Infantry Battalion                       xxxx village                              30-5-99
        Column #x

Subject:        Asking for loh ah pay servants

From gentleman's village, the Column asks you to give 15 loh ah pay servants and bamboo and pork, bring them at the same time to the Column. Informing you for the second time. Do not fail to bring them. If you fail, it will be the gentleman's [your] responsibility, you are informed.

                                                                          [Sd. / 30-5-99 (xxxx)] 
                                                                        (for) Column Commander
                                                                        Frontline IB #xxx, Col. #x

 

Order #56

 

                 Stamp:                                 To:   Chairpersons
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                        VPDC
              #x Column                                         aaaa / bbbb / cccc /
                                                                     dddd / eeee /
                                                                     ffff / gggg [villages] 

                                                                                             Date: 30/5/99
Subject:        To attend a meeting and send loh ah pay

1) On 31-5-99 in the morning at 8 o'clock, the Battalion Commander wants to meet the Chairpersons from the above villages at xxxx Army Camp. The Chairpersons yourselves come to the Army Camp at 0740 hours, come without fail.

2) On 31-5-99 at 0700 hours, send loh ah pay for use at the Army Camp according to the numbers below. Each of them must prepare [and bring] plastic sheeting, you are informed.

        (a)        aaaa village         labourers        70 persons
        (b)        bbbb village        labourers        25 persons
        (c)        cccc village          labourers        30 persons
        (d)        dddd village        labourers        20 persons
        (e)        eeee village        labourers        40 persons
        (f)        ffff village           labourers        15 persons
        (g)        gggg village         labourers        ([blank]) persons

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                   Army Camp Commander
                                                                            xxxx [camp]

 


Order #57

 

                Stamp:
Peace & Development Council                                            Date: 23-5-99
         xxxx village tract

The headman's village must start providing one bullock cart for Ta Won Kyay [duty/obligation], so send this bullock cart to arrive on 24-5-99 at 6 o'clock in the morning.

Note:        Change the bullock cart every day, and when we finish 6 carts [we] will switch to another village.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Member
                                                             Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                xxxx village tract, Papun Township

['Ta Won Kyay' (duty, obligation) is the term used to refer to things such as rice quotas and other materials which villagers must give on a regular specified basis to the Army and authorities. This means the village will have to provide a bullock cart for the Army's use on a regular basis, a different villager's cart each day for 6 days in a row, then the rotation will move to another village. This automatically implies that the bullock cart owners will have to go along to drive their teams in doing the forced labour.]

 


Order #58

 

                      Stamp:                                                            19-5-99
Frontline #[illegible] Infantry Battalion 
                   Column #x 

To:      Chairperson / Secretaries

Now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly to replace the servants with servants from Gentlemen's[your] village, each of them with rations for 5 days, a machete and plastic sheet, you are informed.

                                                                     Friendly and respectfully,

                                                                              [Sd.] 19/5
                                                                            Sgt. Maj. xxxx
                                                                      Mobile Army (Sgt. Maj.)

 

Order #59

 

               Stamp:
Peace & Development Council                                               Date: 6-5-99
       xxxx village tract

From Gentleman's [your] village, [send] one bullock cart and 5 loh ah pay labourers, they must be men and do not send fewer under any circumstances. Send them without fail to the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office on 7-5-99 at 6 o'clock in the morning in order to build a sawmill.

          Note:    Major xxxx has ordered it.
                      [We] will not accept fewer [than 5] under any circumstances.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Member
                                                              Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                               xxxx village tract / Papun Township

[This order and those immediately below give an indication of how the military uses the village tract PDC authorities to force its orders on the villages. The village did not comply immediately as ordered, so this order was followed by Orders #60 and 61 below.]

 


Order #60

 

                 Stamp:                                                                   Date: 7-5-99
Peace & Development Council              To:  [Village] Head
         xxxx village tract                               yyyy [village]

Subject:
The xxxx Army Camp Commander [asks for] 5 loh ah pay labourers and 1 bullock cart from the [village] head's village. Send them quickly right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, you are informed.

Note:
The [village] head and 2 assistants of the [village] head must come. If [you] fail, we will not take responsibility [for what happens].

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                              Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                               xxxx village tract / Papun Township

[This order followed the day after Order #59 above. The village still did not comply, so Order #61 was sent.]

 


Order #61

 

                 Stamp:                                                            Date: 8-5-99
Peace & Development Council 
          xxxx village tract

Headman, [we] asked you to send one bullock cart and 5 people to arrive at 6 o'clock in the morning, but until now they haven't arrived yet. Therefore, send quickly one bullock cart and 3 people right now with the person who brings this letter, to carry the machine saw in xxxx village.

                                Note:        Send them to arrive within 1 hour.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                        Member
                                                                    Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                                      xxxx village tract, Papun Township

[This order followed the day after Orders #59 and #60 above. As no more orders followed, the village must have complied; however, just a few days later the demand was repeated in Orders #62 and 63 below.]

 

Order #62

 

                 Stamp:                                                              Date: 12-5-99
Peace & Development Council
         xxxx village tract 

From Headman's village, send without fail one bullock cart at 6 o'clock in the morning.

Note:        Major xxxx has ordered it.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                            (for) Chairperson
                                                             Village Peace & Development Council
                                                               xxxx village tract / Papun Township

[This order came only a few days after those immediately above, and was followed the next day by Order #63 below.]

 

Order #63

 

                Stamp:                                                                Date: 13-5-99
Peace & Development Council 
       xxxx village tract

Right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, the Headman must come and bring along one bullock cart to the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office.

                Note:        The Headman clearly doesn't respect this office. 

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                    Member
                                                               Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                                 xxxx village tract / Papun Township

[This order followed the day after Order #62 above. Taken in the local context, the 'Note' written on this order is extremely threatening.]

 

Order #64

 

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion             To:   Chairperson              Date: 4-5-99

                 Column #x                                   VPDC
                                                                   xxxx [village]

Subject:         To send loh ah pay [forced labour] to clear the scrub

To clear the scrub between yyyy and zzzz villages, come to yyyy led by the village head and arrive on 5-5-99 at 6 o'clock in the morning, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 4.5.99
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                             Frontline IB #xxx 
                                                                            (xxxx Army Camp)

 

Order #65

 

To:      Chairperson
           xxxx village                                                              4-5-99

[For] loh ah pay [send] 10 persons tomorrow, 5-5-99 at 0700 hours, and send information to the camp.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                                   Capt. xxxx
                                                                                  xxxx [camp]
                                                                                      LIB #xxx 

[This order was written with very abrupt grammar, literally "Loh ah pay, 10 persons tomorrow, …"]

 

Order #66

 

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                     To:     Chairperson / Secretary
        Column #x                                        xxxx village

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, [send] 2 servants from Gentleman's village to the Column, Gentleman yourself come to send them tomorrow early in the morning, you are informed.

Note                                                                               [Sd. / 4/5/99] 
Gentleman yourself,                                                (for) Column Commander

do not fail to come and send.

 

 

Order #67

 

To:       Chairperson
            xxxx [village]                                                                 4-5-99

Now, when you receive this letter, tomorrow, 5-5-99 at 0700 hours hire 10 persons for loh ah pay, and report information to the camp.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                   Capt. xxxx
                                                                                  xxxx [camp]
                                                                            LIB #xxx, Company #x 

[Though this order refers to 'hiring', it really just means to bring 10 people for forced labour.]

 

Order #68

 To:      Chairperson                                                                2-5-99

           xxxx village

Subject:        To clarify about servants

Regarding the above subject, to clarify about the servants from xxxx village, Chairperson yourself come today to the yyyy Camp Commander, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd. / 2/5/99] 
                                                                                   Captain xxxx
                                                                            yyyy Camp Commander

 

Order #69

 

To:       Chairperson / Secretary                                               1-5-99
            xxxx [village]

Subject:        The Chairperson must come with one guide

Regarding the above subject, right now as soon as [you] receive this letter, come to the camp at once. Come quickly, it's important. Bring along one guide.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                               Camp Commander
                                                                                     yyyy Camp

[The village head is being asked to bring one of his villagers to do forced labour as a guide for an SPDC Army column.]

 

Order #70

 

                   Stamp:                                                            Date: 27-4-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                 Column #x 

                To:        Chairperson
                             Secretary
                              xxxx village

Subject:        To send loh ah pay

Regarding the above subject, to carry [Army] rations, you Gentlemen yourselves must come and bring along loh ah pay [forced labourers] from Gentlemen's [your] village, to arrive on 28-4-99 at 6:00 in the morning, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 27/4
                                                                         (for) Intelligence Officer 
                                                                     Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

Note:        To register the names for loh ah pay, make a list of their names, ages and fathers' names systematically. 

[This is a standard order which villages always receive when the monthly ration shipments come in, and all of the villagers are forced to go and carry them from the delivery point to the Army posts.]

 

Order #71

 

To:        Chairperson                                                            Date: 21-4-99
             Secretary
              xxxx village

Subject:        To send rations for loh ah pay [forced labourers]

Regarding the above subject, for one of the loh ah pay labourers from Gentlemen's village who is with Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion, come to send 2 bowls [about 4 kg / 9 lb] of rice, fried shrimp-paste, plastic sheeting and salt to yyyy village now, as soon as [you] receive this letter. If [you] fail, it will be Gentlemen's [your] responsibility, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                      Intelligence Officer
                                                             Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

Note:   Next time [you] change the servant, bring the rations [for him] at the same time.

[This order probably resulted when one of the villagers doing forced labour ran out of food. The Army does not want to release him nor feed him, so they demand food for him from the village, then go on to warn the village head that in future all forced labourers on rotation should bring along enough food for their shift.]

 

Order #72

 

            Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                     To:    Chairperson                       17-4-99
Column #x Headquarters

Subject:        To send loh ah pay servants

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, Gentleman [village head] yourself bring rotation loh ah paymessengers to the camp.

                                                                                   xxxx village
                                                                                  xxxx township

 

Order #73

 

             Stamp:                                                                Date: 17-4-99
Frontline Headquarters #2                    To:
Infantry Battalion #xxx                              Chairperson 
                                                              xxxx Village

Subject:         To send emergency servants

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come yourself and bring one servant immediately to yyyy Camp when you get this letter. If you fail, it will be your responsibility.

                                                                               [Sd. / 17/4/99] 
                                                                             Camp Commander 

                                                                                   yyyy Camp

 

Order #74

 

To:      Chairperson / Secretary                                             Date: 12-4-99
            xxxx village

Subject:         To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

Regarding the above subject, from Gentleman's [your] village [send] one man for loh ah pay with food for 5 days. Gentlemen, come yourselves to bring him to yyyy [camp] and arrive on 13-4-99 at 12:00 o'clock noon, you are informed.

               Stamp:                                                                [Sd.] xxxx
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                      Intelligence Officer

             Column #x                                              Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #75

 

To:      Chairperson / Secretary                                           Date: 11-4-99
            xxxx village

Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

Regarding the above subject, to carry [Army] rations, loh ah pay from the Gentlemen's [your] village must come and arrive on 12-4-99 at 6:30 in the morning at yyyy village. Gentlemen, come yourselves to bring them, you are informed.

                Stamp:                                                            [Sd.] xxxx
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                   Intelligence Officer

              Column #x                                            Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #76

 

To:      Chairperson / Secretary                                                   9-4-99
           xxxx village

Subject:        To send 8 load-carrying bullocks

Regarding the above subject, to carry rice to yyyy, send 8 load-carrying bullocks to the Chairperson's house at zzzz [village], to arrive on Sunday 11-4-99 at 0700 hours.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                              Camp Commander
                                                                                    yyyy Camp

 

Order #77

 

To:       Chairperson / Secretary
            xxxx village                                                                   2-4-99

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, [send] 2 servants and a donation of 5,000 (Five Thousand) Kyat forxxxx pagoda. Send it to yyyy village without fail.

If you fail the Chairperson and Secretary will be held responsible, you are informed.

             Stamp:                                                            [Sd.] 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                 Intelligence Officer
Military Control Headquarters                                        LIB #xxx 
                                                                               yyyy [camp]

[The 'servants' are forced labourers, and the donation will likely be either pocketed by the Intelligence Officer or used to make an offering to the pagoda in his own name.]

 

Order #78

 

               Stamp:                                                        Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion      xxxx Village Tract Peace & Development Council
Column #[blank] Headquarters                            Than Daung Township

                                                     Verification                     Date: 31-3-99

The 3 villagers named below, in place of xxxx Village Tract, are taking responsibility as military operation servants together with our Frontline #xxx [IB], Col. #x, from 31-3-99 to 31-4-99 [sic: 30-4-99], they are truly verified.

1. Ko aaaa        35 years old, (father) U eeee       xxxx Village, Kyauk Kyi Town
2. Ko bbbb       32 years old, (father) U ffff          yyyy Village, Kyauk Kyi Town
3. Ko cccc         27 years old, (father) U gggg        zzzz Village, Than Daung township

                                                                           [Sd.] 31/3/99
                                                                       Column Commander

                                                                     #xxx Infantry Battalion 

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                        Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                          xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a movement pass for 3 villagers who have been hired by the village to go as frontline military porters in place of 3 of their villagers. The portering shift is to last an entire month.]

 

Order #79

 

                 Stamp:                                                                  Date: 17-3-99
Peace and Development Council
             xxxx village

To:      Chairperson
           yyyy [village]

Subject -         Informing you to gather labourers to carry rations

According to the order from the Ma Ya Ka [Township Peace & Development Council] in Papun of 1999 March 16, letter number 3/16 - 1/Oo 1/178, between 20-3-99 and 25-3-99 we have to send [rations] from Papun to zzzzcamp. We inform you to gather labourers to carry 17 sacks of rice from yyyy village to zzzz camp, and to send the labourers to xxxx Ya Ya Ka [the Village Peace & Development Council of xxxx village] on 19-3-99 at 12 noon, and do not be late.

PS - Bring with you sacks and pots for carrying the rice.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                          Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                xxxx village, Papun township

 

Order #80

 

                                                                                           Date: 14-3-99
To:     Chairperson                                  Stamp:
           xxxx village                Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                                   Column #x Headquarters

Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labourers]

From the Gentleman's [your] village, send one person per house without fail on the 15th at (0600) hours toyyyy Village for loh ah pay, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                    (for) Intelligence Officer

 

Order #81

 

To:                                                  Stamp:
     Chairperson                 Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion           Date: 26-2-99 
      xxxx village                                Column 

Subject:                 To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

Send one person per house for loh ah pay from Gentleman's [your] village without fail on 26-2-99 to yyyy Army Camp, you are informed.

To arrive at (0700) hours.                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                              Battalion Commander
                                                                             #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #82

 

              Stamp:  
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
          #x Company 

To:      Chairperson
           xxxx Village                                                                  Date: 25-2-99

Subject:        To send 5 bullock carts and 1 messenger

Regarding the above subject, from your village, sir, [send] 5 bullock carts to yyyy village and one messenger to zzzz camp to arrive tomorrow, 26-2-99, in the morning at 9 o'clock. Do not fail to send [them]. If you fail it will be your responsibility, sir. You are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           #x Company Commander

 

Order #83

 

               Stamp: 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                          26.2.99

          #x Company

        To:      Chairperson
                   xxxx village

Reply by this messenger to inform [us] whether or not you have finished sending 5 bullock carts and a messenger from yyyy to zzzz.

                                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                                      xxxx [camp]

[This order followed after Order #82 above.]

 


Order #84

 

                       Stamp:                                        To:
Village Tract Peace & Development Council                  Chairperson, Secretary
              xxxx Village Tract                                         xxxx [village]

Subject:        The matter of rotating servants

Chairperson, send the servants for rotation today, 19-2-99, Friday, you are hereby informed.

                                                                         [Sd.] 19-2-99
                                                                          Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                      xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

['Servants' here means forced labourers; villages have to provide a fixed number of forced labourers on multi-day 'rotations' to the Army camps in their area. The current set of labourers are not released until their 'rotation' replacements arrive.]

 

Order #85

 

To:      Chairperson                                                       Stamp: 
           xxxx village                                  Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                        Column #x Headquarters
                                                                              Date: 18-2-99

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, Chairperson yourself come to meet with the Battalion Commander atyyyy camp, you are informed. When the Chairperson comes, bring a messenger at the same time. The messenger from Chairperson's village never came yet. Chairperson yourself come, and if you do not come we will take action, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                   (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                               yyyy camp

 Order #86

 

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
            Intelligence 

To:
      Village Head
      xxxx village                                                                Date: 14 / 2 / 99

Subject:        To send loh ah pay labourers

[You] are informed to send immediately 10 loh ah pay labourers to xxxx as soon as you receive this letter, absolutely without fail.

                                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                             (for) Battalion Commander

 

Order #87

 To:      Chairperson / Secretary                                        Date: 10-2-99

           xxxx Village

Right now, when [you] receive this letter, the Chairperson yourself must come to the Army Camp. Together with the Chairperson, bring along 2 people to be servants. If [you] don't come, the responsibility will fall on the Chairperson.

Important.                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                              Camp Commander
                                                                                    xxxx Camp

 

Order #88

 

To:      U aaaa (xxxx [village])                                             Date: 29-1-99
           Chairperson

Come and bring 15 villagers to carry the [Army] rations, and arrive on 31-1-99 in the morning at yyyy.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                yyyy [camp]

 

Order #89

 

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                           Date: 26-1-99 

      Column #x Headquarters

To:        Chairperson
              xxxx village

Subject:        To send loh ah pay [forced labour]

Send one person per house for loh ah pay from Gentleman's [your] village to yyyy village, to arrive on 27-1-99 at (1000) hours. Send [them] without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                        Battalion Commander
                                                                       #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #90

 

                    Stamp:                                      URGENT                     26-1-99
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                Column #x 

To:      Chairperson U aaaa 
           xxxx village

Yesterday [you] sent 2 bullock carts but they didn't arrive yet at yyyy village. Send them now, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                         Column Commander
                                                                                Major xxxx

['URGENT' is written in red ink and underlined. The owners/drivers of the bullock teams will also have to go along to drive their teams doing forced labour.]

 

 

Order #91

 

Village Head                                                                     Stamp: 
xxxx village                                                Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                          Column #x Headquarters

The place for which your village is responsible is not yet finished. Tomorrow early morning, the whole village must do it.

16-1-99                                                                             [Sd.] 
Arrive at 0700 in the morning.                               Battalion Commander
                                                               Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order refers to a forced labour assignment which was given to the village, such as clearing a patch of road or some related job, but the Army is not satisfied with the work which has been done and is therefore ordering the "whole village" to come out and finish it.]

 

Order #92

 

To:       Chairperson                                                               15-1-99
            xxxx [village]

[We] already called for a loh ah pay group, but no one has come yet. The whole village must come for loh ah pay to arrive on 16-1-99 at 6 o'clock in the morning, and now as soon as [you] receive this letter, quickly send a sentry to guard the bridge to the camp, you are informed.

