SPDC & DKBA ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 2000-B

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Published date:
Thursday, October 12, 2000

All of the orders demanding forced labour were issued well after May 14th 1999, which is when the SPDC leadership claims to have issued ‘Order 1/99’ to all of their military and administrative units to halt conscription of forced labour under the Village Act and the Towns Act, colonial-era laws which allow authorities to press-gang labour under certain circumstances. In practice, most of the demands made by the military and SPDC authorities violate the conditions of these Acts (for example, that only able-bodied and unemployed men be conscripted), and when demanding forced labour the authorities almost never even make reference to the Acts. Since May 1999 there has been no abatement in orders issued demanding forced labour, and the fact that those included below were issued by many different SPDC battalions and authorities in 4 different regions shows that such demands are not isolated incidents. In June 2000 the International Labour Organisation gave the SPDC until November to take measures to bring an end to forced labour, but the orders in this report dated right up to the end of September indicate that no such measures have been taken.

Notes: Some details of this report have been omitted or replaced by 'xxxx''yyyy''aaaa' etc. for Internet distribution.  To preserve formatting, the order translations have been saved in 'table' format, so this report is best viewed in a window maximized to your full screen width.  Otherwise, you may have to scroll left and right to see the full text.

Following are the direct translations of just over 250 order documents and related letters sent from State Peace & Development Council (SPDC), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and Karen Peace Army (KPA) military units and local authorities to villages in Pa’an, Dooplaya, Toungoo, Papun, Thaton and Nyaunglebin Districts of Karen State, southeastern Burma. They were issued between mid-1999 and September 2000, with the vast majority of them dated in the latter half of this period. Villages in Karen areas receive a constant stream of order documents such as these almost every day, from all the Army camps near their village as well as the various levels of SPDC authorities, commanding them to provide people for forced labour, materials and supplies for the Army, extortion money, food, crop quotas, intelligence and other forms of support for the military. Many of the orders simply command village elders to rush to Army camps for ‘meetings’ at which military officers dictate lists of demands and threaten them with punishment for any failure to comply. The orders translated in this report should be seen as only a small representative sample of the thousands of orders issued to villages in these areas during this time period. For every order reproduced here, hundreds more are issued every week. This report does not aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the human rights situation in these areas, but to provide a reference containing examples of several kinds of orders received by villages in several different regions. More information on the human rights situation in each District is available in other existing KHRG reports.

All of the orders demanding forced labour were issued well after May 14th 1999, which is when the SPDC leadership claims to have issued ‘Order 1/99’ to all of their military and administrative units to halt conscription of forced labour under the Village Act and the Towns Act, colonial-era laws which allow authorities to press-gang labour under certain circumstances. In practice, most of the demands made by the military and SPDC authorities violate the conditions of these Acts (for example, that only able-bodied and unemployed men be conscripted), and when demanding forced labour the authorities almost never even make reference to the Acts. Since May 1999 there has been no abatement in orders issued demanding forced labour, and the fact that those included below were issued by many different SPDC battalions and authorities in 4 different regions shows that such demands are not isolated incidents. In June 2000 the International Labour Organisation gave the SPDC until November to take measures to bring an end to forced labour, but the orders in this report dated right up to the end of September indicate that no such measures have been taken.

The report has been divided into sections according to the types of orders. Some orders span two or more topics, such as those which demand forced labour as well as extortion money; in these cases we have taken into account the main focus of the order in categorising it. For each topic a short summary has been included to explain the context in which the orders were issued. ‘Forced Relocation’ includes orders directly related to the forced relocation of a village in Toungoo District, while ‘Passes and Restrictions’ contains a movement pass of the type required by villagers whenever they leave their village, and demands for family lists and photographs as a means of controlling the movement and activities of villagers. In the section ‘Threats and Propaganda Letters’, the SPDC orders villagers to beat Army deserters to death and threatens to burn their villages if they don’t do it (Order #10), decrees that villages will be directly punished for any opposition activity in their area (Order #11), and vows to annihilate a Karen civilian organisation (Order #13). ‘General Forced Labour’ includes orders which directly demand that villagers do forced labour at Army camps, along roads and at other worksites, while ‘Forced Labour Supplying Materials to the Army’ includes those which indirectly demand forced labour by ordering villagers to cut, prepare and haul logs, planks, bamboo, thatch and other materials to local Army camps. The section ‘Rice/Crop Quotas and Farming Matters’ includes orders relating to the rice which farmers are forced to hand over to the SPDC, and the full text of a ‘paddy buying agreement’ (Order #159) which dictates a 17% interest rate on quota rice which is unpaid due to crop failures - thereby forcing farmers into an inescapable spiral of debt. Other sections contain orders extorting money and food and orders to provide intelligence. Under ‘Foreign Corporate Involvement’,Order #174 directly mentions a Dutch company’s involvement in the Burmese teak trade. Under ‘Education and Health’, we see an Artillery officer running a school Parent-Teacher Association (Order #176), demands that villagers give money and labour for SPDC schools and training courses, a list of political qualifications required for admission to teacher training (Order #181), an order that well-known writers not be allowed to give lectures on literature without prior military approval (Order #175), and an order threatening any villager who does not build and ‘systematically use’ a proper toilet (Order #182). The section ‘Summons to Meetings’ contains orders calling village elders to Army camps to receive all of the above types of demands, and sometimes threatening to label them as ‘hard-core’ or shell their villages if they fail to show up (see Orders #200 and 234). All orders issued by groups other than the SPDC have been separated out and placed in the sections ‘DKBA and KPA Letters’ and ‘Other Topics’.

Originals of most of these orders were obtained by KHRG researchers in each region, and a significant proportion were also gathered by field researchers for the field offices of the Federated Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB). KHRG would like to thank the field researchers of the FTUB for their extensive help in gathering these orders, and for working with KHRG to translate many of them. With the exception of those under ‘DKBA and KPA Letters’ and ‘Other Topics’, they were issued by local SPDC Army commanders and Peace & Development Councils (PDCs), which are local-level SPDC administration at the Township, Village Tract and Village levels. While the Township and often Village Tract PDCs consist of SPDC officials under direct military control, the Village PDC chairperson and members are appointed, often against their will, by the local military. These are the village elders to whom the orders are addressed and sent, who are referred to as ‘Chairperson’and ‘Secretary’ in the text. They are responsible for providing forced labourers, money, materials, intelligence etc. as demanded by the military and the higher-level PDCs, and they are the first to be arrested and tortured if they fail to do so; this is what is meant by threatening phrases such as "if you fail it will be your responsibility".

Notes on the Text

Within each section below, we have sorted the orders chronologically, beginning with the oldest and proceeding to the most recent, with any undated orders included at the end of the section. The heading for each order includes its region of origin in parentheses: Pa’an, Dooplaya, Toungoo, Papun, Thaton or Nyaunglebin. The map shows the relative location of these districts.

Most of these orders were handwritten, some typed, and carbon-copied or copied on a cyclostyling machine if sent to more than one village. Many of them have been produced as form letters for distribution to many villages, with the village name and any other specific details written in afterwards by hand. The orders were written in Burmese with the exception of some of those included under ‘DKBA and KPA Letters’.

We have attempted to accurately reproduce the visual page layout of each order, and underlining, etc. are as they appear in the order. ‘Stamp:’ gives the translation of the rubber-stamped unit identifier affixed to many of the orders, while‘[Sd.]’ denotes the usually illegible signature of the issuing official. The language of many of the orders sounds awkward because Burmese grammar is very different from English; for example, the ordering of phrases within a sentence is almost opposite, sentences are often very long and convoluted, and personal subject and object pronouns are often omitted in Burmese. We have translated the words and expressions as directly as possible, though we have sometimes had to make minor changes in the sequence of the words for the wording to make sense and to have the exact same meaning in English. Moreover, many SPDC Army officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are semi-illiterate so they write with terrible grammar and frequent mistakes. Where necessary, we have added notes in italics in square brackets for clarification, but all other text is as it appears in the orders.

In Burmese, numerals are usually written in parentheses; in the translations these have been omitted in most cases where they would not be used in English. As in the originals, all numeric dates are shown in dd/mm/yy or dd/mm format. Some orders use Burmese dates: the year 1362 is the period from April 2000-April 2001, the months begin at each new moon and are divided into the moon’s ‘waxing’ and ‘waning’ phases. We have noted the equivalent Gregorian calendar date where it is not already specified. Village names, people’s names and Army camp names have been replaced with ‘xxxx’, ‘yyyy’, etc. where necessary to protect villages from retaliation.

Most orders are addressed to the ‘Chairperson’, who is the SPDC-appointed Chairperson of the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC). This council, consisting of a Chairperson, Secretary, and Members, is supposed to administer the village for the SPDC, which mainly consists of arranging whatever the Army demands. Other orders are addressed to the‘Village Head’, who is head of the village elders, and is often the same as the VPDC Chairperson. Often it is actually a woman because the villagers feel that women, particularly elderly women, will be detained and tortured less often than a male headman would be. Some of the orders address the village headwoman colloquially as ‘Mother’. At the village level, the ‘Chairperson’ is usually victimised by the local military; however, at the village tract and township levels the ‘Chairperson’ is often a corrupt SPDC appointee who works closely with the local military. The local Army often dictates demands to the Township or Village Tract PDC leaders, who then divide the demands among the villages and issue the written orders.

Many orders call for ‘loh ah pay’, a Burmese term referring to a traditional practice of contributing one’s labour for small village or temple projects in order to earn Buddhist merit; however, the labour demanded in these orders is forced under threat and is not actually ‘loh ah pay’ at all. Rather than translate this misuse of the term, we have left it intact where it occurs in the orders. The term ‘wontan’ also appears frequently; we have translated this literally as‘servant’, and it is used by the SPDC to refer to porters and other forced labourers. ‘Operation servants’ are forced labour porters for frontline operations. Many of the orders demand that the village head ‘bring information’ or‘report information’ to the Army camp; this is a summons for the village head to report intelligence on opposition movements near the village, any visitors to the village, and all activities of the villagers. Reference is made to‘servants’ fees’, also known as ‘porter fees’; these are the routine extortion fees which villagers must pay to all Army battalions in their area. The texts of the orders often refer to the recipient of the order (usually the village Chairman) using a polite term which directly translates as ‘Gentleman’, or ‘in Gentleman’s village’. Many orders contain phrases like "if you fail it is your responsibility" or "we will not take any responsibility for your village"; these are threats that village elders will be arrested and detained under torture or houses will be looted and/or burned for failure to comply with the order. Some Battalions in the orders call themselves ‘Frontline’ battalions, indicating that they operate in conflict areas.

Terms and Abbreviations

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

 

Forced Relocation

For the past 2-3 years in Toungoo District, the SPDC has divided villages into those they can directly control with Army camps (‘Peace villages’) and those which are harder to reach in the hills (‘Hiding villages’), and all of the latter have been ordered to move and destroyed, forcing the villagers to flee into hiding in the hills where they still struggle to survive. In addition, even ‘Peace villages’ which are perceived as being uncooperative or where opposition activity has occurred nearby are then ordered to relocate. The sequence of orders below began when one such village in Toungoo District was ordered to relocate in July 2000, most likely for failure to comply with demands for forced labour on the xxxx - yyyyvehicle road and for the continuing KNLA activity in the region. At present, we have been unable to confirm whether this village is still in place or not. For more information on events in the area, see the KHRG report "Peace Villages & Hiding Villages" (KHRG #2000-05, 15/10/00).

Order #1 (Toungoo)

               Stamp:                               To:
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                  Chairperson U aaaa
                                                               xxxxvillage                      Date: 21-7-2000

The higher authorities have ordered that your village be relocated. Important. Bring the family list of the village and report to yyyy [camp] as soon as you receive this letter, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 21-7-2000
                                                                            Column Commander

[This relocation order was followed by a sequence of orders as the Army tried to implement the relocation, including Orders #2, 3, 4, and 5. It appears that the villagers may have tried to pay their way out of being relocated, but the officers became increasingly frustrated with the headman until they threatened to shoot him in Order #5.]

 

Order #2 (Toungoo)

               Stamp:                             To:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                Chairperson / Secretary
                                                            xxxxvillage                        Date: 22-7-2000

Chairperson and Secretary, come as soon as you receive this letter. If [you] don’t come, it will be the exclusive responsibility of the Chairperson and Secretary. We will continue to do what must be done. Now [I] know what the Chairperson and Secretary are doing. Don’t put the blame on us.

                                                                                [Sd.] 22-7-2000
                                                                               Column Commander

[This order followed the day after the order to relocate the village (Order #1). It appears that the village leaders have failed to accept the order, and may be trying to avoid it by going over the head of the local officers.]

 

Order #3 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion

To:          Chairperson U xxxx                                                  Date: 5-8-2000

Come and report to the Column as soon as you receive this letter to discuss village relocation and buying and selling matters. If [you] do not come, the Column will come [to you].

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Column Commander

[This order came approximately 2 weeks after Order #1 ordered the village to relocate. It is normal in such cases for villages to drag their feet, to attempt to ignore the order and then to try to pay their way out of it. At this stage, it appears that the village leaders may have begun negotiating a bribe to be paid to the Battalion in order to avoid being relocated, possibly subject to some restrictions on their ‘buying and selling’ movements.]

 

Order #4 (Toungoo)

To:          Chairperson                                                            15thAug. ’00
               U xxxx 
               xxxx village

The Major is asking U xxxx, you were told already to meet on Sunday, so why did you fail to meet the Major? Therefore, come quickly to meet as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                           Yours. [no signature]

[This order followed the order to relocate the village (Order #1) and subsequent orders #2 and 3. The village head still didn’t show up, possibly because he knew the Army was intent on forcing them to relocate, so 4 days later Order #5 was sent.]

 

Order #5 (Toungoo)

To:          Uxxxx                                                                           19-8-2000

You failed your promise to meet, so I will come when your village is holding the hill god ceremony. As compensation, a bullet will be received. Meet now.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Column Commander

[At this point it is clear that the village head is not planning to comply with the forced relocation order, and it is possible that he and many of the villagers have already fled into hiding. If the village tried to pay their way out of the forced relocation, it apparently has not worked.]

Passes and Restrictions

The documents translated below illustrate some of the means which the SPDC uses to control the movements and activities of villagers. Further examples of such orders can be seen in "SPDC and DKBA Orders to Villages: Set 2000-A" (KHRG #2000-01, 29/2/00). Orders #6 and 7 demand lists and photos of all families in the village, which are later used by SPDC units when they arrest anyone around the village - if the person arrested is not on the list or among the photographs, he or she is automatically accused of being a ‘rebel’ and faces torture and possible summary execution. This often results in the execution of visitors, or villagers who were not around during the registration process. Order #8 relates to one such case, where a displaced person from a relocated village in the hills has been captured in an SPDC-controlled village. After interrogation the SPDC must have realised he is just a simple villager so he is to be released, but probably only after the village head pays a heavy ransom. Order #9 is an example of a movement pass which villagers must always carry when they go anywhere outside their villages. Villagers caught without such documents face summary detention and torture, being taken as porters for indefinite periods, or possibly an accusation of being a ‘rebel’ followed by summary execution. Villagers can do nothing without a pass issued by the military or by a Village or Village Tract Peace & Development Council which has been authorised by the military. If a villager carrying a pass issued by his/her Village Peace & Development Council is subsequently arrested and accused by the military, the village authorities who issued the pass will also be arrested; because of this, the military can feel confident that the village heads are too afraid to issue passes to anyone who may be subject to military suspicion. As an added burden, villagers are often forced to pay for these passes.

Order #6 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                     Date: 20-6-2000
     Chairperson, Secretary

I am writing.
The name list from the village should be sent to me before 23-6-2000. Prepare it in this format: Name, Father’s Name, Occupation, Age. This format will be sufficient.
Send it to me without fail.
Also send it to the Captain from xxxx camp.

                                                                              Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                     Company Sergeant xxxx 
                                                                                 LIB xxx
                                                                              yyyy Camp

[Lists such as these are used when villagers are arrested, to see if they are actually from the village they say they are from. As a result, visitors to villages are often suspected and tortured.]

 

Order #7 (Toungoo)

Subject:     Chairperson - Calling for family photographs

Regarding this call for family photographs, the Gentleman’s village is informed to send 5 families each day to xxxx Army Camp to be photographed.

Date:     xx/2/2000                                                                 [Sd.]
Place:     xxxx Camp

[These photographs will most likely be used as a reference so that anyone found in the area who has not been photographed will be summarily arrested and accused of being a ‘rebel’. Each family will also probably be forced to pay more than the cost to be photographed.]

 

Order #8 (Toungoo)

To:     U xxxx 
          Chairperson, xxxx village                                                   19-7-2000

U xxxx! Your Ywa Bone [‘hiding village’] villager is to be released. Come and meet at xxxx [Army camp] as soon as you receive this letter. If not, ……

                                                                                        [Sd.]

[In Toungoo District, villages are specified as either ‘Nyein Chan Yay’ (‘Peace’) villages or ‘Ywa Bone’ (‘Hiding’) villages. ‘Peace’ villages are those under the direct control of an SPDC Army unit, while more remote villages are declared as ‘Hiding’ and SPDC units are under orders to destroy the houses and crops and capture or shoot their occupants on sight. This order to the headman of a ‘Peace’ village indicates that they captured someone from a ‘Hiding’ village but will be releasing them - most likely after demanding a heavy ransom from the headman. ‘If not, ......’ is exactly as it appears in the order, implying that if the headman doesn’t come they will probably execute the ‘hiding’ villager. For more information on ‘Peace’ and ‘Hiding’ villages in Toungoo District, see the report "Peace Villages & Hiding Villages" (KHRG #2000-05, 15/10/00).]

 

Order #9 (Dooplaya)

               Stamp:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                    Recommendation
     Column x Headquarters

aaaa, age xx years, (Father) U bbbb, from xxxx village (xxxx village), is one of the ten-house leaders (village heads) from xxxx village, so help [him] with whatever is needed, we recommend.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                 (for) Acting Battalion Commander

[This is a movement pass issued to a sub-village head. Such passes are required by anyone going from one village to another.]

Threats and Propaganda Letters

The orders in this section use both threats and propaganda to demand that the villagers support the SPDC Army and that they give no political support to any opposition group. They give insights into the SPDC military mentality and the intimidation tactics used by the regime. Order #11 makes clear that villages will be punished whenever SPDC columns are attacked. Order #10 gives a shocking insight into the SPDC’s treatment of its own soldiers by ordering villagers to beat any SPDC Army deserters to death, and threatening that if they fail to do so their village may be burned and forced to move. In Order #13, SPDC authorities announce their intention to annihilate a civilian organisation set up by the KNU, and try to intimidate villagers by pretending to know everything about the organisation (disregarding the fact that if they really knew as much as they claim, there would have been no reason to issue this order). Finally, Order #14 is a propaganda leaflet given by SPDC troops to a young boy they kidnapped from the hills of Nyaunglebin District after shooting at him and his father.

Order #10 (Pa’an)

                    Stamp:                                    Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion             xxxx [camp] 
                   Column x                                   Letter number xxxx / yyyy / Oo x
                                                                   Date: Year 2000, March

To:      Chairperson
           xxxx village

Subject:     Informing to let you know

1)     If one or two of our Army people run away from the Column Company and arrive at the village, reassure them and coax them nicely, then when they aren’t looking beat them until they lose consciousness. Then give their weapons to the nearest Column. When you are doing this, if the soldier dies, we won’t take action and we will even give you a reward.

2)     If you do not follow and carry out as specified above, we will designate the village as being in contact with rebels and take serious action under articles of the law. Moreover, we will take action up to and including the destruction and relocation of the village. Letting you know and informing you.

                                                                                [Sd. ‘xxxx’] 13/3
                                                                    (for) Acting Battalion Commander 
                                                                               Intelligence Officer
                                                                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

Copies to:   #xx Military Operations Control Headquarters
                  #x Tactical Command, Military Operations Control Group

[Whenever SPDC soldiers desert, which is becoming more and more common, elders of all the surrounding villages are interrogated under torture, and if any village is suspected of harbouring the deserters then that village is severely punished; in addition, heavy fines are randomly imposed on all surrounding villages. Deserters who are caught are usually extrajudicially executed, though they are sometimes imprisoned. This order goes quite a bit further by ordering the villagers to beat any deserters to death.]

 

Order #11 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Giving a warning

Regarding the above subject, if something happens when our Column is travelling it will be the Gentleman’s [your] village’s responsibility. Letting you know and warning you that if this happens again our Column will not be responsible [for the consequences], you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Column Commander
                                                                                Frontline LIB #xxx

[‘If something happens’ means if the Column is ambushed, encounters landmines or any other opposition. It is normal SPDC procedure to punish villages in the area for any military setbacks suffered by their troops.]

 

Order #12 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                   Stamp:                                 17-5-2000
          xxxx [village]                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 
                                                           xxxx [camp]

The cattle from the Battalion village [the village where the battalion camp is located] trespassed and caused damage. So when you receive this letter, come and meet. Come quickly to look after the cow or we will go to shoot and capture it. We give you our last warning.

                                                                                              [Sd.]
                                                                                     Adjutant Captain

 

Order #13 (Pa’an)

                    Stamp:                                       Frontline #xx Light Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xx Light Infantry Battalion                  xxxx village
          Column x Headquarters                           Letter number xxxx / yy / Oo x
                                                                      Date: Year 2000, March xx

To:           xxxx village

Subject:     To abolish the group being organised by KNU rebel troops in the concerned
                 villages and village tracts

1)     According to the records captured from Pado Pay Gyi [a KNU official], we know that in Kawkareik township, the "Nabu township PP21, Working Group #5" has formed the groups shown [below] to organise and assign duties to the village tracts and villages. Therefore, you must sign to agree that you have left these groups by 20-3-2000. You must also promise that you won’t do this again later.

     (a)  Village tract (single female/single male Karen national organisation)
          (1)     Chairperson

          (2)     Secretary
          (3)     Treasurer
          (4)     Person responsible for sports and education
          (5)     Agriculture and husbandry / entertainment

     (b) Village (single female/single male Karen national organisation)
          (1)     Chairperson

          (2)     Secretary
          (3)     Treasurer
          (4)     Person responsible for sports
          (5)     Person responsible for agriculture and husbandry
          (6)     People responsible for fundraising

     (c) Village tract justice group
          (1)     Village mindfulness elders, 3 persons

          (2)     Female mindfulness elders, 2 persons

     (d)     Village tract and village Karen national organisation
          (1)     Chairperson

          (2)     Secretary [page 1 of original document ends here]
          (3)     Village head group
          (4)     Pagoda trustees group

     (e)  Township and village tract sangha [order of monks] group
          (1)     Patron sayadaw [senior monk]

          (2)     Secretary sayadaw

     (f)  Group to cause dissension and organise enemy troops
          (1)     Village in-charge, male group

          (2)     Village in-charge, female group

     (g)  Supplies assistance group
          (1)     Supplies monitoring group
          (2)     Supplies assistance group

2)     For the groups shown concerning the village tract/village, we have a register of the names. We also know the names registered which are not shown [those other than the positions mentioned above].[They] organise and operate as they please, and the village population is forced to carry out duties, and we have also seen people carry these out willingly. We have to operate to abolish this organisation forever (forever).

3)     According to this order, we will designate anyone who does not come to give their promise [not to be involved with the above groups] to be one who continues to carry out these duties, and we will take serious (serious) action. You are strongly warned.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Battalion Commander

Copies to:
               aaaa / bbbb / cccc / dddd / eeee / 
               gggg / hhhh / kkkk / mmmm / nnnn / 
               oooo / pppp [villages]
               Army Commander (Nabu)
               Office Receipt

[This is a carbon copied order sent to many villages. Nabu township is in central Pa’an District. ‘PP21’ stands for People Power 21st Century, a small movement started several years ago by some of Burma’s armed opposition groups to organise non-violent resistance among civilians mainly outside urban areas. Despite the claims in this order to ‘know everything’, it is clear from the vague wording of the subgroups named that the SPDC is largely guessing at the operations of the PP21 group.]

 

Order #14 (Nyaunglebin)

[On February 23rd 2000, SPDC troops were patrolling in the hills of eastern Nyaunglebin District. They sighted a villager named K--- in the fields and immediately opened fire on him. K--- ran and escaped, but the troops captured his young son and took him with them. Later they gave the boy 500 Kyat and a propaganda leaflet and let him go. The text of the leaflet is translated below. The leaflet consists of 5 short panels, as reflected by the 5 sections below; the first four are in Burmese, and the final panel is in Sgaw Karen. Bold face text and other formatting are shown as they appear in the original.]

Words for light

A.       Ray of light which breaks the darkness
          Keep the basic good intention 
          The weapons that you have always held
          The time has arrived to disown them 
          The benefit of peace
          Give and share for the new generation
          Imagine and dream, friend
          Words for light, light, light
          You, you, you will hear………..

B.       Let brothers of the same race meet and gather again
          To discuss and look forward for the benefit of the nation
          Brothers will openly meet together, the time is arriving
          Lost blood and lives, events that have no benefit
          Imagine and dream, friend
          Words for light, light, light
          You, you, you will hear……….

C.       Break the darkness and take the light
          To benefit the nation, give up the darkness
          When you give up the darkness, [you] will hear words of light
          Break the darkness with your own light.

  Agreement

 

If [you] bring information to the Army or Government Authorities, you will be designated as one of thepeace [nyein chan yay] representatives and we won’t give you any danger [trouble/abuse], our Army will welcome you warmly and snugly, [we] make this agreement.

 

                                                                                      [Sd.] 
                                                                                     Army
                                                                    Deputy Divisional Commander
                                                                 Southern Command Headquarters

Peace Pass

Caution

When the one holding this pass is travelling, be careful not to confiscate their belongings, abuse them physically, or insult their moral character. If this prohibition is broken, serious action will be taken.

Peace Pass

All leaders of Kay Eh Nyu [KNU], privates, commanders and soldiers,

     Right now, Zweh K’Bin land [Zweh K’Bin is a famous mountain near Pa’an] of your brothers, Kayin[Karen] State, in the peaceful red light the whole State is starting to walk on the way to development…….

     Brothers, for the Karen people’s welfare and Karen State’s welfare, give up the way of violence, join and work urgently with the Tatmadaw [Army] ……

     Brothers, your parents and relatives and the Karen people can’t escape from the problem of poverty if [you] continue to fight…..

     Brothers, to work and feed the Karen people whom you love, build up the peace….

     Look for the benefit of Karen people, who need the taste of peace, come to join with the Tatmadaw.

     Brothers…

     Don’t waver… Don’t think.

     For the Karen people’s welfare, hold on to this peace pass and come quickly to the nearest Army camp.

                                                                                     Tatmadaw [Army]

Peace Pass

[This final section is a loose Sgaw Karen translation of the preceding section in Burmese]

All the Kay Eh Nyu [KNU] leaders and soldiers,

     Brothers in Kweh K’Baw area, our Karen State - peace and light are appearing. The whole State is developing.

