SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 2000-A: Forced Labour

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SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 2000-A: Forced Labour

Published date:
Tuesday, February 29, 2000

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

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 and 113). 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 in Orders #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 28that (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 to yyyy 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 from xxxx 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 pay labourers 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 pay messengers 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 for xxxx 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 zzzz camp. 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 to yyyy 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 at yyyy 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
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
        vvvvwwwwxxxxyyyyzzzz 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 zzzzyyyy 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 yyyyzzzz [has to build] 1 bridge between zzzz village and aaaa river, and yyyy village [has to build] 1 bridge at aaaa river.
  • 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.]

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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.]

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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.]

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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 xxxxvillage 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'.]

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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.]

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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, xxxx village

[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.]

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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.]

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