                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                                      xxxx camp

 

Order #93

                  Stamp:                               To:

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                  Chairperson
      Column #x Headquarters                       xxxx [village]               Date: 11-1-99

Subject:        To carry [Army] rations

To carry rations at yyyy Camp, 15 loh ah pay labourers must come to zzzz village, to arrive on 12-1-99 at 0700 hours in the morning, you are hereby informed.

                        (Do not fail to send [them].)

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                            Column Commander
                                                                         Column #x Headquarters
                                                                   Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #94

 

                Stamp:
Battalion Reinforcement Platoon         To:  Mother Daw aaaa             Date: 6-1-99
      #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[We] sent a letter with a messenger on the 2nd [of January] to xxxx and until now he has not come back yet. Therefore make the messenger come back. Send him now with the messenger who brought this letter.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                              Platoon Commander
                                                                      Battalion Reinforcement Platoon
                                                                             #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This order refers to a villager who was doing forced labour as a messenger; the Army officer sent him to deliver an order to a village and he never returned to continue his shift, so the officer is demanding that he return.]

 

Order #95

 

                 Stamp:                                                               Date: 6-1-99
Battalion Reinforcement Platoon             Village Head
     #xxx Infantry Battalion                      xxxx village 

Subject:        To send bullock carts

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion at yyyy Army Camp urgently needs bullock carts. Send 5 bullock carts to arrive on 7-1-99 at 0900 hours, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                               Platoon Commander
                                                                      Battalion Reinforcement Platoon
                                                                             #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This order will also force the owners/drivers of the bullock carts to drive their teams in doing the forced labour hauling things for the Army.]

 

Order #96

 

To/    Chairperson

From xxxx village we need 2 servants, please send [them] as soon as possible when you get this. It is an emergency.

                                                                                              [Sd.] 
                                                                                             IB xxx

 

Order #97

 

To/    Chairperson Daw aaaa 

From xxxx village we need 2 servants, please send [them] as soon as possible when you get this letter. It is an emergency.

                                                                                               [Sd.] 
                                                                                              IB xxx

 

Order #98

 

To:
Dear xxxx Village Head:   Come and replace the servants when you get this letter. You are hereby informed.

                                                         #xxx [IB] Camp Commander, xxxx [camp]

 

Order #99

 

                       Stamp: 
Village Tract Peace & Development Council          To:  Chairperson / Secretary
                xxxx Village Tract                                      xxxx [village]

Chairperson, right now as soon as [you] receive this letter, come to yyyy village. [We] have to clear the matter of servants right now. Come and meet without fail, you are requested.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                           Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                            xxxx Village Tract / Than Daung Township

['Servants' (wontan) in this context means forced labourers. 'Clear the matter' means to clarify demands for forced labourers and possibly to admonish the village for previous failures to send people when ordered.]

 

Order #100

 

To:     Chairperson, Secretary
          xxxx [village]

Send 2 servants right now. [I] have already given the 1,200 Kyat in cash that the Chairperson gave me. The Chairperson must clear the balance, you are informed.

From 15 to 30                                                                       yyyy
                                                                                     zzzz [camp]

[This is apparently a note from one village head to another, telling him that he has already passed on the payment of 1,200 Kyat to the Army but that the Chairperson had better forward the balance as well as 2 forced labourers immediately.]

 

Order #101

 

                                                                        Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                Stamp:                                               xxxx [camp] 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                           Letter #: xxx / 11 / Oo 1
     Column #x Headquarters                                 Date: 1998 December 26th 

To:      Chairperson

           Village Peace & Development Council 
           xxxx village

Subject:         To send loh ah pay

Regarding the above subject, to go and carry [Army] rations from yyyy [village], from Gentleman's [your]village one person per house must come with a basket and hand-basket [a type of bamboo basket carried in the hand like a shopping bag] each, to arrive on the 27th at (0600) hours. Do not fail to send [them], you are informed.

                                                                              [Sd.] 26-12-98
                                                                     (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                         #xxx Infantry Battalion 

Note: When you send the loh ah pay [labourers], they should not be too old / too young.

 

Order #102

 

                Stamp:                                           Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                        yyyy [camp]

     Column #x Headquarters                              Letter number: xxx / 01 / Oo 1
                                                                      Date: 1998 December 24th 

To:      Chairperson
           xxxx village

Subject:        To coordinate the number of servants

Regarding the above subject, come to discuss and coordinate on 25-12-98 at 0900 hours. Come without fail to report information, you are informed.

                                                                              [Sd.] 24-12-98
                                                                    (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                        #xxx Infantry Battalion 

Note:        For your village, divide the real families in the village register into those who can do servant duty and those who cannot do servant duty and bring it [the lists].

['Servants' ('wontan') and 'servant duty' mean forced labourers and forced labour for the Army and SPDC authorities.]

 

 

Order #103

 

Brother,
                I visited with Intelligence and he told me that aaaa said 4 persons have to help. He will let you know later where [they] have to guard, when [they] have to go and how many days it will last. Ask bbbb to send a little turmeric powder [a yellow-coloured spice] for me.

                                                                     Your younger sister / 23-12-98
                                                                                        cccc 

dddd said [he] isn't sure about Thramu [Teacher] yet, that's why I haven't let her go back yet. 

[This is actually a letter from one Karen village elder to another, written in Sgaw Karen, passing on news of SPDC demands for forced labourers.]

 

Order #104

 

To:      Village Head                                                               Date: 15-12-98
           xxxx village

[You] are informed that xxxx village should send 10 loh ah pay [workers] to yyyy village tomorrow, 16-12-98, at 0730 hours in the morning without fail.

                                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                                            Army

 

 

Order #105

 

                Stamp:                                             xxxx
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                   13-12-98
                 Company #x 

        To:   Chairperson
                xxxx Village

Tomorrow on 14-12-98, send 20 people to arrive at 0700 hours at yyyy for loh ah pay labour, you are informed.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 13/12 
                                                                                  Camp Commander
                                                                                       yyyy Camp

 

 

Order #106

 

To:                                                                                       Date: 9-12-98
       Chairperson ( xxxx [village] )                                          Stamp:
                                                                                #xxx Infantry Battalion

                                                                                        #x Company

(1) For loh ah pay, gentleman's village should send persons aged above 12 years (all those aged above 12 years) including the Chairperson. Bring food for one day (without fail) and report at 09 o'clock in the morning on 10-12-98, Thursday, at zzzz Camp.

(2) Every village in yyyy - zzzz area is being called for loh ah pay, thus gentleman's village is informed to come no later than 9 o'clock in the morning without fail.

[In different handwriting:] All villagers aged above 12 years (including women) should come to yyyy Camp at 9 o'clock on 10-12-98, Thursday, without fail.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                          Company Commander

                                                                                  yyyy Camp 
                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                 #x Company

[This order was carbon-copied to several villages, with the village name and the final note at the bottom written in afterward by hand.]

 

Order #107

 

To:                                                                       Stamp: 
        Chairperson                                Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
        xxxx village                                  Column #x Supervisory Group 

Subject:        Informing [you] to bring the servants

1. Regarding the above subject, as soon as [you] receive this letter, led by the Chairperson and Secretary yourselves, come and bring 5 servants, one and a half viss [2.4 kg / 5.2 lb] of chicken and one and a half baskets of rice from Gentleman's [your] village to yyyy village.

2. If [you] don't come and bring [them], [we] will send the shell of a big weapon so that you won't need to come yourselves.

                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxx
                                                                   Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                  Column #x 
                                                                           Temporarily at yyyy 
                                                                                    6-12-98
U aaaa:
The Chairpersons yourselves must come. The Commander is asking for you.

[The 'servants' requested means villagers for forced labour. The threat to 'send a shell' means that if you don't comply, don't bother coming later to explain because we will simply shell your village.]

 

 

Order #108

 

                 Stamp: 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                      1-12-98

     Column #x Headquarters                 To:   Daw aaaa 

I am writing this letter. Send duty servants from xxxx village to yyyy to arrive on 2-12-98.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 1-12-98
                                                                                 Intelligence Officer

['Duty servants' (Ta Won Kya wontan) means forced labourers to do a rotation of errands at the Army camp.]

 

 

Order #109

 

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion
        Company #x 

To:     Chairperson (xxxx [village])                                            Date: 20-11-98

There is nothing to meet about. For the Army camp there is no firewood, so assist with 2 bullock carts [full of firewood], and to run the machine come and coordinate with the Captain.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                 Army Camp Commander (yyyy [camp])

[This order requires the villagers to go to the forest to cut firewood, then haul it to the camp, as well as to discuss forced labour 'running the machine',which may be a sawmill or rice mill.]

 

Order #110

 

           Stamp: 
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                            Date: 11-11-98
      #x Company 

This is aaaa writing this letter.
2 servants from xxxx village and 2 servants from yyyy village ran away today, so you are informed to send immediately 2 substitutes, and 2 from yyyy village, totalling 4 people.

                                                                              [Sd. / 11/11/98] 
                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                 #x Company
                                                                         #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                  zzzz Camp

 

Order #111

 

To:       Chairperson                                                             Date: 26-10-98
            xxxx village

Subject:        To carry rations at yyyy 

Send 10 loh ah pay labourers from xxxx village on 28-10-98, Wednesday, to carry [Army] rations at yyyy, you are hereby informed. If there are not enough people, hire some people from the zzzz group commander.

                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                zzzz Camp Commander 

['Hire some people' means that if the village sends less than 10 people then they also have to send money to make up for as many as they do not send. The money will not be used to 'hire' labourers; instead, the labour will be divided among as many people as have been sent, or additional labourers will be demanded from other villages. On the back of this order the village head wrote a list of 10 names, the people who went for the forced labour.]

 

Order #112

 

Daw aaaa (Village Head) xxxx [village]                                       19/10/98

-     I'm Major bbbb.
-     Mother must send someone [replacement labour] to yyyy Camp, because cccc has been a servant for 7 days.
-     If [the replacement person] doesn't arrive, it will be Mother's responsibility.

                                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                                         Major bbbb 

* Messenger dddd has been serving for 4 days, so change him tonight.

[This order demands replacements for rotation forced labourers who have already been with the Army for some time. 'It will be Mother's responsibility' implies that the labourer will not be released if his replacement doesn't arrive; 'Mother' is the village headwoman.]

 

Order #113

 

                Stamp:                                 To:                             Date: 27-9-98
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                    Chairperson
             Company #x                                    xxxx Village

Subject:                Calling a meeting about military operation servants

[We] want to discuss and specify the number of servants who will go with the mobile column for military operations, so come and arrive on 28-9-98 at 10 o'clock in the morning, you are informed. The set tha [forced labourers for messengers and errands] didn't come on the 25th, so you are informed to bring along with the Chairperson those set tha labourers and the set tha labourers for 28-9-99, Saw aaaa and bbbb, a total of 4 villagers from xxxx.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                          yyyy Camp Commander

['Military operation servants' means forced labour porters to go on extended frontline patrol with mobile Army columns; such porters are frequently kept by the Army for a month or longer, and are often killed when they can no longer carry.]

 

Order #114

 

                  Stamp:
Peace and Development Council

           xxxx village tract                         [Village] Head                    13-9-98

From the Chairperson of the Ya Ya Ka [Village Peace & Development Council], to discuss about servants, come to a meeting at Ya Ya Ka office on 15-9-98, in the morning at 7 o'clock, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                             (for) Chairperson

                                                               Village Peace and Development Council
                                                                   xxxx village tract, Papun township

 

Order #115

 

To:     Ma aaaa                                         Stamp:
                                               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion             20/7/98

                                                           Company #x 

- The servants have been released.
- This evening at 3 o'clock come to meet at the Army (monastery).
- [We] want to know if the news has changed or not.
- [We] order you to bring one pair of chickens.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                       Company Commander

                                                                               Company #x 
                                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

B)  Forced Labour on Infrastructure

 

Order #116

 

                     Stamp:                                   Township Peace & Development Council 
Township Peace & Development Council          Karen State - Than Daung Town
           Than Daung Township                          Letter #: 5 / 3-21 / Oo 6
                                                                    Date: 1999 / July 21st

To:     Chairperson
           xxxx village tract
               xxxx       Village / Than Daung Township

 

Subject:     The matter of cutting the scrub and clearing the forest beside the 
                 Baw Ga Li - Maw Chi - Ko Chaung road

 

1. Regarding the above subject, at Southern Regional Army Headquarters, Regional Commander General Tin Aye, Deputy Regional Commander Brigadier General Thura Maung Ni and their troops wish to travel to Than Daung Gyi, so [you] must always open [the forest] to the light and clear the road from Than Daung to Than Daung Gyi, and [you] must clear alongside the Baw Ga Li - Maw Chi - Ko Chaung road and open [it] to the light by cutting the scrub and the forest, you are ordered and informed.

2. Therefore, the villagers along the Baw Ga Li - Maw Chi - Ko Chaung road in Gentleman's [your]village tract, within your own village tract boundary [you] must open [the ground] to the light, cut the scrub and clear the forest along the road by the deadline of 31-7-99, and when it is finished you must report, you are informed. 

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                           (for) Chairperson
                                                                       (Saw Soe - Secretary)

Copies to-
               Battalion Commander, Frontline IB #59, Baw Ga Li
               Deputy Battalion Commander, Frontline IB #35, Than Daung
               Supervise the villagers to do it on time, sending this order to request you.
               
               Engineer, public construction business, Than Daung Town
               Join and work together with the villages and report when it is finished.

               Office Copy / File 

[This is a typed and copied order with the village name written in afterwards by hand. Villages are often ordered to 'clear the scrub' along roadsides, mainly to make it more difficult for opposition troops to ambush SPDC columns and convoys and to make roads harder for opposition troops to cross. The road mentioned is over 100 kilometres long, part of an old disused pre-World War Two road from Toungoo town (in eastern Pegu Division) eastward to Mawchi (in southern Kayah State). In early 1998 the SPDC began using forced labour to build a new road along the old route. For more information see "False Peace: Increasing SPDC Military Repression in Toungoo District of Northern Karen State" (KHRG #99-02, 25/3/99), pages 20-23.]

 

Order #117

 

To:                                                                                     Date: 6-9-99
     Village Head, xxxx village

Subject:     Informing all village heads to come and meet with the Company Commander

We ordered [you] to clear the roadside from 21-mile to 18-mile during the period from the 2nd to the 9th [of September 1999]. But [you] did not do your duty perfectly on the segment [of road]that we assigned. Some of the villages have new heads of their village, and the new village heads do not know the segments which they have to clear. Therefore let the new village heads and the old village heads know to come and meet with the Company Commander without any absentees.

Note: On 7-9-99 report without any absentees.                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                Company Commander

[Villages are frequently ordered to clear the scrub along several miles of roadside, mainly to make it more difficult for opposition troops to ambush SPDC columns and convoys and to make roads harder for opposition troops to cross. '21-Mile' and '18-Mile' specify road markers, so this village was ordered to clear the scrub from both sides of the road over a 3-mile stretch. This order was later followed by Order #118 below.]

 

Order #118

 

To:                                                                                     Date: 25-9-99
        Village Heads
        vvvv, wwww, xxxx, yyyy, zzzz villages

Subject:     Informing you to come to 21-Mile

We ordered you to clear the roadside from 21-Mile to 18-Mile, but we are not satisfied with the clearing. Therefore we ordered all of the village heads to come and meet three times already. We inform you that if you fail [to come] this time, according to the instructions of Tactical Command, your villages will have to relocate to appropriate places for security.

If the village heads fail to come, we will inform the Tactical Command about relocation again and again.

Ko aaaa, Ko bbbb: come without fail.                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Company Commander

[This order was a follow-up to Order #117 above. It has become much more threatening, making it clear that the village will be forced to relocate to an Army-controlled site if it fails to comply.]

 

Order #119

 

                 Stamp:      
         xxxx Village Tract 
Peace & Development Council 
     Than Daung Township

To:      Chairperson / Secretary

Subject:     To discuss the collapse of the vehicle road

Regarding the above subject, come and gather at the VPDC [Ya Ya Ka] office tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. The Gentlemen yourselves must come and discuss what to do about the collapsed vehicle road, you are invited.

                                                                       Respectfully,
                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                       Chairperson
                                                 Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                   xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[At this meeting the villages will almost certainly be assigned forced labour to rebuild the collapsed road. Most roads in Burma are dirt, built by forced labour and incompetently engineered by unskilled Army officers, so they collapse every monsoon season and villagers are forced to rebuild them every dry season.]

 

Order #120

 

                Stamp:
         xxxx Village Tract
Peace & Development Council                To:
      Than Daung Township                             Chairperson / Secretary 

The condition of the yyyy - zzzz vehicle road is no good at all. Therefore, as a show of public strength, one person per house with mattock [large hoe], machete and food for 3 days must come without fail from Gentleman's [your] village to the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office tomorrow at 6:30 a.m.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                            Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                         xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #121

 

Chairperson

Subject:     The matter of rebuilding the roads

Regarding the above subject, come without fail for loh ah pay labour. One person per house must lay the stones for the roads, informing and reminding [you] again.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                              Chairperson
                                                        Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                          xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #122

 

                  Stamp:                            To:    Chairpersons
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                    VPDC

               Column #x                                    xxxx / yyyy / zzzz [villages]

                                                                                           Date: 22/6/99
Subject:     Building bridges to cross the rivers

1. The small rivers between zzzz, yyyy and xxxx villages make it difficult for the villagers to travel in the rainy season. Your villages must finish making each bridge on the specified rivers by 27-6-99 as below.

 

  • Build 2 bridges for the two rivers between zzzz and yyyy: zzzz [has to build] 1 bridge between zzzz village and aaaa river, and yyyy village [has to build] 1 bridge at aaaariver.
  • xxxx village has to build 1 bridge between yyyy village and xxxx village at ¾® river.

 

2. Therefore, finish the bridges by the specified time, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                   wwww Army Camp Commander 

[The meaning of '¾® river' is unclear, but appears to be a blank which was left because the officer did not know the name of the river and was never properly filled in. While the Commander claims that the bridges are for the benefit of the villagers, it is more likely that he is having them built for the benefit of his mobile patrols.]

 

Order #123

 

To:     Village Head                                                                 13.1.99
          xxxx [village]

Subject:     To come and meet with the Company Commander at yyyy Army Camp

1)     From xxxx village, one person from each house [must] come to yyyy Army camp tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock led by the village head. Do not fail to come.

2)     You must clear the scrub from the roadside area as we notified you before, so be quick. Do not fail to come. If you fail to come the responsibility will be yours, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd. / Captain]
                                                                           Company Commander

                                                                                  #x Company
                                                                                yyyy Army Camp

 

Order #124

 

To:     Chairperson                                                          Date: 15-12-98
           xxxx village 

Subject:     Calling for road loh ah pay

Regarding the above subject, to repair the car road (yyyy / zzzz) on 16-12-98, bring 67 loh ah pay workers with mattocks / machetes to yyyy camp on 16-12-98, (Wednesday) morning at 0700 hours, without fail. Village head or assistant village head yourself [must] come, you are informed. If you fail to come, the responsibility will be yours.

Place:     yyyy                                                               Stamp: 
Date:     15-12-98                                         Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                   Column x 

[This is a typed order copied to several villages, with the village name, date and exact number of labourers written in afterwards. Mattocks are large hoes.]