     All Brothers - for the welfare of Karen people and Karen State, give up the weapons and come to gather, join hands and work with the Tatmadaw. All brothers, for all of your parents and relatives to escape from trouble, don’t continue fighting.

     All Brothers, for Karen people to stay peacefully, build up the peace.

     The Karen people need peace and the benefit of work, so look forward, come back to gather and join hands with the Army.

     All brothers - don’t think or waver.

     For the Karen people to stay in peace, bring this signature letter and come to the Army camp.

                                                                                                    Army

 

General Forced Labour

The most systematic and burdensome abuse inflicted on villagers by SPDC military units and authorities is forced labour, and the orders included below give some impression of the constant stream of demands for all kinds of labour which villages have to face. They include demands for one person per family to go for forced unpaid road labour or to harvest crops for the Army, 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 or ploughing tractors 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 tractor. In addition to all these forms of direct forced labour, villagers are also ordered to provide building materials and other such things to the Army, and producing and transporting these materials is forced labour in itself; these orders have been separated out and included in the next section, "Forced Labour Supplying Materials to the Army". Even orders demanding that village heads run to Army camps to report intelligence or to deliver food, which are included in the other sections of this report, can in their own way be considered forms of forced labour.

Two of the main forms of forced labour are building and repairing roads and working in crop fields for the Army. Roads throughout Karen areas are usually built using forced labour under inept military supervision, so they are washed out every rainy season and have to be rebuilt by more forced labour. Orders #59, 73, and 88 relate to rebuilding roads and clearing the roadsides for the military access road network in central Pa’an District, and Orders #34 and 82 relate to rebuilding damaged roads and bridges in Toungoo District. Over the past few years the Army has also been confiscating plots of farmland everywhere, then forcing villagers to grow crops to feed the Battalions and for the officers to sell for profit; some of this is reflected in Orders #40, 70, and 71. Many of the orders below relate indirectly to these two forms of labour, while the remainder involve forced labour at Army camps and as porters.

SPDC military units demand so much forced labour from the villagers that in many areas there are ‘turf wars’ between different Army camps over the limited number of villagers available for forced labour. One such battle can be seen in Orders #23 and 24 below. In Order #23, SPDC Infantry Battalion #xxx in aaaa [village] demands that villagers cut and haul firewood for brick-baking, claiming it is for the use of Military Operations Command #xx in bbbb [village]. However, when Military Operations Command #xx got wind of this three days later, they sent Order #24 to the Infantry Battalion telling them to lay off the villagers because they were already doing forced labour "to fence the front entrance gate of #xx Military Operations Headquarters with wood, to harvest the fields belonging to the Headquarters Company, and to repair the [soldiers’] family quarters". Order #56 gives a similar example, with one SPDC officer writing to another demanding that his forced labourers be sent back as soon as they’re free so he can put them to work building booby-traps around his camp perimeter. With several different battalions fighting a tug-of-war to use every villager for forced labour, it is difficult to imagine how the villagers are supposed to work for their own survival.

Facing increasing international censure for its systematic use of forced labour, particularly from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the SPDC has repeatedly claimed to have issued ‘secret directives’ and ‘special orders’ barring the use of forced labour. The most recent case occurred when SPDC leaders told the ILO that on May 14th 1999 they had issued Order 1/99, which they claimed instructed officials and military officers to cease conscripting forced labour under the Village Act and the Towns Act, and dictated that violators would be punished. However, as can be seen in the orders below, demands for forced labour never make reference to the Village Act or the Towns Act, and the SPDC admits that until now there has not been a single case of anyone being charged under Order 1/99 for demanding forced labour. Orders for forced labour continue to be issued throughout Burma as steadily as they ever were; this report alone contains over 80 such orders from many different battalions and SPDC authorities in four different regions, all of which were issued 6 to 16 months after May 1999, some as recently as late September 2000. There is no evidence at all that Order 1/99 was ever distributed within Burma, with the possible exception of Order #18 below, wherein Township authorities in Myawaddy town state that "other than calling [people] for military operation servants, matters concerning the whole population, or emergency ‘loh ah pay’ needed to face natural disasters, it has already been ordered not to call for ‘loh ah pay’". However, this order certainly is not calling for an end to forced labour, because calling for "military operation servants" and "matters concerning the whole population" such as infrastructure goes directly against the recommendations of the ILO and the supposed stipulations of Order 1/99. Furthermore, in Order #18 the Myawaddy township officials go on to say that this does not mean that villagers cannot be used for these and other forms of forced labour, but that they must draw up a rotation roster and do the forced labour, and will no longer be allowed to pay money to get out of it. If this is how Order 1/99 is being implemented in the field, it means an increase in actual forced labour, not a decrease.

The orders below usually refer to forced labour as ‘loh ah pay’, a Burmese term meaning voluntary community work such as clearing the path to the next village or repairing the Buddhist temple. By definition, ‘loh ah pay’ cannot be demanded by an Army or a distant central government, it has to be initiated within the local community. As can be seen from the orders below, none of the labour demanded is voluntary and it is demanded under threat; some of the orders threaten village elders with physical punishments if they fail to send the ‘loh ah pay’, or dictate punishments after forced labourers have run away. Rather than attempt to translate ‘loh ah pay’, we have left it as it stands in the orders. Some orders also refer to forced labourers as ‘wontan’ (‘servants’), a term more commonly used to refer to government civil servants; however, none of the labourers demanded in the orders below were paid or compensated in any way. ‘Sit seh nyay wontan’ (‘Military operation servants’) is used to refer specifically to frontline forced labour porters for Army columns, while ‘emergency’ labour usually means ad hoc portering to carry rations and supplies to Army posts. One type of forced labour is called ‘set tha’ (‘messenger’), which essentially means forced labour as military messengers, general servants, errand-runners and occasional sentries at Army camps. Most villages are forced to send one or more people each day on a rotating basis for ‘set tha’ labour at every nearby Army camp. Ironically, it is villagers doing ‘set tha’ forced labour who have to deliver orders such as those in this report from the Army camps to the 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. Women often go because the men do not dare face the soldiers, and children often go so that their parents can continue to work in the fields. Some of the orders demand that the village elders or a forced labour ‘leader’ personally accompany the labourers from their village to the worksite (using language such as ‘Gentlemen, come yourselves to bring them’); this is so that the officers can simply give the assignment and then leave the elders to supervise the work, in full knowledge that if the work is not satisfactory the elders will be arrested and punished.

When villages are delinquent in complying with orders for forced labour, the Army or PDC authorities usually respond 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. Several of the orders below threaten village elders after forced labourers have failed to show up for work. 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 run away or 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. Order #21 even threatens that if the village head fails to arrive at the camp with 3 forced labourers with their own food for 3 days, "we will call with the big gun", meaning that the Army will fire a mortar shell into the village.

It is difficult for villagers to go for all of this forced labour, so they often try to pay bribes to the Army to get out of it, which the orders refer to as ‘paying to hire servants’. For some types of routine forced labour, money is accepted by the local Army officers. However, the Army officers then just pocket the money and demand the labour elsewhere. Eventually, they begin demanding the labour from the same village - so the village has to send the labour while also paying to ‘avoid’ it. Later the villagers may begin paying more in order to avoid the ‘actual’ forced labour as well, first on an ad hocbasis and then on a routine basis, until this too becomes a normal extortion ‘fee’, and the Army takes the money and begins demanding yet more ‘actual’ forced labour on top of it - and so on. In many villages this system has become so formalised that they now pay several types of weekly and monthly ‘servant fees’, ‘porter fees’, and ‘messenger fees’ to various Army camps, while simultaneously doing all forms of forced labour at those camps. Orders such as #134 and #139 in the section ‘Extortion of Money, Food, and Supplies’ below demand regular ‘servant fees’ such as these, while the same Army units also demand actual forced labour. Many Army units demand more forced labour than they really need, then insist that only half of the workers actually be sent and that they be paid money for the remainder. In the case of rotating forced labour such as ‘set tha’ (‘messengers’), on days when the labour is not required the Army does not grant the villagers a day off, but instead demands that money be sent instead of a labourer on that day (see for example Orders #63,78, and 80).

If the villagers can no longer pay the money, all of these ‘fees’ which have piled up one by one suddenly start being converted back into real forced labour - leaving the villagers with so much forced labour that they are left with little option but to flee the village.

Order #15 (Pa’an)

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

(1)     Gentlemen, now, as soon as you receive this letter, come to report information to the Column with 5 bowls [about 10 kg/22 lb] of rice.

(2)     It is for the servants. If you fail to come, the gentleman [you] will face the responsibility, you are informed.

Place:     yyyy                                                                          [Sd.]
Date:     23-7-99                                                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The ‘servants’ (wontan) are forced labourers being held by the Column; the village is being ordered to bring additional food to feed them. Forced labourers are usually ordered to bring their own food, but the Army keeps them longer than the initially specified number of days so they run out of food.]

 

Order #16 (Pa’an)

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

Gentlemen: Come with 3 loh ah pay servants from Gentleman’s [your] village to the Column on 6-9-99 at 0900 hours. If you fail, it will be the Gentleman’s [your] responsibility, you are informed.

Place:      yyyy                                                                      [Sd.] xxxx
Date:       6-9-99                                                             Intelligence Officer
                                                                               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #17 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:     
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
    Column x Headquarters

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Gentlemen, to coordinate the matter of servants, now, as soon as you receive this letter, come quickly to the Column. If you fail, it will be the Gentleman’s [your] responsibility, you are informed.

Place:     yyyy                                                                            [Sd.]
Date:      3-10-99

[This is a summons to a meeting to dictate demands for forced labour.]

 

Order #18 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                               Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council     Myawaddy town
                  Myawaddy Town                        Letter number 5 / 3-58 / Oo 6 (xxxx)
                                                                  Date: Year 1999, October 26th

To:     Chairperson
           xxxx Section/Village Tract Peace and Development Council
          Myawaddy Town

Subject:     The matter of drawing up a rotation roster for performing duties

1)     Regarding the above subject, to provide fire sentries, village sentries, bridge and road security sentries from each group of sections/villages in Myawaddy Township, it is known that the concerned Section/Village Peace and Development Councils operate a system of giving wages monthly to fulfil the duties[collecting money monthly to hire people to go for forced labour, or paying in lieu of going].

2)     In the current situation, other than calling [people] for military operation servants, matters concerning the whole population, or emergency loh ah pay needed to face natural disasters, it has already been ordered not to call for loh ah pay. Therefore, regarding the matter of fire sentries, village sentries, sentries for road and bridge security, and loh ah pay concerning the population, it is not allowed to collect money from the whole populace. The people who live in the Sections/Village Tracts must use and implement a system of drawing up a duty rotation roster to start in October 1999. In order to assign duties by rotation to the sections/village tracts, present the roster drawn up to the Township Peace and Development Council in Myawaddy on 30-10-99, you are informed.

3)     Moreover, regarding the calling of military operation servants, present the register of money received / money used concerned with military operation servants [for the period] up to 10/99, and carry out the closing of the record book of military operation servants called, you are informed again.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                        (for) Chairperson
                                                                       (aaaa / Secretary)

Copies to:
     - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
     - File/Receipt

[This order is written in convoluted language, but the meaning would be fairly clear to village heads. Paragraph 1 acknowledges that the villagers largely collect money instead of going for forced labour for the authorities. Paragraph 2 starts out by claiming that orders have been given not to use forced labour except for portering (military operation servants), natural disasters, and ‘matters concerning the whole population’ (which could be loosely interpreted to include infrastructure projects and almost anything). However, rather than saying that other types of forced labour won’t be allowed, it just says that villagers will no longer be allowed to avoid other types of forced labour by paying money, but will have to do it themselves by rotation; and it goes on to say that a duty rotation roster must be submitted, so that anyone absent from forced labour can be punished. Paragraph 3 demands that the accounts of money paid in lieu of portering be presented and then that the ‘book’ be ‘closed’. In other words, destroy the records. Overall, it appears that orders may have been received that officials accepting money in lieu of forced labour will be punished, so the officials are telling the village heads that from now on they’ll have to give forced labour all the time, that money won’t be accepted, and that any records of money already paid should be ‘closed’. Note that this order was issued 5 months after the SPDC claims to have issued Order 1/99 (May 14, 1999) banning the recruitment of forced labour under the Village Act and the Towns Act; however, in reality they are issuing orders such as this one, demanding that actual forced labour be increased and that villagers no longer be allowed to pay their way out of it.]

 

Order #19 (Toungoo)

To:     Chairperson                                                                      28-11-99
          xxxx village

Subject:     Calling for loh ah pay

To repair Infantry Battalion #xx’s yyyy camp, yyyy village tract, Chairperson yourself must come and meet theyyyy camp commander to discuss loh ah pay from xxxx village, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                             Camp Commander
                                                                                   yyyy camp

 

Order #20 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                             07   -  0900

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx village tract

Sir:
     [You were] Absent from the loh ah pay called for by the Battalion. Absent again when called on 7/12/99. Why [were you] absent? Who is responsible? [I] Want to know, so whoever is responsible must come to explain to the Army Camp Commander.

                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                    IB xxx
                                                                                xxxx [town]

 

Order #21 (Toungoo)

To:                                                                                          Date: 27-12-99
     Chairperson

-     As soon as you receive this letter, come to yyyy camp to clear the fees for hiring servants.
-     You are informed to come with 3 servants with 3 days of supplies, and 20 viss [32 kg/70 lb] of betelnut as a Christmas present.

* List the total of families in the village                       [Sd.] Lieutenant, 27/12/99
     Males above 12 / under 12                                            Kyi xxxxx Lt. xxxx 
     Females above 12 / under 12                                    yyyy Camp Commander 
     Prepare it and bring it.

[The following is written on the back:]

If you do not come, we will call with the big gun.     [Sd.]

[The Army demands forced labour on a regular basis, but the villagers pay ‘the fees for hiring servants’ instead of going. However, rather than using this money to hire people, the Army then just demands more people, like the ‘3 servants’ mentioned, but still collects the money. The list of families in the village is used to allocate forced labour and extortion demands. The term used for ‘big gun’ implies a mortar which they will fire at the village.]

 

Order #22 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                            26   -  1330

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson Sir:

On 9/1/2000 (Saturday), IB xxx Captain aaaa (Adjutant/Quartermaster) will come to meet with the VPDC members in the villages of the IB xxx area of control, letting you know in advance, you are informed. All must attend without fail, letting you know in advance, you are informed.

For loh ah pay, 3 villages have to work in rotation, so bring one person to lead the loh ah pay. This morning there were only 2 paut pya [a type of hoe used like a shovel] from xxxx [village] and the others had only machetes, so the work is not going well.

Find this information                                                       [Sd.] xxxx 
This matter, big chairperson                          xxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                         IB xxx
                                                                                     xxxx [town]

[This order was issued on December 26th 1999.]

 

Order #23 (Pa’an)

          Stamp:                                                    #xxx Infantry Battalion 
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                         xxxx [town]
Adjutant Department                                           Letter number xxx / yy / zzz
                                                                         Date: Year 1999, December 28th

To:     Chairperson
          Village Peace and Development Council
          xxxx village

Subject:     Requesting firewood for brick baking

For the use of #xx Military Operations Control Headquarters to bake bricks, each village must gather 4 piles of firewood at the nearest point along the Kawkareik-Kyone Doh car road. It has to be finished on 31-12-99. When it is done, come to report the information to #xxx Infantry Battalion on 30-12-99, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Acting Battalion Commander
Copies to:  Office Copy
                 File/Letter

[Many SPDC officers make money for themselves by forcing villagers to provide wood and clay to bake bricks, then using their soldiers as forced labour to bake the bricks and selling them on the market. Most battalion camps have brick-baking kilns for this purpose. These villagers are being ordered to deposit stacks of firewood at the point nearest to them along the road, after which it will presumably be picked up by a military truck and taken to the camp. Though this demand is made in the name of Military Operations Command #xx in aaaa, the IB xxx officer in yyyy probably intended to keep most or all of the wood for himself, because Order #24 below shows that Military Operations Command #xx knew nothing of it.]

 

Order #24 (Pa’an)

                         Stamp:                            #xx Military Operations Control Headquarters
#xx Military Operations Control Department   xxxx [town]
Military Operations Command Department     Letter number: xxxx / xx / Oo x
                                                                 Date: Year 1999, December 31st

To:          Number xxx Infantry Battalion

Subject:   Request to exempt from orders for firewood for bricks

Reference:  Number xxx Infantry Battalion letter number xxx/yy/zzz, dated 28-12-99

Right now at this moment, responsibility has been given to xxxx village and yyyy village to fence the front entrance gate of #xx Military Operations Control Headquarters with wood, to harvest the fields belonging to the Headquarters Company, and to repair the [soldiers’] family quarters, so with respect to the letter referenced [above], you are informed to exempt them from the request for firewood.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                  Military Operations Control Commander
Copies to:
               Chairperson
               zzzz village Peace and Development Council

[Note that the ‘reference letter’ is Order #23, wherein IB xxx demanded wood for brick-baking from villagers. However, the villagers apparently protested to Military Operations Command #xx, for whom they were already doing several forms of forced labour, so 3 days later the Military Operations Command sent out this order to IB xxx, telling them to lay off. This pair of orders gives an example of the turf wars presently being fought by different SPDC units for access to the limited supply of forced labour.]

 

Order #25 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson
          VPDC
          xxxx village                                                                      7-1-2000

Starting from 9-1-2000, every day send 2 carpenters from xxxx [village] and 2 from yyyy, total 4 people, you are informed. Come along with afternoon rice [lunch].

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                  Warrant Officer Major xxxx 
                                                        Sa Ka Ka [Military Operations Command] #x

[‘Come along with afternoon rice’ means that each forced labour carpenter must bring along his own afternoon meal or go hungry.]

 

Order #26 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              12   -  1330

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx tract

Sir:

To coordinate and carry out the matter of servants for the mobile column and the matter of village peace and development, the members of the VPDC and the Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA] must carry this out together. Come to theyyyy Army Camp commander to arrive on 13/1/2000 at 0800 hours in the morning, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[‘Servants for the mobile column’ means porters and guides.]

 

Order #27 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                            20   -  0900

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx tract

Sir:

- To make a firebreak for the Battalion rubber plantation, [send] 25 people for loh ah pay from xxxx[village], 25 people from aaaa [village], 25 people from bbbb, 12 people from cccc, 12 people from dddd, and 12 people from eeee; in total 111 people, and the Camp Commander will lead them in doing it.

- Each village must include one leader [one person to supervise the forced labour].

- Two thirds [of the people] must bring paut pya [a type of hoe used like a shovel] and one third must bring machetes.

- Send them to arrive at yyyy on 24/1/2000 at 0700 hours in the morning.

                                                                                    [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                         IB xxx
                                                                                     xxxx [town]

[This order was sent on January 20th 2000, 4 days before the forced labour being demanded.]

 

Order #28 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                    Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                            27   -  1200

Shooting Support Platoon

Big Chairperson Sir:

Did you receive the letter that I wrote?
1) The matter in the letter about loh ah pay work.
2) On 29/1/2000 (Saturday), meeting with the VPDC members from the villages in IB xxx’s area of control, [we]sent a letter in advance.
3) Did 6 people from aaaa and Nga Pway [KNLA] arrive in xxxx or not? Calling a meeting [to find out] if it is true or not.
4) Inform us.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[This order was issued on 27/1/00. ‘Nga Pway’ (‘Ringworm’) is a derogatory SPDC name for the KNLA. aaaa is most likely a KNLA officer in the area.]

 

Order #29 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              28   -  1500

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson Sir:

- Tomorrow, 29/1/2000, Captain aaaa is coming to meet with the VPDC elders at xxxx, so attend without fail.
- You are informed again.
- Yesterday [we] repaired our camp, so arrange 3 bullock carts of scrap timber with a machine in a separate bullock cart.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                      IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[The type of ‘machine’ the villagers must send is not specified, though in this case it most likely means a power saw.]

 

Order #30 (Papun)

                Stamp:                                                                           4/2/2000
Peace and Development Council               To:
           xxxx village                                      xxxx [headman’s name]

Informing [you] that the hired people from the Gentleman’s [your] village are now following [the troops] and carrying things up and down into the mountains, so [you] have to arrange money for 3 days. When you receive this letter, collect exactly 1,500 Kyat in cash and come and bring it.

(1) For road sentries, [we] don’t know which village is taking responsibility. As for road sentries, [they]haven’t been removed yet. The cars [Army trucks] haven’t all come yet. [Village] head yourself, come tomorrow.

                                                                               [Sd.] U yyyy
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                            Village Peace and Development Council
                                                                    xxxx village, Papun township

[This is a letter from one village head to another; the Army demanded 3 porters from the recipient’s village, but the writer has already paid 3 people to go as porters in their place, so he is now demanding that the recipient’s village reimburse him for the 1,500 Kyat expense. The second paragraph means that the villagers doing forced labour as roadside sentries are to remain there until all of the trucks of the Army supply convoys have come through.]

 

Order #31 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                                                      6-2-2000
          xxxx village

From Gentleman’s [your] village, send without fail 2 bullock carts to LIB xxx to arrive tomorrow, 7-2-2000, at 7 o’clock in the morning, you are directed.

                                                                xxxx - yyyy Mobile [Column]
                                                            Deputy Warrant Officer aaaa [Sd.]

[This order demands bullock carts for forced labour hauling materials, which means that 2 bullock cart owners must go with their teams and carts and do the labour.]

 

Order #32 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson - xxxx [headman’s name]
          xxxx village

Subject:     To prepare 4 bullock carts in the morning

-     On 13-2-2000, for loh ah pay at the Battalion carrying the rations, prepare 4 bullock carts without boxes [without the wooden floor and sides on top where people usually sit or belongings are placed], you are hereby directed.
-     In the morning, prepare set tha [‘messenger’] fees of 1,200 Kyat.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                      aaaa
                                                                           xxxx - yyyy [Column]

[The demand for 4 bullock carts requires 4 bullock cart owners and their teams to go for forced labour. ‘Messenger’ fees are bribes to avoid a routine shift of forced labour as Army camp messengers.]

 

Order #33 (Pa’an)

To:                                                            Stamp:                                13/2/2000
     Village Head                    Frontline #xx Light Infantry Battalion 

     xxxx village                         Column ([blank]) Headquarters

Send 3 [bullock] carts tomorrow (14th) with this messenger, U xxxx. [We] Would like to use them temporarily. Specifically informing the village head to do [this]. Send [them] to yyyy monastery before 0600 hours on the morning of the 14th.

                                                                           Thank you,
                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                         Supply Officer
                                                                [Stamped:] Supply Captain
                                                          Frontline #xx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #34 (Toungoo)

         Stamp:
#xx [IB], Company x                                                                           7/3/2000

   Date: 7/3/2000                         To: [blank]
    xxxx [camp]

Subject:     Calling for loh ah pay

Regarding the above subject, Gentleman’s village must send 4 people to build on Ka Na Soe Bin road construction, come to xxxx Camp on 10/3/2000 at 10 o’clock in the morning with 3 days of supplies and mattocks and machetes. Be informed that if [you] fail, it will be the Gentleman’s responsibility.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                xxxx Camp

[This order is in reference to forced labour on a new vehicle road in Toungoo District; see also the KHRG report "Peace Villages & Hiding Villages" (KHRG #2000-05, 15/10/00). Mattocks are large hoes used for digging. On the back this order is marked "Urgent" and "Send this quickly". The stamp has a blank unit number which the officer has written in by hand. The villagers failed to show up for this forced labour, so this was followed by Order #35 below.]

 

Order #35 (Toungoo)

         Stamp:
#xx [IB], Company x                                                                           11/3/2000

  Date: 11/3/2000                         To: [blank]
     xxxx [camp]

Subject:     To send loh ah pay quickly

Regarding the above subject, the Gentleman yourself is required to resolve the problem of 4 loh ah pay people who were called to arrive on 10/3/2000 but still haven’t arrived as of today. You are informed to come toxxxx Camp on 12/3/2000.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Camp Commander

[This order followed Order #34 for 3 days of forced labour on the xxxx road construction.]

 

Order #36 (Toungoo)

                         Stamp:                                                                      11-3-2000
Village Tract Peace and Development Council          To:
                yyyy village tract                                        Chairperson / Secretary
                                                                                 xxxx [village]

Subject:     To resolve matters of servant fees and carrying supplies

Regarding the above subject, Chairperson yourself must come to yyyy village to discuss these matters. The deadline is 12-3-2000.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                           Chairperson
                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                          yyyy village tract, Than Daung township

[‘Carrying supplies’ means demands for porters.]

 

Order #37 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              18   -  1400

Shooting Support Platoon

VPDC Members
xxxx tract

Sir:

- Regarding the matter of arranging and delivering the donation money ordered by the Battalion;
- To repair and improve the Army Camp;
- To coordinate and carry everything out, come to the Army Camp on 19/3/2000 at 0800 hours in the morning, you are invited.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[‘The donation money’ is regular extortion demanded by the Battalion. To ‘carry everything out’ including ‘to repair and improve the Army Camp’ means that villagers must come along the next day to do forced labour at the camp.]

 

Order #38 (Pa’an)

U xxxx [elder’s name]                                                                      23-3-2000

Tomorrow, send one messenger whom you believe and trust with a letter to xxxx.

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

[This order has been sent to a village head, with another letter which he is to forward to another village.]

 

Order #39 (Toungoo)

Secret

                Stamp:                                                  Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                                 Column x Headquarters
     Column x Headquarters                                       Letter number xxxx / yy / Oo 1
                                                                             Date: Year 2000, March 24th

To:     U aaaa / U bbbb 
          Chairperson / Secretary
          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

1)     To discuss the administration, support and security affairs of Ka Na Soe Bin - Kyi Pyaung road construction, you are invited to attend without fail at the Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion Commander[office] on 30/30/2000 [sic: 30/3/2000] at 1300 hours.

2)     You are informed again to attend without fail, because [I] have already informed #xx Local Infantry Battalion at yyyy camp.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Battalion Commander
Copies to:
               - Mobile #x Strategic Commander 

               - Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion, Column x Headquarters
               - Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion, yyyy Army Camp

Secret

[This order is in reference to forced labour on the new vehicle road about 50 kilometres long from Bu Sah Kee in southern Toungoo District to Ma La Daw in northern Nyaunglebin District; see also Orders #34-35, and the report "Peace Villages & Hiding Villages" (KHRG #2000-05, 15/10/00) on events in Toungoo District.]

 

Order #40 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx [village]                                                                 Date: 4-2000

Chairperson, I am writing this letter. The matter is that tomorrow, send without fail 20 people for loh ah payfrom the Chairperson’s village tomorrow. As for me, I have only one day left, tomorrow. Tomorrow [we] will winnow the paddy and gather the straw.

                                                                                That’s all.
                                                                                Friendly,
                                                                                [Sd.] Sa Ka Ka 1

Bring 1 viss [1.6 kg/3.5 lb] of cassava root.
Bring 1 big tin of pepper.

[This is an order for forced labour farming for the Army on confiscated farmland. The same villagers were most likely forced to plant, tend and harvest the crop, and now they are to be forced to winnow it. He has written ‘tomorrow’ twice in the second sentence as in the translation. ‘Sa Ka Ka’ in the signature is the abbreviation for Military Operations Command.]