 

Order #125

 

                 Stamp:                                        Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                      yyyy [camp]

       Column x Headquarters                            Letter #: xxx / 01 / Oo 1
                                                                     Date: 1998 December [blank]day
To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To discuss the cutting and clearing of the road

Regarding the above subject, [we] want to discuss about doing it, so come and arrive on 9-12-98 at (0700) hours at yyyy [camp], you are informed.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 8-12-98
                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                          #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #126

 

                    Stamp:                                                           Date: 12-3-98
Village Peace & Development Council                                     xxxx / Ya Ya Ka
        Ye Township, yyyy village                                              Ye Township

To:     Chairperson
          Secretary
          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to the meeting to coordinate emergency work and to send workers

Reference:  Ye Township Peace & Development Council, date 11-3-98, 
                    letter no. 100 / 2-10 / TPDC Ye

1) In accordance with the notification by Tactical Command #222 and TPDC [Township Peace & Development Council], to finish the Ye-Dawei [Ye-Tavoy] railway within the specified time, send 10 workers from each place, we already informed you with the letter referenced above.

2) The aforementioned meeting:
     Date:     15-3-98, afternoon at 12 o'clock exactly
     Place:    yyyy village (VPDC) [at the Village PDC office]

Attend without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                          Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                  Ye Township, xxxx Village
Copies:    Office copy
               Outgoing file

[The Ye-Tavoy railway, over 150 kilometres long from Mon State to Tenasserim Division, has been built with the use of several hundred thousand villagers as forced labour since 1993. It is still not functioning, but forced labour on the project still comes and goes for villagers in the area. For background and interviews concerning this project, see the reports "Forced Labour in Mon Areas" (KHRG #96-20, 22/5/96), "Ye-Tavoy Area Update" (KHRG #96-01, 5/1/96),"SLORC Orders to Villages: Set 96-C" (KHRG #96-22, 27/5/96), and other previous reports.]

C)  Forced Labour Fees

 

Order #127

                             Stamp:                                                Date: 15-10-99
xxxx Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                  Than Daung Township

               To:          Chairperson / Secretary ( xxxx [village] )

Subject:     The matter of collecting the monthly servants' fees for 9/99

1. The register for sending servants and reserve Army servants in 9/99 is as follows:

                         (a)     Tactical Command     21 persons
                         (b)     IB #xxx                     12 persons
                         (c)     IB #xxx                     11 persons
                         (d)     IB #xxx                      9 persons
                         (e)     IB #xxx                     22 Persons
                                                      Total     75 Persons

2. Every village in xxxx Township has to pay their quota of servants' fees, depending on their proportion of the [total] number of households.

(a) aaaa [village]               43 x 4,000          = 172,000 [Kyat]
                                         1 x 4,250          =     4,250
                                                                   176,250

(b) bbbb [village]              12 x 4,000          = 48,000
                                         1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                 = 52,250

                            Balance from 8/99          = 21,000
                                               Total          = 73,250 

(c) cccc [village]                 6 x 4,000           = 24,000
                                         1 x 4,250           =  4,250
                                                                    28,250

                            Balance from 8/99          =    90,800
                                               Total          = 119,050

(d) dddd [village]                5 x 4,000          =  20,000
                                         1 x 4,250          =     4,250
                                                                     24,250

                            Balance from 8/99          =  62,250
                                               Total              86,500

[page 2 of original starts here]

(e) eeee [village]                5 x 4,000          = 20,000
                                         1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                    24,250

                           Balance from 8/99          = 155,700
                                               Total          = 179,950

(f) ffff [village]                   2 x 4,000          = 8,000
                                         1 x 4,250           = 4,250
                                                                   12,250

                            Balance from 8/99          = 32,125
                                              Total          = 44,375

(g) gggg [village]                 2 x 4,000          =   8,000
                                          1 x 4,250         =   4,250
                                                                     12,250

                            Balance from 8/99          =   25,750
                                              Total          =   38,000

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                           Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                        xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This order relates to the standard "servants' fees" (often called 'porter fees') which villages must all pay every month in addition to the forced labourers they must send. In this Village Tract, the PDC is working closely with the local SPDC Battalions; they receive orders from the Battalions, then pass them on to the elders of all villages under their administration, sometimes with extra demands tacked on to enrich themselves. In the process, a complex system of 'servants' and 'servants' fees' has developed within this village tract. Initially the local Battalions issue orders to the Village Tract PDC demanding numbers of forced labourers for a specific purpose. Knowing that the villages do not want to do the labour and will be slow to comply, the Village Tract PDC often hires day labourers through agents in Toungoo, pays for their 'car fees' (i.e. transport costs) to the village tract, and supplies them to the SPDC military. The Village Tract PDC then issues orders to the villages under their administration to pay their share of the cost based on the relative size (number of households) of their village; for example, a village may be ordered to pay for 10 of the 80 people hired by the Village Tract PDC. In this order, the amount billed to the villages is 4,000 Kyat for each short-term porter plus 250 Kyat for his 'car fee' where necessary. Item 1 above specifies how many forced labourers the village tract sent to the Army for the month, and the rest of the order divides up the costs between the villages of the village tract. The payment generally averages out to 1,000 or more Kyat per family. The Army also demands many other fees from them, as well as food and, of course, their forced labour as 'servants'; many families cannot pay, and as can be seen by the 'balances' still remaining from previous months, several villages are far behind in their payments.]


Order #128

To:          Chairperson / Secretary

Subject:     The matter of collecting monthly fees for Army servants for 8/99

1. The register of Army servants and reserve Army servants which [we] sent in 8/99 is as follows:

(a)  IB #xxx                       22 persons                                     Stamp:      
(b)  Tactical Command      21 persons                               xxxx Village Tract 
(c)  [IB] #xxx                    12 persons                      Peace & Development Council
(d)  [IB] #xxx                    20 persons                             Than Daung Township
                             Total    75 persons

2. Each village in xxxx Township must pay their quota of servants' fees, depending on their proportion of the [total] number of households.

(a)     aaaa [village]                43 x 4,000          = 172,000 [Kyat]
                                              1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                        176,250

(b)     bbbb [village]               12 x 4,000          =  48,000
                                              1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                          52,250

                                 Balance from 7/99          =   45,990
                                                   Total           =   98,240

(c)     cccc [village]                   6 x 4,000          =  24,000
                                               1 x 4,250          =   4,250 
                                                                          28,250

                                  Balance from 7/99          = 63,500
                                                   Total           =  91,750

(d)     dddd [village]                  5 x 4,000          =  20,000
                                               1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                           24,250

                                  Balance from 7/99          = 48,000
                                                   Total            = 72,250

[page 2 of original starts here]

(e)     eeee [village]                 5 x 4,000          =  20,000
                                               1 x 4,250          =   4,250     
                                                                          24,250

                                  Balance from 7/99         = 131,450
                                                   Total          = 155,700

(f) ffff [village]                        2 x 4,000          =     8,000
                                              1 x 4,250          =    4,250
                                                                          12,250

                                 Balance from 7/99          =   27,875
                                                   Total           =   40,125

(g)     gggg [village]                  2 x 4,000          =      8,000
                                              1 x 4,250          =      4,250
                                                                            12,250

                                 Balance from 7/99          =    17,500
                                                   Total          =     29,750

[page 3]

Therefore, collect it according to the quotas for each village and come to bring it, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                       (for) Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council
                                                      xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township 

[This order relates to the standard "servants' fees" (often called 'porter fees') which villages must all pay every month in addition to the forced labourers they must send. For additional explanation, see also the notes on Order #127 above.]


Order #129

                Stamp:                                                               Date: 7-6-99
         xxxx Village Tract                     To:
Peace & Development Council                  Chairperson / Secretary
      Than Daung Township                          xxxx village

Subject:     To collect and send the monthly military servants' fees for ( 5 / 99 ) 

Regarding the above subject, in ( 5/99 ) the number of military servants that were sent was ([unclear]) persons. In accordance with the proportion of houses in each village, Gentleman's xxxx village must pay ( 15,750 ) Kyat for ( 3 ) persons as military servants. Therefore, the Gentleman's village must collect it and come to give it, you are informed.

For the previous months of ( / ) ( / ) ( / ), you must pay in cash ( 16,625 ) Kyat. Collect and bring it at the same time.

Total of the money due: 32,375 Kyat.

[page 2 of original starts here]

Therefore, in accordance with the request, collect from the villages and come to bring it, you are informed.

                                                                         [Sd.] 8-6-99
                                                                         Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council
                                                      xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township 

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order with the village name and some of the amounts (shown in italics) written in afterwards; the line totalling the two amounts and the second page were also written in afterward by hand. Similar to Orders #127 and 128 above, this order was issued after the village tract authorities had hired itinerant labourers to send in response to the military's demands for forced labour. The village tract authorities then determine how many labourers each village is 'responsible' for and bills them accordingly. The village addressed in this order also must pay some money for the 'previous months', i.e. they are behind in their payments. The Army also demands many other fees from them, as well as food and, of course, their forced labour as 'servants'.]


Order #130

                Stamp:      
        xxxx Village Tract 
Peace & Development Council                 To:
      Than Daung Township                              Chairperson, Secretary

Subject:     To send servant money

Regarding the above subject, [we] want you to collect and send servant money. If you don't come and bring it between 22-6-99 and 26-6-99, serious action will be taken by the Army camp.

Note:     [We] want the Chairperson yourself to come and report to the Ya Ya Ka[VPDC] office.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                           Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                        xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This refers to money collected from the villages by the village tract authorities to hire people to go for forced labour assignments; see also Orders #127-129 above. Here again the complicity of the village tract authorities and the Army can be seen; the village tract has hired and sent people to fill the Army's forced labour demands and is simply demanding reimbursement from the local villages, but threatens them with action 'by the Army camp' if they fail to pay.]


Order #131

                    Stamp:                                                                    19-6-99
Village Peace & Development Council        To:   Chairperson, Secretary
       Ye Township, yyyy village                          xxxx [village]

Subject:     To send 6 carriers [porters] for LIB #xxx Operations

Regarding the above subject, [we] have to hire carriers. xxxx village is responsible for 7,500 Kyat, seven thousand five hundred Kyat exactly, send it without fail on 20-6-99, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                              Chairperson
                                                           Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                   Ye Township, xxxxvillage

[This order really means that the village must send either 6 porters or 7,500 Kyat in lieu of porters. It is issued by the Village Peace & Development Council of a central village; the Army has sent a demand for a certain number of porters, and this VPDC has had to distribute the burden between the villages in the area. Knowing that no one in the local villages dares go as porters, they are assuming that each village will prefer to pay to hire substitutes rather than go themselves, so they are taking the responsibility for collecting the money and hiring the substitutes. In the disastrous economy of today's Burma, there are usually some itinerant labourers around who are desperate enough to hire themselves out to go as porters in the place of villagers.]


Order #132

The matter of the servant from xxxx [village]
29 -     16,000 was paid

xxxx [village] 9-5-99
Give Saw aaaa 200 [Kyat] of spending money.

[This is a quick note to or from a headman, regarding money which was paid to the authorities in lieu of forced labour and 'spending money' to be given to someone who is going for forced labour.]

 

Orders to Provide Military Support

Virtually the entire population of Karen areas fears and despises the SPDC military and authorities, but this does not prevent the Army from trying to force the civilians to provide direct help to their military operations. This takes various forms, including forced labour at Army camps (see above under 'Forced Labour'), forced labour as unarmed sentries at Army posts and along roads, pathways and rivers, and orders that village elders report on the movement of opposition forces. In most Karen areas, village elders are told that they are responsible for keeping the Army fully informed of all opposition activities, and are seriously punished if the Army is subsequently attacked or hears of opposition troops moving around the village. These punishments often include the arrest and torture of village elders, burning of houses, or forced relocation of the village. In many areas villagers are also forced to do rotating shifts as unarmed sentries, posted around Army bases and outposts so that the soldiers don't have to do it; if they see anything they are supposed to pass the message by shouting, beating bamboo or running to the soldiers. They are also forced to do 24-hour shifts guarding vehicle roads; usually 2 villagers must man each of several posts spaced along the road covering the distance halfway from their village to the next village in either direction. If they see any movement on the road they must send the message up the line or report it to the Army camp the following day, and will then be forced to sweep that part of the road for mines. If any mine explosions or ambushes occur on their stretch of the road, the village is held directly responsible and may be shelled, burned, and/or forced to relocate. Similar guard duty is also assigned for rivers (see Order #145).

Whenever SPDC soldiers flee the Army, local villages are also held responsible and punished for this, and these punishments can be extreme if the Army suspects that the village has in any way sheltered the deserters or helped them on their way.Order #147 below was issued after 4 soldiers deserted, and would almost certainly have been followed up by a visit to the village by a heavily armed military column to interrogate the villagers.

Army officers often call village elders to meetings to discuss 'security matters' or 'control matters', which involve all of the types of demands listed above. This section includes orders directly related to these topics, while other forms of military support (such as portering, carrying rations to Army camps, and serving as messengers and guides) have been included in the 'General Forced Labour' section above.

Order #133

                Stamp:                                                     Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion           Village Tract Peace & Development Council
           Date: 8/10/99                                          yyyy Village Tract
             Company #x 

To:     Village Peace & Development Council 
          xxxx village

1. In this open season period, to discuss the security of the villages and the camp, the Column's control over the region, and destroying the rebels, and for the Camp Commander to order what is needed, [we] will hold a meeting at the Chairperson's house in yyyy village. For the meeting, either the Chairperson or the Secretary from [each of] the six villages under control of our camp must attend. The meeting will be held on October 10th 1999 (10/10/99) at 12 o'clock noon.

2. The persons who attend the meeting must obey the rules below.
     (a) The persons must be those who really lead the villages. 
     (b) Do not bring any presents for the Camp or the Column.
     (c) Persons who fail or are late for the meeting will be seriously punished. Serious action will be taken against the village leaders and the village. 

3. [You] must obey the above order and attend the meeting at the yyyy village chairperson's house, you are ordered.

                   [Sd.] 8.10.99                                                     [Sd.] 
                    Chairperson                                             Camp Commander
  Village Peace & Development Council                                yyyy Camp
yyyy Village Tract, Than Daung Township                     Company Commander
                                                                                       Company #x
                                                                               #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #134

To:     Chairperson                                                          Date: 12-10-99
          xxxx Village

Right now as soon as [you] receive this letter, the Chairperson yourself must go quickly to report information at Kya In Seik Gyi (Ma Ya Ka [Township PDC]), and come without fail to see the Column Commander at yyyy, you are informed.

                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                              Column Commander 

[Copies of this exact same order with the same wording were sent to the heads of all villages in the area.]


Order #135

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                To:
          Date: 20-9-99                                      Chairperson
          Company #x                                        xxxx village

Subject:     To report any unusual information every day

(1) Starting right now when [you] get this letter, every day report any unusual information by messenger.
(2) Even if [you] do not get any unusual information, send at least 1 piece of information every day. One piece of information about the enemy, or the people who come and go in the village, a register of peddlars, number of plantations, hill fields, etc. Write one piece of information. It must tell all that they [the people reported on] are doing.
(3) Send information about health, education, social obligations and occupations in the village with the messenger.
(4) Starting right now when [you] receive this letter, send a messenger every day, you are hereby informed. The Chairperson must not fail to do this, you are informed. If [you] don't do it serious action will be taken, you are hereby informed.

Note:     Send a messenger every day. Even if [you] do not have any unusual information, [you]must send at least one piece of information. The 42 families of xxxx village must each send firewood to the ground beneath the Church on 22-9-99, to arrive by 1000 hours.

Chairperson: 

1. On 25-9-99 send 15 viss [24 kg / 52.5 lb] of pork to the camp.
2. Send 2 bottles of honey, as I ordered, and one monkey on 23-9-99.
3. If the Chairperson gets well, come to meet [me] on 24-9-99.
4. Send a messenger every day.

                                                                               [Sd.] 21-9-99
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                 yyyy Camp
                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                #x Company
                                                                        #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[Though this order sounds extremely repetitive, it has been translated exactly as it was written. 'The ground beneath the Church' is the space underneath the building, which is built raised on posts. Note that in the midst of all these demands, in note #3 the Commander acknowledges that the headman is not even well.]


Order #136

                          Stamp:
Village Tract Peace & Development Council
                yyyy Village Tract

To:     Chairperson, Secretary, Village Mother, Village Father
          xxxx [village]

Subject:   The matter of sending unusual information every day about [Army] camp
               security and regional peace and development

Regarding the above subject, come from the Chairperson's village to the camp to send any unusual information about the region every day on time at 8 o'clock in the morning. Also, Chairperson (or) Village Mother / Village Father, come yourselves to meet with the Camp Commander. If you fail, action will be taken. Note: Each month, send 5,000 Kyat in cash per village for 3 servants, and at the same time 3,000 cheroots for the camp, the Camp Commander has informed [us].

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                         Village Tract Peace & Development Council

['Unusual information' means intelligence about any opposition movements, visitors to the village and activities of villagers. The money 'for 3 servants' which each village must pay every month is simply extortion which goes under the name of "servants' fees". The villages must also provide 'servants' at the same time.]


Order #137

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

     Column #x Headquarters

          To:     Chairpersons
                    aaaa, bbbb, cccc, dddd, and eeee village tracts

Subject:   The matter of sending information about the enemy from the area of the
               villages

1.      Schedule for sending information about the enemy, by rotation of villages:

          (a) From dddd [village] to cccc [village], arrive at (0900) hours
          (b) From cccc [village] to bbbb [village], arrive at (1000) hours
          (c) From bbbb [village] to aaaa [village], arrive at (1030) hours
          (d) From aaaa [village] to eeee [village], arrive at (1100) hours

2. If [they] don't arrive at the specified time, no need to wait. Send the information on with the set tha messenger.

3. When they sent the military information about the enemy, cccc [village] wrote that they would take responsibility for their village but would not take responsibility for outside their village. [We] already notified and gave responsibility to the villagers for all villages within 3 miles [of their home village], to report whether there is any unusual information or not. 

4. Therefore, to gather any unusual information from the area within 3 miles of your village, ask[the villagers] to do rotation duty. If our troops arrive and a battle occurs, [we] will arrest the sentries who are doing rotation duty, you are informed. 

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                            Battalion Commander
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[This order is written in a very convoluted way to express something which should be very simple. Item 1 specifies that a 'set tha' messenger should be sent from one village to the next ('dddd' village to 'cccc' village, then from there to 'bbbb' village, etc.), according to the schedule, with the information being passed on from village to village until all the information for the region reaches the Army camp at 11 o'clock. Item 2 means that if the messenger doesn't arrive on time from the preceding village, your village is not to wait but to send your own messenger onward anyway to keep the schedule. Items 3 and 4 order the village heads to use villagers for rotating forced labour gathering this intelligence everywhere within 3 miles of their village, and warn them that if the SPDC column is attacked in their area they will arrest and detain the villagers who were doing this forced labour as 'sentries' as a punishment for not providing sufficient intelligence. This is a typical arrangement forced upon villages by the SPDC.]