 

Order #41 (Dooplaya)

                      Stamp:     
               xxxx Army Camp                              To:
               Date: 24/4/2000                                      Chairperson
xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township                      xxxx village

Subject:     Calling for servants [wontan]

Come to report information, with 5 servants with [their own] rice from Chairperson’s village, to xxxx Army Camp on 24-4-2000 at 11 o’clock in the midday, you are informed. If [you] fail action will be taken, you are informed.

                                                                   [Sd. / Captain] 24/4/2000
                                                                          Camp Commander
                                                                           xxxx Army Camp
                                                             xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #42 (Dooplaya)

                       Stamp:     
                xxxx Army Camp                         To:    Chairperson
                Date: 24/4/2000                                   yyyy village 
xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     Calling for servants [wontan]

From Chairperson’s village, come to report information to xxxx Army Camp on 24-4-2000 at 11 o’clock in the midday, with 5 servants and rice. If [you] fail, action will be taken, you are informed.

                                                                     [Sd.] Captain / 24/4/2000
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                              xxxx Army Camp
                                                             xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #43 (Pa’an)

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

Subject:     Come for loh ah pay

From the gentleman’s [your] village in #xxx Light Infantry Battalion’s region of control, one person per house with machete and rice pack, led by the Gentleman [village chairman] yourself, come without fail on 1-5-2000, Dta Gu Hla Sote 13 [the Burmese date: 13th waning day of Dta Gu month], to arrive in the morning at 7 o’clock at #xxx Light Infantry Battalion. When you come, bring along the things which you must give to the Battalion, you are informed.

Place:      xxxx                                                                         [Sd.]
Date:      29-4-2000                                             (for) Acting Battalion Commander

[‘The things which you must give to the Battalion’ indicates items which the battalion has previously demanded from the village. This letter was duplicated and sent to all villages with the same demand.]

 

Order #44 (Pa’an)

                       Stamp:
Village Peace and Development Council         To: xxxx [headman’s name]      1-5-2000

               yyyy village tract                                xxxx [village]

With respect, we are writing a letter to inform [you]. Right now, the higher-ups have sent orders to our village. The whole village has to cover the main road of the village. That is why [we] need stones. Therefore, our village has to gather stones at the Weh Wone River. Maung xxxx [the recipient of this letter] has to help with this, so gather [people] and tell [the villages on] the other side, you are requested.

                                                  Respectfully,               [Sd.]
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                           Village Peace and Development Council
                                                                           yyyy Village Tract

[This is a letter from one village head to another, asking for help from all villages on both sides of the river because the Army has ordered that they provide all the stones and do forced labour gravelling the main road. On the back of this order the recipient had written, "This letter, the … village head sent it to me but the responsibility is not on my hands, so I send it on to you, look and read it".]

 

Order #45 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              10   -  1315
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
U aaaa, U bbbb [village heads’ names]

- [regarding] the matter of battalion donation money, the matter of chickens/ducks, and the matter of the date to cross the river, tomorrow, 11/5/2000, [you] must go to meet at the Battalion [camp], so call also the heads of xxxx, you are informed.
- when the Chairperson is changed don’t feed us anything, just 5 durians and 20 mangoes will be enough.
- do not fail, you are informed in advance.

                                                                                 Respectfully,
                                                                                 [Sd.] xxxxx
                                                                xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                      IB xxx
                                                                                  xxxx [town]

[On the back this order is dated 10/5/2000, addressed to xxxx village, and says underlined, "Which day will you send the loh ah pay for the camp? Reply."] The village head has written in "14-5-2000 - 4 months money plus interest, 8375. 17-5-2000, loh ah pay." ‘Battalion donation money’ means extortion money the villagers must give to the Battalion each month. Regarding the ‘river crossing’, it appears that the villagers are responsible for ferrying SPDC vehicles across the river by raft on a regular basis, so whenever SPDC convoys are going to come the local military makes sure the villagers will be ready.]

 

Order #46 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                    Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                             Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                            Letter Number: x / xx-xx / Oo-6
Kya In Seik Gyi town                             Date: Year 2000, May 12th

To:          Village Head               
               xxxx village     

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the matter of      fencing the xxxx [camp] bunkers          , [we] have to coordinate and discuss with Gentlemen [you] according to the agenda below. Attend the meeting without fail, you are hereby informed.

A G E N D A

                                          Date:          14-5-2000, Sunday     
                                          Time:         Morning, 10:00 o’clock     
                                          Place:         TPDC Office     

Copies to:                                                                      [Sd.] 12-5-2000
               Office / File                                                      (for) Chairman

[The above is a typed form letter with the address, agenda details, and ‘fencing the xxxx bunkers’ written in by hand. At the meeting, the PDC and Army will likely assign forced labour at the xxxx police post to the villagers. Order #65 below is more explicit in demanding forced labour for this purpose.]

 

Order #47 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              13   -  1200

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

Sir:

- [You] need to pay the Battalion donation money for 4/2000.
- Also remaining to pay, 12 ducks and 15 chickens for the Sa Ka Ka [military operations command].
- The loh ah pay [labourers] must be in my camp [i.e. they must come now].
- [We] also have to discuss and coordinate other things.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                Your soldier,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                              xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                    IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 13/5/2000.]

 

Order #48 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Stamp: 
          ( xxxx ) village                                                  #xxx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                      Battalion Office

Subject:     Calling for loh ah pay

For #xxx Infantry Battalion, the gentlemen’s [your] whole village must give loh ah pay, arriving on 17-5-2000 at 0700 hours. Come without fail. If you fail, the gentleman [you] will face the responsibility, you are informed.

Place:     xxxx                                                                    [Sd.]
Date:      16-5-2000                                            (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                            #xxx Infantry Battalion

[An order for the ‘whole village’ to give forced labour usually means at least one person per family/household.]

 

Order #49 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              27   -  0800

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:

1) For the Battalion, send 20 people for loh ah pay (with machetes and paut pya [a type of hoe used like a shovel]) to xxxx on 28/5/2000, tomorrow morning at 6 o’clock.
2) Send the pata [metal door latches for use with a padlock] needed for the clinic.
3) To discuss and coordinate with the Chairperson, come to the camp on 28/5/2000, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx
                                                                                        IB xxx
                                                                                    xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 27/5/2000. It was followed by Orders #50 and 51 below.]

 

Order #50 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              28   -  0900
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
-     The Battalion called 20 people for loh ah pay, but only 2 arrived and 18 were absent.
-      Why were they absent, and who was responsible? Come to the Camp Commander to explain and clear this[matter].

                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 28/5/2000, and marked "Quickly". It came after Order #49 above and preceded Order #51 below.]

 

Order #51 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              28   -  1330

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
-     On 28/5/2000 the loh ah pay [workers] didn’t arrive, 18 people were absent, and…
-     On 29/5/2000, 20 people [must be sent]. The total is 38 people. Chairperson yourself, arrange and send[them] without fail.
-     If you fail, it will be the Chairperson’s responsibility.

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 28/5/2000. It followed Orders #49 and 50 above. After only 2 of the 20 people demanded for forced labour showed up on May 28th, the Deputy Warrant Officer ordered that the following day the village must send the regular quota of 20 forced labourers per day plus an additional 18 to make up for those who were absent.]

 

Order #52 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              28   -  1700
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

- On 29/5/2000, [send] 40 people for loh ah pay (with paut pya [a type of hoe used like a shovel] and machetes). Chairperson yourself, bring them to the Camp Commander.
- If you fail, it will be the Chairperson’s responsibility.

                                                                                     [Sd.] xxxxx
                                                                   xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                           IB xxx
                                                                                       xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 28/5/2000, addressed to xxxx village, and says, "When you receive this letter, reply with the messenger who brings this."]

 

Order #53 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              01   -  0800

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

Sir:
-     For loh ah pay on the Battalion rubber plantation, send without fail machetes and paut pya [a type of hoe used like a shovel] and 40 people for loh ah pay on 2/6/2000.
-     If you fail, the one who fails will face the responsibility.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[On the back this order is dated 1/6/2000 and marked "Reply that you have received this letter".]

 

Order #54 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 2-6-2000
          xxxx village

Right now, as soon as [you] receive this letter, Chairperson yourself come and bring bring [sic: he repeats the word twice] 20 people to be carriers [porters], 5 chickens, 1 basket of rice, and 5 durians to the Column at yyyy. If [you] fail, the person who fails will bear the responsibility, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Intelligence Officer
                                                                         #xxx Infantry Battalion

[Durian are large and highly-valued seasonal fruit.]

 

Order #55 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                      7-6-2000
          xxxx village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     Calling for loh ah pay

xxxx village, come to the Battalion for loh ah pay on 10-6-2000 with 20 people, with their own machetes and shaved bamboo ties [thin strips of shaved bamboo used in building to tie things together]. Come with one morning meal [to eat during the work], you are informed.

            Stamp:                                                                 Battalion Warrant Officer
#xxx Infantry Battalion
     Battalion Office

 

Order #56 (Dooplaya)

[This is a letter from one SPDC Army officer to another.]

                                                                                          8th June ’00
Ko aaaa,

[I have] Sent the xxxx [village] messengers to yyyy. If Ko aaaa has no work [for them], I want them given back to me within this day to be Laun Kya [meaning ‘security’] servants outside the camp, [to be] used to do sharpening/planting work [sharpening bamboo spikes and making booby-traps].

Here [we] have only 3 or 4 people including [those from] xxxx. This must be carried out and finished quickly (outside the camp). The other villages have to be used [for other forced labour] by the Column and bbbb, so[we] didn’t get any messengers. That is why when the work outside the camp is finished, [we] will give them back. Within 2 weeks, the outside and inside [of the camp] will be as desired.

                                                                               Respectfully,
                                                                              [Sd. ‘bbbb’]
                                                                          Camp Commander
                                                                           zzzz Army Camp
                                                             zzzz village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

[This letter from one SPDC officer to another is written in awkward Burmese. The writer is busy having a new camp built, and is essentially saying that he needs to complete work on his camp quickly, particularly the setting of booby-traps outside the perimeter, but that other units are already using all of the available villagers for forced labour; he therefore asks to take some forced labourers from other units on a temporary basis. Typically, he never even appears to consider that such work should be done by his own soldiers.]

 

Order #57 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson/Village Head                                             Stamp:     
               xxxx / yyyy           village tract                Military Operations Command
                                                                                          [illegible]

Subject:     Requesting loh ah pay

To do Battalion construction work for #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, Gentlemen’s [your] village must send one person from each family, at least 20 persons, with 3 days’ food and supplies including mattocks and machetes.[They] Must arrive at the Battalion on 13-6-2000 at 0700 hours, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander

[This is a typed and copied letter with the village name and ‘tract’ written in afterward by hand. By addressing this copy to an entire village tract, the Battalion Commander is actually demanding 20 people from each of several villages. Mattocks are large hoes used for digging.]

 

Order #58 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                                     Year 2000, June 15th
#xx Infantry Battalion                                           IB #xx
Quartermaster Section                                          Maintenance of Discipline [office]
                                                                          #5 Section Office

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

1)     Subject:     To send bullock carts for an emergency

2)     In accordance with the order of Strategic Command and TPDC [Township Peace and Development Council], the Gentleman’s [your] village must send 3 bullock carts quickly.

3)     Come and report information first to #5 Section at the Maintenance of Discipline office, then to the People’s Police station.

                                                                                     [Sd.]

[‘Emergency’ really just means they want the carts right away for ad hoc forced labour. This will require 3 cart owners and their teams to go for an unspecified time for forced labour with no compensation.]

 

Order #59 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:     
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:   xxxx / yyyy [villages]
          xxxx [camp]                                   Sunday the 18th [of June], 2000

Send 50 loh ah pay people at 0700 to clear along the road, left and right [sides].

                                                                                     [Sd.]

[Villagers are often ordered to clear the glass, scrub and trees in a wide swath along both sides of military supply roads; this is supposed to decrease the chance of ambush or mining of the road. On this order the month is not given, but June is the only month in 2000 when the 18th falls on a Sunday, and on the back the recipient noted ‘17-6-2000’.]

 

Order #60 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:      Chairperson

     Battalion Office                               xxxx village               Date: 19-6-2000

Subject:     Informing you to come to the Battalion

From the group of 28 servants who are with #xxx Infantry Battalion, the village chairperson and 2 of them must come to Battalion headquarters without fail at 0200 in the afternoon, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.] 
                                                                                Intelligence Officer
                                                                              #xxx Infantry Battalion

[The ‘servants’ are villagers already doing forced labour for the troops under the supervision of the village chairperson; here the chairperson is ordered to bring 2 others for some special forced labour assignment at the Battalion headquarters.]

 

Order #61 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                      20-6-2000
          xxxx [village]

1)     On 21-6-2000, the Chairperson yourself must come to meet.

2)     Send the materials below to yyyy [Army camp] to arrive on 22-6-2000.

          (a)     Bamboo (3 handspans x 10 taun)          -     500 pieces
          (b)     Wood (3 handspans x 10 taun)              -     500 pieces
          (c)     Hut roof thatch                                   -     500 shingles
          (d)     3" nails                                               -     2 viss [3.2 kg/7 lb]
          (e)     4" nails                                               -     2 viss
          (f)     People with rations for 5 days             -     30 people

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                yyyy Camp

[‘3 handspans x 10 taun’ means 3 handspans in circumference by 15 feet/5 metres in length. 1 taun is 1.5 feet/0.5 metres, 1 handspan is 8-9 inches/20-22 cm. To make thatch shingles, villagers must gather leaves, split bamboo to make frames about 1 metre long, then tie the leaves onto the frame. Not only do the villagers have to provide all the materials for building this new Army camp, but 30 of them have to go along to do the work. This new camp is also referred to in several other orders in this report, for example Orders #56 and64.]

 

Order #62 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                     Date: 22-6-2000
     Chairperson - Secretary

I am writing.
Send daily messengers to the camp without fail. In the camp there is plenty of work to be done. If one is hired, let him come to the camp. Write a situation report of anything unusual and [send it] with a messenger every morning to the camp. (Note: Send 2 messengers regularly every morning.)

                                                            Respectfully,     [Sd.]
                                                           Cpy. Sgt. xxxx, LIB xxx

[‘If one is hired, let him come to the camp’ means that rather than just sending money (which they often do instead of sending messengers), the villagers must try to hire someone to go for them and send him for forced labour, or go for the labour themselves. We have translated the abbreviation for ‘Company Sergeant’ as ‘Cpy. Sgt.’]

 

Order #63 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                          Date: 2-7-2000
     U xxxx [the village head]

I am writing a letter.
I received the pork that U xxxx sent. I was told that there were 300 Kyat for messenger fees. Send it with tomorrow morning’s messenger.

                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                      Respectfully,
                                                                       xxxx Camp

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are a common form of forced labour which villages must do on rotation at every Army camp; the messengers are used to do errands for the officers, miscellaneous labour, and deliver orders like these to the surrounding villages. Not only do the villages have to send messengers, but also ‘messenger fees’; if the camp needs a messenger, they will demand two and insist that one person be sent and ‘messenger fees’ be paid for the other.]

 

Order #64 (Dooplaya)

                    Stamp:                                                                           5-7-2000
#xxx [illegible] Light Infantry Battalion

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

1)     [We] informed you to come to yyyy camp on 2/7/2000, but until today you haven’t come yet, so come on 6-7-2000 to arrive at 08:00 o’clock. Warning you again, you are informed.

2)     Do not fail. If [you] fail, serious action and punishment will be dealt out. The Chairperson yourself must come.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                 yyyy camp

[On the back the village head has written what happened next:]

In accordance with the letter, on 7-7-2000 [they] met with 2 village heads.
          aaaa [village]          20 people
          bbbb [village]          10 people
With our own rations for 5 days for building the Army camp, loh ah pay was demanded under duress.
cccc, dddd, eeee, ffff, gggg, hhhh [villages]

[When village heads are called to ‘meetings’ it is often to demand that they arrange forced labour, and in this instance the village head has confirmed it by writing on the back of the order what happened when they were called to a meeting after this order: 30 people from 2 villages were demanded to do 5 days of forced labour building an Army camp, and people were also demanded from the other 6 villages listed.]

 

Order #65 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                   Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                           Kya In Seik Gyi township - Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                          Letter number x / xx-x / Oo-x / xxxx
Kya In Seik Gyi town                           Date: Year 2000, July 7th

To:     Chairperson / Village Head
           xxxx village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of fencing the bunkers for xxxx police outpost

1)     Regarding the above subject, to fence the bunkers for the xxxx police outpost, the villages shown below are assigned duties as specified.

          (a)     aaaa village                       100 feet
          (b)     bbbb village                      100 feet
          (c)     cccc village                        100 feet
          (d)     dddd / eeee                      100 feet
          (e)     gggg / hhhh                       100 feet
          (f)     kkkk village                          70 feet
          (g)     mmmm village                      70 feet
          (h)     nnnn [village]                      30 feet
          (i)     oooo village                         40 feet
          (j)     pppp village                         40 feet

2)     Therefore, those responsible from the Gentleman’s xxxx village must come without fail (without fail)to carry out the fencing by the date of 30-7-2000 at the latest, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Chairperson
                                                                        (Saw xxxx - Secretary)
Copies to:     
               Township Police Unit Commander, Kya In Seik Gyi town
               File/Receipt

[The number of feet is the length of fencing for which each village is responsible. The village will also be responsible for providing the fencing materials. This is a typed and copied letter with the village name written in, and was sent to all the villages in the list.]

 

Order #66 (Toungoo)

                         Stamp:                                                                 Date: 10-7-2000
Village Tract Peace and Development Council          To:
                 yyyy village tract                                        xxxx [village]
                                                                                 Chairperson / Secretary

yyyy Camp Commander and Column Commander want to meet the Chairperson, so you are informed to come without fail. Please be prepared with the rest of the money for previously cutting down bamboo. Each village had to send 15 people for one week, in money terms it costs 12,500 Kyat, and the Chairperson gave 5,000 Kyat already, so 7,500 is remaining. For pork fees, 600 Kyat per viss for 3 viss, [total] cost 1,800 Kyat.

                                             Total:     7,500
                                                          1,800
                                                          9,300 Kyat

                                             Please bring it with you.

                                                                                     yyyy [village]
                                                                                     Chairperson
                                                       [Stamped:]     Chairperson
                                                      Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                          yyyy village tract, Than Daung township

[This is a letter from the village tract chairman to one of the village heads. The Army demanded 15 people from each village for a week’s forced labour but this village didn’t send anyone, so they are forced to pay 12,500 Kyat to the Army instead via the village tract authorities. ‘Pork fees’ are paid because the village cannot send the regular 3 viss (4.8 kg/10.5 lb) of pork demanded from each village by the Army.]

 

Order #67 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 12-7-2000
          xxxx village

Subject:     Informing [you] to send loh ah pay

1)     Regarding the above subject, send 20 people from xxxx village for loh ah pay with 3 days of rations to eat on 14-7-2000 / Hla San 12 [Burmese lunar date: 12th waxing day], to arrive at 8 o’clock in the morning atyyyy Army camp.

2)     If [you] fail, serious action will be taken, letting you know, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                      Camp Commander
                                                                       zzzz Army Camp
                                                        zzzz village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

[The villagers failed to go as ordered for this forced labour building a new Army camp, so this order was followed by Order #68 below.]

 

Order #68 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:     
     zzzz Army Camp                         To:     Chairperson
Kya In Seik Gyi township                             xxxx village                    Date: 16-7-00

Subject:     Informing [you] to send loh ah pay

1)     [We] Have already informed [you] to send loh ah pay to yyyy camp to arrive on 14-7-00, but [we] saw that [you] didn’t send them.

2)     The Chairperson/Secretary yourself must go to report the information to yyyy camp about why [you]didn’t send them, and bring with you 20 people for loh ah pay as was specified, to arrive on 17-7-00 at 8 o’clock in the morning.

3)     If [you] fail again, serious action will be taken.

     * 20 people for loh ah pay, with rations for 3 days
     * When [you] go to yyyy [camp], stop to report information at zzzz camp

                                                                                 [Sd. / Captain]
                                                                                Camp Commander
                                                                                 zzzz Army Camp
                                                                  zzzz village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

[This order was sent after the villagers failed to obey Order #67 above.]

 

Order #69 (Pa’an)

To:     Ko aaaa                                                                           27-7-2000
          xxxx village chairperson

I am sending a box with this messenger. Send a messenger with this box to the Battalion today (urgent). Chairperson and Secretary are informed to report to the camp today.

Note: If Chairperson is not there, the next-ranking responsible persons must send this box to the Battalion.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                               Lieutenant bbbb 
                                                                        (yyyy Camp Commander)

 

Order #70 (Pa’an)

To:     U aaaa                                                                           Date: 29-7-2000
          Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Requesting assistance with ta toh set [‘ploughing machines’; small tractors]

Gentleman’s village is requested to assist by sending one machine and ploughing equipment with operator to the Battalion now.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                    (for) Camp Commander
                                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                            yyyy (Mobile)

[‘Ta toh set’ are small tractors for ricefield ploughing. This is forced labour growing rice for the Army, most likely on land they have confiscated from the villagers. This order was followed by Order #71 when the villagers failed to show up.]

 

Order #71 (Pa’an)

To:     U aaaa 
          xxxx village chairperson

Ko aaaa [the headman listed above] is informed to supervise 3 ta toh set [‘ploughing machines’, small tractors designed to plough wet rice fields] with operators and report to Battalion xxx today at 0700 hours. Dear Ko aaaa, arrange it this time without fail. I was scolded for that first loh ah pay affair. If I am scolded this time, I cannot forgive [you]. Don’t give any excuses. Don’t give any explanations to the Camp on any matter. What I want is that 4 people, including U aaaa, and 3 machines, must arrive at the Battalion.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                      Camp Commander
                                                                           yyyy [camp]
Implement this (absolutely) without fail.
Arrival time today, Saturday, at 0700 hours

[‘That first loh ah pay affair’ appears to have been the demand in Order #70, which was followed by this order when the villagers failed to comply.]

 

Order #72 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:     
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:     Chairperson
     Battalion Office                               xxxx village                       Date: 7-8-2000 

Subject:     The matter of coming to the Battalion

Regarding the above subject, bring along 5 people for loh ah pay with a machete each and one long giant bamboo[wah boh] from the Gentleman’s village on 8-8-2000, you are informed.

Note:     If [you] fail, the Gentleman [you] will bear the responsibility.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                           Intelligence Officer
                                                                       #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #73 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:                                                                             Date: 9-8-2000
Military Operations Command          To: Chairperson/Village Head
               LIB xxx                                      xxxx      village

Subject:     Calling for loh ah pay

Regarding the above subject, the Gentlemen’s villages were assigned to irrigation ditches and stone production duties, but until today [you] haven’t been working, so you are informed again to send one loh ah pay person from each family, bringing machetes / mattocks / pickaxes / shovels / baskets and food and supplies for 5 days to the LIB xxx [camp] on 10-8-2000 at 9 o’clock in the morning without fail.

Note:     If [you] fail, it will be the village leaders’ responsibility. Each village must also bring 50 kyat tha [800 g/1.75 lb] of chicken or fish.

                                                                               [Sd. ‘xxxx’]
                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This is a typed letter carbon-copied and sent out to several villages. Mattocks are large hoes used for digging. ‘Stone production’ means breaking rocks into gravel, most likely for road construction on the network of roads which are always being built and rebuilt around Nabu in central Pa’an District.]

 

Order #74 (Pa’an)

To:          Ko aaaa                                                                       Date: 12-8-2000

I am writing. Send 2 messengers tomorrow, 13-8-2000, by the deadline of 7:30 to the camp. Don’t fail. There is work to do. If the messengers come, make them bring 2 banana trees each.

                                                                         Friendly,
                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                   Sgt. bbbb 
                                                                                 xxxx Camp

 

Order #75 (Pa’an)

To:          Chairperson                                                                      12/8/2000

You are informed to prepare 4 messengers from xxxx village tomorrow, 13/8/2000.

Note:     Be ready at 6 o’clock in the morning.
                                                                            (for) yyyy Camp Commander
                                                                                        [Sd.] xxxxxx

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are a common form of forced labour which villages must do on rotation at every Army camp; the messengers are used to do errands for the officers, miscellaneous labour, and deliver orders like these to the surrounding villages.]

 

Order #76 (Pa’an)

To:          U aaaa                                                                           12/8/2000

Wait at the village with 4 messengers tomorrow. I have important words to tell.

                                                                 (for) xxxx Camp Commander
                                                                            [Sd.] xxxxxx

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are villagers to go for forced labour running errands and delivering order letters at the Army camp.]

 

Order #77 (Pa’an)

To:          U aaaa                                                                                13-8-2000

Send the 4 messengers requested yesterday with this group, along with the Gentleman and Secretary, to our camp now, you are informed.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                       xxxx Camp Commander

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are a common form of forced labour which villages must do on rotation at every Army camp; the messengers are used to do errands for the officers, miscellaneous labour, and deliver orders like these to the surrounding villages. ‘With this group’ could mean this group of soldiers, or a forced labour group already on their way to the camp.]

 

Order #78 (Pa’an)

To:          Secretary                                                                 16-8-2000

[I am] Sending 800 Kyat in money with this messenger. Buy 1 hen. In future, if [you] cannot send a messenger, it is possible to hire at 300 Kyat per day. Reply whether this is possible or not.

                                                                              xxxx Camp Commander
                                                                                     [Sd.] xxxxxx

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are villagers to go for forced labour running errands and delivering order letters at the Army camp. ‘It is possible to hire’ means that they can pay a bribe of 300 Kyat per day instead of sending a messenger each day if they like; this is the officer’s way of saying that on most days he would prefer that they send money rather than a person.]

 

Order #79 (Pa’an)

To:          Chairperson                                                                      19/8/2000

You are informed to send 2 messengers tomorrow on the 20th, one is a substitute for a messenger who failed [to come] on the 18th.

                                                                           (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxxx

[‘Messengers’ (‘set tha’) are a common form of forced labour which villages must do on rotation at every Army camp; the messengers are used to do errands for the officers, miscellaneous labour, and deliver orders like these to the surrounding villages.]

 

Order #80 (Pa’an)

To:          Ko aaaa [the village head]                                        Date: 26-8-2000

I am writing. If someone is available to hire a messenger, don’t send one now. If nobody hires one, let [a person] come. If possible, stop sending [people] for about 3 days. However, be sure to send on the 30th.

                                                                      Friendly and respectfully,
                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                               Sgt. bbbb 
                                                                              xxxx Camp

[This means that for the next 3 days the camp doesn’t really need forced labour messengers, so they’d rather have the money which the village pays not to send a messenger (to ‘hire’ a messenger means to send money instead of going). However, if no one has any money to pay, they say to send a messenger anyway, and that they definitely want a person on the 30th.]

 

Order #81 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                           28-8-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:
    Date: 28-8-2000                          U aaaa, Chairperson
  Company #[blank]                         xxxx village

U aaaa, why didn’t you come and attend the meeting at yyyy Camp? Shall I come if you fail to come? Try the best to come with a group of loh ah pay people tomorrow. I’ll have to come [to you] if you fail again.

[Written in with different handwriting:] Send 5 people for loh ah pay.

                                                                 xxxx Camp-in-charge, [Sd.]

[The ‘yyyy Camp’ is located at the Battalion’s confiscated ricefield, and the ‘loh ah pay’ is forced labour which the farmers must do growing rice for the Battalion. See also Order #149, which was issued by the same camp.]

 

Order #82 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                           Date: 2-9-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairperson
      Company #x                              xxxx village

To rebuild the bridge along the yyyy - zzzz road, Chairperson (or) Secretary must bring 10 loh ah pay persons and report to yyyy Army Camp on 3-9-2000 (Sunday) at 0600 hours without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] ‘Captain’
                                                                                     2-9-00
                                                                      yyyy Army Camp Commander

[There are SPDC camps at both yyyy and zzzz, and there is a partly-passable but very rough vehicle road that goes between them. Villagers in this area are always forced to rebuild the roads after every rainy season. For more information, see the report "Peace Villages & Hiding Villages" (KHRG #2000-05, 15/10/00) on events in Toungoo District.]

 

Order #83 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                          3-9-2000
     Dear xxxx village head,

Why did the loh ah pay [forced labourers] not come this morning? Ma aaaa should bring 6 loh ah pay people per village. Also bring mattocks and machetes, village head.

                                                                            yyyy camp
                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                            This is [sent] care of Naw bbbb

[This was sent to a woman village head, ‘care of’ another woman who was forced to send it. Mattocks are large hoes used for digging. The villagers failed to show up again, so this was followed by Order #84 below.]

 

Order #84 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                          4-9-2000
     xxxx village head,

Why didn’t [you] come this morning, mother village head? Come without fail this morning. When [you] come, bring mattocks, machetes and shovels.

Bring also 3 coconuts, whether ripe or not, and vegetables for the camp.

                                                                      yyyy Camp Commander
                                                          #xxx [LIB] Camp      [Sd.]

Mother village head, call 12 loh ah pay people this morning. Everyone must bring mattocks and machetes.

[This order followed Order #83, which was sent the previous day demanding 6 people.]

 

Order #85 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                                                           12-9-2000
          xxxx village

Maung aaaa, I am writing. The matter is to arrange 2 messengers for tomorrow, the 13th. Keep them at bbbb’s house. [I] Will take the messengers to carry supplies from yyyy [camp].

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                          Sergeant cccc 
                                                                           yyyy Camp

[Referring to the village head using ‘Maung’, intended for a younger man, is very insulting. In addition, though he demands ‘messengers’, he makes it clear that they are to be used for much heavier labour as porters.]

 

Order #86 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                          17-9-2000
     xxxx / yyyy / zzzz [villages]

All female village heads must come quickly to wwww camp as soon as [you] receive this letter. None of the loh ah pay [forced labourers] requested yesterday have arrived at the camp. This failure to arrive is entirely the responsibility of the female village heads.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Camp Commander
                                                                       wwww camp (#xxx [LIB])

 

Order #87 (Pa’an)

To:    xxxx village                                      Stamp:     
         Chairperson                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion           Date:  19-9-2000
                                              Military Operations Command

Regarding the above subject, be informed that the Gentleman’s [your] village must send loh ah pay [forced labourers] on September 23rd 2000.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                  Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                      yyyy camp

 

Order #88 (Pa’an)

To:     Village Elder / Chairperson                                        Stamp:     
               xxxx      village                                    Military Operations Command
                                                                                       LIB xxx

Subject:     To attend a meeting

Nabu - Daw Lan road repair affairs will be discussed at #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, so the village elder yourself must attend the meeting without fail on 20-9-2000 at 11 o’clock in the morning.

Place:    The hill near xxxx                                                      [Sd.]
Date:     19-9-2000                                             (for) Acting Battalion Commander
                                                                            #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[Villagers have been forced to build and rebuild the Nabu - Daw Lan vehicle road every dry season for years, and with the rainy season coming to an end in late September this meeting is almost certain to result in orders for the villagers to rebuild the road yet again after it has been washed out by the rains. This is a typed form letter, carbon copied and sent to all villages in the area.]

 

Order #89 (Pa’an)

To:     Secretary                                                                      22-9-2000
          xxxx village

Dear Secretary, you are informed to send 40 loh ah pay people to #xxx [LIB] on the 23rd.

                                                                                Sgt. aaaa 
                                                                           yyyy Army Camp
                                                                                 LIB xxx

 

Order #90 (Pa’an)

To:     Secretary                                                                           23-9-2000
          xxxx village

Dear Secretary, you are informed to send 40 loh ah pay people from the village tomorrow (24th). The Secretary is also informed to come together [with the loh ah pay workers] to #xxx [LIB].

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                 yyyy Camp

 

Order #91 (Pa’an)

To:     U aaaa 
          Secretary

Dear Ko aaaa, send this letter with an emergency messenger to reach [its destination] today. Tomorrow, Kobbbb, U aaaa and ten-house leader, don’t go out of your houses for any reason. If not at home, call [them]back [i.e. if any of the three mentioned aren’t presently at home, they must be called back home]. Prepare baskets for mortars before 0600 hours tomorrow.

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

[‘Baskets for mortars’ means baskets for carrying mortar shells. This means a patrol will come to the village the next morning and will require porters to carry mortar shells. The village and section leaders are ordered to stay in their houses and prepare baskets for the porters until the column arrives, and their families are ordered to call them back to the village if they are presently away.]

 

Order #92 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              09   -  0845

Shooting Support Platoon

Big Chairperson, Sir:

- To coordinate the matter of servants for the mobile column and the matter of village development, Chairperson and one of the [VPDC] members come to meet today or tomorrow at xxxx Army Camp, you are informed.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx
                                                              xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

 

Order #93 (Dooplaya)

Chairperson
xxxx village
yyyy Camp area

Gentleman, call and bring the loh ah pay [workers], and come yourself, gentleman, to meet with the Camp Commander. You were already informed, but until today you have not come to contact us. Come to explain, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                Camp Commander
                                                                                      yyyy camp

 

Order #94 (Dooplaya)

xxxx village
Chairperson

[Send] 40 people for loh ah pay with one machete each.
Arrange to come to yyyy village to arrive at 6 o’clock in the morning, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                yyyy village camp

 

Order #95 (Dooplaya)

xxxx [village] Chairperson,

Come with 2 villagers.

                                                                                 Column
                                                                                  [Sd.]

[The 2 villagers will be for forced labour, because otherwise the officer would specify which people he wants or why.]

Forced Labour Supplying Materials to the Army

In this section we have included orders which demand forced labour from the villagers not by calling them to worksites or Army camps, but by demanding materials which require intensive labour to produce. Most of them demand building materials such as timber, which must be cut in the forest, sawn into posts or planks, and then hauled to the Army camp by the villagers, or thatch roofing shingles, which require the villagers to gather leaves and cut bamboo, then split the bamboo into sticks, make it into metre-long frames, and tie the leaves onto the frames using bamboo ties. A demand for 500 thatch shingles or 300 wooden fenceposts can take a whole village several days of labour to produce, after which they must haul it to the Army camp on bullock carts, boats, or on their backs. Order #107 demands everything needed to build a new Army camp in Dooplaya District, even the nails; then the villagers were forced to go and do the construction as well, as can be seen in Order #61 from the same camp (included above under ‘General Forced Labour’). While most of these materials are demanded for Army camp construction, some are also demanded simply so that Army officers can sell them for profit; for example, Order #23 (included above under ‘General Forced Labour’) demands firewood for baking bricks, which will probably be baked by the rank and file soldiers at the camp and then sold for the personal profit of their officer. Even when demanding building materials for the camp, the officers often demand two or three times what they require and then sell the surplus. Soldiers who desert the Army often tell of such money-making schemes, particularly brick-baking, which are used by officers throughout Burma to make money.

Villagers are never paid for any of the materials they provide except in rare cases; some orders (for example, Order #98) promise to pay for some of it, but this often proves to be an empty promise when the materials are actually delivered. Even though the deadlines given are often next to impossible to meet, any village which fails to deliver the materials on time and according to specification faces threatening letters and the possibility of severe punishments.

Order #96 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                                Date
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                                   4-2-2000
Shooting Support Platoon

                         Fence posts:             200
                         Bamboo:                   500
          3-cubit lengths of bamboo:        3,000
                         in peh thatch:          200 [shingles]
                         Rice:                        2 baskets

                                                                                    [Unsigned] 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[This is a routine list of materials and rice demanded from a village. The bamboo indicates entire bamboo trees, while the ‘3-cubit lengths’ are precut lengths each 4.5 feet/1.5 metres long. ‘In peh’ is a type of thatch shingles using the wide leaves of a forest tree, which are gathered from the ground in the hot season and stitched onto split-bamboo frames to make shingles about 1 metre long. The villagers will have to do a lot of labour to fill the demands for wooden fence posts, bamboo and thatch.]

 

Order #97 (Pa’an)

Restricted

                  Stamp:                                         #x Strategic Command Group (base)
#x Strategic Command Group (base)                   xxxx [village]
              xxxx [village]                                     Letter number xxxx / yyyy-x / zzz
                                                                      Date: Year 2000, February 29th

To:      Chairperson     
           Village Peace and Development Council     
           xxxx village

Subject:     To send bamboo ties for thatch roofing / bamboo / thatch

Regarding the above subject, for rebuilding new camp buildings at #x Strategic Command Group (base) we need ties / bamboo / in peh thatch in the amounts specified below. Send them to #xStrategic Command Group (base) in xxxx, to arrive on 7-3-2000, you are informed.

                         (a)     bamboo                  50 poles
                         (b)     ties                       50 tha [800 grams/1.75 lb]
                         (c)     in peh thatch         300 shingles

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Strategic Commander
y/xx

Restricted

[This typed order was copied and sent to several villages, each of which had to comply with the demands. Bamboo ties are made from slicing bamboo into thin strips and are used to tie thatch roofing shingles onto the bamboo poles which form the shape of the roof. ‘In peh’ is a type of thatch shingles using the wide leaves of a forest tree, which are gathered from the ground in the hot season and stitched onto split-bamboo frames to make shingles about 1 metre long.]

 

Order #98 (Pa’an)

To:          Chairperson/Secretary                                                            9-3-2000

Chairperson or Secretary, right now when [you] receive this letter, one of you must bring 500 pieces of thatch to the Battalion, the Battalion orders it. [They] said that when it arrives at the battalion, [they] are going to clear [pay] the price. [They] ordered that one of the elders come. Now their small batteries are finished, so if [you] haven’t bought any yet, send xxxx[village]’s messenger to the battalion and ask him to buy some. [They] ordered that the thatch be sent today. If that is a problem, one of the elders must go to the battalion and give the reason. The Captain said to send the above letter [this letter] today.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                  Your friend Corporal aaaa

[500 thatch shingles would take several days to make, including gathering the leaves, splitting bamboo to make the frames, and stitching the leaves onto the frames, so this order is impossible to fulfil unless the village has a ready-made stock of thatch. The Battalion also forces the villagers to buy AA-size batteries for their walkie-talkies. Ironically, villagers can be executed for being caught in possession of these batteries, because the KNLA also needs them.]

 

Order #99 (Pa’an)

To:          U aaaa [village head’s name]                                                  11-4-2000

Need 150 pieces of thatch. Last night the wind blew and the fireplace shed and two huts were destroyed. If [anyone is coming], ask [them] to bring thatch to Paya Gone [Pagoda Hill].

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                      (xxxx pagoda hill camp)

[This letter from the local Army camp is addressed by name to the village head.]

 

Order #100 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              18   -  0900

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

- Send 500 thatch [shingles] to arrive on 19/4/2000.
- Why [were you] absent from the meeting on 17/4/2000?
- Who is responsible?

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                        IB xxx
                                                                                    xxxx [town]

[This order was sent on the morning of April 18th, expecting the villagers to produce 500 thatch shingles by the following day.]

 

Order #101 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              22   -  0700

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

Sir:
     To build sentry huts, send one bullock cart of scrap timber to this Army camp on 24/4/2000, you are informed.

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

 

Order #102 (Dooplaya)

                        Stamp:     
Strategic Command Group (base) (xxxx)          Strategic Command Group (base) (xxxx)
   Adjutant/Quartermaster department             xxxx [village]
                                                                  Letter number: xxxx / x / Oo x
                                                                  Date: Year 2000, May xx

To:     Chairperson
           xxxx village

Subject:     To send ironwood posts

For use in the building work of the Strategic Command Group (base) (xxxx) army unit, send 15 ironwood posts each 15 feet long and twa circumference [no number specified, so possibly one ‘twa’ (handspan)] to the Strategic Command office on 10-5-2000, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Acting Strategic Commander

[This is a typed carbon-copied form letter with the date and the number of posts written in by hand.]

 

Order #103 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              25   -  0700
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
-    23/5/2000     xxxx [village]
     24/5/2000     yyyy [village] 
     25/5/2000     zzzz [village]
     From these villages, we are informed that the bamboo and posts have arrived.

-    For 26/5/2000, the village that will send [the bamboo and posts] should please also bring 2wah boh wah [a very large and thick type of bamboo].

                                                                                     Respectfully,
                                                                                     Your soldier,
                                                                                     [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                           IB xxx
                                                                                      xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 25/5/2000. Several villages are being forced to rotate cutting and sending bamboo and wooden posts to the camp every day.]

 

Order #104 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx [village]Head                                                                 3-6-2000

Come to send quickly one bullock cart full of straw to arrive today, Major aaaa demands it. It is to plant mushrooms at the Battalion [camp].

                                                                      Friendly and Respectfully,
                                                                                  LIB xxx
                                                                               Major aaaa
                                   Battalion Captain:                  Captain bbbb 
                                   Battalion Commander:            Major cccc

Starting on 1-6-2000, we will machine-plough our own Battalion field.

 

Order #105 (Pa’an)

xxxx Chairperson                                                                      4/6[/2000]

Gather about 1 bullock cart load of straw and send it to the Battalion to help.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                 Major aaaa

[This relates to the same demand given in Order #104, issued the day before.]

 

Order #106 (Dooplaya)

                                                        Township Peace and Development Council
                                                        Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
                                                        Letter Number: x / x-xx / yy x
                                                        Date: Year 2000, June 5th

To:      Chairperson and village head
           xxxx village 
          Kya In Seik Gyi town

Subject:     To send ironwood posts

Regarding the above subject, from the gentlemen’s [your] village, send (xx) ironwood posts to arrive at the Township Peace and Development Council office on 10-6-2000 (without fail), you are informed.

Note:  10 taun [length 15 ft/5 m], xx posts
           7 taun [length 10.5 ft/3.5 m], xx posts
          10 taun [length 15 ft/5 m], xx posts

Copies to: Office Copy/file                                             [Sd.] 5-6-2000
                                                                                   (for) Chairperson
                                                                                (Saw aaaa, Secretary)

[KHRG obtained copies of this order which were sent to several different villages, each of them ordered to cut and supply a number of ironwood posts; to avoid repetition, only this one is reproduced here.]

 

Order #107 (Dooplaya)

To:  Chairperson (U aaaa)                             Stamp:                             18-6-2000
       xxxx [village]                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                               [illegible]

1)     Send without fail the materials below for yyyy camp, to arrive on 23-6-2000.

     (a)   Bamboo, 3 handspans circumference and 12 taun long:          500 [pieces]
     (b)   [Wood] Posts, 2 handspans circumference and 10 taun long:  300 [posts]
     (c)   Thatch to roof the huts:                                                     500[shingles]
     (d)   Nails (3"):                                                                          2viss [3.2 kg/7 lb]
     (e)   Nails (4"):                                                                          2viss

2)     On the 23rd, the Chairperson/Secretary yourself must come by motorboat to send them (do not fail).

                                                                                     [Sd.]

[These materials are for a new SPDC Army camp which was being built. The villagers were ordered to do all the labour as well as preparing and supplying the materials; see for example Orders #56,61, and 64. 1 taun is 1.5 feet/0.5 metres, 1 handspan is 8-9 inches/20-22 cm, so the bamboo is to be 18 feet/3.5 metres long by 2 feet/60 cm circumference, and the wooden posts 15 feet/5 metres long by 16 inches/40 cm circumference. To make thatch shingles, villagers must gather leaves, split bamboo to make frames about 1 metre long, then tie the leaves onto the frame. The village head will also have to pay for the fuel for the boat, which is expensive.]

 

Order #108 (Dooplaya)

                     Stamp:     
               xxxx Army Camp                                To: Chairperson/Secretary
xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

When this letter arrives on 10-7-2000, the Chairperson/Secretary yourself must bring one bullock cart of bamboo/posts to the Camp, come (to xxxx camp) along with it.

                                                                            [Sd.] 10-7-2000
                                                       [Stamped:]    Camp Commander
                                                                             xxxx Army Camp
                                                             xxxx village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #109 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx [village]                                                                 16-9-2000

One-month village heads and religious leaders must come to the Camp Commander without fail as soon as [you] receive this letter. Send 750 small bamboo today. Leaders, come without fail.

Camp Commander, yyyy                                  [Sd.] WO II [Deputy Warrant Officer]
                                                                           16-9-2000

 

Order #110 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              12   -  1430

Shooting Support Platoon

Secretary
xxxx tract

Sir:
-     Tomorrow morning the Secretary must go to send the money to the Battalion, you are informed.
-     To build the camp buildings and rubber plantation buildings, [we] need 500 thatch[shingles].

                                                                                  Respectfully,
                                                                                  [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[Thatch shingles are up to a metre long and require villagers to gather leaves and bamboo, make bamboo frames and then tie leaves onto the frame to make each one. The villagers were late in providing them, so this was followed by Order #111 below.]

 

Order #111 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              20   -  0800

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

Sir:
- To repair the camp, I have already asked for 500 thatch [shingles] as help. May I know the situation? Then also help with 10 giant [wah boh] bamboo.
- [Send] 3 viss of chicks (each weighing 20-25 kyat tha) to breed in the camp. [I] will pay the price.

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[This order followed Order #110 above. He demands 3 viss (4.8 kg/10.5 lb) of chicks each weighing 20-25 kyat tha (300-400 grams), meaning a total of 12-15 chicks.]

 

Order #112 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              31   -  0700

Shooting Support Platoon

Secretary

Sir:
     For building and improving the camp, [we] have already informed you that [we] need 500 thatch[shingles] and 10 wah boh [giant bamboo], but until now it still hasn’t arrived, so you are informed again.

                                                                                   Respectfully,
                                                                                    [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                         IB xxx
                                                                                     xxxx [town]

Orders to Provide Intelligence and Support

Virtually the entire population of Karen areas fears and despises the SPDC military and authorities, but this does not prevent the Army from trying to force the civilians to provide direct help to their military operations. This takes various forms, including forced labour at Army camps and as sentries and messengers (see above under ‘General Forced Labour’), and orders that village elders report on the activities of everyone in their villages and on any movements of opposition forces. Whenever the Army orders elders to ‘report information’ or to attend meetings to discuss ‘security matters’ or ‘control matters’, this is what they mean. This puts elders in a very difficult situation: if they report nothing they are accused of withholding information and will be severely punished if the opposition later attacks the SPDC forces in the area, but if they report anything the Army often accuses them of having contact with rebels. In most Karen areas, village elders are told that they are responsible for keeping the Army fully informed of all opposition activities, and are seriously punished if the Army is subsequently attacked or hears of opposition troops moving around the village (see for example Order #11 under ‘Threats and Propaganda Letters’). These punishments often include the arrest and torture of village elders, burning of houses, or forced relocation of the village.

The orders in this section specifically call on village elders to provide intelligence and other forms of support to the local military, though the orders in other sections of this report can also be considered demands for military support in various forms.

Order #113 (Pa’an)

Village Head
xxxx [village]

When you receive this letter, come to report information urgently to the Column, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 10/8/99
                                                                                Intelligence officer (1)
                                                                                          LIB xxx

 

Order #114 (Pa’an)

Village head
xxxx [village]

Tomorrow morning, report information to the Column without fail, you are informed. If you fail, Gentleman [you] will bear the responsibility.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 12/8/99
                                                                                 Intelligence officer
                                                                                           Col. 1
                                                                                        LIB #xxx

 

Order #115 (Papun)

                 Stamp:                                                                      Date: 4-2-2000
Peace and Development Council
          Date: 4-2-2000                             To:
             xxxx village                                    Chairperson, yyyy [village]

[You] have to meet number xxx Battalion with information.

Regarding the above subject, come to report information and discuss to the #3 Company Commander atzzzz on 5-2-2000 at 7 o’clock in the morning, you are informed.

(1) aaaa [village]                                                              [Sd.]
(2) bbbb [village]                                                         (Secretary)
(3) cccc [village]                                                         xxxx [village]

[The 3 villages listed all received this order to report intelligence.]

 

Order #116 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion               To:  Chairperson                    11/3/2000
     Column 1 Headquarters                            xxxx village

Subject:     Summoning [you] to meet

You are required to answer about regional control and security matters in our Operations Area. Therefore you are informed to meet the Column.

                                                                           [Sd.] 11/3/2000
                                                                         Intelligence Officer
                                                                 Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion
                                                                                Column 1

 

Order #117 (Toungoo)

To:                                                                                          18-5-2000
     Chairperson (U aaaa)
     xxxx village

[I] Would like to know the number of families, population, and list of leaders of the village. Send it and meet at yyyy.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                      Column Commander

[This intelligence is mainly used to allocate forced labour and extortion demands to each village.]

 

Order #118 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              29   -  1530
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
-     To coordinate the matter of the river crossing (date), the Battalion has directed that the whole VPDC group must go to the Battalion on 30/5/2000, so from the (xxxx) VPDC group, bring them all, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                        IB xxx
                                                                                    xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 29/5/2000 and marked "Reply today with this messenger confirming receipt". Regarding the ‘river crossing’, the villagers are responsible for ferrying SPDC vehicles across the river by raft on a regular basis, so whenever SPDC convoys are going to come the local military makes sure the villagers will be ready.]

 

Order #119 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              10   -  1000

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
-     [We] have to discuss and coordinate the matter of the car crossing raft [a raft for taking vehicles across the river] and other matters. The xxxx VPDC group will do this on 11/6/2000 at the Army camp, you are informed.

                                                                                   Respectfully,
                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officerxxxx 
                                                                                        IB xxx
                                                                                    xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is dated 10/6/2000 and says "Reply that you have received this". The villagers are forced to ferry all passing military vehicles across the river on their raft.]

 

Order #120 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson                                                                           15-6-2000
          xxxx [village]

As soon as you receive this letter, the Chairperson yourself must come to report information to Tat Gone [literally ‘Army hill’]. Do not fail.

                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                Adjutant Captain
                                                                           Stamp:   Battalion Commander
                                                                                       #xxxInfantry Battalion

 

Order #121 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx [village] Chairperson                                                       3-8-2000

Write a situation report on the local situation. Write it once a week.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                                 3-8-2000
                                                                                 LIB xxx
                                                                       yyyy Mobile [Column]

 

Order #122 (Pa’an)

                     Stamp:     
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
          Column 2 Headquarters

     To:     Chairpersons
               Village Peace and Development Council 
               xxxx / yyyy [villages]                                                  Date: 13-9-2000

Subject:     To discuss and implement matters of security

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come to Column 2 of #xxx Light Infantry Battalion on 13-9-2000 to discuss and implement matters of security.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Column Commander
                                                                                 Column 2
                                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[To ‘implement matters of security’ normally means that villagers will have to do forced labour as sentries along a road or at an Army camp, and/or that they will have restrictions imposed on their movements and activities.]

 

Order #123 (Pa’an)

To:     Ko aaaa 
          Chairperson

Tomorrow, come to see my Battalion cow. The letter I am sending now, send it today without fail with a special messenger.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                   Bo bbbb 
                                                                                     IB xx

[Presumably his cow is sick. ‘The letter I am sending now’ means he enclosed an order to be sent on to another village.]

 

Order #124 (Dooplaya)

                                                                                     Date     Time
                                                                                        08       0700

U aaaa, 
- What is the news?
- If the members of the VPDC are free, one of them should come to me.
- I want to know if there are any wood branches [logs] at xxxx. If there are, I want to meet the owner of the wood branches.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                      Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                  yyyy [camp]

Extortion of Money, Food and Supplies

SPDC Army units force villagers to provide them with everything - money, food, condiments, alcohol, cheroots, betelnut, firewood, clothing, building materials, and many other things, as well as logs and commercial goods which they can sell for profit. The villagers are threatened to provide these things or face punishment. They are almost never paid for them, and even when they are it is just a fraction of the price, paid with money stolen from other villages.

In 1998, the SPDC in Rangoon informed its field units that rations would be cut back in quantity and quality and that they should begin producing much of their own food or obtaining it from the villagers. The result has been increased confiscation of farmland by Army units, demands that villagers do forced labour farming this land (see for example Orders #40, 70, and 71under ‘General Forced Labour’), and an increase in demands for food without payment. Another development, as shown by Orders #137, 138, 144 and others, is that Army units now demand livestock and plant stock for breeding and planting at their camps.

Every Army unit also demands cash in several forms from all of the villages in their area of control. Some of this money is demanded as routine monthly extortion, usually referred to as "servants’ fees" or "Battalion donation money", while other money is demanded in lieu of forced labour. When money is paid to the Army to avoid forced labour it is often called "money to hire servants", but in practice the officers just pocket the money and seize forced labourers elsewhere - meaning other villages which are simultaneously paying to avoid some other demand for forced labour. As a result, villages have to pay fees to ‘hire’ (i.e. avoid) forced labour while also doing forced labour. The fees become so routine that in the end they are simply referred to as ‘servant fees’ but there is no longer any expectation that they are given in lieu of forced labour (see for example Orders #139, 141, and 148). Then the villagers try to pay to get out of the additional forced labour they actually have to do, and eventually that becomes a routine ‘fee’ as well, while the Army continues to make new demands for actual forced labour - and so on, until villages are paying all kinds of ‘servant fees’, ‘porter fees’, and ‘messenger fees’ but still going for forced labour as servants, porters and messengers on a regular basis. All of the money simply goes into the pockets of the Army officers and local officials.

Money is also demanded as ‘taxes’ based on the acreage which farmers have available to plant (see Order #129); such taxes are demanded by both the military and the civil authorities, and exist in addition to the crop quotas which farmers are forced to hand over. Some money is demanded in the name of fees to maintain pagodas and temples, but this money is then either kept by the officers or donated to the temple in the officer’s name, or in the name of the SPDC, with a great deal of public ceremony. Whenever SPDC VIP’s are due to arrive in an area or a temple festival or other ceremony is to be held, villages are also forced to pay for these (see Order #132).