Order #138

                        Stamp:                                                               2-8-99
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                yyyy Village Tract

To:     Chairperson / Secretary
          xxxx [village]

Subject:   The matter of sending information and sending food for the camp

Regarding the above subject, one person per village [including] from the Chairperson's village must bring information tomorrow on 3-8-99.

Come tomorrow to meet with the Camp Commander, and bring without fail 1 viss [1.6 kg / 3.5 lb] of chicken and vegetables for the camp, by order of the Camp Commander, you are informed.

                                                                         [Sd.] 2-8-99
                                                                         Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                      yyyy Village Tract, Than Daung Township


Order #139

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion               To:
           Company #x                                       Chairperson / Secretary

Right now when [you] receive this letter, come quickly to report information to xxxx camp, you are informed. 

                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxx
                                                                           Camp Commander x 
                                                                                  xxxx Camp

[The back of this order was marked "Quickly".]


Order #140

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

     Column x Headquarters

To:     Village Head
          xxxx Village

Subject:     Invitation for a meeting

Regarding the above subject, for area security matters and to get information about enemy matters, every village head must come to yyyy Army Camp for discussion on 30-6-99. If you fail, it is your responsibility. You are hereby informed. 
[Handwritten note:] Must arrive in the morning at (0900) hours.

                                                                          [Sd. / 30/6/99] 
Place:     yyyy Camp                                          Intelligence Officer

Date:      27-6-99                                      Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This is a typed order which has been carbon-copied; the date and village name were written in afterwards.]


Order #141

           Stamp:                             To:                                        23-6-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion                        Chairperson
       #x Company                                xxxx village

Subject:     To send information to yyyy camp

Regarding the above matter, the villagers listed below from xxxx village who were carrying rice didn't come to report and carry at yyyy camp, so 4 sacks of rice were lost. The villagers who didn't come to report information:

               (1)     Saw aaaa 
               (2)     Saw bbbb 
               (3)     Saw cccc 
               (4)     Saw dddd 
               (5)     Maw eeee 

Therefore, to solve the matter of the 4 lost sacks of rice, the Chairperson of xxxx village together with the 5 villagers mentioned above who didn't report the information, come to yyyyCamp on 24-6-99 at 10 o'clock and do not be late. Report information without fail, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 23-6-99
                                                                                 Camp Commander

                                                                                      yyyy Camp

[It is unclear whether the lost sacks of rice belonged to the villagers or the Army. Either way, it appears that the SPDC Commander suspects that the rice has gone to the KNLA. On the back of this order, the village head has written in Sgaw Karen a list of 10 names under the heading 'People who have to carry rations at yyyy tomorrow'.]


Order #142

                 Stamp:                                                              Date: 4-6-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion            To: Chairperson
             Company #x                                  xxxx Village

Subject:     Come to report information at yyyy Army Camp

Regarding the above subject, Chairperson yourself from xxxx village, come to yyyy Camp to report information on 5-6-99 at 0800 hours in the morning. You are informed [to come] without fail.

                                                                            [Sd.] 4/6/99
                                                                        Camp Commander
                                                                              yyyy Camp
Note:
          If the Chairperson is not there, the Secretary or Village Mother / Village Father must come without fail to report information.


Order #143

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx [village]

Subject:     Attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, bring information to yyyy village and arrive today (11-4-99) at 11 o'clock, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                            (for) Chairperson


Order #144

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:  Chairperson                  10-2-99
           Intelligence                                   xxxx village 

Now, on receiving this letter come to bring information quickly to the Column at yyyy, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Intelligence Officer
                                                                            Frontline LIB #xxx


Order #145

To:                                                                      Stamp:
     U aaaa                                         Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
     xxxx village                                                Date: 5/2/99
                                                              Column #x Headquarters

1.     U aaaa, xxxx village is not included in yyyy group, so no need to send sentries for the road.

2.     zzzz Camp has assigned [your village] the duty as sentries to guard the Bilin River, so reply with a letter that you have a problem providing sentries for the road [as well].

3.     [Your village] Must fulfil this duty, so if [you] can't fulfil it, respond by writing a letter.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                    Battalion Commander
                                                                    #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This order is from an Army camp which has ordered the village to do forced labour as unarmed sentries along the Bilin River. The village head has apparently protested that another Army camp is already forcing them to stand sentry along the road, so the officer is responding by telling the village head to notify the other Army camp that they can no longer do sentry duty on the road because they now have to guard the river.]


Order #146

To:     Chairperson                                                         16-1-99
          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

To discuss operations and security, on 18-1-99 in the morning at 9 o'clock there will be a meeting in yyyy camp. Come to attend, you are invited.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                               xxx xxxx [Army serial #]
                                                                               Bo xxxx
                                                                    yyyy Camp Commander
                                                                               LIB #xxx


Order #147

To:     Chairperson                                                               26-3-99
          xxxx [village]

Four soldiers have left. If [you] see [them], send the information quickly.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                     Bo [officer]

[This is a request for villagers to report any sightings of 4 deserters from the SPDC Army. Desertions are increasingly frequent, and villages are heavily punished if they are suspected of sheltering or aiding deserters.]


Order #148

                    Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion           To:  Village Head
         Column #x Headquarters                              xxxx village
                                                                                            Date:11-1-99      

Today, as soon as you receive this letter, village head yourself bring information to yyyy camp, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Intelligence Officer


Order #149

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion             To:    Village Head

      Column #x Headquarters                            xxxx village
                                                                                       Date:[blank]-1-99

Today when you receive this letter, village head yourself, send information to yyyy camp, you are informed. 

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                              Intelligence Officer


Order #150

               Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson
             Company #x                                       xxxx Village

Right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly to yyyy Army Camp to report information. If [you] do not arrive, I will come myself.

                                                                                    [Sd.] xxxx
                                                                               Camp Commander 

                                                                                     yyyy Camp

[The threat to come to the village himself is serious, because if an officer comes to the village with soldiers the village will be looted and the elders may be detained and seriously punished for having failed to comply with this written order.]


Order #151

                                                                              Stamp:
To:     Village Head                                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
           xxxx village                                        Column #x Headquarters

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

1)     About security matters, an emergency meeting will be held so the Village Heads yourselves[must come] to yyyy camp on 30-12-98 to arrive at 1200 hours. Do not fail to come, you are informed.

2)     It is an emergency meeting so if you fail to come action will be taken against the village head, letting you know, you are informed.

                                                                        [Sd. / 28/12/98] 
Date:      28-12-98                                             Intelligence Officer

Place:     yyyy                                                #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #152

                Stamp:                              To:                                Date: 16-10-98
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                 Chairperson
           Company #x                                  xxxx village 

[We] have emergency matters, so the Chairperson must bring along Ma aaaa, who saw 15 Nga Pway ['Ringworms' derogatory slang for KNLA soldiers] on 12-10-98. Come and arrive on 17-10-98 at 6 o'clock in the morning, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                           yyyy Camp Commander

[The purpose of this order is to summon the village woman mentioned for a full interrogation.]

 

Extortion of Food, Money and Materials

SPDC Army units force villagers to provide them with everything under the sun - money, food, condiments, alcohol, cheroots, betelnut, firewood, clothing, building materials, and many other things, as well as logs and commercial goods which they can sell for profit. Occasionally the Army units pay for some of the things they demand, but usually at prices much lower than their actual value and with money they have taken from other villages. More often the villages are simply told to send whatever is demanded immediately and without any payment. Demands for food have particularly increased since 1998, when the SPDC in Rangoon cut back on the quantities and quality of rations and issued orders to Army units in the field to take as much food as possible from villagers or produce it themselves. Villages also find that the demands increase with the ongoing expansion of the Army, because each new Army camp established in their area duplicates the demands of all of those which already exist. Most villages in Karen areas report that the number of Army camps in their area making demands on them has quadrupled, quintupled or more in the past 12 years.

It is also important to note that many of these orders are really demanding forced labour, particularly those for wood, bamboo, roofing thatch shingles and other such items. To fulfil Army demands for bamboo or wooden planks, the villagers must cut wood in the forest, haul it back, saw it into planks and then haul them to the Army camp; when roofing shingles are demanded, they must gather leaves and bamboo in the forest, shave the bamboo into strips, then make split-bamboo frames, mount the leaves and tie them on with bamboo strips to make shingles several feet long. Hundreds of these must then be delivered on bullock carts or the villagers' backs to the Army camp.

Demands for money take on various forms: direct demands, demands for "servants' fees" and other fees, demands for "pagoda donations" which are then either kept by the Army or donated in the names of the officers, and requests to "borrow" money which is usually never repaid. In some cases the "servants' fees" are paid to the village tract authorities to hire substitute labourers to meet the Army's forced labour demands (see above under 'Forced Labour Fees'), but more often they are paid to the Army in lieu of going for forced labour. When paid directly to the Army, this money is supposedly to hire labourers or to buy food for those doing forced labour, but in reality the officers pocket the money, round up their forced labourers and force the villages to provide food for them. Order #155 below even demands 50 Kyat from a village for every visitor who arrives there. This is easier to enforce than it may seem, because all visitors to villages must be registered and reported to the local military or the village elders are arrested.

All of these demands for cash and materials are sent to the village head, who must then distribute the burden by assigning villagers to gather the materials on a rotation basis and dividing the amount of cash to be paid by the number of families in the village. Most families end up having to contribute several thousand Kyat per month toward the cash demands, as well as material contributions. This is in addition to the food and belongings looted by passing patrols and the forced labour they must do. Given all the demands placed on them, it is often difficult or impossible for a village to comply, particularly when the Army demands 50,000 Kyat within 2 hours, 50 durian fruit, 500 wooden posts or 500 thatch shingles within 2 days. In these cases the village either ignores the order or scrambles to comply, but as soon as they are late the Army begins issuing increasingly threatening letters. In some cases direct threats are made; for example, Order #161threatens to arrest the village head if the demands are not met, while Order #191 threatens to stop all commercial activity in the village and force it to relocate if it fails to deliver wood and bamboo to the Army camp.

Order #153

                  Stamp:      
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                    To:
              Company #x                                        U aaaa 

I am writing this letter. Get 5 viss [8 kg / 17.5 lb] of dried betelnuts for me. I'm sending this messenger to get it right now.

                                                                           Yours,
                                                                       [Sd.] 13/12
                                                                  Camp Commander

                                                                       xxxx Camp


Order #154

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion               To:     Chairperson
           Date: 24/9/99                                        xxxx village
            Company #x

Chairperson, [we] must get 2 books, 200 sheets of foolscap [paper] and one pair of size 40 shoes from the Chairperson for Capt. xxxx, and if there is any unusual news, send the information to the camp urgently.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 24/9/99
                                                                          (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                    yyyy Camp
                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                    #x Company
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                          xxxx


Order #155

To:     Chairperson, Secretary                                              Date: 11-9-99
          xxxx Village

Subject:   The Chairperson or Secretary must meet with the Camp Commander

Chairperson from xxxx village, there are many guests in the Chairperson's village. Our camp has specified a guest registration fee of 50 Kyat per guest.

Send it [the money] to our Camp for the fees of these 29 guests, you are informed.

For the Camp from Chairperson's Village:
          (1) 1 big tin of betelnut
          (2) 1 bottle of honey, help us.

Note:     When the messenger comes to report information to yyyy Camp, tell the messenger to come first to yyyy Camp to report the information.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 11-9-99
                                                                                   Camp Commander
                                                                                        yyyy Camp 

[All visitors and guests in villages must be entered into a register. In this case, the Army Camp charges the village a 'fee' of 50 Kyat per visitor as yet another cynical method of extortion, and is demanding the money for the 29 latest visitors. The 'Note' at the bottom of this order makes little sense, but here it must be taken into account that most Burmese military officers are semi-illiterate and not particularly bright.]


Order #156

                  Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                To:    U aaaa 
     Column #x Headquarters

I am writing this letter.
There is no special subject. [I] am taking 3,000 Kyat in cash from the xxxx Chairperson for the moment. Right now I have emergency needs, so send 5,000 Kyat in cash with this messenger. Send 3 good durians for the Column Commander. If able, [I] also need 1 chicken.     

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                Respectfully
                                                                               Corporal xxxx
                                                                          (Intelligence Section)

[SPDC officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) frequently 'borrow' money from villagers such as the 3,000 Kyat mentioned above, but they seldom pay it back. In addition, this NCO is demanding direct extortion of 5,000 Kyat, among other things. Durian are large and highly-valued seasonal fruit.]


Order #157

To:     Chairperson / Secretary
          xxxx [village]

Subject:      To coordinate and discuss village affairs 

Chairperson, there are emergency matters, so come to yyyy village to arrive tonight, you are requested. If [you] have enough beef, [I] want [you] to bring 1 viss [1.6 kg / 3.5 lb] of meat and 1 viss of viscera. The Column has gone out and the camp troops are left behind [in the camp]. If possible, bring 3 viss to feed the camp.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                     9/9/99


Order #158

To:     Saw aaaa 
          Chairperson, xxxx Village

Have you finished doing the things I ordered? Do it and send it back to arrive today. Do [send]also 1,000 Kyat.

                                                                          Friendly and respectfully…
                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                Corporal bbbb 
                                                                               Communications
                                                                                    yyyy Camp


Order #159

To:     Chairperson
          (xxxx [village]) 
          
I am writing this letter.

It is no unusual subject. Right now [I am] sending 1,000 Kyat in cash with this messenger. Buy dogfruit with this money and send it. If you have the thing that I asked from you, send it. Also give something big to cook for our curry.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Respectfully
                                                                                 Corporal xxxx
                                                                                   (Intelligence)

[Dogfruit is a hard, bitter pulpy disc-shaped 'fruit' which is generally cooked into meals in early rainy season. The expression used for 'something big to cook' implies a whole chicken, pig or cow. Sometimes officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) send money to pay for some of the things they demand; however, this money has often simply been taken from other villagers, and this particular NCO has sent some of the other orders in this report demanding cash from village elders.]


Order #160

                Stamp:                                                              Date: 8-9-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
             Company #x 

                              To:   Chairperson
                                      xxxx village

Chairperson, things are not going well here for food, so I am asking for help from Chairperson.

From Chairperson, [send] one chicken, 1 viss [1.6 kg / 3.5 lb] of durian jam, and one bottle of honey, please arrange [it].
                                                                                     Sgt. xxxx

                                                                                   [Sd.] 8/9/99
                                                                               Camp Commander

                                                                                     yyyy Camp
                                                                                    Company #x 
                                                                             #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #161

           Stamp:                                                                       30-8-99
#xxx [IB], Company #x 
       xxxx [camp]

U aaaa,
             Come to xxxx camp without fail to arrive on August 31st 1999. If [you] do not come,[we] will come to arrest [you]. If [you] don't come, serious action will be taken, [this is your]second warning.

Note:     Bring along with you 15 ripe durians.
                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                                   Duty Officer
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #162

                       Stamp:                                                                     23-7-99
Village Tract Peace & Development Council         To: 
               xxxx Village Tract                                    Chairperson and Secretary

Subject:   The camp is demanding things, so come and send [them] to arrive this evening, 
               as follows:

(1) Send 20 durians.
(2) Capt. xxxx orders 3 bowls of dogfruit. 
     [He] asked me to inform you to bring beautifully shaped durians. Be sure to send them.

                                                                          [Sd.] 23-7-99
                                                                                 aaaa 
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                       Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                         xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township     

[The Army Camp has passed on its demands to the village tract authorities, who in this order are passing them on to the villages. Durian is a large, seasonal and highly valued fruit. Dogfruit are a staple part of the Karen diet in some areas during part of rainy season.]


Order #163

To:     Village head                                                                    15-7-99
          xxxx village
          
Right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come and bring along 10 golden banana trees toyyyy Camp, bring them without fail.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                                      Captain


Order #164

           Stamp:                                                                      Date: 29-6-99
#xxx [IB], #x Company
      Date: 29/6/99                        To:   Chairperson - U aaaa 
       xxxx [camp]                                  yyyy village

Writing a letter from xxxx Army Camp. Send the money that U aaaa took for the cost of the rice, together with 5 bowls of dogfruit and 200 rambutan fruit, to arrive on 30-6-99, you are informed.

                                                                         [Sd.] 29/6/99
                                                                 Ta Ka² [Sergeant Major]           

[Dogfruit is a hard, bitter pulpy disc-shaped 'fruit' which is generally cooked into meals in early rainy season. Rambutan is a very sweet fruit with a red hairy-looking exterior, common throughout Southeast Asia. The reference to the money is unclear, though it may mean that the village has been ordered to send money for the 'cost' of feeding forced labourers or is sending money in lieu of rice.]


Order #165

                    Stamp:                                                                29-6-99
Village Peace & Development Council         To:   U aaaa 
      Ye Township, yyyy Village                          yyyy (xxxx villager)

Subject:     Money Problems

Regarding the above subject, the money that U aaaa took is overdue past the deadline. Until now you haven't sent it back. Come quickly to pay. If you don't pay [we] will turn this over to the appropriate person, letting you know.

This letter now is your last notification.                                [Sd.] 
                                                                 Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                          Ye Township, xxxx Village

[This is a letter from the authorities of a central village to an elder of another village who has held back a payment or borrowed money to pay off SPDC fees. 'The appropriate person' most likely means the local military.]


Order #166

           Stamp:
#xxx [IB], #x Company                                                            Date: 17/6/99
      Date: 17/6/99                  To:  Chairperson - U aaaa 
      yyyy [camp]                          xxxx village

Writing this letter from the Army Camp. [We] have to give a present to the leaders from the Division, so [you] must bring 50 durians from U aaaa's village to arrive on 20-6-99 at yyyy Army Camp, the Captain orders it. 

[The bottom part of this order with the signature was torn off. The 'Division' is the Light Infantry Division, which consists of 10 Battalions. Durian are large, seasonal and highly-valued fruit weighing several kilograms each, not readily available in quantities like 50 at a time. The village failed to comply on time with this Order, so it was followed by Order #167 below.]


Order #167

           Stamp:                                                                    Date: 20-6-99
#xxx [IB], Company #x                To:
      Date: 20/6/99                            Chairperson
      yyyy [camp]                              xxxx village

Subject:     To send durian

Chairperson U aaaa, the army camp asked for 50 durians to arrive on 20-6-99. Why didn't they arrive yet? Don't [you] care about the army camp? Why? Therefore, right now as soon as [you] receive this letter, the Chairperson yourself must come without fail to report information and to bring 50 durians on 21-6-99.

If they don't arrive on 21-6-99, serious action will be taken. 

                                                                                      [Sd.]20/6/99
                                                                                      Sgt. Maj.bbbb 

                                                                                 IB #xxx, Company #x 
                                                                               (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                         yyyy Camp

[This order came when the village failed to comply on time with Order #166 above.]


Order #168

To:    U aaaa 
         Chairperson
         xxxx village                                                            30-5-99

Subject:     To send 1 basket of rice and 1 viss [1.6 kg/3.5 lb] of chicken

Regarding the above subject, come and bring 1 basket of rice and 1 viss of chicken with the messenger to yyyy camp, you are informed.

Come to meet with the                                              [Sd.] 
yyyy Camp Commander                                     Camp Commander
                                                                           yyyy Camp
                                                                      LIB xxx, Column #x 
                                                                     2nd Lieutenant bbbb


Order #169

          Stamp: 
Infantry Battalion #xxx 

      Date: 25-5-99                              To:   Pa aaaa 
       Company #x                                    

When you receive this letter, bring 3 pyi [about 6 kg/13 lb] of rice to xxxx village tomorrow morning, you are hereby informed. 

                                                                                           [Sd.] 
                                                                                          IB #xxx 

                                                                                          Column


Order #170

                Stamp:                            To: Chairpersons
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                VPDC
              Column #x                                 aaaa / bbbb / cccc /
                                                              dddd / eeee / ffff / gggg [villages]

                                                                                              Date: 22/5/99
Subject:      To send bamboo / thatch

For the use of xxxx Army Camp, send without fail bamboo / thatch as [specified] below to arrive on 25-5-99, you are informed.

          (a)     aaaa [village]        bamboo, (200) pieces
          (b)     bbbb [village]       big bamboo, length 15 cubits, (20) pieces
          (c)     dddd [village]       big bamboo, length 15 cubits, (10) pieces
          (d)     eeee [village]       big bamboo, length 15 cubits, (25) pieces
          (e)     ffff [village]         big bamboo, length 15 cubits, (10) pieces
          (f)     cccc [village]         thatch, (150) [shingles]
          (g)     gggg [village]        big bamboo, length 15 cubits, (10) pieces

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                      Army Camp Commander
                                                                            Frontline IB #xxx 

['Big bamboo' ('wah gyi') is bigger diameter than ordinary bamboo, suitable for building posts. 15 cubits is approximately 22.5 feet / 6.7 metres. The thatch requested is 150 shingles, woven by the villagers from leaf and split bamboo; usually each shingle is 3 to 4 feet long. The 3 orders below also relate to this subject.]


Order #171

                Stamp:                                                        Date: 23-5-99
       Frontline [illegible] 
#[Illegible] infantry Battalion 

               To:     Chairperson
                         xxxx village

Subject:     Sending bamboo to repair the camp

Regarding the above-mentioned matter, to repair the damaged parts of the camp, send without fail 500 bamboo [poles] from Gentleman's [your] village to the camp, right now as soon as [you] receive this letter. If [you] fail, serious action will be taken.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                      yyyy Camp


Order #172

             Stamp:                                                          Date: 27-5-99
      Frontline [illegible]                  To:  Chairperson
#[illegible] Infantry Battalion                  xxxx village

Subject:           To send bamboo quickly

Regarding the above subject, until now Gentleman's [your] village hasn't come to send the bamboo yet. As soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly without fail to bring it to the camp. If[you] fail, serious action will be taken.

Bring at the same time the 30 durians and 2 bottles of honey that I already asked from you. Chairperson yourself, come to meet at the camp.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                   yyyy Camp


Order #173

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion         To:  Chairperson             27-5-99

              Column #x                                 VPDC
                                                              xxxx [village]

Subject:     To send bamboo

Gentleman's [your] village must send big bamboo [posts], but until now you haven't sent [them] yet. Send [them] to arrive on 28-5-99, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                      Army Camp Commander


Order #174

To:          [Village] Head                                                     Date: 11-5-99

To plant at the Column, come and send 100 small chillie plants to Frontline IB #xxx, Column #x, atxxxx, to arrive on April [sic: May] 12th 1999 at (1400) hours.

                               Stamp:
               Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                               [Sd.]

                    Column #x Headquarters                              Column Office

[Note that to provide 100 chillie bushes on 1 day's notice, the village will have little option but to uproot someone's entire chillie field.]


Order #175

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx [village]                                                            10-5-99

(1)  10 bowls [about 20 kg/44 lb] of rice, one basket of charcoal, send tomorrow.

                                                                               [Sd.] 
                                                                           Capt. aaaa 
                                                                                yyyy 
                                                           yyyy Camp Commander, LIB xxx 
                                                                          Captain aaaa 

Note:     This rice and charcoal has already been sold.

[The note at the bottom either means that the Captain has already given money for the goods, and/or that he has arranged a buyer for them for his own personal profit.]

 

Order #176

To:     Chairperson                                                            Date: 8/5/99
          VPDC
          xxxx village

Subject:     To send wooden poles / bamboo / thatch

1) For the use of yyyy Army Camp, come to send wooden poles / bamboo / thatch to arrive on 11-5-99 at the Army Camp according to the list below.

          (a)     aaaa village          Bamboo             (500) pieces
          (b)     bbbb village         Thatch               (200)
          (c)     cccc                     Thatch               (150)
          (d)     dddd                    Big bamboo       (30) pieces
          (e)     eeee                    Bamboo             (300) pieces
          (f)     ffff                       Wooden posts    (100) pieces

Therefore, send the materials from each village on the specified date without fail, you are informed.

                Stamp:                                                   [Sd.]
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                     Company Commander

              Column #x                                            Company #x 
                                                                     Frontline IB #xxx 
                                                                    (yyyy Army Camp)


Order #177

To:     Chairperson / Secretary                                              29-4-99
          xxxx [village]

Subject:     The matter of repaying the price of the pork

Regarding the above subject, to be paid the price of the pork which the Column and the Camp have bought, come to the camp as soon as [you] receive this letter, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                              Camp Commander
                                                                                    yyyy Camp


Order #178

            Stamp:                                        Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
Frontline Headquarters #x                          Column #x Headquarters, yyyy [camp]
  Infantry Battalion #xxx                             Ref No. xxx/xx/01/Oo 1
                                                               Date: 1999 April 28
To: 
     Chairperson
     Village Peace and Development Council
      xxxx village group

Subject: To send Bamboo/Hmyo [wood of a type of mangrove tree]

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion, Column x Headquarters, for repair of yyyy Camp, [needs] from the villages included [in the distribution of this letter], 300 bamboo and 100 hmyo each 6 taun [3 metres / 9 feet] long from each village. As soon as you get this letter send it to yyyy Camp, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd]
                                                                       (for) Column Commander

[This is an order carbon-copied to several villages, with the village name written in afterwards.]


Order #179

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                           Date: 26-4-99

             Column #x 

To:     Chairpersons
          Village Peace & Development Councils
          aaaa village, bbbb village, cccc village, 
          dddd village, eeee village, ffff village, 
          & gggg village, Papun Township

Subject:     To attend a meeting and send the material for building

1) Regarding the above subject, a meeting will be held to discuss the regional area. Chairpersons of the villages concerned, each of you yourselves must come to xxxx village to arrive on 28-4-99 at 12:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and do not send the [village] secretaries to represent you.

2) To rebuild the living quarters in the camp and outside, we have divided the responsibilities among the villages concerned as shown below.

          (a)     ffff village           Thatch, (200) [shingles]
          (b)     eeee village         Wooden posts (100)
          (c)     cccc village           Bamboo (500)
          (d)     dddd village         Wah Boh Wah [a type of giant bamboo] (30)
          (e)     bbbb village         Thatch, (200) [shingles]
          (f)     gggg village           Shark-tooth saw (1)
          (g)     aaaa village           Loh ah pay [forced labourers]

3) Send the above materials to arrive at xxxx Army Camp on 24-4-99. If [you] fail, it will be the Gentlemen's [your] responsibility, we are letting you know and you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                      Intelligence Officer
                                                             Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[In the list of materials, the number of thatch refers to long shingles of thatch woven by the villagers out of leaves and bamboo. A shark-tooth saw is a type of long two-man manual saw for sawing logs.]


Order #180

           Stamp:      
#xxx [IB], Company #x 
          21-4-99
     xxxx [camp]

To:          Sir, the Captain asks Chairperson U aaaa from yyyy [village] to buy rice and also 5 rice sacks for the camp. Let [him].

Sir, take 500 [Kyat] of pocket money from U aaaa.
I already told [him].
                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                 [Sd.] 21-4-99
                                                                                  xxxx [camp]


Order #181

                Stamp:                                                                        20-4-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion           To:  Chairperson / Secretary

              Column #x                                   xxxx village

1) For the use of Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion, yyyy Army Camp, send without fail 150 hardwood posts, as big around as a milk tin [diameter 3 to 4 inches / 8 cm] and 12 feet long, to arrive on 23-4-99 at yyyy Army Camp, you are informed.

2) Chairperson or Daw aaaa Secretary, either one come on 21-4-99 (Wednesday) to report information to the Army at yyyy without fail, you are informed. 

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Intelligence Officer
                                                                 Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

[In item 2, the officer has used correction fluid to blank out the terms shown as crossed out, and has written in the village secretary's name in their place. The village did not send the posts on time, so this order was followed by Order #182 below. ]


Order #182

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

               Column #x 

                    To:   Chairperson / Secretary
                            Village Law & Order Restoration Council
                            xxxx [village]                                             Date: 24/4/99

Subject:     Come and bring the wooden posts

Gentleman's [your] village has to send the remaining 150 wooden posts, so come to bring them and arrive today (24/4/99), you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                            Army Camp Commander
                                                                                  Frontline IB #xxx
                                                                                     (yyyy [camp])

[This order followed Order #181 above.]


Order #183

To:     U aaaa (Chairperson)                                                       11-4-99
          xxxx village

U aaaa, I am writing this letter. Right now [I] have arrived at yyyy village. I remember you. Come to meet me from zzzz village. Bring along in cash 30,000 Kyat (Thirty Thousand Kyat). When [you]arrive here I will talk to you.

I also want to see you. I have arrived in your area.

Health to all the villagers. Come as soon as [you] receive this letter.

                                                                 That's all.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                           Captain xxxx
                                                                                IB #xxx


Order #184

To:     Village Head                                                            Date: 1-4-99
          xxxx [village]

Gentleman [Village] Head:

The gentleman [village] head must arrange the rotation of 4 viss of curry. Now xxxx village must arrange for their turn, to arrive today on 1-4-99 and send it without fail, you are informed. If you fail today, you will have to give more curry as punishment.

Note
If you fail, [you must give] 5 viss.                                    [Sd.] 

                                                                                yyyy [camp]
                                                                                   LIB #xxx 

['Curry' is the usual translation of a term which actually means meat dishes to eat with rice. The villages in this area are forced to rotate, with a different village each day providing 4 viss (6.4 kg / 14 lb) of 'curry' for the local Army camp; this letter notifies a village that today it is their turn, and that if they are late they will be ordered to give more.  See also Order #197below.]


Order #185

To:
        Village head
        xxxx village                                                                  1-4-99

[Village] Head, I am writing this letter. I already asked you for 1 bottle of honey, 1 packet of sesame jaggery and 1 bunch of golden bananas, so give them now to this messenger. Now we have arrived at yyyy. If [we] get time, [we] will come.

                                                            Thank you,          [Sd.] 
                                                                                     Friendly
                                                                                 Captain aaaa 
                                                                                       yyyy 

[Jaggery is hard brown crystallised sugar, made by boiling cane juice; the type demanded here also has sesame seeds in it.]


Order #186

            Stamp:                                      Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
Frontline Headquarters #x                        Column #x Headquarters, yyyy Camp
  Infantry Battalion #xxx                           Ref. No. 101 / 02 / xx / Oo 1
                                                             Date: 1999, March 16th
To:
     Chairperson
     Village Peace and Development Council
      xxxx Village Tract

Subject: To send bamboo and nipa palm 

          To repair Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion Column #x Headquarters at yyyy Camp, the included Village Tracts must send 100 bamboo [posts] and 300 stitched nipa palm leaf shingles toyyyy Camp. They must arrive on 20-3-99, you are informed.
                                                                 
                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                      Column Commander

[This order was carbon-copied to several villages with the village name written in afterwards. The leaf shingles are used for roofing.]


Order #187

To:        Chairperson
              xxxx village                                                       Date: 2-3-99

Subject:     To send thatch

Regarding the above subject, to rebuild the buildings and the living quarters at yyyy camp, for fences, roofs and walls send 300 thatch shingles from the Gentleman's [your] village to arrive atyyyy camp on 10-3-99 at the latest. Asking for your help.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                  (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                               yyyy camp
                                                                  xxx xxxx [serial #], Bo xxxx 

[This is a typed form letter with the village name and number of thatch shingles written in afterwards by hand. The last line under the signature is the officer's serial number and name.]


Order #188

                         Stamp:
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                yyyy Village Tract

To:     Chairperson, Secretary
          xxxx [village]

Chairperson, right now [we] must get 75 viss [120 kg / 262 lb] of betelnut for the Deputy Battalion Commander. Chairperson's village must collect 20 viss of betelnut and send it to yyyy village to arrive on Wednesday, the Camp Commander has asked for it. [We] will give 1,400 [Kyat].

                                                                      [Sd.] 2-3-99
                                                                      Chairperson
                                                  Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                    yyyy Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In this case the Deputy Battalion Commander has demanded a large quantity of betelnut so the village tract PDC is distributing the demand among the local villages. 75 viss is a huge quantity of betelnut, far too much for personal consumption; the Commander is paying the villagers very little for it, and probably intends to sell it on the market for personal profit.]


Order #189

To:      Chairperson, Secretary

Subject:     Arrange a pig weighing 20 viss [32 kg / 70 lb] for tonight

Chairperson, arrange a pig weighing 20 viss for tonight, it is the order of the Column Commander. You absolutely must arrange it.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 25-2-99
                                                                           (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                          xxxx


Order #190

To:          xxxx village head                                                  25-2-99

Subject:     Writing to let you know, if you receive my letter come to see me at once. Come and call [to come along] the yyyy village head and one child of aaaa [a villager]. Come for sure. Bring along for me 3 viss [4.8 kg / 10.5 lb] of jaggery. On 27-2-99 arrive at zzzz.

                                                             Receive [this letter] and comply.
                                                             From,
                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                    zzzz [camp]

[This order was written in Sgaw Karen. Jaggery is hard crystallised blocks made from boiling sugar cane juice.]


Order #191

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

Subject:     Informing you with a warning

Regarding the above subject, to fence yyyy camp we allotted you [to supply] wood and bamboo, and we will not accept any reason if you are late. If you fail, the village sawmill / rice mills ['ha la seh', referring to rice milling machines from China] / other commercial activities will be stopped, and we will force the village to relocate, you are informed.

Maj. aaaa's assistant                                                              [Sd.] 
yyyy Camp Commander Capt. bbbb                        (for) Company Commander
LIB xxx, Company #x                                                       #x Company


Order #192

To:     Chairperson

I'm writing this letter.
At the place where we stopped in xxxx village below the monastery, there is a shop. In that shop buy a blade for shaving and one [razor] handle. It costs 400 Kyat. This evening arrive at yyyy to see me.

I am staying in the house in front of the camp, before the house of the Company Commander.

I need to use the rest of the money for the servants, so bring me as much as you have.

Come now at once when you receive this letter (urgent).

                                                            xxxx [Sd. / 28-1-99] 
                                                            LIB Cpy. x 
                                                            xxx - Captain xxxx's group

[The 'money for the servants' means porter fees, a routine form of SPDC extortion which is demanded from villagers allegedly to 'hire' or 'feed' porters; however, the Army then forces villagers to go as porters without pay and bring their own food, pocketing the money.]


Order #193

             Stamp:
Peace & Development Council               Headman                       17-1-99

      xxxx Village Tract                           yyyy [village]

#x Tactical Command has emergency need for 10 viss [16 kg/35 lb] of betelnut, [so we are] asking for help from Gentleman's [your] village. [We] will pay the price of the betelnut at once at the current price of xxxx village.

Gentleman yourself, help [us], you must arrive on 20-1-99, you are requested.

                                                                            [Sd.] 
                                                                       Member (1)
                                                      Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                        xxxx village Tract, Papun Township


Order #194

xxxx [village]                    16-1-99

5 x 5                -     8 taun     -     1 piece
5 x 2                -     8     "         -     3 pieces
6 - three ma     -     8     "         -     2 pieces
3 x 2                -     8     "         -     3 pieces

     LIB xxx, Company #x 
     Captain aaaa 

Send flooring to xxxx village, yyyy camp.

[This is a list of wood which the village must provide as flooring for the Army camp, specifying the dimensions of the various types of posts and planks - one 5" x 5", three 5" x 2", and three 3" x 2", each 8 'taun' (about 12 feet) long. One 'ma' is 25 pya (1 Kyat = 100 pya), so the reference to "6 three-ma"'s is unclear.]


Order #195

To:      U aaaa 

Near to xxxx village, [we] know that Ko bbbb keeps his teak. We will make furniture, so [we] want to borrow for a moment about 1 ton or 2 tons from this teak.

We already borrowed teak and later cccc came to repay it. If we meet with Ko bbbb, [we] will tell[him]. If [we] saw the teak when it arrives up above, we already have to pay more to the teak sawyer. That's why we need it quickly.

[We] will send cccc to get the teak.

                  Stamp:                                                      [Sd.]
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                       yyyy Temporary [camp]

     Column #x Headquarters                                        16-1-99
                                                                     Battalion Commander
                                                                    #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #196

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, come to yyyy camp. Bring 5 coconuts to arrive at yyyy camp today, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                        Camp Commander
                                                                              yyyy Camp


Order #197

To:     U aaaa                                                             Date: 24-12-98
          Chairperson
          xxxx [village]

Chairman - 
                  In accordance with [orders given at] the coordination meeting, the Gentleman's[your] village has responsibility for [providing] 4 viss [6.4 kg / 14 lb] of curry, send it to arrive on 26-12-98, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                  (for) Army Camp Commander
                                                                            yyyy Army Camp
                                                                                    LIB xxx 

['Curry' is the usual translation of a term which actually means meat dishes to eat with rice. See also Order #184. The villages in this area are forced to rotate, with a different village each day providing 4 viss (6.4 kg / 14 lb) of 'curry' for the local Army camp; this letter notifies a village that today it is their turn.]


Order #198

To:     Chairperson                                                               22-12-98
          U aaaa 

Gentleman's [your] village and xxxx village, it is your turn to pay curry to the camp until the 27th. Both gentlemen must coordinate in accordance with specifications to send it on 23-12-98, you are informed.

Chicken 4 viss / pork 5 viss / dried fish 5 viss, whichever kind you get.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                   (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                LIB xxx 
                                                                    Camp Commander xxxx 

[Each 'viss' is 1.6 kilograms / 3.5 pounds.]


Order #199

To:       Chairman                                                             Date: 14-12-98

Tomorrow, 15/12/98, make one basket for [carrying] chickens, [we] want you to send it.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                      Camp Commander (2)
                                                                               xxxx Camp
                                                                      LIB xxx, Company #x 
                                                                               Capt. xxxx


Order #200

To:     Chairperson (previous)                                                30-10-98
          Secretary
          xxxx village

1. Verify that the cost of aaaa's watch is 1,000 Kyat, and (Chairperson / Secretary) pay it to[him].
2. Secretary, take care of the matter that I ordered you.
3. Find 2 bowls of peanuts (nuts only [i.e. shelled]).
4. I will call [you] when I need. [You] must come when I call. 