Another form of extortion is shown by Order #125, which decrees a tax of 2 Kyat per durian or other fruit which passes along roads in Toungoo District. Taxes such as these are making it impossible for local farmers to make a profit on their produce or for drivers to make a profit transporting it. Taxes such as these combine with money demanded by every Army checkpoint along the roads to make goods cost up to 50% more in central Toungoo district than they do in Toungoo town, a markup which few villagers can afford. Though this order decreeing the durian tax was issued in mid-1999, it is included here because the tax is still being imposed, and this tax combined with other corruption money is driving local villagers into destitution.

This section also includes demands for many kinds of food and materials. Where such demands require a significant amount of labour by the villagers, particularly for building materials, they have been included in the section ‘Forced Labour Supplying Materials to the Army’. Many demands mention betelnut, a hard nut commonly grown and chewed throughout Burma together with leaf and lime paste; durian, a seasonal fruit highly valued throughout Southeast Asia which can weigh up to several kilograms; and dogfruit, a small puck-shaped fruit which is hard and bitter if raw, but is often cooked and used as a condiment with Karen food. In demands for food and other items, sometimes SPDC officers say they will pay, but when this happens the amount is usually far less than the value of the goods. In perhaps the most cynical order of this section, Order #133, an officer says that since his soldiers missed a wedding in the village, the villagers must send them enough pork for a feast.

As the Army expands, new camps are established in all areas and every new camp means a duplication of all the demands already faced by the villagers. Some Army units send their demands to the village tract or township authorities, who then pass them on to the villages, while other demands go directly to the villages. All demands for cash and materials end up with the village head, who must then distribute the burden by assigning villagers to gather the materials on a rotation basis and dividing the amount of cash to be paid by the number of families in the village. Most families end up having to contribute several thousand Kyat per month toward the cash demands, as well as material contributions. This is in addition to the food and belongings looted by passing patrols and the forced labour they must do. Given all the demands placed on them, it is often difficult or impossible for a village to comply, particularly when the Army demands 50,000 Kyat within 2 hours, 50 durian fruit, 500 wooden posts or 500 thatch shingles within 2 days. In these cases the village either ignores the order or scrambles to comply, but as soon as they are late the Army begins issuing increasingly threatening letters. Order #156 scolds an elder who has been slow to deliver thatch by saying "it is not easy to work with the elder", which carries a subtle but very clear threat. Order #149 is more direct, telling the village head that if the villagers or their livestock damage any of the rice seedlings in the Battalion field, "I will shoot your group" - despite the fact that the villagers were the ones forced to plant those seedlings.

Order #125 (Toungoo)

                         Stamp:                            Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council    Karen State - Than Daung town
                Than Daung township                  Letter number 5 / 3-19 / Oo 6
                                                                Date: Year 1999, June 12th

To:     Chairperson
          Ward Peace and Development Council
               xxxx      Ward/Village Tract

Subject:     The matter of collecting a Township Fund

1)     The Than Daung Township Peace and Development Council team has to work on township administration duties and there are many expenses, therefore the raising of funds is greatly required.

2)     Therefore, seasonal produce such as durians will be taxed at the rate of 2 Kyat apiece from vehicles travelling along the Than Daung - Than Daung Gyi road and the Than Daung - Baw Ga Li road in Than Daung township, so inform the vehicle owners again.

Note:     The collection will begin from 14-6-99.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                     ( Tint Swe )
                                                                                     Chairperson
Copies to:
     - Police Chief, Myanmar Police Force,               |
        Than Daung town                                          |     Myanmar Police Force and
     - Office Copy                                                 |     general administration staff
     - Circulation                                                   |     will jointly collect it.

[Villagers in Toungoo District complain that all commodities are extremely expensive because drivers have to pay extortion money at every Army checkpoint along the roads from Toungoo eastward into the hills. In addition, they cannot make any money on their produce because these ‘taxes’ wipe out any possibility of profit. As this order shows, this corruption is not isolated to the checkpoints, but also exists at an official level.]

 

Order #126 (Toungoo)

[This document has been removed from the internet version to protect the villagers involved.]

 

Order #127 (Toungoo)

To:                                                                                          Date: 8-12-99
     Chairperson

Subject:     Calling a meeting

(1)     You are invited to attend an important meeting about servant matters at xxxx Camp on 10-12-99 at 9 o’clock in the morning.

(2)     You are informed to bring [the amount of money] for one month which we fixed for villages by population.

                                                                                    [Sd.] ‘Lieutenant’
                                                                                 xxxx Camp Commander
                                                                                 F.L. [Frontline] #xx IB

[‘Servant matters’ means matters of forced labour and fees in lieu of forced labour. The money demanded is routine monthly extortion which is demanded in addition to this.]

 

Order #128 (Toungoo)

To:                                                                                          13-1-2000
     Chairperson

The betelnut we requested hasn’t arrived. Arrange and send it to xxxx Camp on 14-1-2000 at 12 o’clock noon, you are informed.

                                                                            [Sd.] 13-1-2000
                                                                                xxxx camp
                                                                  F.L. [Frontline] #xx [IB], Col. x

* I sent this letter with the yyyy [village] Chairperson. It is said that yyyy [village] sent 30 viss of betelnut.

[The note at the end is to tell the village head that other villages have already complied, so they had better comply as well. The quantities of betelnut being demanded are too large for personal or camp use, so the officers will probably sell them for personal profit, even though the villagers need to sell them for their livelihood.]

 

Order #129 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              29   -  1200

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx tract

Sir:
To pay the Battalion donation money of 50,000 K [Kyat], the total for 10/99, 11/99, 12/99 and 1/2000 is 41,625 K.

Regarding [tax] money for paddy, the Captain has specified it as below:

aaaa [village] (5,000 K), bbbb (5,000 K), cccc (50,000 K [possibly an error, should be 5,000 K]), and 2,500 K from each small village. The Captain is asking for payment of 22,500 K now for the total field acreage, and U xxxx [a village head] has already paid it.

                                                                                   [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                                 xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                       IB xxx
                                                                                   xxxx [town]

[The ‘Battalion donation money’ is routine extortion money collected by the Battalion. The ‘money for paddy’ and for acreage are cash extortion taxes demanded on the basis of the number of acres which farmers have available to them to plant.]

 

Order #130 (Toungoo)

To:                                                                                               2-2-2000
     Chairperson / Secretary
     xxxx [village]

Subject:     Fees for rotation servants and 2½ sacks of supplies per village

Dear Chairperson, you are requested to send what the Column instructed [meaning money] for the price of 2½ sacks of rice. The Camp Commander would also like to meet the Chairperson. Therefore, you are informed to come tomorrow and meet without fail.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                  2-2-2000
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                       Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                           yyyy Village Tract, Than Daung township

 

Order #131 (Toungoo)

To:     Chairperson (xxxx [village])                                             Date: 7-2-2000

You are informed to send 16 viss [26 kg/56 lb] of pork with a messenger for our F.L. #xx [Frontline #xxInfantry Battalion] as soon as you receive this letter.

* Pork (or) beef.                                                             [Sd.] 7/2/2000
                                                                                        yyyy Camp

[The ‘messenger’ means a villager to do forced labour as a messenger and running errands at the Army Camp.]

 

Order #132 (Pa’an)

                     Stamp:                                Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council   Myawaddy town
               Myawaddy town                          Letter number 5 / 4-540 / Yay 2 (xxxx)
                                                                Date: Year 2000, February xx

To:    Chairperson
          xxxx Section/Village Tract Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town

Subject:     The matter of holding the glorious Shwe Myin Wone Pagoda Buddhist festival
                 in Myawaddy town

1)     Regarding the above subject, the well-attended glorious Shwe Myin Wone Pagoda non-stop chanting worship and Buddhist festival is held every year in Myawaddy town, Myawaddy district.

2)     It is full of surprises. The Buddhist festival for the pagoda is the glory of the town, and virtuous workers and civilians in the sections/village tracts of the township come for good luck. When they get a chance, sections/village tracts must give donations for the Shwe Myin Wone Pagoda Buddhist festival, [you] were already informed by letter number 5/4-540/Yay 2 (xxxx) dated 25-1-2000 from this office.

3)     At the moment, we will start to celebrate the 18th Pagoda Buddhist festival on Dta Boh Dweh Hla San 8 in the year 1361 [February 12th 2000; see note below]. To hold the non-stop chanting and Buddhist festival successfully and smoothly, a coordinating meeting will be held on 16-2-2000 at 1000 hours at the Township Peace and Development Council Chairperson’s office, and all the Section/Village Tract Peace and Development Council Chairpersons must attend without fail, and bring at the same time the donation money from the section/village tract for the pagoda Buddhist festival, you are invited and informed.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                                   (for) Chairperson
                                                                                    (aaaa/Secretary)
                                                                                [Sd.]               [Sd.]
Copies to:
   - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
   - Chairperson, Shwe Myin Wone Pagoda, pagoda trustees’ group, Myawaddy town
   - File/receipt

[This is a typed and copied order with the date and village name written in by hand. According to the dates given, the festival had already begun when this order was issued. This is possible because such festivals often go on for up to a week; alternatively, the Burmese date given may have the typographical error ‘Hla San’ (waxing) instead of ‘Hla Sote’ (waning), in which case the correct date of the start of the festival would be February 27. Villages would normally make donations to such an event, but the SPDC authorities and military also force them to make additional donations; these are usually then pooled and presented as ‘government’ or ‘Army’ donations with much fanfare.]

 

Order #133 (Toungoo)

                  Stamp:                                                                                5-3-2000
#[illegible] Infantry Battalion                 To:    U aaaa 
    Column 1 Headquarters                                xxxx [village]

-     Could not come to the wedding. Therefore, U aaaa must arrange 10 viss [16 kg/35 lb] of pork and send it with this messenger.
-     Thank you.

Date:     5-3-2000                                                                 [Sd.]
Place:    yyyy

[SPDC units often show up at village weddings to plunder whatever food is available, but this unit couldn’t make it so they are demanding their share of the feast afterwards.]

 

Order #134 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              01   -  1530

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
VPDC Members

Money remaining to pay for donation to the Battalion for 2/2000 = 3,300 K [Kyat] and for 3/2000 = 8,325 K, the total is 11,625 K. The month has ended, so arrange it within one week, you are informed.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                Your soldier,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                              xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                xxxx [town]

[This order was issued on April 1, 2000. The ‘donation to the Battalion’ is routine extortion charged on a monthly basis, calculated based on the number of households in the village.]

 

Order #135 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              06   -  0800

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx village 

-      The Battalion has informed [you] to pay donation money;
-     So, as [I] have already explained to you, collect and gather it together, and send it to arrive on 8/4/2000;
-     You are directed.
-     The date when the vehicles will cross is being ordered by the Battalion, so to coordinate and discuss this, come to meet with the Camp Commander.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[This order was issued on April 6th 2000. ‘The date when the vehicles will cross’ means that Army trucks will cross the river, and the villagers have to carry them across on a ferry. This is also referred to in Orders #45, 118, and 119, among others.]

 

Order #136 (Pa’an)

To:          U aaaa [village head’s name]                                             12-4-2000

Give the money for messenger fees to the boy.
We don’t have any food to eat here.
Or, U aaaa, come up here yourself.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                        (Camp Commander)
                                                                          (xxxx pagoda hill)

[In other words, the troops have nothing to eat so they demand some extortion money from the village so they can buy food; the village head is supposed to send the money with the messenger or bring it up to the camp himself.]

 

Order #137 (Pa’an)

                                   Stamp:                                                            26-4-2000
               Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                              Column Office

Ko aaaa [village head’s name]:

This evening, come to send the coconut trees and coconut seedlings that the Battalion Commander asked for. Ko aaaa, come also to meet for a moment with the Battalion Commander.

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

[The various battalions and local commands have been ordered by Rangoon to produce more of their own food, so they demand seedlings to plant and animals to breed from the villages without compensation; see also Orders #138 and 144 below.]

 

Order #138 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:                                                                       Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              04   -  1435

Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
xxxx (xxxx)

Of the Sa Ka Ka [military operations command] demands for use in agriculture and animal husbandry, only 9 chickens and 3 ducks have arrived, so fulfil the quantities needed [by sending more]. Pay the donation money for IB xx for this month, send it quickly on 4/5/2000 [today].

Arrange the needs in advance, you are informed.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                Your soldier,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[The various battalions and local commands have been ordered by Rangoon to produce more of their own food, so they demand animals from the villages without compensation and breed them.]

 

Order #139 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                           Date: 8/5/2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairperson
      Company #1                              xxxx [village]

Subject:     Come and clear the servants’ fees

Regarding the above subject, come on 10/5/2000 to yyyy Camp and clear the 15-day servant fees for May 2000.

Note:  For 15 days, 13,500 Kyat                                                   [Sd.] ‘Major’
          Thirteen thousand five hundred Kyat exactly                Company Commander
                                                                                                Company #1
                                                                                          #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #140 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                           Date: 8-5-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:   Chairperson
      Company #1                              xxxx [village]

Subject:     To sell meat

Regarding the above subject, Gentleman’s village is informed to sell 15 viss [24 kg/53 lb] of meat. The price will be paid.

                                                                                 [Sd.] ‘Major’
                                                                           Company Commander
                                                                                   Company #1
                                                                           #xx Infantry Battalion

[Officers often promise to ‘pay the price’ of goods which they demand, but usually the amount paid is far less than the goods are worth.]

 

Order #141 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:                              To:
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                    Chairperson
             Company #1                                   xxxx [village]

Subject:     The matter of money for servants                              Date: 20-5-2000

Big Chairperson’s village is informed again to clear all servants’ money on 24-5-2000 at yyyy camp without fail.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                         Company Commander
                                                                                #1 Company
                                                                         #xx Infantry Battalion
                                                                       yyyy Camp Commander

[‘Clear all servants’ money’ means to pay all extortion fees currently owed to the Army camp.]

 

Order #142 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:                              To:
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                    Chairperson
             Company #1                                   xxxx [village]                Date: 25-5-2000

Subject:     To clear the servant money

Regarding the above subject, come with this messenger to clear the servant money as soon as you receive this letter. Bring the list below.

1)     Durian        5 pieces
2)     Dogfruit     200 pieces, and servants’ money to the Camp, you are informed.

Bring a chicken as well.                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                              Company Commander
                                                                                      Company #1
                                                                              #xx Infantry Battalion

[‘Clearing servant money’ means to pay the routine monthly extortion fees demanded by the Battalion. Durian is a large, seasonal and highly-valued fruit; dogfruit are small hard disc-shaped fruit, often cooked and used as a condiment.]

 

Order #143 (Toungoo)

           Stamp:                                                                           Date: 29-5-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson
      Company #2                              xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation for a meeting

To have a meeting with Chairpersons, be informed to come to yyyy Army Camp on the 30th at 0800 hours without fail.

Dear Chairperson,                                                                       [Sd.]
     I am Captain aaaa. I would like                                  Army Camp Commander 
the Chairperson to bring along 5 durians                                yyyy Army Camp
as a present.

[This is a carbon copied order, with the village name, the signature and the note at the bottom all written in ink later by the same person.]

 

Order #144 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                   Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                          Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                         Letter Number: x / x-xx / Ye-1
Kya In Seik Gyi town                          Date: Year 2000, June 5th

To:      Chairperson and village head
           xxxx village 
          Kya In Seik Gyi town

Subject:     To send varieties of banana

Regarding the above subject, from the gentlemen’s [your] village, send 20 trees each of pi jan and ya kine banana varieties to the Township Peace and Development Council office without fail (without fail). Not to be late, on 10-6-2000, you are informed.

Copies to: Office copy/file                                         [Sd.] 5-6-2000
                                                                               (for) Chairperson
                                                                            (Saw aaaa, Secretary)

[Copies of this order were sent to several villages and obtained by KHRG, demanding 20 banana trees of each variety from all of them. It is a typed order with the village name and number of trees written in. The various battalions and local commands have been ordered by Rangoon to produce more of their own food, so they demand plants such as banana trees from the villages without compensation; see also Orders#137 and 138 above.]

 

Order #145 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                                                                 18-6-2000
#xxx Infantry Battalion                To:
    Battalion Office                           xxxx village chairperson

From xxxx village, send 250 limes and 10 durians to IB xxx on 19-6-2000 at 1200 hours, you are informed. Send them without fail.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                Company 3

[Durian is a large and highly valued seasonal fruit.]

 

Order #146 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:     
Military Operations Command               To:   xxxx village
               LIB xxx                                        Village head

Subject:     Tomorrow, on July 6th, you are informed to send the wood which was mentioned before.

Note:     1 chicken, 5 pineapples and 5 mangoes must be sent to Captain aaaa.

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

 

Order #147 (Pa’an)

To:     U aaaa 
          Chairperson
          xxxx village
          Ward Peace and Development Council

Subject:     Requesting assistance to buy rice

Send the money with this messenger. LIB xxx Battalion requested us to buy rice, so buy rice. The Gentleman is requested to send the rice you buy to yyyy camp in the morning at 0100 [sic: looks like it should read 0800] hours.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                 (for) Camp Commander
                                                                    Year 2000, July 18th
                                                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[‘The money’ is routine extortion money, or ‘fees’ to avoid forced labour, and this Battalion outpost has also been ordered to collect rice from the villagers for the central Battalion camp.]

 

Order #148 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                           Date: 30-7-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson
Col. 2 Headquarters                         xxxx village

Subject:     To come and meet

Be informed to come to yyyy Army Camp with the 7/2000 servants’ fees on 1-8-2000 at 0900 hours.

                                                                                    Friendly,
                                                                                [Sd.] Captain
                                                                              Camp Commander
                                                                               yyyy Army Camp

[‘Servants’ fees’ are routine monthly extortion demanded by every Army camp, imposed in addition to demanding ‘servants’ (forced labourers).]

 

Order #149 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                                  Stamp: 
#xx Infantry Battalion              U aaaa, Chairperson                   #xx Infantry Battalion 
  Company #[blank]                 VPDC, xxxx village                         Date: 31-8-2000
                                             Tantabin township                       Company #[blank]
                                            Bago [Pegu] Division

U aaaa, I have written lots of letters. Send fish with this messenger. I also forgot to include [a demand for] rice assistance in yesterday’s letter. Arrange to get 10 tins of rice from your village and send them with this messenger. I was also told that the traps prepared for our Camp’s food were emptied by your group [the fish were taken from them]. Therefore, return it to us and tell your group. As for crossing our ricefield and destroying many seedlings, if this matter occurs again I will take action on you. I will shoot your group… Arrange [to send] the things I have written with this messenger.

                                                  yyyy                                       [Sd.]
                                                  Camp-In-Charge                 Camp manager

[This order is from the same camp which issued Order #81, which is based in a ricefield confiscated from the villagers where the Army now forces villagers to work growing rice for the Battalion. The fish traps mentioned were also probably set by the villagers as forced labour. ‘I will shoot your group…’ is reproduced here as it appears in the order; the ‘group’ means the villagers under the village head.]

 

Order #150 (Pa’an)

To:          Ko aaaa                                                                           7-9-2000

I am sending 500 Kyat with this messenger. Take 1 bottle of alcohol and 1 pack of London [cigarettes]and with the remaining money, send 1 bottle of alcohol with tomorrow’s messenger.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Lance Corporal bbbb 
                                        Send without fail.

[A bottle of alcohol would cost 200 Kyat or more, and a packet of London cigarettes another 300 Kyat, so the money is insufficient for what he says to do with it. ‘Tomorrow’s messenger’ means the villager going on rotation to the camp as a forced labour messenger.]

 

Order #151 (Pa’an)

To:          (xxxx [village])                                                            7-9-2000

Religious leaders and one-month [village] heads.
As [you] were told yesterday, you yourselves must send it now. It is for the leaders.

Camp Commander, yyyy [village]                    [Sd.] WO II [Deputy Warrant Officer]
Send Quickly

[This is simply a repeat demand for something the village leaders were already told to send. ‘One-month village heads’ refers to the fact that in many villages, village head responsibilities are rotated between people because no one dares face the SPDC for more than a month.]

 

Order #152 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                          18-9-2000
     xxxx [village] heads

As soon as [you] receive this letter, send the money for hiring the servants.

                                                                                yyyy Camp
Send Quickly.

[‘Money for hiring servants’ is really just a euphemism for extortion money to avoid forced labour. It is not used to ‘hire servants’, they are simply conscripted elsewhere if they are needed at all, and the soldiers pocket the money.]

 

Order #153 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:     
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:  xxxx village                  Date: 21-9-2000
Military Operations Command                     Chairperson

Subject:     Informing [you] regarding a matter

Regarding the above subject, if mobile Companies from our #xxx Light Infantry Battalion ask for chickens/pigs, be informed not to give them.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                         (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                 Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                     yyyy camp

[This is a carbon-copied letter with the village name written in afterward. It may be from an unusually sympathetic Battalion Commander, or it may have resulted when villagers could no longer give him any meat because his soldiers had taken all their livestock; like many SPDC commanders, he may just be reserving the right to take the villagers’ livestock for himself. Order #87 is signed by the same officer from the same camp, yet demands forced labour. In addition, village heads would find it awfully hard to take advantage of this order when a company commander has a gun pointed at them and is demanding a chicken.]

 

Order #154 (Pa’an)

To:      Mother (xxxx [village])                                                         23-9-2000

When you come to the camp, buy the materials which I have written. We have nothing to cook at the camp. Mother should send it tomorrow. Don’t forget the buying list [below].

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                            Camp Commander
                                                                                 yyyy Camp
                                                                                   xxx [LIB]
1)     Potatoes, 1 viss [1.6 kg/3.5 lb]
2)     Onions, 50 kyat tha [800 g/1.75 lb]
3)     Ah Kyo Mo [Ajinomoto MSG seasoning crystals], 3 packets
4)     Artificial meat [soy protein], 50 kyat tha
5)     Dried chillies, 50 kyat tha
6)     Candles, 2 packs
7)     Incense sticks, 1 big package
8)     Fried beans, 50 kyat tha
9)     Jaggery, 50 kyat tha

[‘Mother’ is used by younger soldiers to address village headwomen. Jaggery is sugar cane juice boiled and crystallised into hard blocks.]

 

Order #155 (Dooplaya)

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

For the Column, send 15 durians, betelnut/betel-chewing leaf and a few dogfruit to yyyy village.

                                                                                [Sd. / Major]
                                                                           Column Commander

 

Order #156 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              08   -  0700
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson

Sir:
- [You] have already seen my letter informing you [to send cash and materials].
- The money hasn’t arrived yet. The thatch hasn’t come. This is causing me problems.
- It is not easy to work with the elder [you].

                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[The last line of this order is actually quite threatening, implying that if the village head continues to fail to obey orders, he will be designated as opposing the Army.]

 

Order #157 (Dooplaya)

             Stamp:                                                                      Date     Time
  #xxx Infantry Battalion                                                              18   -  1730
Shooting Support Platoon

Chairperson
U aaaa, U bbbb [village elders’ names]

- Give 500 dogfruit which the xxxx [military unit] asks from you to the messenger who comes now [with this letter].
- To discuss the matter of Battalion donation money and the matter of loh ah pay, come to the Camp Commander to arrive at 0700 hours.
- If you fail, the [one who] fails will face the responsibility, you are informed.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                Your soldier,
                                                                                [Sd.] xxxxx 
                                                             xxxxx - Deputy Warrant Officer xxxx 
                                                                                     IB xxx
                                                                                 xxxx [town]

[On the back, this order is marked ‘Quickly’.]

 

Order #158 (Pa’an)

To:     Mother Head
          xxxx village

When you come to us, bring a little bit of betelnut to chew.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                     aaaa

Rice/Crop Quotas and Farming Matters

Farmers of every type of crop in Burma have to hand over a portion of their crop to the SPDC authorities, called ‘ta won kyay’ (‘obligation’). The quotas are set as a certain number of baskets of paddy or units of another crop per acre. Meetings are held to notify the villages in each area how much acreage they are supposed to grow (whether they can in fact plant that many acres or not) and the quotas they must pay per acre. After the harvest, ‘paddy-buying’ officials go around the villages to collect the quota. These quotas are usually set at 12-15 baskets of paddy per acre, and farmers are forced to sell their quota to the authorities at less than half of market price or face arrest. In practice, when the farmers hand in their quotas the corrupt local officials steal much of this money by deducting many kinds of bogus ‘fees’ and claiming that the rice contains straw or impurities, and the farmers end up receiving only 20% or less of market price; meanwhile, the SPDC takes the crop quota, and the officials pocket most of the money. For examples of this process, see "Death Squads and Displacement" (KHRG #99-04, May 1999).

Order #160 below shows a table of paddy quotas which have been dictated to some villages in central Pa’an district, andOrder #159 gives an idea of how the system is supposed to work: the SPDC dictates how many baskets of paddy per acre are to be sold to the state at no more than half of market price, and the farmers are supposed to have the option of receiving the money in advance in case they need to buy seed or pay other costs - though in practice, most or all of this money is stolen by the officials, and most farmers are given nothing whatever until after the harvest. At harvest time, the farmers must pay the ‘agreed’ quota. If they fail, even if it was caused by a natural disaster, the outstanding balance must be paid in paddy out of the next crop, plus interest (payable in paddy) calculated at an extortionate interest rate of 17% per annum. Under this system, as soon as a farmer has one bad crop he or she can never catch up with the interest on the quota. The farmers are driven into an unescapable cycle of spiralling debt which often ends up driving them off their land, because they flee or because the State takes the land from them. In some villages, farmers are forced to sign agreements like Order #159 whether they want to or not, as can be seen from Orders #167 and 168. In other villages, they never see such an agreement or receive any advance money, yet they are still expected to hand over the full quota after harvest and are subject to the same penalties if they do not.

In the past 3 years crops in many regions have been virtually wiped out by droughts and floods, but no exceptions are granted and the quotas have actually increased during this period. In addition to the quotas, Army units demand cash taxes calculated on the number of acres of arable land owned by each farmer (see Order #129 under ‘Extortion of Money, Food and Materials’). Many farmers have lost their seed paddy or their land due to the spiral of debt caused by the rice quota system combined with SPDC extortion, looting, and forced labour, so they cannot even plant a full crop, yet they must still pay full quota even if this means buying rice in the market and handing it over to the officials.

In the orders below, ‘discussions about rainy season paddy’ usually occur during the June to November growing season and involve the SPDC authorities dictating to farmers how much they must produce, while ‘paddy buying’ refers to the quotas which farmers are forced to give to the authorities. Order #169 is a flowery invitation ordering a village head and selected farmers to "attend and applaud" at an annual ceremony to give out prizes to farmers who have paid the biggest quotas; however, the invitation also says that at the ceremony the township authorities will "give duty assignments for 2000-2001", telling the farmers how much rice they are to be forced to hand over in the coming year.

After the farmers hand over their quotas the SPDC authorities mill the paddy into rice, and then issue documents such asOrder #161, offering to sell the farmers the byproducts from their own quota paddy. Ironically, the prices they demand for broken-grained impure rice byproduct are well over half the amount which they are supposed to pay the farmers for their good quota rice. For example, looking at Order #159, a farmer in Karen State is supposed to get 400 Kyat for a 46 pound basket of high-quality ‘Nga Kywe’ paddy (though in practice the corrupt SPDC officials would steal most of this money), and this would mill to about one-third basket, or 24 pounds, of rice; thus, the 400 Kyat paid before milling averages out to 36.7 Kyat per kilogram of high-grade Nga Kywe rice after milling. For the farmer to buy back the dirty broken-grain byproduct of the milling of his quota paddy, he would have to pay 933 Kyat for a 100-pound sack, which averages to 19.8 Kyat per kilogram - over half the price the farmer supposedly received for his good quality rice, just to get a broken-grain byproduct. For lower grades of rice, the price ratio is even worse. The sheer cynicism of this infuriates the farmers, yet many of them have little choice but to buy the byproduct because it is cheaper than buying good rice in the market and after handing over their quota they need to buy rice for their families to eat.

In many areas the SPDC also claims to be implementing ‘development’ through double- and triple-cropping programs and introducing imported seed varieties. These require extensive irrigation and fertilisers, but the officials steal the funds and sell the fertiliser so the farmers cannot grow the crop. Regardless, they must still pay the quota on it, and this quota can be even heavier than on the main crop. Order #170 gives an example of an imported seed variety which is being introduced under such a scheme. The overall aim is to increase the quotas which the SPDC can confiscate, both to feed its expanding Army and for export; increased rice exports help to enrich the SPDC leadership and are also used as evidence to the world that Burma’s economy is ‘on the right track’.

Order #171 below gives notice of a training in animal husbandry, and Orders #172 and 173 relate to the annual ‘paddy transplanting competitions’ organised by the SPDC. Typically of SPDC competitions, each township is forced to send a team to these competitions, and it is the villages who are forced to pay to send these teams.

Order #159 (Pa’an)

_____________ State/Division office
_____________ Township

Paddy trading letter of agreement beween Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export and farmers of _____________ village tract/section, village _______________.

The seller shown in the table attached to this agreement, farmers from ____________ village/section and village tract (henceforth to be called the ‘seller’), as one party, and the buyer __________ of Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export (henceforth to be called the ‘buyer’), as one party, assent to this letter of agreement according to the conditions below on _____________ year, ________ month, _______ date.

Note:     The meaning of ‘seller’ includes their heirs and legal representatives.

Conditions of the Letter of Agreement

1)     The seller and buyer agree to sell and buy according to the quantity and type of paddy shown in the agreement table (Attachment ‘a’ [the table on page 4]).

2)     In accordance with the agreement, the seller will sell paddy according to the quality specifications fixed by the buyer.

3)     The seller and buyer agree that the paddy purchase price announced by the Economic and Trade Ministry Department for 100 baskets of paddy, each basket[weighing] 46 pounds, will be as shown in the table below.

 


 

 

No.

 

Paddy Group Name

Price (Kyat) per 46-pound basket of paddy by State/Division

Irrawaddy, Pegu, Rangoon, Arakan

Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Sagaing, Tenasserim, Mergui, Mon, Shan

1

2

3

4

1

Nga Sein group

300

350

2

Eh Ma Ta group

320

360

3

Special Eh Ma Ta group

350

[blank]

4

Mi Done group

350

400

5

Nga Kywe group

400

400

6

Sticky-rice group

400

400

4)     It is agreed to trade in groups, each group having not less than 5 farmers and not more than 10 farmers, on a payment in advance system. Members of the group should be responsible for their group, and if a farmer fails to sell paddy the remaining farmers should fulfil the quantity of paddy as agreed.

5)     In accordance with this agreement, both buyer and seller agree to trade the quantity and type of paddy which the farmers propose to sell at purchase prices for 100 baskets fixed for the State/Division as shown in the joint agreement, Column #5. Money in advance is given by the buyer, the seller receives the money, and both buyer and all sellers sign that the money has been received.

6)     In accordance with this agreement, the seller agrees to sell all paddy from _________ date through ____________ date at _______________ (place), _____________, in one or two instalments.

7)     In accordance with this agreement, the seller agrees to fulfil until complete the quantity of paddy shown in the joint agreement table, Column #5.

8)     If the seller completely or partially fails to sell any of the paddy quota due to unpreventable natural disasters, it is agreed as follows:

(1)     For the matter of complete failure to sell the paddy, the seller will sell the amount of paddy agreed in this agreement from the upcoming dry season paddy. If the dry season paddy cannot fulfil the quota, then it will be fulfilled by the upcoming rainy season paddy.

(2)     For the matter of partial failure to sell the paddy, the seller will sell the amount of paddy agreed in this agreement from the upcoming dry season paddy. If the dry season paddy cannot fulfil the quota, then it will be fulfilled by the upcoming rainy season paddy.

(3)     For the matters mentioned in [sub-]paragraph (1) and [sub-]paragraph (2) for the year ______, there will be an interest rate of 17 Kyat per 100 Kyat per annum [17% on the money paid out in advance], counted from the last date mentioned in Paragraph 6, and the amount will be deducted from the paddy sold to the buyer. The interest will be calculated in paddy, using the prices mentioned in Paragraph 3 [in the paddy price table above]. Then the farmer should fulfil the paddy remaining from sub-paragraph (1) or (2), together with the interest. [He/she should hand over the remaining paddy owed as quota and pay the interest in paddy at the same time.]

4)     Farmers who sell the complete amount of paddy [required] for the advance money are not required to pay interest.

9)     It is agreed that if the seller fails to fulfil the quota agreed for purchase by the buyer, action can be taken against the seller in accordance with the Agreements Act or other laws, and the interest rate of 17 Kyat [per 100 Kyat] per annum on the advance money can be requested.

By reading and understanding well, both buyer and seller agree to the rules mentioned above and sign in front of the following witnesses.

 

                                                                                     Buyer
                                                                 Signature               _______________
                                                                 Name                    _______________
                                                                 NIC #                     _______________
                                                                 Rank/occupation     _______________

Seller

(1) _______________          (2) _______________          (3) _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________

(4) _______________          (5) _______________          (6) _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________

(7) _______________          (8) _______________          (9) _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________
     _______________               _______________               _______________

(10) ______________
     _______________
     _______________

Witnesses

     Lands and Survey Department                         Myanmar Agricultural Trading

(1) Signature     ________________                   (2) Signature     ________________
     Name          ________________                        Name          ________________
     NIC #           ________________                        NIC #          ________________
     Village tract/village _______________               Village tract/village _____________

Ward/Village Peace and Development Council

                                             Signature     _______________
                                             Name          _______________
                                             NIC #          _______________
                                             Village tract/village     _________________

 

                                                                                               Attachment ‘a’

 

Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export and farmers from ________________ village tract/village paddy trading agreement:


 


No.

Farmer

Paddy type/baskets to be sold

Advance money (Kyat)

Signature of each seller

Signature and NIC # of group- in-charge

Signature of buyer

Name

NIC #

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

               
               

[The above table actually has 10 blank rows, not all shown here.]

Note:     Paddy type and quantity should be written in Column 4. Example: Nga Sein/100 baskets.

[This is a 4-page computer-produced form letter with none of the blanks filled in on this copy. NIC stands for National Identity Card, which all Burmese citizens are supposed to have but which many hill villagers do not. Theoretically, before planting time one of these agreements is supposed to be signed and money is to be paid out to the farmers, which they must pay back in paddy after the harvest (note that the amounts to be paid are no more than half of market price). The document implies that farmers have some say in how much paddy will be sold to the SPDC, but this is not the case; depending on their home area, they are simply ordered to hand over 8 to 15 baskets per acre. In fact, most farmers say they never see forms such as these and that no money is given to them in advance; instead, after the harvest they are simply ordered to hand over quota rice and the corrupt officials pay them less than half of the already low prices shown on this form. What most likely happens is that the officials fill out these forms themselves, pocket all of the advance money from the state, then pay out a very small amount after harvest to collect the quotas. If so, the paddy buying officials must make millions from this system, while the farmers end up starving and destitute. Quotas increase every one or two years, and as Paragraph 8 shows, no exceptions are granted even for crop failures and natural disasters - both of which have occurred repeatedly throughout Burma over the past 3 years. See also the notes above at the beginning of this section.]

 

Order #160 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:                                         Army Cantonment Commander’s Office
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                           Nabu [village]
    Battalion Headquarters                              Letter number Tat Na Ma / 01 / Oo 1
                                                                   Date: 1999 year, December 26th

To:     Chairperson
           xxxx      village

Subject:     Calling a meeting to be held regarding the matter of selling paddy

1) Regarding the above subject, the matter of selling the ta won kyay [‘obligation’, i.e. quota] paddy from villages under the Nabu cantonment organising area has already been agreed with the Nabu paddy buying centre. In accordance with this, a coordination meeting will be held on 30-12-99 at 1 o’clock in the afternoon at xxxx monastery.

2) Therefore, the Chairperson and Secretary yourselves must come to the meeting without fail, letting you know, you are informed.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                           Army Cantonment Commander 
Copies to:
               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion          |     Pass this directive on to
               #xxx Light Infantry Battalion          |     the villages organised under you.
               Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export (Nabu)

 


 


No.

Village name

Agreed
[# of]
Baskets

Baskets
Already
Sold

Baskets
Remaining
To Sell

Notes

1

Myatpadine

2,304

53

2,251

 

2

Naung Ta Bpan

2,224

54

2,170

 

3

Naung T’Bweh

1,208

-

1,208

 

4

Nan Kaw Dtay

400

-

400

Nabu Nay Cha tract

5

Mone Hsu

300

-

300

"

6

Naung Hay Shan Su

400

-

400

"

7

Payah Gone

400

-

400

"

8

In Sheh

330

-

330

In Shay tract

9

Nyaung Gone

635

-

635

"

10

Tee Swam

240

-

240

"

11

Weh Kayin

150

-

150

"

12

Dta Weh Lah

95

-

95

"

13

Naung Ta Ma

50

-

50

"

14

Ka Nay Paw

1,050

-

1,050

Ka Nay Paw tract

15

Kaw Palan

1,050

-

1,050

"

16

Kaw Ay Kah

750

-

750

"

17

Kaw Kyait

550

-

550

"

18

Naung Hin

100

-

100

"

19

Kaw Pah Ya

300

-

300

Tee Po San tract

20

Kwih Maung Dine

300

-

300

"

22[*]

Nya Padine Nine

200

-

200

"

23

Naung Tut Dta

100

-

100

"

24

Tee K’Lay

400

-

400

Tee K’Lay tract

25

Kaw K’Tee

300

-

300

"

26

Dta Kyah Kyaun

300

-

300

"

27

Gkaw Toh

400

-

400

"

28

Nabu Dta Gone Dine

350

-

350

Nabu Dta Gone Dine

29

Taw Ko Ko

400

-

400

"

30

Gka [illegible]

350

-

350

"

31

Noh Tee Leh

250

-

250

"

32

Dta Weh Dah

250

-

250

"

33

Nan Sah Lit

200

-

200

"

34

Noh Baw Heh

200

-

200

"

35

Thayet Daw

650

-

650

Thayet Daw tract

36

Thaut Pein

250

-

250

"

37

Dtan Gone Dine

250

-

250

"

38

Naw Li

650

-

650

"

39

Weh Liss

200

-

200

Weh Liss tract

40

Payah Ngote Doh

300

-

300

"

41

Tha Ya Gone

350

-

350

"

42

Tee S’Gaw

450

-

450

"

-----

--------------------------

-----------

----------

---------------

--------------------------

 

Total

19,936

107

19,829

 

[[*]: Item #21 is missing in the original table. The first page above calls a meeting to discuss paddy quotas to be demanded from farmers, while the second page breaks these quotas down by village. Quotas are usually assessed at about 15 baskets of paddy per acre, which is about 20-25% of the yield in a good year but can be more than the entire yield in a bad year.]

Order #161 (Pa’an)

Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export
Township Manager’s Office
Myawaddy

                     Stamp:     
Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export                  Letter number 33/2000 (Rice Out)
              Myawaddy Town                                     Year 2000, August 19th

To:     - Department Heads (all)
          ____________________ Myawaddy town
          - Chairperson
          _______________ Ward/Village Peace and Development Council, Myawaddytown

Subject:     Rice byproducts available

Regarding the above subject, Myawaddy township Myanmar Farm Products Sale and Export is selling rice byproducts from the rice mills at prices fixed for the whole country by Farm Products [Sale and Export] as shown below. Be informed that these are available for purchase.


 


No.

Item

Rate for 1 sack

3 tins - 100 pounds

For the sack

Total price

Remarks

1

Broken rice

900 Kyat

33 Kyat

933 Kyat

 

2

Rice bran

430 Kyat

33 Kyat

463 Kyat

 

3

Paddy husk

150 Kyat

33 Kyat

183 Kyat

 

[Sd.]
                                                                                Khin Maung Lwin
                                                                                Township Manager
Copies to:
   - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
   - Chairperson, Township Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
   - Office Copy

[These byproducts would mainly be useful for fodder for livestock, though in the current desperate food situation caused by SPDC confiscation of rice, many villagers might buy broken rice for themselves. It is worth noting that the prices demanded for the rice dust and chaff byproduct is well over half the price the SPDC pays villagers for quota paddy (up to 500 Kyat for 100 pounds, compared to 300-400 Kyat per 46-pound basket for quota paddy - see Order #159); this despite the fact that all of these byproducts come from the milling of paddy taken from the villagers as quotas. Note: One 46-pound basket of paddy makes about 1/3 basket of rice, which would weigh about 24 pounds.]

Order #162 (Pa’an)

                Stamp:                                     Village Peace and Development Council
Peace and Development Council                  xxxx village, Myawaddy township
          xxxx village tract                             Letter number x / x.xx / Oo x (xxx)
                                                                Date: Year 2000, January xx

To:     - Chairperson, yyyy village
          - Chairperson/Secretary, zzzz village
          - aaaa (bbbb pagoda trustee), zzzz village

Subject:     The Township Chairperson will coordinate the matter of buying paddy

Regarding the above subject, on 8-1-2000 at 8 o’clock in the morning, Township Peace and Development Council Chairman Captain aaaa will coordinate the matter of paddy buying with the elders of xxxx and yyyy - zzzz, at the VPDC office in xxxx village, Myawaddy township. The xxxx Village Chairman was informed [of this] on 5-1-2000 by letter number x/x.xx/Oo x (xxxx).

Therefore, the elders from yyyy - zzzz must not be late, tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock come to xxxxvillage VPDC office, letting you know, you are informed.

Note:     If [you] fail, it will be the gentlemen’s [your] responsibility.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                     Chairperson
Copies to:                                                   Village Peace and Development Council
               Office receipt                                              xxxx village tract

[‘Paddy buying’ means the quotas which farmers are forced to hand over to the authorities at less than half of market prices. The village tract authorities issued this order after the Township notified them to call elders of the main villages in the area to a meeting where the Township PDC Chairman will dictate rice quotas.]

 

Order #163 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:     
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:  Chairperson
     Battalion Office                           xxxx village xxxx
                                                                                               Date:13-6-2000 

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, #xxx Infantry Battalion will hold a discussion about rainy season paddy at the Battalion [base] on June 14th, year 2000, at 9 o’clock in the morning. Village gentlemen yourselves must attend without fail, you are informed.

Note:     If you fail, the village gentlemen yourselves will face the responsibility.

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

[This is a form letter sent to several villages, with the village name and date written in by hand. The discussion will probably concern the acreage of paddy which the farmers are ordered to plant and the quotas which will be demanded of them.]

 

Order #164 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                                                           Date:13-6-2000
#xxx Infantry Battalion                To:

     Battalion Office                           xxxx village, xxxx

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, in the Battalion [camp], #xxx Infantry Battalion will hold a discussion to coordinate the rainy season paddy on 14 June 2000 at 9 o’clock in the morning. Gentlemen from the village, attend yourselves without fail, you are informed.

Note:     If you fail, you gentlemen will be held responsible for it.

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

 

Order #165 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson / Secretary                                                   Date: 25-8-2000
          xxxx - yyyy [villages]

The Township Ma Ya Ka [TPDC] group will come tomorrow. Come to zzzz VPDC on 26-8-2000, Saturday at 9 o’clock in the morning. Come without fail, [I] was informed [to tell you]. If there are farmers who would like to get advance paddy money, call them.

                                                                                Respectfully,
                                                                                (zzzz VPDC)

[This relates to the ‘purchase agreements’ for paddy quotas which farmers are forced to hand over. The reference to ‘advance paddy money’ can be understood by looking at Order #159.]

 

Order #166 (Pa’an)

Township General Administration Department
Myawaddy Town

                        Stamp: 
Township Peace and Development Council                                  Date: 31-8-2000
                Myawaddy town

To:      Chairperson          
           xxxx + yyyy [villages]          
          Myawaddy town

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, a meeting will be held according to the following agenda, so [you are]invited to attend without fail.

Agenda:              To purchase paddy     
Programme:   Date:     ( 2-9-2000 )

                    Time:     ( 1000 ) o’clock
                    Place:          TPDC Chairperson’s office     

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Township Administrator

[This is a computer-produced form letter with the details shown in italics written in afterward by hand. ‘To purchase paddy’ means to collect state paddy quotas from farmers.]

 

Order #167 (Pa’an)

Ko aaaa                                                                                     Date: 17-9-2000
xxxx [village]

Tomorrow, a group from town will arrive for paddy purchasing agreements.

xxxx village tract has been separated into yyyy and zzzz. Yesterday, yyyy [village] - Ko bbbb[village head] finished. xxxx [village] is still remaining. I was told to make an appointment for tomorrow, 18-9-2000.

xxxx [village] is said to be xxx acres. I don’t know how many farmers. Call these farmers together. Ko aaaa and these farmers must arrive at wwww office tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.

We were told that only xxxx village is still left.

                                                                           Respectfully,
                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                               U dddd

[‘Paddy purchasing agreement’ means to confirm how much quota paddy the village must hand over and how much will supposedly be paid for it; see also Order #159, a purchasing agreement contract.]

 

Order #168 (Pa’an)

Ko aaaa                                                                                     Date: 17-9-2000
xxxx [village]

Come to zzzz office at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning for paddy purchasing agreement. This is not about place crossing affairs.

Only for xxxx farmers. In xxxx village tract, yyyy finished yesterday but xxxx is left. xxxx [village] is said to be xxx acres. Call the farmers from xxxx together. xxxx must finish tomorrow. Captain aaaa told me to arrange this matter. Would like [you] to come without fail.

                                                                 Respectfully,
                                                                                     [Sd. ‘bbbb’]

[‘Paddy purchasing agreement’ means to confirm how much quota paddy the village must hand over and how much will supposedly be paid for it; see also Order #159, a purchasing agreement contract. Captain aaaa is the Chairman of the Township PDC.]

 

Order #169 (Pa’an)

[The invitation below was printed using a computer on plain paper. It was embellished with many frills, and formatted and folded like a normal greeting card.]

[Cover panel:]

 

 

Township Peace and Development Council
Myawaddy Town

Myawaddy District, Myawaddy Township
Award Ceremony for Paddy Purchasing Affairs and
Duty Assignment for Year 2000-2001 Planning Ceremony

Invitation Card

 To:         Village Head and 2 farmers to attend   
               xxxxvillage                                        

 

The following 2 panels appear inside the folded paper card:]

 

Myawaddy District, Myawaddy Township
Award Ceremony for Paddy Purchasing Affairs and
Duty Assignment for Year 2000-2001 Planning Ceremony

Program

* Date *
8-6-2000

* Time *
( 0900 ) hours

* Place *
Thaung Yin Hall
Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council

 

 
 

Myawaddy District, Myawaddy Township
Award Ceremony for Paddy Purchasing Affairs and
Duty Assignment for Year 2000-2001 Planning Ceremony

Invitation Card

The ceremony to reward those from wards/villages and departments which assisted in the year 1999-2000 paddy purchasing program in Myawaddy Township, Myawaddy District and to give duty assignments for 2000-2001 planning will be held as shown in the program, so[you are] invited to attend and applaud.

                                      Township Peace and Development Council
                                                        Myawaddy Town

 

[These invitation cards, nicely formatted with borders and frills on a computer, were distributed to villages in the township with orders for village heads and selected farmers to attend. At the ceremony, some cash prizes of up to 5,000 Kyat were given out to farmers who had handed over the most quota paddy, and orders were issued regarding how much paddy the villages are to be forced to hand over from the next harvest.]

Order #170 (Dooplaya)

         Stamp:                                    Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                           Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyitown
Development Council                          Letter Number: 5 / 41-28 / Oo-6 / xxxx
Kya In Seik Gyi town                           Date: Year 2000, June 19th

To:     All chiefs of departments concerned
          Kya In Seik Gyi town
          Chairpersons, village heads
           xxxx section/village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of attending the rainy season paddy agricultural training for year 2000 and si ma seedling paddy planting training

Regarding the above subject, the Myanmar State Agricultural Enterprise is coming to give rainy season paddy agriculture and si ma seedling planting training, so the village head and 5 farmers from your section/village must gather and come to attend the training according to the agenda below, you are invited.

A G E N D A

                                             Date:      24-6-2000 (Saturday)
                                             Time:      Morning, 0800 hours
                                             Place:     Hall building, Kya In Seik Gyi town

                                                                                [Sd.] 19-6-2000
                                                                                    Chairperson
Copies to:
               Myanmar Agricultural Enterprise, Kya In Seik Gyi town
               Office receipt / file

[‘Si ma’ is a variety of paddy recently introduced from China; the plant is quite small but the yield is high. Many farmers say that it is only really good for dry season irrigated paddy planting. In many regions, the SPDC is forcing farmers to do double- or triple-cropping and to plant imported rice varieties, which requires proper irrigation and fertilisers. However, any money or fertilisers provided are stolen by the officials, leaving the farmers the impossible task of producing a crop without them. In the end, the farmers usually have to buy rice in the market to pay the quotas on these crops, because they cannot grow them.]

 

Order #171 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                             Township Peace and Development Council 
Township Peace and Development Council    Myawaddy town
                   Myawaddy town                       Letter number 5 / 1-48 / Oo 6
                                                                 Date: Year 2000, August xx

To:   Chairperson
           xxxx      Ward/Village Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town

Subject:     Informing [you] to attend the livestock husbandry workshop seminar
                 (training)

Reference:     Letter number 256/Htwe-3/2000 dated 15-8-2000 of the Department of Husbandry and Livestock Care, Myawaddy town

1)     Regarding the above subject, to develop sufficiency in meat/fish, Myawaddy District - Myawaddy Township Department of Husbandry and Livestock Care would like to hold a workshop seminar (training) as shown below. Therefore, wards/villages are informed to select those interested in breeding who would like to attend this training, and send a list of the trainees to the Myawaddy District Husbandry and Livestock Care department office by the deadline of 23-8-2000.

             Date                              - From 25-8-2000 to 27-8-2000
             Time                              - Morning 0900 hours to afternoon 1400 hours
             Place                             - Thaung Byin Hall
             Subjects to be discussed  - Breeding of chickens, buffaloes, cattle, sheep,
                                                    goats, and pigs.

Note: Each Ward should send at least 3 persons.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                 Chairperson
                                                                      (Kyi 16530 / Captain Ni Aung)
Copies to:     
  - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
  - District Manager, Department of Husbandry and Livestock Care, 
        Myawaddy District, Myawaddy town
  - Circulation/Office Copy

[This is a typed and copied letter sent out to all villages in the township, with the village name written in afterwards by hand.]

 

Order #172 (Toungoo)

                                                           Township Peace and Development Council
                                                           Karen State - Than Daung town
                                                           Letter number 5 / 3-11 / Oo 6
                                                           Date: Year 1999, July xx 
To:     Chairperson
          Ward [/] Village Peace and Development Council 
               xxxx      village tract

Subject: To compete in the paddy transplanting competition in Pa’an Town, Karen State

1)     Regarding the above subject, the paddy transplanting competition will be held on 26-7-99 in Pa’an Town, Karen State, and it is mandatory for townships to compete. To send the female transplanters and supervisors totalling 20 people to the competition, the township is required to assist in their expenses.

2)     Therefore, to assist in the expenses, our [your] village tract is assigned to assist with 5,000 Kyat (five thousand Kyat exactly), so be informed to send this assistance by the deadline of 12-7-99 to the Township Peace and Development Council.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                            ( Tint Swe )
                                                                           Chairperson
Copies to:
               - Myanmar Agricultural Enterprise, Than Daung town
               - Office Copy/Circulation

[This is a typed form letter sent to all village tracts. ‘Paddy transplanting’ is the process used in irrigated flat-field paddy cultivation when the bright green seedlings, about a foot high, are transplanted from the seedbeds into the open paddy fields. The SPDC holds competitions each year (see also Order #173) and orders each township to send a team; as can be seen in the order, the villagers are forced to shoulder the cost.]

 

Order #173 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                  Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                          Kya In Seik Gyi township - Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                        Letter number 5 / 40-28 / Oo-6 / xxxx
Kya In Seik Gyi town                         Date: Year 2000, July xx

To:     Department Heads Concerned
               [blank]      Department, Kya In Seik Gyi town
          Chairperson
           xxxx section/village tract Peace and Development Council,
          Kya In Seik Gyi town

Subject:     The matter of paying the expenses for the woman paddy transplanter
                 who will go to the transplanting competition

Reference:     Bpa Ya (Karen) 2000 Zu [short for June], 171300 date and time, sent message number 1 Oo-6 Ya.

1)     Regarding the above subject, the competitions of transplanting ability by township for the year 2000 will be held at Pa’an town. Kya In Seik Gyi township will go to compete, so departments concerned and sections/village tracts have to contribute toward the expenses.

2)     Therefore, xxxx department/section/village tract must pay the money specified,     1,500      Kyat (     one thousand five hundred exactly     ) Kyat, to arrive at this office on 31-7-2000, come to pay without fail (without fail), you are informed.

                                                                               [Sd.] 24-7-2000
                                                                                   Chairperson
                                                                             (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563)
Copies to:   File
                  Receipt

[‘Paddy transplanting’ is the process used in irrigated flat-field paddy cultivation when the bright green seedlings, about a foot high, are transplanted from the seedbeds into the open paddy fields.]

Foreign Corporate Involvement

The order below was sent out to villages and authorities throughout Myawaddy township in eastern central Karen State, where official SPDC authorities, individual SPDC military officers and the DKBA are all involved in logging, much of it using the forced labour of villagers, for export to Thailand and to other countries. In the order, the official writes the company name clearly in English characters as ‘ALTLUS’ from ‘HOLLAND’. The Burma Centre Netherlands has informed KHRG that the company is most likely Altius Houtagenturen B.V., headquartered in Laren, The Netherlands. This company imports Burmese teak and retails furniture under the name Sun Furniture. In 1997 the company’s manager, Mr. H. Manger, told activists that the company no longer imported Burmese teak, but then in 1998 he admitted that they still do. Altius was part of a committee set up by the SLORC/SPDC’s honorary consul in the Netherlands which organised an information session at the Chamber of Commerce in Rotterdam in 1995 to promote trade with the Burmese regime. Mr. Manger is a member of the Netherlands Association of Timber Agents and has previously acted as a spokesperson for Dutch teak traders.