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                           Sgt. Maj. bbbb 

[This Sergeant Major has taken the villager's watch and is ordering the village head to reimburse the villager for it, as well as demanding other things while he is at it.]


Order #201

                     Stamp: 
Frontline #x Tactical Command Group

                Date: 27.7.98 
     Southwest Region Headquarters                                      Date: 27-7-98

To:    Head

On 28-7-98 send 1 viss of chicken. The officer has no curry to eat so send it without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                  (for) Camp Commander
                                                        xxxx Tactical Command Army Camp

Rice / Crop Quotas and Taxes

Farmers of every type of crop in Burma have to hand over a portion of their crop to the SPDC authorities. The quotas are set as a certain number of baskets of paddy or units of another crop per acre. Meetings are held to notify the villages in each area how much acreage they are supposed to grow (whether they can in fact plant that many acres or not) and the quotas they must pay per acre. After the harvest, 'paddy-buying' officials go around the villages to collect the quota. 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 deducting many kinds of bogus 'fees' and claiming that the rice contains straw or impurities, and the farmers end up receiving only 20% or less of market price; meanwhile, the SPDC takes the crop quota, and the officials pocket most of the money. For examples of this process, see "Death Squads and Displacement" (KHRG #99-04, May 1999).

In the past 3 years crops in many regions have been virtually wiped out by droughts and floods, but no exceptions are granted and the quotas have actually increased during this period. Many farmers have lost their seed paddy due to SPDC extortion, looting, forced labour and crop quotas so they cannot even plant a full crop, yet they must still pay full quota. In many areas the SPDC also claims to be implementing 'development' through double- and triple-cropping programs. In these areas, farmers are ordered to grow a second or third crop and promised the irrigation and fertiliser which is necessary; however, the officials steal the funds and sell the fertiliser so the farmers cannot grow the crop, but they must still pay the quota on it, and this quota can be even heavier than on the main crop (Order #207 refers to a quota on a second crop).

In addition, farmers must pay any 'taxes' on their acreage which are invented by the local military and PDC authorities;Order #209 is an example of this, where a local Battalion is taxing farmers for every acre they have planted in rubber.

 

 Order #202

 

Township Peace & Development Council
Myawaddy Town

 

                                                                                        Date:2-11-99

                     Stamp:                                    To:
Township Peace & Development Council                 Chairperson     
                                                                            xxxx village     
                                                                           Myawaddy Town
Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, [we] will hold a meeting according to the aim below. Attend without fail (without fail), you are invited.

Aim          : To discuss and coordinate the matter of buying rice 
Agenda     : Date: 3-11-99
               : Time:     10:00 o'clock
               : Place: Township Chairperson's Office    

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                            (for) Chairperson

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order with the village name, date and agenda written in afterward by hand. 'The matter of buying rice' relates to demands by the authorities for the annual rice quota.]

 

Order #203

 

To:                                                                           Stamp:
     Chairpersons ( All )                                    #xxx Infantry Battalion
     xxxx Village Tract                                              #x Company
     aaaa / bbbb / cccc / 
     dddd / eeee / ffff [villages]
                                                                                    Date: 16-7-99

Subject:     Invitation to the Administrative Coordination Affairs meeting

[You] are informed by Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion (yyyy Army Camp), to discuss paddy cultivation affairs in villages, the Chairpersons themselves should come to yyyy Army Camp on the 5th Waxing day of Second Wa Zoh month [17-7-99] without fail.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                             yyyy Army Camp

[This would likely be a meeting to assess how much paddy acreage the villages are growing and give orders on how much the authorities demand that they produce and how much they will have to give as quota.]

 


Order #204

 

To:  Chairperson                              Stamp:                       Date: 16-7-99
       xxxx village                  #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                                  Company #x 
          
Subject:     Invitation to a meeting to discuss administration

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion (yyyy Army Camp) in the village wants to discuss and coordinate the matter of land for cultivation. Village Chairpersons yourselves must come without fail to yyyy Army Camp, to arrive on the 5th waxing day of second Wa Zoh [17-7-99], you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Camp Commander
                                                                                  yyyy Camp

 


Order #205

 

To:   Chairperson                             Stamp: 
        xxxx village                  Infantry Battalion #xxx 
                                                  Company #x                     Date: 16-7-99

Subject:     Invitation for discussion meeting about control

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion (yyyy Army camp) would like to discuss with the villages about agriculture. Every village chairperson must come on the 5th day of Second Wa Zoh Lah Zan [the 5th waxing day of Second Wa Zoh month] to yyyy Army camp, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Camp Commander
                                                                            yyyy Army camp

 

Order #206

 

                       Stamp:                             Township Peace & Development Council
Township Peace & Development Council     Kya In Seik Gyi town
              Kya In Seik Gyi town                    Letter No. 5 / 41-28 / Oo-6
                                                               Date: 1999 May 11th
To:      Village Head 
           xxxx village      

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Paddy buying regarding this matter, [we] want to coordinate and discuss with [you] gentlemen according to the plan below. Come to the meeting without fail, you are informed.

                                                         Plan
                                      Date:      13-5-99 (Thursday)      
                                      Time:      Afternoon at 1:00      
                                      Place:     Ma Ya Ka [Township PDC] office      

                                                                             [Sd. / 11/5/99] 
                                                                            (for) Chairperson
Copies:     Office Copy

[This is a typed form letter with the specific details (shown in italics) handwritten in the blanks. 'Paddy buying' refers to the purchase of the forced paddy quotas by the regime.]

 


Order #207

 

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairperson                     2-5-99
         Column #x 

[We] want to discuss about buying dry season paddy. When [you] receive this letter, come on 3-5-99, tomorrow, to the place where I am staying, xxxx village.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                                 2-5-99

[Dry season paddy is a second crop (the main crop is grown in rainy season), and the discussion will be about farmers handing over their quota of the second crop at low government price. In many areas the SPDC orders the farmers to grow a second crop but provides no assistance with the necessary irrigation or fertilisers, so the crop fails or the farmers never plant it; however, they are still forced to pay their quota.]

 


Order #208

 

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairperson
            Company #x                                  xxxx village

Subject:     Calling for a meeting

1)     Regarding the above subject, to meet and discuss with Chairperson [you], on 11-3-99 at 1000 hours, gentleman yourself come to yyyy village, you are informed.

2)     When the gentleman comes, bring the register of houses in your village, population, field acreage, and rubber acreage, you are informed.

Place:    yyyy                                                             [Sd.] 
Date:     9-3-99                                            Army Camp Commander
                                                                       yyyy Army Camp
                                                                           Capt. xxxx 

[The registers of households and acreage will be used to assess paddy and rubber quotas and taxes. See also Order #209 below.]

 


Order #209

 

          Stamp:                                          Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
#xxx Infantry Battalion                               yyyy village
Column #x Headquarters                              Letter No. xxx / 10 / Oo 1
                                                                Date: 1998 December 12th
To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To pay rubber [tax]

Regarding the above subject, for 1 acre of rubber it is 160 Kyat, to be paid by 16/12/98, Na Daw Lah Sote 14 [14th waning day of Na Daw month], to the Township Peace & Development Council (Kya In Seik Gyi) or to Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion at yyyy village. Pay according to whichever is nearer your village, you are informed.

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

 

Order #210

 

To,                                                                               31-7-98
     Auntie
               I write this letter.

The subject matter is that Auntie can come and get the rice as you need. Therefore, come and get it during the next one or two days. The Camp Commander himself will write a chit, and you can get 30 sacks.
                                                                                      That's all.
The Camp Commander asks Auntie                                   Thank you,
to come yourself without fail.                                              xxxx
                                                                                         xxxx

[This order is unclear; it may have been written after the Army had confiscated the village's rice, telling the headwoman that she can come and get the weekly ration (the Army often does this, with the theory that it will prevent villagers giving rice to opposition forces), or it may be a sympathetic NCO telling a village head that his camp will help the village by giving some rice.]

 Health, Education and Pagoda-Building

The orders below have been arranged with those concerning health issues first, followed by education and finally some orders related to building pagodas. The orders concerning health mainly involve meetings regarding vaccination campaigns, midwife training, and village support for the local 'health director'. Most of the health campaigns in Burma are financed by foreign organisations, though when they are implemented the SPDC rarely mentions this and tries to claim full credit in front of the local people; in addition, as can be seen from some of these orders, the villagers are ordered to contribute food and money for various ceremonies connected to these programs and village leaders are threatened if they fail to cooperate fully.

There are only 2 orders concerning education, one being an order to attend a meeting of the parent-teacher association at which 'The Tactical Commander himself will attend the meeting and will give orders for what is required' (Order #216). The other (#217) is a letter from a student to a former teacher, criticising him for promoting students based on favouritism rather than merit and encouraging him to 'follow the truth'; essentially this letter is a reference to the corruption which has crept into the teaching system, as underpaid teachers struggle to survive on minuscule pay and face various pressures from the Army and local authorities.

The final orders (#218 through #221) relate to various stages of the construction of two pagodas in different areas, from the clearing of the land to the placing of the crowning 'hti' on the finished pagoda. In both cases the villagers have been ordered to hand over land, then to provide the building materials and forced labour to build the pagodas, then at their opening the Army officers claim all the Buddhist merit for the project. Usually villagers are glad to contribute resources and labour to pagoda projects, but not when they are initiated and ordered by the Army.

 

Order #211

 

                Stamp:                                                          Date: 21-5-99
Peace & Development Council 
         xxxx village tract

For the price of building a fence for the house of the health supervisor, the Headman's village must pay 200 Kyat. Send it to arrive on 24-5-99 for this expenditure.

Note:     Only for your health supervisor.
                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                              Member
                                                         Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                           xxxx village tract, Papun Township

 


Order #212

 

                Stamp:                                                         Date: 9-5-99
Peace & Development Council 
         xxxx village tract

We have important requirements to announce for giving medicine to the headman's village. Come without fail to the VPDC office on 10-5-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning.

Note:     If [you] don't attend, [you] are a headman who doesn't take responsibility for his village.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                               Member
                                                          Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                            xxxx village tract, Papun Township 

[This apparently concerns some medicine which is to be distributed to the villages, presumably by some outside non-governmental organisation or UN agency. The headmen are to be briefed or given orders in advance of the distribution.]

 

Order #213

 

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

Subject:     Invitation to attend a celebration for the completion of training

You are invited to attend without fail the celebration for the completion of nursing and midwife training number (1/99) on 5-3-99, at the village health clinic in yyyy village.

                    Place:         yyyy village health clinic
                    Date:          5-3-99
                    Time:          Morning 0800 hours

For use in the completion [ceremony] of the training, get and send 5 viss [8 kg / 17.5 lb] of fish on 3-3-99, asking for your help. 

                                                                              [Sd.] 
                                                              Training responsible person

 

Order #214

 

               Stamp:
Peace & Development Council                     To:  Village Head
        xxxx Village Tract

Subject:
Invitation to a meeting.

Regarding the above subject, xxxx health director will discuss with [you] gentlemen. Come and arrive on 5-1-99, in the morning at 8 o'clock, you are informed.

                                                                                Member
                                                           Village Peace & Development Council
                                                             xxxx Village Tract, Papun Township

 

Order #215

 

                 Stamp:                                                        Date: 6-12-98
Peace & Development Council
         xxxx village tract

Village Head
yyyy [village]

In village head's village, the health department will give vaccinations, so for your village the village head yourself must come to take responsibility. On 7-12-98, in the morning at 10 o'clock, arrive at the Ya Ya Ka [Section/Ward Peace & Development Council]office without fail.

Note: If you do not arrive on 7-12-98 the higher officials will brand the village head as one who is not taking responsibility for health in his village.

                                                                              [Sd. / 6-12-98]
                                                                            (for) Chairperson

 

Order #216

 

                         Stamp:
Southwest Command Military Headquarters

          #x Tactical Command Group

                    To:      [Village] Head  
                               xxxx village

Subject:     Informing [you] to attend the meeting 

A meeting of the parent-teacher association of xxxx village basic education middle school, and to discuss and coordinate the sale of rice to the villages, will be held atxxxx village on 20-5-99.

2. The Tactical Commander himself will attend the meeting and will give orders for what is required. The village heads yourselves must attend without fail, you are invited.

3. Come to xxxx village to arrive on 20-5-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning. If [you] fail it will be your responsibility sir, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Tactical Commander

[This order is typical of the Army's meddling in all matters, with the local military commander dictating how the school must be run and most likely making further demands on the villagers.]

 

Order #217

 

Headmaster:                                                                         2-3-99

How is the situation? I feel unhappy to hear. Is the headmaster a man? You need to follow the truth and do what is important. Don't divide everything [people]. Give priority to what could be over what you want there to be. Give first place to the one who gets the best marks. Don't favour. The pupil [I] will take the responsibility to say thanks. The pupil wants everything to be good, that's why the pupil will take the responsibility. Don't worry headmaster.

                                                                         Pupil
                                                                         Temporary / xxxx [village]

[This is a letter from a pupil to a headmaster, subtly criticising him for practicing favouritism, possibly accepting bribes, and giving in to pressure by the authorities in his dealings with his students. Teachers are under steady pressure by the authorities to teach the SPDC curriculum, to instill SPDC propaganda in their students and to turn in students who oppose the regime. The teachers are demoralised by this situation and in addition they cannot survive on their salaries, so many demand bribes to pass students and fail those who cannot pay.]

 


Order #218

 

To:                                                 Stamp:
      Chairperson                    #xxx Infantry Battalion 

      xxxx village                             Company #x                  Date: 20-7-99

Subject:     Invitation to the village Chairperson to meet with the Battalion Commander

From the Battalion Commander of Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion to the xxxx village Chairperson, [you] are invited to discuss and coordinate the construction of a Monastery in yyyy village, and to get the materials that [we] need. As soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly as you are invited. 

                                                                       [Sd.] 20-7-99
                                                                (for) Camp Commander
                                                                      zzzz Army Camp
                                                   Company #x, Company Commander xxxx

 

Order #219

 

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

     Intelligence Deparment                         yyyy Army Camp
                                                                Letter #: xxxx / 03 / Oo 5
                                                                Date: 1999 January 16th 
To:    Village Head
          xxxx Village

Subject:     Invitation to attend the ceremony for the blessing of
                 newly cleared land for the Monastery

1)      yyyy village needs a Monastery, so the populace of the region has given in charity for the building, led by Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion. [We] already measured the land and cleared it. At the building site of the Monastery, the monks will read Pali texts and bless the newly cleared land on January 19th 1999, the 3rd waxing day of Da Boh Dweh month, year 1361, at (1200) hours in the afternoon.

2) For those who come to the ceremony, including the monks, people and spectators, [we]will make an offering of food in the afternoon. Attend without fail, you are respectfully invited.

                                                                               [Sd.] 
                                                               (for) Battalion Commander

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

 

Order #220

 

                Stamp:                                                          Date: 11-5-99
Peace & Development Council            To:
         xxxx village tract                           [Village] Head

Subject:     Invitation to the placing of the hti on the pagoda      

On the hill of xxxx Army Camp, on 15-5-99, Saturday, #x Tactical Command will place thehti atop the pagoda and make offerings. Come to this ceremony, you are invited.

The villagers from Headman's village may also make offerings as they wish.

                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                        Member (1)
                                                     Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                       xxxx village tract / Papun Township

[The 'hti' is the crowning golden umbrella-shaped ornament placed as the final touch on the tip of a pagoda. Its placement is always accompanied by a great deal of ceremony. SPDC authorities and military units try to make Buddhist merit for themselves by building and crowning pagodas, though they usually steal the money to build them and often use the villagers as forced labour to build them. See also Order #221 below. 'Member (1)' means the leading member of the VPDC, under the Chairperson and the Secretaries.]

 

Order #221

 

To:    Village Head                               Stamp:
         xxxx village             Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                              Column x Headquarters             Date: 12-5-99

For the placing of the hti on the Pagoda in yyyy camp, for the meal with the ceremony, come to send 5 viss [8 kg / 17.5 lb] of bamboo shoots and 5 lemons from Gentleman's[your] village to yyyy camp, to arrive on 13-5-99, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                  (for) Column Commander
                                                                    Column #xHeadquarters

[See also Order #220 for further explanation of the ceremony mentioned here.]

 

 

Summons to 'Meetings'

The orders below call village elders to 'meetings', usually at the local Army base. Village elders are deluged with such orders every week from each Army camp in their area, making it difficult for them to tend their fields and perform their functions within the village. Many of the orders 'invite' the elders, but almost without exception they add the phrase 'without fail'. They are expected to drop everything and go immediately to the Army camp on receipt of these orders. 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. Some carry explicit threats, such as Orders #223 and 263, which threaten that if the village head doesn't come the Army will arrest anyone they see from his village. Order #247 threatens to take 'action according to the law' if the village head fails to come, while most other orders simply threaten 'serious' or 'severe' action. Perhaps the most threatening order in this set is #222; it contains no threatening words, but it was sent to the village with two small pieces of charcoal enclosed. Pieces of charcoal are occasionally sent with an order by SPDC officers to warn the recipient that the village will be burned as punishment for failure to comply.

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 #222

To:    Chairperson
         xxxx Village

Today [we] have to hold a meeting at yyyy village, so the Chairperson or Secretary yourself must come to the Column Commander at zzzz Village together with this messenger, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                Intelligence Officer

[This order was delivered accompanied by 2 small lumps of charcoal, which is usually interpreted as a serious threat that some houses or the entire village will be burned for any failure to comply.]

Order #223

                Stamp:                                    To:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                         Chairperson
     Column #x Headquarters                               Secretary
                                                                       Ten-house group leaders

Right now when [you] receive this letter, come quickly to meet with the Column Commander. If[you] do not come, [we] will arrest the villagers when [we] see them on the path.

                                                             [Written:]     Column Commander

                                                             [Stamped:] Column Commander
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #224

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx Village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

Gentleman, a meeting will be held so come to yyyy Village Army Camp on 30-12-99, and arrive "today" at 12 o'clock, you are invited.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 30/99
                                                                      (for) Company Commander

Order #225

Chairperson / Secretary                                         Stamp:      
                                            xxxx Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                                Than Daung Township

On 8-11-99 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, attend the meeting at the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office, you are hereby informed.

Note:     Attend without fail.
                                                                              [Sd.] 
                                                                         Chairperson
                                                  Village Tract Peace & Development Council
                                                    xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Order #226

                        Stamp:
#xx Light Infantry Division Headquarters
            Tactical Command #xxx 

To:     Chairperson / Secretary
           xxxx Village

To meet, coordinate and discuss matters of Regional Development and Security, come and arrive on 7-11-99 at 0900 hours at yyyy Village, you are informed. (Sunday)

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                  (for) Tactical Commander
                                                                   #xxx Tactical Command
                                                         Military Operations Supervisory Group


Order #227

           Stamp:                                                             Date:  6-11-99
#xxx Infantry Battalion 
Column #x Headquarters

To:     Chairperson / Secretary / Members / Ten-houses group leaders
           xxxx Village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

1. Regarding the above subject, the above-mentioned Gentlemen must attend at the yyyy Village Peace & Development Council Office without fail (without fail) on 6-11-99 at 0900 hours to coordinate matters of village peace and security, you are hereby ordered.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                     (for) Intelligence Officer
                                                                       #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #228

To:     Chairperson                                                          Date: 24-10-99
          xxxx Village

Subject:     [You] Must come to yyyy Village

1. Come to meet with the Battalion Commander on 24-10-99. Arrive at 3 o'clock in the afternoon at yyyy village. Come without fail, you are hereby informed.