In response to inquiries about the text of this order by Burma Centre Netherlands, Mr. Manger wrote (translated from Dutch),"As a woodman, I observed some three years ago that teakwood was reaching the market for a price which was impossible. Rumours increased. These lots of teakwood were found all over the world. It couldn’t be anything other than the looting and demolition of the forest. A forest which could have been an example for the whole world. The government did indeed intervene and is now making attempts to take control over the situation." Meanwhile, in a report recently published by the organisation Burma Issues, a visitor to the Meh Pleh Toh area not far north of Myawaddy (where the order below was issued) writes, "The dictatorship has moved into this area because there are still teak and other timber resources left in the area. Starting from November 1999 we received news that the SPDC and DKBA had built a road through the area, and now day and night the sound of trucks can be heard transporting timber out. Some loads must be sent to Rangoon, with the remainder destined for Thailand. When they have entirely stripped the timber from this area then they will expand their control again into adjacent areas and it will be impossible to stop them." (Burma Issues newsletter, July 2000, page 2)

The SPDC, acting directly and providing military support to logging concessionaires, is undoubtedly the main player in the "looting and demolition of the forest" mentioned by Mr. Manger. Contrary to the claims of many companies investing in Burma, this order gives an example of how foreign corporate investment does not tend to open up the market, but rather gives the SPDC incentives to strengthen its monopoly on all trade. See also the additional notes following the order translation below.

Order #174 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                             Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council   Myawaddy town
                     [illegible]                            Letter number 5 / 1-49 / Oo 6 (xxxx)
                                                               Date: Year 2000, February 10th 
To:                              
          Departments concerned (all) / xxxx town
           xxxx section / village tract Peace and Development Council, xxxx township
          People’s Army [militia] Troop
          Myawaddy town

Subject:     The matter of teak wood from Myanmar illegally arriving in the European
                 market

Reference:     Letter number 5/1-508/Oo 3 (0181) dated 8-2-2000 from Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council

1)     Regarding the above reference, teak wood from Myanmar is arriving illegally in the European market, so (ALTLUS CO) from the country of (HOLLAND) sent by (FAX) that they are worried that the market is unstable. Use a dragnet, search closely, interrogate and expose illegal logging and transporting of teak out of every State/Division. Take serious action in carrying this out especially in the matter of illegal trade from States/Divisions bordering on the country of China, along the route to outside countries. [Civil] Servants must not become involved in the illegal wood trade. If so, [they] can be arrested, dismissed from [their] jobs, sentenced to imprisonment, action will be taken. Informing [you]. As informed by the Forestry Ministry department and the head of the forestry department, in accordance with the message of the head of the Karen State forestry department and the directive from the Karen State Peace and Development Council, the Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council informed [you] again with the reference letter.

2)     Therefore, [civil] servants from the departments concerned must not become involved in the illegal wood trade. If [they] become involved, [they will be]dismissed from their jobs, punished with imprisonment and action will be taken. Letting all the [civil] servants from the departments concerned know that regarding the illegal wood trade, the section/village tract must block the [trade] routes, take action and carry out [this directive], letting you know, you are hereby informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                             Chairperson
                                                                 (Kyi 16530 / Captain Ni Aung)
Copies to:
               - Chairperson, District Peace and Development Council, MyawaddyDistrict,
                  Myawaddy town
               - Copy / receipt

[This order is 2 pages long. ‘ALTLUS CO’, ‘HOLLAND’, and ‘FAX’ are written in English script in solid capitals as shown. Blocking the ‘illegal’ logging trade actually means blocking all trade in logs not directly conducted by the SPDC, thereby decreeing that any foreign company buying Burmese wood must do so through the junta. In practice, military officers in rural areas use villagers as forced labour to cut and haul logs and timber which they then sell locally with impunity, and traders or local officials then sell the logs or timber further along the way toward export.]

Education and Health

As with all other aspects of life in Burma, the SPDC military and civil authorities try to exert complete control over all aspects of education and health, and the orders in this section give some very clear examples of this. For example, Order #176 appears to be the simple minutes of a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), but on closer inspection we find that the PTA is chaired by the Army Major who commands the local Artillery Company, and the minutes end by demanding money from all of the local villages for the school because nothing has been provided by the state. The schools also create more labour for the villagers in addition to all the labour they are already forced to do, as can be seen in Order #178, wherein the SPDC school headmaster orders the villagers to fix the leaky school roofs. Officials also use school activities as an excuse to enrich themselves with corruption money; for example, Order #179 discusses a primary school soccer tournament and ends by demanding 40,000 Kyat just for uniforms and ‘training expenses’ for one primary school soccer team.

Other orders ask for recruits for various training courses being offered, but in every case the documents actually centre around demands for money from all the villages to support these courses. Order #181 calls for teacher trainees, then proceeds to dictate a sometimes bizarre list of qualifications, most of which relate more to the applicant’s loyalty to the SPDC than their merit as a teacher. Order #175 restricts freedom of expression by stating that popular writers cannot be allowed to give lectures on literature unless both they and their lecture have first been approved by the military authorities. Finally, in the only order of the set concerning health issues (Order #182), the authorities use their normal heavy-handed tactics to order villagers to build proper toilets.

All of the orders in this section were issued by SPDC military and civil authorities, but additional orders related to education in Karen areas can also be found in the section ‘DKBA and KPA Letters’ below.

Order #175 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                              Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council   Myawaddy Town
                     [illegible]                            Letter number 5 / 2-643 / Yay 5 (xxxx)
                                                               Date: Year 2000, January xx

To:     Chairperson
           xxxx Section/Village Tract Peace and Development Council
          Myawaddy Town
       -  Chairperson
          Township Literature and Newspapers Group
          Myawaddy Town

Subject:  The matter of organising and supervising the public lectures on literature

Reference:   Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council 
                   letter number 5/1-528/Taut 5 (1604) dated 24-12-99

1)     In the season of public lectures on literature, when the Township Literature and Newspapers Group is giving the public lectures on literature, they are only allowed to give the lecture which they have presented to the regional authorities [beforehand]. The regional authorities should not allow people to invite well-known writers or allow them to give the public lectures on literature. In accordance with the directive of the Army Intelligence Director’s office, the Karen State Peace and Development Council informed the Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council to follow and carry this out. We have already let you know and informed you via the [above-mentioned] reference letter.

2)     Therefore, in every section/village tract in Myawaddy township, when public lectures on literature are held, they must be held according to the directive as explained. You must know, obey, and carry this out, you are again informed.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                                (for) Chairperson
                                                                              (Yeh Sein, Secretary)

Copies to:
     -  Chairperson, District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy District,
         Myawaddy town
     -   File/Office letters received

 

Order #176 (Dooplaya)

Record of the Parent-Teacher Association meeting held at the basic education middle school in Kya In Seik Gyi township, xxxx village on May xx, year 2000 at 2000 hours

People who attended the meeting

1)     The people listed below attended the meeting.
     (a)     Major aaaa                   Association Committee          Artillery Company #xxx
     (b)     Sayadaw bbbb                            "                            wwww village
     (c)     Sayadaw cccc                              "                            xxxx village
     (d)     U Saw dddd                                "                            yyyy village
     (e)     U Saw eeee                                "                            zzzz village
     (f)     Daw gggg                                                                School headmistress
     (g)     Daw hhhh                                                               Teacher
     (h)     Saw kkkk                                                                Secretary, VPDC,
                                                                                             xxxxvillage
     (i)     Saw mmmm                                                             Chairperson, VPDC,
                                                                                             xxxxvillage

Objective

2)     To provide the needs of the school at school opening time.

Discussion

3)     The association committee chairperson, Major aaaa, said that the school will open soon, so if there are needs for the school we will fulfil them. We need to discuss how to provide these needs. The elders here today should present and discuss what is needed for the school, he said.

4)     Continuing, the school headmistress presented and discussed that everything is finished in preparation for the school’s needs, but there is a need for a new school building and a primary[school] building. Money is needed for windows and zinc roofing for the school. The money given by the State is finished, so the Association committee and the parents need to help. [We] need to discuss this in this meeting, she said.

5)     The Sayadaws and the parents discussed that for the money needed for zinc roofing, the villages would have to pay by ratio [of village size], and to get the money for the windows 500 Kyat must be collected from each [student’s] parents, they said.

6)     The people attending the meeting had nothing more to present or discuss, so they specified the decisions of the meeting as below.

[Page 2 of the original document starts here]

No.                                   Discussion                                          Responsibility of

1      The remaining money needed for the zinc, 38,100 Kyat,
        to be paid by the 7 villages as shown below:
        (a)     xxxx village                              8,000 Kyat
        (b)     yyyy village                              8,000 Kyat
        (c)     zzzz village                              3,500 Kyat
        (d)     wwww village                           5,000 Kyat
        (e)     uuuu village                             2,500 Kyat
        (f)     vvvv village                              8,000 Kyat
        (g)     tttt [village]                            3,500 Kyat                  VPDC Chairpersons

2       For the donation money needed for the windows, to be 
        collected from each student’s parents, 500 Kyat by ratio       School headmistress

3      The money which villages must pay to the school                 VPDC’s/
        headmistress by June 20th at the latest                                School headmistress

7)     The meeting was closed at 1100 hours.

                                                                                      Recorder
                                                                                      Daw gggg
                                                                            Middle School Teacher

[Some State money is supposedly provided for the running of such schools, but much of it is stolen by the authorities and parents always have to pay almost all the costs of maintaining and running the schools. Typically of the SPDC control of all aspects of society, the Army even controls the Parent-Teacher Association, with an Artillery Company Major acting as chairman. See also Order #177 below, where the Artillery Company followed through by demanding the money from the villages.]

 

Order #177 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                                         #xxx Artillery Company
#xxx Artillery Company                                              xxxx [town]
        xxxx [town]                                                      Letter number xxx / x / Oo x
                                                                               Date: Year 2000, June xx

To:          ( xxxx ) village

Subject:     To pay the money as decided at the meeting

In accordance with the minutes of the decisions made at the meeting of the basic education middle[school] in xxxx village, pay the designated money to the school headmistress by June 20th, year 2000, at the latest, you are informed.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                                Company Commander 
Copies to:
               School headmistress, basic education middle school, xxxx village
               Letters received
               Letters file

[The money demanded relates to Order #176 above. Just as the Artillery Company commander heads the Parent-Teacher Association, we see here that the Army takes charge of demanding payments for the school.]

 

Order #178 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village
          Myawaddy township

Subject:     Informing [you] to repair the school roofs

The thatch on the xxxx [village] ah ma ka school [abbreviation for primary school], Myawaddy township, is damaged and raindrops are dripping down, so you are respectfully informed to repair the roof.

                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                       U aaaa 
                                                                         Ah Ma Ka [primary school]
                                                                                  xxxx [village]

[This is a letter from the headmaster of the SPDC-approved primary school, a Burman brought in from outside, to the Karen village head ordering the villagers to repair his school.]

 

Order #179 (Pa’an)

xxxx Township Primary School Level Inter-School Soccer Tournament

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Attendance

                    1)     U aaaa                                                    2)   U hhhh
                    3)     U bbbb                                                   4)   U kkkk
                    5)     U cccc                                                     6)   U mmmm
                    7)     U dddd                                                   8)    U nnnn
                    9)     U eeee                                                  10)   U oooo
                    11)    Daw gggg                                              13*)  U pppp (Air[Force])
                                                                                        14)   U qqqq

During the meeting, the school principal U bbbb gave a speech saying that the Gentlemen had been called and this meeting held because in the xxxx township primary school level soccer tournament, primary schools from xxxx village tract have to combine as one team to play and they need funds, so the villagers have to assist.

Group leader U aaaa said that to go to the tournament, the team needs uniforms and expenses for practicing, and each young player’s uniform is fixed at 100 Baht and practising expense at 50 Kyat. Therefore, the Gentlemen are requested to assist.

The meeting decided that the following villages would collect funds:

                    xxxx village -           35,000 Kyat
                    yyyy [village] -          5,000 Kyat

It was decided that xxxx School Principal U bbbb and elders will discuss and send the funds fromyyyy/xxxx to group leader U aaaa by the deadline of 30-8-2000.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                      (aaaa)
                                                                                Group Leader

[*: they have forgotten #12 in the list. These typed minutes were copied and distributed to all parties, village tracts and villages concerned. The price of the uniforms is actually given in Thai Baht as shown, not in Kyat; at present 1 Baht is worth 10 Kyat. Considering that they are only talking about a primary school soccer team, the amounts demanded show that this is flagrant corruption.]

 

Order #180 (Dooplaya)

           Stamp:                                   Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                            Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                           Letter Number: 5 / 42-28 / Oo-6
Kya In Seik Gyi town                            Date: Year 2000, April xx

To:     Chairperson/Village Head
           xxxx section/village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of giving donation money for the household work trainees

1)     Regarding the above subject, a household sewing training is opening in Kayin [Karen] State, Myawaddy town, in 10/2000. Kya In Seik Gyi township is sending 5 trainees and donation money to support them. It is specified that xxxx section/village must pay xxx Kyat exactly.

2)     Therefore, [the money] from your section/village must be paid on xx-5-2000 at the Peace and Development Council office, pay without fail (without fail), you are informed.

                                                                                [Sd.] 30-4-2000
                                                                                    Chairperson
                                                                            (Soe Thein, Bpa 3563)
Copies to:                                                                           [Sd.]
               Office Copy/File

[This is a typed letter with the village name and other details (shown in italics) written in afterwards by hand. These training courses are conducted by the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association, which is chaired by the wife of feared Intelligence Chief and SPDC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt. The organisation’s rules stipulate that the head of the organisation in each township must be the Township PDC chairman’s wife. These courses were featured in an article entitled ‘Cut Spending and Increase Family Income’ in the September 16th 2000 New Light of Myanmar, which stated that the purpose is to teach women sewing and other skills to decrease the amount spent buying clothing and to set up home industries. The article says that the training fee is 2,000 Kyat, and that "Pass certificates are presented only to the trainees who observe discipline, who are punctual and are practically skilful … The course lasts for two months. State Peace and Development Council is building peaceful, modern, developed Nation. Women also take part in this task as a reliable force. Work is being done for the security of women. In accordance with the aims and objectives of the State, the Maternal and Child Welfare Association is working for the development of women who form more than half of the national population." It goes on to say, "Every woman should attend the training course". (Reproduced from The Burmanet News, September 19, 2000.) In accordance with routine SPDC practice, each township has probably been ordered to send at least 5 trainees and money to support them, and this order was issued to demand the required money from the villages.]

Order #181 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                   Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                           Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                          Letter Number: 5 / 42-24 / Oo-6 / xxxx
Kya In Seik Gyi town                           Date: Year 2000, June xx

To:
          Chairpersons / Village Heads xxxx [village]
          Section / Village Peace and Development Councils
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of calling for training entrance applications for the development
                 university primary teacher skills training - training number 36

Reference:     State Education Office 22-5-2000, Letter number 3277 / training -
                     development - 36 (2000)

1)     Regarding the above subject and in accordance with the letter referenced above, we will open the union nationalities’ development university primary teacher skills training for the regular triennial training number 36 on June 1st 2001. To attend, people who fulfil the qualifications below may apply.

a)     Must be a national of the Union of Myanmar, born of two parents who are also nationals.
b)     Must be a person who is loyal to the Union of Myanmar.
c)     Must be a person who seeks national unity.
d)     Must be a person who has passed the basic education 6th Standard examinations (but not a person who has already passed higher basic education university entrance exams or has applied for those exams).
e)     Must be a person who is between 15 and 20 years old on the 1st of January 2001.
f)     The person who applies and their two parents must be clear of [involvement with] any political party.
g)     Must be a person of good moral behaviour.
h)     The person who applies must not be physically incomplete [handicapped] in any way and must not be mentally/emotionally unbalanced.
i)     The person who applies must be healthy and free of disease.

 

j)     Must not be a person who has a family. Must be single.
k)     Must not be a person who has habits such as men pretending to be women or women pretending to be men.
l)     The person who applies must be a native of the region, and the two parents must also be natives of the region.
m)     Must be a person who is interested in the social life and development of the villages.
n)     The person must agree to attend the training until its completion.
o)     The person must agree that after the training, he or she will go to whatever area the State assigns as their responsibility.

Recommendation letter to be submitted together with the application:

p)     A recommendation letter of good moral behaviour from any township/section Peace and Development Council.
q)     A recommendation letter of being clear of any punishment [criminal past] from the township People’s Police unit/station.
r)     A recommendation letter certifying the truth of age and education level from the school headmaster.

2)     Therefore, people who want to apply to attend the training must get the application from the Township Education Officer’s office on 30-6-2000 at the latest, and you can apply, you are informed.

                                                                                  [Sd.] xx-6-2000
                                                                                      Chairperson
                                                                           (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563) [Sd.]
Copies to:
               Township Education Officer’s Office, Kya In Seik Gyi town
               Office Copy / File

[The ‘development university’ is located in Sagaing Division of northern Burma and was first set up under the Ne Win regime, predecessor to the SLORC. A large part of the ‘teacher training’ is political re-education, but teachers who have graduated from this programme often receive better pay and preferment over other teachers. In the past, schoolteachers have been forced to fill out questionnaires, and those who have displayed ‘improper’ political attitudes have either been sacked or have been forced to attend these ‘teacher training’ courses. At the courses the teachers wear uniforms, and some of the training involves marching and chanting slogans; those who do not display an eager enough loyalty to the State generally fail the course.]

Order #182 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                             Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and Development Council   Myawaddy town
                  Myawaddy town                       Letter number 5 / 2-539 / Oo 4 (xxxx)
                                                                Date: Year 2000, February xx
To:     Chairperson
           xxxx Section/Village Tract Peace and Development Council, 
          Myawaddy township

Subject:     The matter of systematically building and using toilets

Reference: Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council 
                 letter number 5/2-518/Oo 3 (0204) dated 10-2-2000

In accordance with the above reference letter, [we] specified a period during the Third Annual National Environment Cleanup Movement, from February 7th through March 4th 2000, as Township National Environment Cleanup Movement Week. [We] are going to supervise, check and carry out the systematic building and use of toilets at the houses of the Sections/Village Tracts. Therefore, action will be taken against those who do not build and use the toilet systematically. Let the workers and the public know and inform them, you are informed again.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                              (for) Chairperson
                                                                           (Yeh Sein/Secretary)
                                                                           [Sd.]               [Sd.] 14/2

Copies to:
  - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy town
  - Township Health Department Chief Officer, Myawaddy town
  - File/receipt

[In large Karen villages, most households have a basic latrine out the back, though these are sometimes not very well made and very shallow. In small Karen villages high in the hills, many households have no latrines and the villagers simply use the forest. While it may be a good idea for sanitation reasons to promote better toilets, it is questionable whether this might be better done through education and incentives rather than the threat of military punishments.]

Summons to ‘Meetings’

The orders below call village elders to ‘meetings’, usually at the local Army base. Village elders are deluged with such orders every week from each Army camp in their area, making it difficult for them to tend their fields and perform their functions within the village. Many of the orders ‘invite’ the elders, but almost without exception they add the phrase ‘without fail’. They are expected to drop everything and go immediately to the Army camp on receipt of these orders. Usually these meetings are completely one-sided: an Army officer dictates demands for forced labour, money or materials to a village elder and gives deadlines, or scolds and threatens the elder for being lax in meeting previous demands. For an example of what happens at these ‘meetings’, see Order #64 included above under ‘General Forced Labour’; the village head wrote on the back of the order that the officer had used the meeting to demand 30 people for forced labour "with our own rations for 5 days for building the Army camp, loh ah pay was demanded under duress". Sometimes the elders are ordered to report on all movements of resistance forces in their area, and are threatened with punishments if any of the information later proves to be inaccurate. The commanders often call all the village heads in their local area to gather at the camp at the same time so they can allocate demands to each village, and in this case the orders are copied and sent to as many villages as are required.

The orders commonly threaten the elders that if they fail to come "the responsibility will be yours", or "the responsibility will fall on the village". The former means that the elder will be arrested and punished, the latter that the village will be punished in some form, which can mean forced relocation, looting or the burning of some houses. Some carry more explicit threats, such as the threat to "take serious action". Order #214 tells a headman that if he fails to come, "your village and villagers will suffer consequences", and Order #234 says that if the headman is absent "[we] will fire a big weapon into the village". Order #200 threatens to designate the village head as ‘hard-core’ if he fails to come, which is a direct threat to arrest him as a rebel, while Order #204 states that "If [you] don’t come, I must come to you", meaning an Army column will come to the village and will probably loot houses and capture villagers.

Village heads are usually afraid to go to these meetings, so on receiving these orders they often disappear off to their farmfields or to other places. This usually results in further angry and threatening letters from the Army officer, until after the third or fourth letter the village head has to decide whether to go to the camp or flee his/her village.

Order #183 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:                                                                           Date: 5-9-99
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:   Head
               Column                                       xxxx village

[I] want to meet and discuss with the village heads, so as soon as you receive this letter come to meet at yyyy village, you are informed.

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

 

Order #184 (Pa’an)

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

Gentleman, now, as soon as you receive this letter, come quickly to the Column. If you fail, it will be the gentleman’s [your] responsibility, you are informed.

Place:     yyyy                                                                      [Sd.]
Date:      8-10-99                                                       Column Commander

 

Order #185 (Toungoo)

To:                                                          Stamp:     
     Chairperson                       Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion 
     xxxx village                             Column 2 Headquarters              Date: 21-11-99

Subject:     To come and meet the Column Commander

The Chairperson yourself should come without fail to yyyy village for emergency matters, to meet the Frontline Column Commander on 21-11-99 by the deadline of 1800 hours.

[Note added in red ink:] Very important, so come tonight immediately.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                Column Commander
                                                                             Column 2 Headquarters
                                                                              F.L. [Frontline] #xx IB

[Red ink is usually only used to imply a direct threat.]

 

Order #186 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:                                                                                  5-1-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson
Col. 2 Headquarters                         xxxx village

Subject:     Come and meet the Column

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come and meet for a while to the Column Commander atyyyy village as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                            [Sd.] ‘Capt.’
                                                                       F.L. [Frontline] #xx IB
                                                                              yyyy village

 

Order #187 (Pa’an)

To:    Chairperson                                                                           8-1-2000
         xxxx [village]

When [you] receive this letter, come to meet with the yyyy camp commander, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                           aaaa 
                                                                                          IB xxx
                                                                                     yyyy [camp]

 

Order #188 (Toungoo)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 14-1-2000
          xxxx village

To discuss an important local situation matter, come and meet the Column Commander at yyyy today, 14-1-2000, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                      Deputy Battalion Commander
                                                                           #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #189 (Papun)

To:    aaaa [village head’s name]                                                     Date: 16-1-00

Number xxx Battalion commander wants to meet for a moment, so as soon as you receive this letter come to meet for a moment (without fail), you are invited.

PS: Come to meet without fail.                                             [Sd.]
                                                                                     Chairperson
                                                                                          VPDC
                                                                                    xxxx [village]

 

Order #190 (Pa’an)

Township Peace and Development Council
xxxx Town

                      Stamp:                                                                Date: 17-1-2000
Township Peace and Development Council
                    [illegible]     

To:      Chairpersons          
           xxxx + yyyy [villages]     
          xxxx town

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, a meeting will be held with the purpose shown below, so attend (without fail), you are invited.

Purpose:    To discuss matters of security and matters of planning
Agenda:     Date ( 19-1-2000 )
               Time ( 0900 ) o’clock
                Place TPDC Chairperson’s office  

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Chairperson

[This is a typed and cyclo-copied form letter with the details shown in italics written in by hand.]

 

Order #191 (Papun)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 7/2/2000
           xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

1) [I] want to meet with the village elders in yyyy village monastery. Come without fail on 8-2-2000, Tuesday morning, to arrive at 1100 hours, you are invited.

2) If [you] fail, it will be the responsibility of the Gentleman [village head] and the village, you are informed.

Meeting place:         yyyy monastery
Meeting date/time:  8-2-2000, morning 1100 hours 
                                                                              [Sd.]
                                                               (for) Tactical Commander 
                                         #x Tactical Command, Military Operations Control Group

[The village elders failed to show up as ordered, so this was followed by Order #192 below.]

 

Order #192 (Papun)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 8/2/2000
           xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

1) [We] have already invited the Gentleman to meet in yyyy village monastery, but [you] did not come, so now, [you are] invited again for the next time.

2) Come without fail to yyyy village monastery on 9-8-2000 [sic: 9-2-2000] (Wednesday) to arrive at 1100 hours.

3) If [you] fail, it will be the responsibility of the Gentleman [you] and the village. This is the last time [we] will let you know of the invitation.

Meeting place:   yyyy monastery
Time:                9/2/2000 at 1100 hours 
                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                             (for) Tactical Commander 
                                        #x Tactical Command, Military Operations Control Group

[The envelope of this order is marked "Urgent". This followed Order #191 above.]

 

Order #193 (Pa’an)

               Stamp:     
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:  Chairperson / Village Head
         Battalion Office                               xxxx   village
                                                                                                  Date:17-2-2000
Subject:     Attending a meeting

The Battalion administration would like to discuss the list of family members for each village and the matter of giving paddy at the #xxx Light Infantry Battalion headquarters company commander’s office on 19-2-2000 at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Attend the meeting at the fixed date and the fixed time without fail (without fail), and be informed that failure for any reason is not allowed. Informing [you]in accordance with my duty.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                      Acting Battalion Commander
Copies to:
               Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
               Office Copy / Circulation

[This is a typed and carbon-copied letter with the village name and the signature written in later. The ‘list of family members’ is a family registration list every village must submit for use in allocating forced labour and demands for materials and extortion. ‘Giving paddy’ may refer to the official paddy quotas or simply to paddy demanded outright without compensation by the Battalion.]

 

Order #194 (Pa’an)

To:      U aaaa                                                                 Stamp:     
           xxxx [village]                                                   yyyy Pagoda
                                                                             Myawaddy District
Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, concerning the whole of Myawaddy District, to
     re-coordinate the needs      for yyyy pagoda, [we] want to discuss the required matters, so the Gentlemen yourselves must attend without fail, you are respectfully invited.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                   Secretary
                                                                      yyyy pagoda trustees’ group
Date:     29-2-2000
Time:    10 o’clock
Place:    U bbbb’s house

[This is actually a letter from the lay civilians responsible for the pagoda, calling a meeting most likely to request donations and labour for pagoda maintenance or reconstruction. This is closer to the real meaning of ‘loh ah pay’ (unlike the way that the SPDC uses the term), though the emphasis on ‘without fail’ may indicate that the local SPDC is behind this request.]

 

Order #195 (Toungoo)

To:     U aaaa                                                                              6-3-2000
          Chairperson                                                                      yyyy[village]
          xxxx village

Ma bbbb … Come to me.

There is no matter, I miss you and want to see you.

                                                         With remembrance,
                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                                          cccc 
                                                                      F.L. [Frontline] #xx [IB], Col. x
                                                                  Temporarily at yyyy (middle village)

[This letter is addressed to a village headman, but is written to a young unmarried woman, as indicated by the prefix ‘Ma’. When SPDC officers or NCOs develop an affection for a village woman, if she does not return the affection it can result in serious repercussions on her as well as her family and village; in some cases such as this, the woman and her family end up fleeing the village.]