2. If [you] fail to come, serious action will be taken.

                                                                          [Sd.] 24/10/99, Captain

[The village head failed to attend this meeting, so this order was followed by Order #229 below.]

Order #229

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx Village

[We] summoned [you] to attend the meeting at yyyy but [you] didn't come, so come and arrive on 28-10-99, you are informed again.

                                                                           [Sd.] 
                                                                 Intelligence Officer

[This order followed Order #228 above.]

Order #230

                       Stamp:
Township Peace & Development Council    Township Peace & Development Council 
              Kya In Seik Gyi Town                  Kya In Seik Gyi Township 
                                                                                      - Kya In Seik Gyi Town
                                                               Letter # 5 / 43-1 / Oo-6 / 0908
                                                               Date: 1999 / October 11th 
To:     Village Head
           xxxx Village
          Kya In Seik Gyi Town

Subject:     The matter of attending a meeting

Regarding the above subject, to coordinate and discuss management matters for village tracts in Kya In Seik Gyi Township, the village heads must attend without fail a meeting according to the agenda below, you are hereby informed.

                                             Agenda

                         Date:          19-10-99 (Tuesday)
                         Time:          Afternoon, 1:00 o'clock
                         Place:          Township Peace & Development Council Office Meeting Hall.

                                                                           [Sd.] 11/10/99
                                                                          (for) Chairperson 

                                                                   (Saw Ee Naw- Secretary)

Copies to- 
               Tactical Command Troops (Base) Kya In Seik Gyi Town
               File
               Office Copy

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


Order #231

To:   Village Head, xxxx [village]                                         29-9-99

-     Report to yyyy camp as soon as possible when you receive this message.
-     We will take action if you fail.
-     We want you to come urgently.

                  Stamp:                                                          [Sd.] 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                      yyyy camp
      Column x Headquarters

Order #232

To:    xxxx Village
        Chairperson / Secretary                                                   29/9/99

Subject:     Summons to meet with the IB #xxx Battalion Commander

Regarding the above subject, the Gentlemen must respect the time and come to yyyy Army Camp on 30-9-99 at 10 o'clock, you are invited.

                Stamp:                                                   [Sd.] xxxx, 29/9/99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                      Officer xxxx
Column #x Supervisory Group                                   xxx - xxxx [serial #]


Order #233

To:     Chairperson                                                         Date: 19.8.99
          (xxxx Village)

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, the Chairperson yourself must come without fail to yyyy VPDC [Ya Ya Ka] office on 20-8-99 at 09:00 hours.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                      (for) Intelligence Officer
                                                                        #xxx Infantry Battalion 
                                                                                  yyyy Camp


Order #234

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
   #x Column Headquarters

To:    Chairperson / Secretary                                           Date: 9-8-99
         xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, to discuss for emergencies, Chairperson and Secretary from xxxxvillage [must] come and bring information to yyyy camp on 10-8-99 at 0900 hours without fail, you are informed. If you fail we will surely take action.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Column 
                                                                     #x Column Headquarters

['Emergencies' usually means urgent need for forced labourers or other demands.]

Order #235

               Stamp:                                                                      Date: 6-7-99
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion          To: Chairperson / Secretary     [sic: 6-8-99]
  #x Column Headquarters                    xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

In accordance with the above subject, to discuss important matters the xxxx village Chairperson / Secretary [must] come to meet at yyyy camp on 7-8-99 at 1300 hours, you are informed. If you fail severe action will be taken.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                      (for) Column Commander
                                                                       #x Column Headquarters
                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Order #236

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  #x Column Headquarters

To:  Chairperson / Secretary                                              Date: 3-8-99
       xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, [we] have important matters to ask you. xxxx village Chairperson/Secretary, go to call both the Chairperson and Secretary from yyyy village, then come to meet today, 3-8-99, arrive at zzzz camp.

Note   - xxxx village Chairperson/Secretary
          - yyyy village Chairperson/Secretary [come to the meeting]

                                                                             [Sd. / 3/8] 
                                                                   (for) Column Commander
                                                                    #x Column Headquarters
                                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Order #237

                 Stamp:                                                           Date: 25-7-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

               To:   Chairperson
                       ( xxxx ) village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, the pastors from the Gentleman's [your] village and the Gentleman yourself must come to yyyy Camp on July 26th '99 at 0900 hours, you are respectfully invited.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                        (for) Temporary Battalion Commander
                                                             Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #238

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion         To:   Chairperson / Secretary        14-7-99
  #x Column Headquarters                     xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, the Chairperson / Secretary from xxxx village [must] come to yyyycamp at 1000 hours, come without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                          Column Commander
                                                                       #x Column Headquarters
                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Order #239

                   Stamp:                                                           Date: 14-7-99
         xxxx Village Tract
Peace & Development Council              To:
      Than Daung Township                          Chairperson / Secretary 

Subject:     Summons from the Army

Right now, when [you] receive this letter, summoning [you] to come quickly to yyyy [village]hall.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                            Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                        xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Order #240

To:   Chairperson / Secretary

Subject:     To discuss emergency matters about the village

Gentlemen, there are emergency matters to discuss so attend without fail at the Ya Ya Ka [VPDC]office on Sunday morning at 8 o'clock and be on time, you are invited.

Time:     Morning at 10 o'clock. Ya Ya Ka [VPDC] office, 11-7-99.

                                                                           [Sd.] 
                                                                      Chairperson
                                                Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                   xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Order #241

                  Stamp:                                                           Date: 10-7-99 
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion 

To:  Chairperson, (xxxx) Village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, the Gentleman must come to yyyy Camp to arrive on 11.7.99 at 1200 hours, you are respectfully invited.

                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                         (for) Temporary Battalion Commander
                                                               Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #242

               Stamp:          
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion         To: Chairperson / Secretary
           [illegible]                             xxxx village                      Date: 28-6-99

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, to discuss and ask [you] about important matters, the Chairperson / Secretary [must] come to meet with the Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Column Commander at yyyycamp, arrive on 30-6-99.

Do not fail. Come to meet respectfully. If you fail, severe action will be taken.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                      28/6

Order #243

                Stamp:
         xxxx Village Tract 
Peace & Development Council            To:  Chairperson / Secretary
      Than Daung Township

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, [we] have to discuss about the village. [We] want you to come to the VPDC [Ya Ya Ka] office on 27-6-99 at 10 o'clock in the morning.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                            Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                        xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Order #244

To:                                                Stamp:
     Chairperson                  Infantry Battalion #xxx 

      xxxx village                           Column #x 
                                                                                      Date: 26-6-99
Subject:      Invitation to a meeting

Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion would like to discuss with you about control matters. [You]must come to yyyy camp on (28-6-99) at noon, (12) o'clock, you are respectfully invited to attend the meeting without fail.

                                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                                Column Commander

                                                                                  yyyy Army Camp

['Control' matters refers to the Army's control of the area, including such issues as villagers doing forced labour as sentries and village elders being ordered to regularly report on all movements of resistance forces. Identical orders were sent to all villages in the area.]

Order #245

               Stamp:                                                                   Date: 26-6-99
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion         To: Chairperson / Secretary
  #x Column Headquarters                   xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, to discuss important matters the village Chairperson / Secretary[must] come to meet with the LIB xxx Column Commander at yyyy village. Arrive on 27-6-99, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                        (for) Column Commander
                                                                         #x Column Headquarters
                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Order #246

                          Stamp:                                                      19-6-99
Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                  xxxx Village Tract

To:     Chairperson, Secretary, Village Mother, Village Father

Subject:     Come to meet with the Camp Commander

Regarding the above subject, Chairperson and Secretary, come today to meet with the Camp Commander, you are ordered. [We] want [you] to come quickly. Come and arrive at xxxx Camp on 19-6-99 at 2 o'clock.

                                                                               [Sd.] 
                                                                          Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council
                                                      xxxx Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Order #247

          Stamp:                                                                  Date: 12/6/99
#xxx Infantry Battalion                To:  Chairperson
       Company #x                               xxxx village

Right now, if [you] receive this letter, as soon as [you] receive this letter, the Gentleman must come to meet with the Column Commander at yyyy [village], you are informed.

Note:
If [you] fail to arrive, action will be taken according to the law. If the Chairperson can't come, one of his representatives must come and meet.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                #x Company


Order #248

                Stamp:                                                                   10-6-99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion              To:     
     Column #x Headquarters                         xxxx village 

Subject:     Come to meet the Column Commander                    

Secretary from xxxx village, right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come quickly toyyyy village to meet with the Column Commander, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                          Column Commander
                                                                       Column #x Headquarters
                                                                  Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #249

To:    Chairperson / Secretary
         xxxx village                                                                 29-5-99

Now, when you receive this letter, sir, come yourself to meet with the Column without fail. If you fail, you will be responsible, sir, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd. / 29/5/99] 
                                                                          (for) Column Commander
                                                                           Frontline IB #xxx, Col. x

Order #250

To:
     Chairperson
      xxxx Village                                                                       28-5-99

Chairperson yourself must come immediately to yyyy village, if not the chairperson yourself then a representative must come immediately. You are hereby informed.

                                                                                     [Sd:] xxxx
                                                                             Company Commander
                                                                                    F.L.I.B. #xxx 
                                                                                    #x Company

[A Burmese abbreviation is used equivalent to 'F.L.I.B.', short for Frontline Infantry Battalion.]

Order #251

                Stamp:                                                                 Date: 28-5-99
Peace & Development Council             To:  Headman
         xxxx village tract

U aaaa, Major bbbb wants to see you, so now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come to yyyyVPDC office.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 
                                                                               Member
                                                          Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                            xxxx village tract, Papun Township


Order #252

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                  To:  Chairperson
Column #x Headquarters                        xxxx village                  28-5-99

Subject:     Come to meet

As soon as you receive this letter, come to meet at yyyy camp, you are informed. If you fail it will be the gentleman's [your] responsibility.

                                                                                     zzzzTownship

Order #253

To:    Chairperson (or) Section Leader                                Date: 27-5-99
         xxxx village

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, come to meet with the Column Commander at yyyymonastery. Bring one assistant.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                      (for) Column Commander
                                                                        Frontline #xxx, Col. #x

Order #254

                  Stamp:                                                              Date: 15-5-99
Peace & Development Council 
         xxxx village tract

For a discussion with the [village] headmen, attend without fail on 16-5-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning at the VPDC office.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                             Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                xxxx village tract, Papun Township

Order #255

          Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion            To:  Chairperson / Secretary           15-5-99
         Column x                             xxxx village 

Now, as soon as you receive this letter, the gentleman yourself come to meet with the Column without fail. If you fail it will be your responsibility, sir, you are informed.

Note
Come together now with the one who brings this letter.

                                                                             [Sd. / xxxx] 
                                                                    (for) Column Commander 
                                                                Pa/Ka Column Commander xxxx
                                                                          Army unit - IB xxx

Order #256

           Stamp:                                        Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
Frontline Headquarters #x                         Column #x Headquarters, xxxx [camp]
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                            Ref. No. 100 / xxx / 10 / Oo 1
                                                              Date: 1999 May 4
To: 
Chairpersons
Village Peace and Development Councils
aaaa / bbbb / cccc Villages

Subject:      Come immediately for emergency discussion

Villages listed above, your village chairpersons must come immediately in person when you get this letter. Do not send representatives, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Column Commander

Order #257

             Stamp:
Frontline Headquarters #x                            Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

  Infantry Battalion #xxx                               Column #x Headquarters, xxxx [camp]
                                                                 Ref. No.: 102 / 10 / xxx / Oo 1
                                                                 Date: 1999 May 2nd
To:
     Chairperson 
     Village Peace and Development Council
     aaaa, bbbb, cccc, dddd village tracts

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

From the villages mentioned, the Chairpersons yourselves must come to xxxx Camp for a meeting as soon as you receive this letter, you are informed.

                                                                                         [Sd.] 
                                                                          (for) Column Commander

Order #258

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion          To:  Village Head                  1-5-99

              Col[umn] #x                               (xxxx) village

Subject:      Come to yyyy Army Camp

Regarding the above subject, [we] want to meet with the village head, so come to meet with the Battalion Commander at yyyy Army Camp; arrive on May 2nd 1999 at 1 o'clock, you are informed. 
                                                                           
                                                                                  [Sd.] 
                                                                 (for) Battalion Commander

Order #259

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

Subject:     Come to meet

Regarding the above subject, as soon as you receive this letter come to meet at yyyy camp, you are informed. If you fail it will be the gentleman's [your] responsibility.

[Written below in red ink:] IB #xxx Deputy Battalion Commander xxxx, 27/4/99, yyyy camp, Division, mother unit Kya In Seik Gyi.

Order #260

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion
         Column #x 

To:   Chairperson                                                              23-4-99
        xxxx village
        Subject:     Come to meet

Regarding the above subject, now, as soon as you receive this letter, come to meet at yyyy Army Camp. If you fail, it will be the gentleman's [your] responsibility.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                          Column Commander
                                                                                #x Column
                                                                       #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #261

               Stamp:                                    Section Peace & Development Council
Peace & Development Council                    yyyy village
          yyyy village tract                             Letter #: 10 / 12 / VPDC yyyy
                                                               Date: 1999 / 18th of April

To:     [Village] head      
          xxxx [village]     

Subject:          Invitation to a meeting

1. The Tactical Command group at yyyy village will hold a meeting. Village heads yourselves must attend without fail.

2. The meeting will be held on 21-4-99 at yyyy camp. Come to yyyy village at (0900) hours in the morning and do not be late. If [you] don't come it will be your responsibility sir, you are hereby warned and informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                                 Member
                                                            Village Peace & Development Council 
                                                               yyyy village tract, Papun Township


Order #262

                 Stamp:                                                             15.4.99
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
              #x Column

To:
        U aaaa / bbbb 
        Chairpersons
        xxxx Village 

Dear Sirs,
               When you receive this letter, come and meet at yyyy village today at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. You are informed to come to yyyy village today at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and if you fail it will be your responsibility.

                                                                                  [Sd. xxxx]
                                                                           Intelligence Officer 

                                                                   Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #263

To:   Chairperson                                                                    12/4/99
        Secretary
        Ten-house group leaders

Right now, when [you] receive this letter, ask this messenger where the Column is staying and come to meet with the Column Commander. 

If [you] don't come, [we] will arrest the villagers.

Arrive on 12/4/99 and 13/4/99.                                    Column Commander
                                                                                    Frontline IB #xxx


Order #264

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                To:  Chairperson / Secretary

     Column #x Headquarters                             xxxx village

(1) Come now to meet at yyyy [village] quickly.
(2) If it is dark in the evening, come with a firebrand [to light the way; the troops won't allow the villagers to use flashlights].
                                                                 

                                                                                [Sd.]

Order #265

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion          To: Chairperson             Date: 8-4-99

               Column #x                                xxxx village

Gentleman, today [we] have a meeting in yyyy Camp, so Gentleman yourself must attend without fail and must arrive in the afternoon at 2 p.m. at the yyyy [village] Chairperson's house. Come without fail, you are informed.

                                                                      Respectfully,
                                                                           [Sd.] 
                                                                         Bo xxxx
                                                                  (for) Mobile Army
                                                                     Frontline #xxx


Order #266

To:   Chairperson, Secretary                                                 4-4-99
        xxxx [village]

Chairperson, come yourself and bring the village mother and village father from Chairperson's village, you are informed by the Camp Commander. Prepare and bring a register of the number of cattle.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 4-4-99
                                                                                          xxxx

Order #267

            Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                    To:   Chairperson
Column #x Headquarters

Subject:     To come to an emergency meeting

Come to meet on 2-4-99, arriving in the morning at 8 o'clock at xxxx camp. If you fail it will be the gentleman's [your] responsibility.

                                                                                 Major xxxx
                                                                          Column Commander
                                                                                 #x Column
                                                                        #xxx Infantry Battalion

Order #268

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson                       31-3-99
Column #x Headquarters                       xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet

xxxx Chairperson, as soon as you receive this letter come to meet.

                                                                              Major xxxx
                                                                       Column Commander
                                                                              #x Column
                                                                     #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #269

                                                                               Stamp:
To:   Chairperson                                Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 

        xxxx village                                          Column x Headquarters

                                                                                   Date: 10-3-99

Subject:      Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, [we] will hold a meeting at yyyy Army camp on 14-3-99 at 8 o'clock in the morning. Do not fail to attend, you are invited. 

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                  yyyy camp

Order #270

                                                                                Stamp:
To:    Chairperson                                 Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 

         xxxx village                                         Column x Headquarters

                                                                                      Date: 9-3-99

Subject:      Chairpersons must come

Regarding the above subject, now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, the Chairpersons yourselves must come to yyyy Army Camp, you are informed.

                                                                                        [Sd.] 
                                                                        (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                    yyyy Camp

[Added below in handwriting:] As soon as [you] receive this letter, the Chairpersons yourselves must come. Do not send substitutes. If [you] fail, serious action will be taken. 
                                                                                               [Sd.] 

[This is a typed and carbon-copied letter with the village name written in by hand. The note below was also written in by hand and signed with the same signature.]

Order #271

To:    Village Chairperson                          Stamp: 
         xxxx village                   Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                   Column x Headquarters             Date: 6-3-99

Now, as soon as you receive this letter come to yyyy camp. The Column Commander wants to meet. Do not fail to come, you are informed.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                  yyyy camp

Order #272

To:
     Chairperson 
      xxxx Village

Subject:     Every village Chairperson must come and report.

Regarding the above subject, to discuss important matters with every village Chairperson, they must arrive today (1-3-99) and report to yyyy Camp. You are hereby informed.

(1) Full Moon Da Baun (today) must arrive.
(2) Responsible person must come, if not the Chairperson.
(3) Bring information.
                                                                                   yyyy Army Camp

[This order was copied to several villages with the village name written in afterwards.]

Order #273

To:   Village Head                                  Stamp:     
        xxxx village                 Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                Column x Headquarters             Date: 15-2-99

Now, immediately when you receive this letter, come to yyyy camp quickly. The Column Commander wants to meet.

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                        Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion, Col.x 
                                                                            yyyy Camp


Order #274

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion        To:  Chairperson / Secretary       Date: 8-2-99
  #x Column Headquarters                   xxxx village 

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Regarding the above subject, xxxx Village Peace & Development Council Chairperson / Secretary, when you receive this letter come to meet with the LIB xxx Column Commander, you are informed.

Do not fail. Obey respectfully, you are informed again.

                                                                            [Sd. / 8-2-99] 
                                                                       Column Commander
                                                                    LIB xxx, Column Office

Order #275

                Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion             To:

     Column #x Headquarters                          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

[We] want to have a meeting with the Village Peace & Development Council chairpersons (or) secretaries of villagers from the region of the Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion Column, so do not fail to attend in accordance with the following agenda, you are informed.

                                   Meeting place              yyyy                
                                   Meeting date               6-2-99              
                                   Meeting time               0800                

February 5th 1999                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                              Column Commander
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion


Order #276

                                                                        Stamp:
To:                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 

       Chairperson                                            #x Company
       xxxx village                                                                              5-2-99

Subject:          Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, a meeting will be held on 7-2-99 at (0900) hours in yyyy Camp. Do not fail to come, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.] 
                                                                      Company Commander
                                                                             #x Company
                                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion


Order #277

To:  Dear Gentlemen                     Stamp:                                 3-2-99
                                                 [illegible]

     Chairperson or one of the members from xxxx village, when you get this letter you must come immediately with [sic: to] the commander to yyyy Camp. [You] must come at 8 o'clock tomorrow, 4-2-99, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                     Camp Commander
                                                                                              [Sd.] 

['Members' refers to the members of the appointed Village Peace & Development Council.]

Order #278

                    Stamp:
Frontline #x Tactical Command Unit                                       26-1-99

Southwest Regional Headquarters
                                             
                                        To:    Village head
                                                 xxxx village

[We] have matters to coordinate with you sir, so come to Tactical Command #x at yyyy on 27-1-99 at (1200) hours, you are informed to come without fail.

                                                                                    [Sd.]26/1/99
                                                                                      Captainxxxx

                                                                                  Camp Commander
                                                                                 Tactical Command #x      


Order #279

To:    xxxx [village]
        Chairperson / Secretary

From xxxx [village], both Chairperson and Secretary come to yyyy village today, to arrive in the evening at 5 o'clock. Do not fail.

               Stamp:                                                                [Sd.] 
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                     (Intelligence Officer)
Military Control Headquarters                                         (Frontline #xxx)

Date:      24-1-99
Place:     yyyy village

Order #280

To:    Chairperson
         U xxxx

If you receive this notification letter, come quickly with Kyaun T'Ga [lay monastery helper(s)]. Come quickly.

                                                                             Column Commander
                                                                                  xxxx [village]
                                                                               LIB xxx, Column x
                                                                          Column Commander aaaa

Order #281

                         Stamp:                                          To:
Village Tract Peace & Development Council                     Chairperson
                   yyyy Village Tract                                        xxxx village

Subject:     The matter of calling a meeting

Regarding the above subject, right now as soon as [you] receive this letter, Chairperson / Secretary yourselves come together with this messenger, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                           Chairperson
                                                    Village Tract Peace & Development Council 
                                                                       yyyy Village Tract


Order #282

                 Stamp:
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                                            12-12-98 
           Date: 12-12-98
Column #x Supervisory Group

To:    Chairperson
         xxxx village

Subject:     Come to meet with the Column Commander

Chairperson U aaaa yourself from xxxx village, come to meet with the Column Commander. If U aaaais not there, the Secretary must come to meet. If neither of them is there, one of the Members[of the Village PDC] must come to meet right now, come in the night. If [you] fail to come action will be taken against the persons responsible, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                           Column Commander 
                                                                    Frontline Infantry #xxx, Sa Ka²

Order #283

                Stamp:                                 To:  xxxx village
Frontline #xxx Infantry Battalion                      Chairperson
Column #x Supervisory Group                         U aaaa 

I am writing this letter so that tomorrow the Chairperson and Secretary [of the Village PDC], 2 persons, will come to yyyy camp to arrive on the 8th of December, tomorrow, at 11 o'clock.

We are not going to the uplands, [we] will come down to yyyy tomorrow. Therefore, tomorrow at 11 o'clock come without fail to yyyy. [We] have demands to make.

                                                                             Yours,
                                                                             [Sd.] 
                                                                            7-12-98
                                                                   xxxx [place name]
                                                                  #xxx [IB], Column #x 
                                                                       Officer xxxx
                                                              xxx xxxx [serial number]

 

DKBA Orders

The orders below were issued by DKBA units in Papun District with the exception of #286, which was issued further south in Dooplaya District. In these areas the DKBA is primarily occupied in helping the local SPDC military as guides and in fighting the KNLA, but many DKBA units 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 or building pagodas in some areas, whether under SPDC orders or for their own purposes. 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 many of their orders are written in a much more genial tone than SPDC orders.

Some of the orders below were written in Burmese, while the others 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. Where they have written out the name of their Army in Karen or Burmese we have translated directly; it does not usually translate directly as Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, but as 'Progressive Karen Buddhist National Army' or simply 'Karen Buddhist Army'. Where we have written DKBA, it is because the order wrote it that way in English characters.

 

Order #284

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

To:                                                                                    Date: 17.7.99
      Chairperson & Secretary

(1)     With strong friendliness we leave this note. We took a pack of Kyeh Ni and a pack of London [Kyeh Ni and London are brand names of Burmese cigarettes].

(2)     After discussing with us, [we] will allow you to go down if you want to go down with wood or bamboo [presumably to town or to market].

(3)     If you do not discuss it with us, we won't be responsible for any arrests.

Note:  Buffalos, cattle etc. (xxxx)                                [Sd. / 17-7-99] 
          yyyy, zzzz [villages]                                     Company Commander 
          Please explain all.                                                 #x Company
                                                                                  xxxxBattalion
                                                                                  Dee Kay Bee Ay

[This order was written in Burmese. It essentially tells the villagers that any time they want to take materials, livestock or anything down to the market towns they must first get specific permission from the DKBA, and that if they do not and are subsequently arrested en route by SPDC troops then the DKBA will not help them.]

Order #285

To: [blank]                                       Stamp:
                                                Karen Buddhist Army              Date: 6.7.99

                                                        D.K.B.A.

                                                        Subject

I send this letter for the Village Head. Letting you know to cut the bamboo for our D.K.B.A. huts which we will build. Your village has to send bamboo in the amount of (100) [posts]. Send it to the monastery by the deadline of 16-7-99. You are hereby informed.

                                                                           Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                Company Commander Bo xxxx
                                                                             Company #x 

[This order is written in very bad Burmese.]


Order #286

                                                              Stamp: 
                                                     Karen Buddhist Army                1-6-99

                                                              D.K.B.A.

To:    Chairperson, Secretary

Respectfully,
Writing this letter to let you know to help us with one basket of rice, send it to arrive on 2-6-99 in the morning at 8 o'clock.

                                                  Relying on you, soldier [Sd.] 
                                                                           xxxx (Dee Kay Bee Ay)
                                                                        Temporarily at xxxxvillage
                                                                                       (xxxx)

[This DKBA order was written in Burmese.]


Order #287


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

Date: 2-6-99

Progressive Buddhist Karen National Army

xxxx village head, letting you know.

The subject, if you see my letter don't delay, come at once. Now I have already come back, I want to visit with you. The day when you came I was not there, I went to a meeting. Now I have already come back, come and see me. The one writing this letter is yyyy Camp.

                                                                                          Boxxxx.
                                                                                           2-6-99

[This order is written in Sgaw Karen.]


Order #288

To:    Head                                                                     Date: 19-5-99
         xxxx village

Subject:     To attend a meeting

D.K.B.A. will hold a meeting on 23-5-99 in the morning at 8 o'clock at the D.K.B.A. office. Do not fail to attend.

You are hereby informed in advance.

                                                                                 [Sd. / 19-5-99] 
                                                                          Saw aaaa, xxxx [village]
                                                                    Frontline Office, Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                                 (xxxxBattalion)

[This DKBA order is written in Burmese.]


Order #289

Progressive Buddhist Karen National Army                             Date: 26-9-98

xxxx Village Head

Respectfully letting you know as follows: Because there will be hunger in the village, we will discuss together for the benefit of all of us with our Army. The meeting will start on 27-9-98. Come to yyyy (camp), Bo aaaa's house.

                                                                         Signed Bo aaaa 

[This DKBA order was written in Sgaw Karen.]


Order #290

To:                                                                               Date: 14-9-98
       Chairman

Respectfully, I write this letter to let you know. Can you give the help which I already asked from [you] or not? If [you] can give, come to help and arrive in the evening, [I] earnestly request.

                                                 [We] have important matters [to address].

                                                                    [Sd.] 14-9-98, xxxx [serial #]
                                                                                xxxx [village]
                                                                               Dee Kay Bee Ay

[This order from the DKBA is written in Burmese. The soldier includes his serial number along with his signature.]

Order #291

Progressive Buddhist Karen National Army

                                                                                         Date:16/6/98
To:     [blank]

Subject:     #901 Sin Pyu Daw Battalion Commander's directive

Starting on 1998 June 16th, the village population will have the opportunity to use drugs from June 16th to June 31st.

2)  Starting from July 1st, if they are seen using drugs they will be punished with 3 months of hard labour.

Note ------ If [people] do not follow this order, #901 Sin Pyu Daw Battalion, xxxx [camp], will punish [them] with 3 months of hard labour.

                                                                                  [Sd. 16/6/98] 
Copies:                                                                    xxx / xxxx / Major

          Battalion Commander                                    #901 Battalion Office
          Deputy Battalion Commander                                (xxxx Camp)
          Cpy. 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5, Security 1 / 2                       (Saw xxxx)
          Office Copy

[This order was sent out by the DKBA, typed in Burmese.]

'Karen Peace Army' Propaganda Letter

 

[Note: The information in the following paragraphs has been updated and corrected; see the 'Update' paragraph immediately following.]

The order below was sent to villages in Than Daung township of Toungoo District, in the far north of Karen State, by the Nyein Chan Yay A'Pweh ('Peace Group'), which was formed in 1997 much further south in Dooplaya District by Thu Mu Heh, a notoriously corrupt KNLA officer who defected to the SPDC. He failed to take many of his troops with him, but the SPDC Army helped him to recruit villagers to what they called the 'Peace Group' or 'Karen Peace Army' (KPA), partly by conscription and partly by promising that families of recruits would not have to do forced labour for the SPDC. The SPDC made a public show of giving Thu Mu Heh proxy authority over much of Dooplaya District of southern Karen State, but most of his new soldiers fled and he failed to control the area, so the SPDC brought DKBA troops back into the area and Thu Mu Heh's group faded from the picture [for more information see "Dooplaya Under the SPDC: Further Developments in the SPDC Occupation of South-central Karen State" (KHRG #98-09, 23/11/98), and other preceding reports]. 

Villagers in Dooplaya district still report seeing a few KPA soldiers occasionally acting as adjuncts to SPDC military columns, but the letter below was issued far to the north in Toungoo District of far northern Karen State. It may indicate that the SPDC has reassigned Thu Mu Heh and/or part of his group to the north, and this letter may be an attempt to woo recruits in his new area of operations. Though there are a few truthful claims in this propaganda regarding some aspects of KNU corruption, most of the statements are gross exaggerations; for example, the claim that the KNU set up the refugee camps in Thailand is false, as is the claim that all of the ceasefire groups whole-heartedly support the SPDC. In reality, most of the ceasefire groups still openly oppose the SPDC but have been backed into a corner where it is no longer possible for them to fight. Furthermore, the list of ceasefire groups is exaggerated; the bulk of the Shan State Army (item c) is still fighting the SPDC, as is the KNPP (item l) and the KNU 6th Brigade (item o). Thu Mu Heh was part of the KNU's 6th Brigade but defected on his own and failed to take many troops with him. Padoh Aung San (item q) was the KNU's forestry minister and defected in 1998 after some bad business deals, taking no troops with him whatsoever.

Regardless of its inaccuracies, the purpose of the letter is to try to turn villagers against the KNU and attract recruits to Thu Mu Heh's group. SPDC commanders occasionally send out similar letters, and it is noteworthy that this letter was typed in Burmese, not Karen. For the villagers of Than Daung township, its main meaning is that yet another group will soon begin demanding their labour, food, and money, when they are already being stripped clean by all of the demands made on them.

 

UPDATE TO ABOVE INFORMATION
(Added on March 23, 2000)

 

In the explanation of this letter, it was speculated that this group is somehow related to Thu Mu Heh’s group in Dooplaya District, which goes by the same name in Burmese (‘Nyein Chan Yay A’Pweh’, or ‘Peace Group’) but calls itself ‘Karen Peace Army’ in English. However, after making further inquiries it appears that there is probably no direct connection between the group which issued this letter and Thu Mu Heh’s group. According to KNU sources, a group of approximately 30 KNLA soldiers and their families surrendered to the SPDC in late 1997 in Than Daung township of Toungoo District, where this letter was issued. Since that time, the SPDC has named them ‘Nyein Chan Yay A’Pweh’, the same as Thu Mu Heh’s group, and has mainly used them for propaganda purposes such as this letter. The name ‘Peace Group’ comes from the SPDC’s rhetoric over the past 3 years, which calls the act of surrender ‘exchanging arms for peace’. There may be several small groups of surrendered Karen soldiers in various regions who have been given the name ‘Peace Group’ since 1997, but there appears to be no actual connection between such groups.

Order #292

                               Stamp:      
Than Daung Township Special Region Peace Group
                           Karen State

From Peace Village, Than Daung Township, Karen State, U Saw Peh Ree Mo (or) Bo A'Wah Dee, Bo Kweh Mu, Saya Kyaw Way, Saya Than Myint, Saya Koh Koh, Saya Aung[illegible], Padoh Aung Than Htoo, U Ba Kistah, Padoh Si Blu, Peace Army and their families; 

To inform the people who are in darkness, such as the (KNU) Karen National Union, Karen National Liberation Army 2nd Brigade in Toungoo District, the Toungoo District Chairperson, 2nd Brigade Commander Brigadier General Saw Meh Aye Sein and subordinate Karen Youth.

The most important need and our biggest strength is our Union of Burma, not anything else. Only the unity of our nation. The Myanmar Army is trying to fundamentally organise and work to strengthen the unity of the nation. Today weknow, see, accept and believe in the true good intentions and correct actions of the Tatmadaw [SPDC Army], so the nationalities' troops holding arms have joined the national objective of organising equally under the law, as shown in the list below.

[Following is the SPDC's list of groups which have made ceasefire deals; see notes above]
(a)     Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Assembly of Troops from Different Units [Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army] (Kokang Group) 
(b)     Myanmar Nationalities Solidarity and Unity Party [Burma Democracy Solidarity Party or Burma National United Party, later renamed United Wa State Party] (Wa Group)
(c)     Shan State Army (Shan)
(d)     Nationalities Democratic Alliance Group (Shan / Akha Group)
(e)     Democracy Army (Kachin)
(f)      Kachin National Improvement & Development Army (KDA)
(g)     White Pa'O National Organisation (PNO)
(h)     Kayan National Army
(i)      Karenni Nationalities People's Liberation Front (Ka La La Ta)
(j)     Kayan New Land Party [KNLP]
(k)     Many nationalities in Shan Nationalities People's Liberation Group[SNPLO/SNPLA]
(l)      Karenni National Progressive Party [KNPP]
(m)    New Mon State Party [NMSP]
(n)     Loimaw Group (Laid down arms) [this is Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army]
(o)     KNU 6th Brigade (U Saw Thu Mu Heh's Group)
(p)     Rakhine BCP [Burmese Communist Party]
(q)     KNU, Padoh Aung San's Group

Troops are continuing to exchange Arms for Peace. Our group is also included in the nationalities' armed groups mentioned above. We ourselves decided to join the legal fold on 7-11-97, over one year ago already. Isn't that right?

The Karen nationality is the second biggest population in Burma. Karen nationals also have the same blood as other nationals. [We] are brothers ([written in English:] Fraternal Bond). However, no one dared to challenge the crooked and clever British Colonialists, who made the Karen and Burmese hate each other in many different ways. Therefore, even up to now we brothers still doubt each other, so it is difficult to regroup together and unite.

In past history, because of territorial conflicts and conflicts between nationalities, Burma lost its independence and freedom. We have been a slave country, subordinate to others, and we even lost the human rights of independence, such as rights to commerce, development and education. At the present time, the nationalities are forgetting their differences and the ethnic nationalities are of the same heart and can show unity, so we have already obtained our freedom, isn't that true? The shadow that will destroy the unity of the nationalities has appeared, at the same time we have already heard the sound of the rebels who will swallow us.

Because of the colonial expansionists, revolutions like the KNU revolution, Mon revolution and Shan revolution are working to destroy the Union. Today the KNU does not represent their ethnic group. The Karen people feel distaste and hate for them and do not support [them]. They revolt against life under Independence, but the rebels have not gained victory, they cannot even stay in the towns. They have fled to hide in the border areas, where they perpetrate many kinds of evil. They steal and sell the natural resources of the country, they call themselves refugees in other countries, they send letters for pity and they don't have enough to eat. The leaders are making business and getting rich in other countries, their children are studying in popular foreign Universities, they are proud and take duty in the military of other countries. They open refugee camps to show their Karen nationals, they ask for money but do not feed them enough. They look down on them, they announce many things and organise misunderstandings, we have seen this ourselves. Do you want to deny it?

If [you are] staying in the other country but shouting loudly for the welfare of Karen people, [you] have to be ashamed, isn't that right? Most of the Karen people are staying in Burma, there's no way to deny it. They are staying with the other nationalities, together through hot and cold. Like the other nationalities, they are working for the development of their region, but they can't do it completely because of the Karen (KNU) revolution. They have no peace and quiet in their land. The nationality groups who have made peace with the State Peace & Development Council Government are joining hands with the Tatmadaw [SPDC Army] and the People's Government and are working day and night for the development of their regions. We are surprised to see them improving and that they are contented. Our Karen State will be late to develop and improve. Isn't that right? The KNU is the defendant. Think about it deeply.

If you think the pressure from the British Colonialists from the other country is right and if you think of nationalism and religion before all else, the Karen people will become grass and soil. Today, the leaders of their KNU and their families are rich, and the Karen people are slowly becoming poor. Think about it deeply. You believe what the outsiders tell you and do not believe what your own blood tells you, and you think you are enemies of each other. You make friends with enemies and act selfishly and stupidly. [You] have to examine yourselves.

[We are] Talking to you about the light. Come back to peace along the path strewn with flowers. Our National Government, people and Tatmadaw [Army] will welcome you just as parents welcome their children. They are arranging everything for our living even though we don't need it. We are also getting a chance to develop our lands and our Karen nationals in a good way. We also want you to taste and feel peace like us. You will see the truth and leave the darkness, and you will stay in the light.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                             Than Daung Township Special Region
                                                                  Nyein Chan Yay['Peace'] Group

[This propaganda letter is written in Burmese and is 3 pages long. In the list of ceasefire groups at the beginning of the order, we have translated directly from the Burmese but have included some more commonly used English names in italics where helpful. For notes on these groups and other information, see the explanation above the order. The KNU's 6th Brigade covers Dooplaya District, where Thu Mu Heh's group originated; the 2nd Brigade covers Toungoo District.]

 

 

Copies of the full set of Burmese orders in this report are available (with appropriate details blacked out) on approved request from KHRG.