 

Order #196 (Pa’an)

To:     Head                                                                                21-3-2000
          xxxx village

Come to meet me briefly and call the [saw]mill owner who is building a sawmill. Come to yyyy village.

                                                                                     Friendly,
                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                            aaaa [officer’s name]
                                                                                      IB xx
                                                                                  Company 1

[This meeting may concern demands for logs, demands for use of the sawmill without compensation, or extortion of ‘fees’ for permission to operate a sawmill.]

 

Order #197 (Pa’an)

                 Stamp:                                                                           Date: 2-4-2000
Peace and Development Council            To:  Village head
             yyyy village                                   xxxx village

Subject:     The matter of coming to meet

Regarding the above subject, the Township Peace and Development Council Chairperson informs [us] that[he] wants to discuss and coordinate the matter of staying peacefully in your village and peacefully working your fields, according to the date and agenda below. Come and meet without fail, you are informed.

Date:     3-4-2000, Monday
Time:     Morning, 9 o’clock
Place:     From VPDC office, yyyy [village], we will proceed to the township office

Note:
It is to discuss the matter of peace in the villages, so come without fail.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 2-4-2000
                                                                                     Chairperson
                                                                       Peace and Development Council
                                                                       yyyy village, Kawkareik township

[‘The matter of peace in the villages’ usually means that the villagers will be ordered/threatened to have no contact with the opposition, and it may involve imposing restrictions on movement.]

 

Order #198 (Toungoo)

          Stamp:
#xx [IB], Company #2          Subject:  Calling a meeting with Chairperson / Secretary
     Date: 3/4/2000
       xxxx [camp]

Regarding the above subject, a meeting will be held with the Chairperson and Secretary. You are informed to come without fail on 4/4/2000.

Date:      3/4/2000                                                            Camp Commander 
Place:     xxxx Camp                                                                    [Sd.]

 

Order #199 (Toungoo)

Subject:     Summoning the Gentlemen

To hold a special meeting today, 9/4/2000, at 12 o’clock noon at xxxx camp, the village tract Chairperson and Secretaries are informed to attend without fail.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Camp Commander
                                                                                xxxx Camp

 

Order #200 (Pa’an)

To:     xxxx village head (Ko aaaa)                                                       2-5-2000
                                                                          Stamp: 
                                                   Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 
                                                                    Column Office
                                                                          1-5-00

When you receive this letter, come quickly to meet. If you do not come today to meet, we will designate you as hard-core. Letting you know, when you receive this letter come quickly, you are informed.

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

[Being designated as ‘hard-core’ is one of the most serious threats an SPDC commander can make, as it means being designated a rebel supporter, which is inevitably followed by detention, torture and ransoming.]

 

Order #201 (Pa’an)

                                                                      #xx Infantry Battalion
                                                                      xxxx [village]
                                                                      Letter number xxx / xx / Yay x
                                                                      Date: Year 2000, May xx 
To:     Secretary
          xxxx village, yyyy village tract
          Kawkareik township

Subject:     Calling for a meeting

Regarding the above subject, #xx Infantry Battalion would like to hold a meeting on May 3rd 2000 at 0900 hours, so the Secretary of xxxx village, yyyy village tract is informed to attend without fail.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                 Headquarters Company Commander
                                                                           #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #202 (Pa’an)

To:     Ko aaaa                                                                            3/5/2000
          xxxx village

-     Now, as soon as you receive this letter, come to meet with the Battalion Commander, [I] write this letter.
-     Have to ask about emergency matters, come quickly.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                 Major bbbb 
                                                                                     LIB xxx
                                                                                 yyyy village

 

Order #203 (Pa’an)

Headwoman                                         Stamp:                                      4-5-2000
xxxx village                    Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 
                                                     Column Office

To meet with the Column Commander, come without fail to the Column. If [you] fail to come, the headwoman will face the responsibility.

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

 

Order #204 (Pa’an)

To:     Ko aaaa                                                                                 6-5-2000

Tomorrow morning, you must come. If [you] don’t come, I must come to you.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                         bbbb [officer’s name]
                                                                                     IB xx
                                                                                Company 1

[‘I must come to you’ carries an implied threat; if soldiers have to go to a village because villagers have failed to comply with an order, this is usually accompanied by looting and the arrest of village elders.]

 

Order #205 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                                                      6-5-2000
          xxxx [village]

When you get this letter, come to meet me for a moment. (Today)

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                            aaaa [officer’s name]

 

Order #206 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx village head                                                  Date: 8-5-2000

Subject:     The company commander from IB #xx has to discuss matters [with you] in yyyy village tomorrow at 9 o’clock. Come to meet, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 8/5
                                                                           Company Commander
                                                                                        IB #xx
                                                                                   Company #2

 

Order #207 (Pa’an)

To:          Village Gentlemen, xxxx village                                        Date: 9-5-2000

Subject:     Tomorrow, 10-5-2000, come to meet with the #xx Infantry Battalion Column at yyyy village, you are informed.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 9/5
                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                    #2 Company
                                                                            #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #208 (Pa’an)

           Stamp:                                                                           Date: 15-5-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion
        Company 2

To:     Village gentleman, xxxx village

Subject:     Tomorrow, 16-5-2000, come quickly to meet with the #xx Infantry Battalion column in yyyyvillage, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] 15/5
                                                                           Company Commander
                                                                                   Company 2
                                                                           #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #209 (Pa’an)

          Stamp:                                                                                 15-5-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion                    To:   Mother [village] head
Column 1 Headquarters                          xxxx village

Tomorrow, 16-5-2000, come without fail to meet.

                                                                                 [Sd.] Lieutenant
                                                                                Intelligence Officer
                                                                              #xx Infantry Battalion

If you fail, we will take appropriate action.
                                                               [Sd.]
                                                   aaaa [officer’s name]

 

Order #210 (Pa’an)

          Stamp:                                                                           Date: 15-5-2000
#xx Infantry Battalion
       Company #2                   To:  Village Gentleman [head], xxxx village

Subject:     Tomorrow, 16-5-2000, come quickly to meet with the #xx Infantry Battalion Column at yyyyvillage, you are informed.

                                                                                      [Sd.] 15-5
                                                                              Company Commander
                                                                                      #2 Company
                                                                               #xx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #211 (Pa’an)

          Stamp:     
#xx Infantry Battalion               To:
Column 1 Headquarters                    Chairperson

Subject:     Informing you to come and meet

The Battalion Commander wants to meet and greet the chairpersons who are responsible for the villages in the IB xx region. Come without fail to xxxx village on 18-5-2000, to arrive at 9 o’clock, you are informed.

                                                                                   [Sd.] Lieutenant
                                                                                 Intelligence Officer
                                                                                #xx Infantry Battalion

[On the back is written "Send to arrive today to xxxx [village]" as well as other address details. The term translated here as "greet" can refer either to a hello or farewell, though it is most likely that the new commander has just arrived. Copies of this order were sent to all villages in the area.]

 

Order #212 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                    Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                            Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                           Letter Number: 5 / 41-29 / Oo-6 / xxxx
Kya In Seik Gyi town                            Date: Year 2000, May 22nd

To:     Chairperson / Village head
           xxxx section /village 
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of attending the regular monthly meeting

1)     Section/village tract VPDC chairpersons, village heads, township information departments: in Kya In Seik Gyi township, the Strategic Command group (base) wants to coordinate meetings at the end of every month on the 30th/31st at the township Army hall.

2)     Therefore, the regular monthly meeting will be held on (31-5-2000), at 1:00 in the afternoon at the township Army hall. Attend without fail (without fail), you are invited.

                                                                                       [Sd.] 
                                                                                  Chairperson
                                                                           (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563)
Copies to:
               Strategic Command Group (base), Kya In Seik Gyi town
               Chiefs of departments concerned, Kya In Seik Gyi town (attend the meeting, 
                                                                                                you are invited)
               Letters file
               Office copy

[This form letter, sent out to all villages in the area, has been repeatedly used to call meetings at the end of every month, as can be seen in the copies from June (Order #219) and July (Order #225) included below.]

 

Order #213 (Dooplaya)

                     Stamp:     
               yyyy Army Camp                          To:   Chairperson
yyyy village, Kya In Seik Gyi township                  xxxx village              Date: 1-6-00

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Regarding the above subject, Chairperson yourself must come to a meeting at yyyy camp on 2-6-00 at 10 o’clock exactly. If the Chairperson is not there, the Secretary is to attend. If [they] fail, serious action will be taken.

                                                       [Stamped:]     Camp Commander
                                                                            yyyy Army Camp
                                                             yyyy village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #214 (Toungoo)

               Stamp:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion          To:  Chairperson                         5-6-2000
                                                             xxxx village

Subject:     Come and meet

Chairperson must come to yyyy village today. If [you] fail to meet, your village and villagers will suffer consequences.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Column Commander

 

Order #215 (Dooplaya)

         Stamp:                                                                                    7-6-2000
#xxx Infantry Battalion               To:    Chairperson/Secretary
    Battalion Office                             xxxx [village]

As soon as you receive this letter, go to the Strategic Command (yyyy), and do not fail.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                 Adjutant Captain
                                                                                         IB #xxx

 

Order #216 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:     
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion

To:     Chairperson / Secretary / Members
          (xxxx) village                                                                   Date: 12-6-2000

Subject:     To come and meet the Column Commander

A meeting for security/regional control and operational matters will be held with the villages, so bring the list of families and population and come and meet between 9 o’clock in the morning and 4 o’clock in the evening without fail. If [you] fail, it will be the Gentleman’s responsibility.

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

[‘Members’ means members of the Village Peace and Development Council. Copies of this letter were sent to all villages in the area.]

 

Order #217 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                                                                  16-6-2000
#xxx Infantry Battalion
    Battalion Office

To:      [blank]

Subject:     Calling a meeting with xxxx village chairperson

A meeting will occur on 17-6-2000 at 1200 hours at #xxx IB, so attend without fail, you are informed.

                                                                                                [Sd.]

 

Order #218 (Pa’an)

                    Stamp:                                                                 Date: 19-6-2000
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion           To:  Chairperson
          Column 2 Headquarters                             xxxx village

Subject:   Informing you to come and meet the Column Commander to discuss matters
               of regional security

Regarding the above subject for discussion, gentlemen, as soon as you receive this letter come quickly without fail to meet at the Column, you are informed. If you fail, the gentlemen [you] will bear the responsibility.

                                                                           [Sd.] ‘xxxx/Cpt.’, 19-6-2000
                                                                                   Column Commander
                                                                                           Column 2
                                                                            #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #219 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                        Kya In Seik Gyi township, Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                       Letter Number: 5 / 41-29 / Oo-6 / xxxx 
Kya In Seik Gyi town                        Date: Year 2000, June 19th

To:     Chairperson / Village head
           xxxx section/village 
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of attending the regular monthly meeting

1)     Section/village tract VPDC chairpersons, village heads, township information departments: in Kya In Seik Gyi township, the Strategic Command group (base) wants to coordinate meetings at the end of every month on the 30th/31st at the township Army hall.

2)     Therefore, the regular monthly meeting will be held on (30-6-2000), at 1:00 in the afternoon at the township Army hall. Attend without fail (without fail), you are invited.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                                Chairperson
                                                                         (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563)
Copies to:
               Strategic Command Group (base), Kya In Seik Gyi town
               Chiefs of departments concerned, Kya In Seik Gyi town (attend the meeting,
                                                                                                    you are invited)
               Letters file
               Office copy

 

Order #220 (Dooplaya)

          Stamp:                                  Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                          Kya In Seik Gyi township - Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                         Letter number: 5 / 13-11 / Oo-6 /
Kya In Seik Gyi town                           Date: Year 2000, July 3rd

To:     Chairperson / Village Head
           xxxx village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of coming to the township office

Regarding the above subject, [we] need to coordinate and discuss matters of village management. Come to the Township Peace and Development Council office without fail according to the agenda below, you are informed.

                                                  A G E N D A

                                Date:          6-7-2000, Thursday
                                Time:          Morning, 10:00 o’clock
                                Place:         Township Peace and Development Council office

                                                                                [Sd.] 3-7-2000
                                                                                   Chairperson
                                                                           (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563)
Copy to:   File/Receipt

 

Order #221 (Pa’an)

To:    xxxx, yyyy [villages] (Chairperson)                                              8-7-2000

Come and meet at zzzz [village].

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                               LIB xxx

 

Order #222 (Toungoo)

                         Stamp:                                                                      10-7-2000
Village Tract Peace and Development Council          To:
                  yyyy village tract                                      Chairperson, Secretary
                                                                                 xxxx [village]

Subject:     Come and meet the Column Commander

Dear Chairperson, the Column Commander said to inform you to come and meet this Column Commander.

                                                                                [Sd.] 
                                                                            10-7-2000
                                                                           Chairperson
                                                   Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                        yyyy village tract, Than Daung township

 

Order #223 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                         11-7-2000
     Chairperson / Secretary                                                       Tuesday
     xxxx village

Subject:     Come to yyyy [village]

Regarding the above subject, xxxx village is informed to come for a moment to discuss an important matter today at 2:00 in the afternoon.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                           Camp Commander
                                                                                yyyy Camp

 

Order #224 (Dooplaya)

                       Stamp:     
                yyyy Army Camp                         To:  Chairperson
yyyy village, Kya In Seik Gyi township                  xxxx village               Date: 18-7-00

Subject:     To attend a meeting

1)     When [you] receive this letter today, 18-7-00, Chairperson or Secretary yourself must arrive at 1 o’clock in the afternoon without fail to attend a meeting at yyyy camp, you are informed.

2)     [You are] Not allowed (regardless) to fail.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                           Camp Commander
                                                                            yyyy Army Camp
                                                             yyyy village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #225 (Dooplaya)

         Stamp:                                 Township Peace and Development Council
Township Peace and                        Kya In Seik Gyi township - Kya In Seik Gyi town
Development Council                       Letter number: 5 / 41-29 / Oo 6 / xxxx 
Kya In Seik Gyi town                        Date: Year 2000, July 24th

To:     Chairperson / Village Head
           xxxx section /village
          Kya In Seik Gyi township

Subject:     The matter of attending the regular monthly meeting

1)     Section/village tract VPDC chairpersons, village heads, township information departments: in Kya In Seik Gyi township, the Strategic Command group (base) wants to coordinate meetings at the end of every month on the 30th/31st at the township Army hall.

2)     Therefore, the regular monthly meeting will be held on (31-7-2000), at 1:00 in the afternoon at the township Army hall. Attend without fail (without fail), you are invited.

                                                                                     [Sd.] 
                                                                               Chairperson
                                                                         (Soe Thein, Bpa/3563)
Copies to:
               Strategic Command Group (base), Kya In Seik Gyi town
               Chiefs of departments concerned, Kya In Seik Gyi town (attend the meeting, 
                                                                                                   you are invited)
               Letters file
               Office copy

[This same order, sent out to all villages in the area, is used to call villages to meetings every month, as can be seen in Orders #212 and 219 above.]

 

Order #226 (Toungoo)

               Stamp:     
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion 
           Company #2

To:     Chairperson                                                                 25-7-2000
          xxxx village

Subject:     To come and meet the Column

Regarding the above subject, the Gentleman yourself must come and meet the Column Commander, and if[you] fail it will be the Gentleman’s responsibility.

Place:     yyyy village                                                                 [Sd.]
Time:     Arrive at 4 o’clock in the afternoon                 (for) Column Commander
                                                                                          Mobile Column
                                                                                                LIB xxx

 

Order #227 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:     
     yyyy Army Camp                                                                   Date: 31-7-2000
        yyyy Village,                         To:
Kya In Seik Gyi township                       Chairperson/Secretary
                                                          xxxx village
                                                          yyyy tract

Subject:     Calling [you] to come to yyyy camp

1)     Chairperson/Secretary, [we] already asked and summoned you to come and meet with the yyyy Camp Commander, but [we] know that you didn’t come yet.

2)     Therefore, as soon as [you] receive this letter come to yyyy Army Camp on 1-8-2000 at 1100 hours at the latest, you are informed.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                Camp Commander
                                                                                 yyyy Army Camp
                                                                 yyyy village, Kya In Seik Gyi township

 

Order #228 (Dooplaya)

            Stamp:     
#xxx Infantry Battalion
    Battalion Office

To:     Chairperson
               xxxx      Village                                                        Date: 11-8-2000

Subject:     Calling [you] to discuss matters of security/agriculture

Chairperson and Secretary, 2 people, come without fail to #xxx Infantry Battalion at Tat Gone [‘Army Hill’] on 13-8-2000 at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, you are informed. If [you] fail, the Chairperson and Secretary will be responsible.

                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                  Intelligence Officer

[On the back this order is stamped with the unit stamp, addressed, and stamped ‘Truly an office matter; sent by #xxx Infantry Battalion’.]

 

Order #229 (Pa’an)

                 Stamp:                                                                    Date: 19-8-2000
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
Military Operations Command

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Calling [you] for a meeting

Regarding the above subject, village chairpersons themselves must attend the meeting at yyyy camp on 20-8-2000 at 0900 hours (without fail).

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                      Intelligence Officer
                                                                 F.L. [Frontline] LIB #xxx

 

Order #230 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 22-8-2000
          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation for a meeting

Regarding the above subject, there will be a meeting on 23-8-2000 at 7 o’clock in the morning. Chairperson and all the [VPDC] members are invited to attend without fail.

Date:      23-8-2000                                                                [Sd.] 22-8-2000
Time:      0700 hours                                                        (yyyy Camp Commander)
Place:     yyyy camp

 

Order #231 (Pa’an)

To:                                                                                Date: 26-8-2000
     xxxx village

Dear village chairperson, village head:

As soon as you receive this letter, come to yyyy village.

That’s all.

Captain.

 

Order #232 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson (Village Head)
          xxxx village
          Ward/Village Peace and Development [Council]                      Date: 2-9-2000

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

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to meet at the yyyy Column office on 13-9-2000, Wednesday, at 12 o’clock noon.

                                       Stamp:                                               [Sd.]
                         #xxx Light Infantry Battalion                    Company Commander 
                                    Company #1                                       #1 Company
                                                                                      F.L. [Frontline]#xxx

 

Order #233 (Toungoo)

To:     Chairperson                                                                         2-9-2000
          xxxx village

Dear Gentleman, you are informed to come and meet the Mobile Column commander as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Company Commander

 

Order #234 (Toungoo)

                Stamp:                              To:                                         Date: 3-9-2000
Frontline #xx Infantry Battalion                    Chairperson
             Company #3                                  xxxx [village]

As soon as you receive this letter, Chairperson yourself must come to yyyy Army Camp. If not, [we] will fire a big weapon into the village.

                                                                                      [Sd.] Capt.
                                                                                          3-9-00
                                                                                Camp Commander
                                                                                      yyyy camp

[The term used for ‘big weapon’ clearly implies a mortar, because this term is not used for anything smaller such as a grenade or rocket-propelled grenade.]

 

Order #235 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson                                                Stamp:     
           xxxx   village                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                          Military Operations Command     

Subject:     Invitation to a meeting

Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion at yyyy camp would like to call a meeting for security affairs on September 13th 2000 at 0900 hours. The Gentlemen yourselves must attend the meeting, you are informed.

Place:    yyyy camp                                                              [Sd.]
Date:     12-9-2000                                                (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                    Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This is a handwritten and carbon-copied letter with the village name written in afterward by hand.]

 

Order #236 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson, xxxx village                                                        14-9-2000

Dear Chairperson, you are informed to come to yyyy camp without fail as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                           yyyy Camp Commander
                                                                                         LIB xxx

 

Order #237 (Pa’an)

To:     Ko aaaa                                                                      Date: 15-9-2000
          xxxx [village] Chairperson

Come to yyyy office tomorrow at 8 o’clock in the morning. Leaders from town will meet Ko aaaa. I was informed to inform you. Therefore, come without fail. Call also Ko bbbb [another village elder] without fail. Important.

                                                                                 [Sd. ‘xxxx’]
                                                                            xxxx [village] clerk

 

Order #238 (Pa’an)

To:     Chairperson - xxxx village                                                     18-9-2000

Dear Chairperson, you are informed to come to yyyy Army Camp tomorrow on the 19th without fail.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                Sergeant aaaa 
                                                                         yyyy Camp Commander
                                                                                     LIB xxx

 

Order #239 (Pa’an)

To:          xxxx [village]

Religious and one-month [village] heads, as soon as [you] receive this letter, come at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Without fail.
The Column Commander calls.
Come now.

DKBA and KPA Letters

The orders below were issued by DKBA units in Pa’an, Papun and Dooplaya Districts, with the exception of Order #254 which was issued by the KPA (see notes below). The DKBA units in these areas are partly occupied in helping the local SPDC military as guides and in fighting the KNLA, but also spend much of their time on their own projects, such as collecting money in various ways, conducting or taxing commercial logging, demanding payments from villages, and setting up road checkpoints to collect money from all vehicles and passengers. For example, Order #242 was distributed by the DKBA in Myawaddy township of Pa’an District, and gives a "Warning" in Karen and Burmese that the DKBA will not be responsible "if anything happens" to any boat carrying goods along the rivers which does not stop at each and every one of their camps for ‘inspection’; to the villagers, this carries a clear message that they must stop their boats and pay money at every DKBA camp or they will be fired upon. The DKBA are also involved in supervising forced labour of villagers on roads or building pagodas in some areas, whether under SPDC orders or for their own purposes. In Order #241, a DKBA officer tells the village head that he must send some porters, because the SPDC has ordered the DKBA to gather porters for them. Order #240 shows that DKBA units sometimes treat their own porters like the SPDC does, telling a village head that the villager he sent as a porter "cannot go on any more", that they’ve left him behind, and demanding an immediate replacement.

As a result of these types of activities, DKBA orders to villages read much like SPDC orders, except that they are often written in bad Burmese or almost equally bad Karen. The DKBA also tend to be more direct in their language if and when they want to issue threats. However, it is important to note that some DKBA units are worse than others, and many of their orders are written in a much more genial tone than SPDC orders. Order #253 is actually the partial text of a speech given by DKBA Commander Chit Thu in May 1999; most of it is typical rhetoric, though he also makes strange claims that both the KNU and the National League for Democracy have heavily infiltrated the DKBA. Some of the orders below relate to teacher training courses set up by the DKBA in Ko Ko village of southeastern Pa’an District (see Orders #250, 251, and 252). It appears that the DKBA is trying to set up this village on the Thai border as a sort of model village, possibly hoping to attract refugees back from Thailand. There are already rumours that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been given permission to plan small sanitation projects in Ko Ko (sometimes referred to by the DKBA as ‘Shwe Ko Ko’), and the Thai National Security Council has already been agitating for forced repatriation of Karen refugees to the Ko Ko area.

Some of the orders below were written in Burmese, while the others were written in Sgaw Karen where noted. Instead of writing the DKBA’s name in Karen or Burmese, the officers usually write a series of Burmese characters which are pronounced "Dee Kay Bee Ay", but which have no meaning in Karen or Burmese. Where this occurs, we have used "Dee Kay Bee Ay" in the translations. Where they have written out the name of their Army in Karen or Burmese we have translated directly; it does not usually translate directly as Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, but as ‘Progressive Karen Buddhist National Army’ or simply ‘Karen Buddhist Army’. Where we have written DKBA, it is because the order wrote it that way in English characters.

Order #254 was issued by the Karen Peace Army, a group in Dooplaya District which was established in 1997 by former KNLA commander Thu Mu Heh with support from the SLORC/SPDC. He immediately allied himself with the SLORC/SPDC and the regime made a show of giving him ‘authority’ over Dooplaya District, but since then his group has largely been sidelined because he failed to attract enough recruits to maintain military control over the region. Since then, the SPDC has strongly reasserted its military presence in the region, and has also brought DKBA units back into some areas from which they had formerly been expelled to make way for the KPA. For more background on the KPA, see "Dooplaya Under the SPDC: Further Developments in the SPDC Occupation of South-central Karen State" (KHRG #98-09, 23/11/98), and "Starving Them Out: Forced Relocations, Killings, and the Systematic Starvation of Villagers in Dooplaya District" (KHRG #2000-02, 31/3/00).

Order #240 (Pa’an)

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

Progressive Karen Buddhist Army
DKBA

To:     xxxx village                                                                       Date: 31-7-2000
          For the [village] tract leader

Full of respect,
Subject: Writing to let you know that your one porter cannot go on any more. When you receive this letter, you must come to send one new representative [porter] for me at once. Right now [the current porter] is not with us anymore. Don’t hesitate. You must send [the porter] to xxxx village at once.

Note:     Don’t be absent. [I] Need it urgently. Letting you know about this subject.
#999 Brigade, Special Battalion

                                                            Security Column             [Sd.]
                                                                                       Officer Sawaaaa 
                                                                                                DKBA

[This order is written in Sgaw Karen in an erratic childish scrawl. The officer makes it clear that the porter from the village is in very bad condition, but states that he ‘is not with us anymore’ to indicate that the DKBA has left him behind somewhere, so they won’t even help him to get home when his replacement arrives.]

 

Order #241 (Pa’an)

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

Progressive Karen Buddhists

Chairperson - Secretary:

Subject - The special circumstance [for writing this letter] is that the Burmese are ordering you to come because they have an emergency, so they came to ask me to please write to you. When you see this letter, come quickly. Come back on the powerboat which has come to see you [which has delivered this letter].

                                                                      That is all. The writer is truly,
                                                                                      Saw aaaa
                                                                                     11/7/2000

[This DKBA order was written in Sgaw Karen; the ‘Burmese’ are the SPDC Army, and ‘they have an emergency’ means they need people quickly for some forced labour.]

 

Order #242 (Pa’an)

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

[First part, in Sgaw Karen:]

(Warning)
To inform all the cargo powerboats travelling along the waterways

1)     The powerboats and traders all have to stop at every place where our Army stays to be completely checked.
2)     If anything happens to powerboats which refuse to be checked, we won’t take any responsibility for that.

[Second part, in Burmese:]

(Caution)
To inform the line boats and cargo-carrying powerboats operating in waterways

1)     All of the line [passenger] boats and cargo-carrying boats operating in waterways must be inspected by every DKBA camp.
2)     No responsibility will be taken for the problems of boats which refuse to be inspected by DKBA Army camps.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                              Special Battalion
                                                                                 Brigade 999
                                                                         Dee-Kay-Bee-Ay [DKBA]

[This is a typed and carbon-copied order which repeats its message in Sgaw Karen and then Burmese. In layman’s terms it means that all boats must stop at every DKBA checkpoint along the river and pay extortion fees to pass, or they will be fired upon.]

 

Order #243 (Thaton)

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

Democratic Buddhist Karen National Army
Dee Kay Bee Ay

To:     xxxx [village]                                                                      Date: 30-10-99
          Village Head

Respectfully writing this letter. The matter is that tomorrow afternoon at 12 o’clock, come to meet at yyyy camp. Respectfully [by this] letter, you are informed.

Note:          Please comply.
                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                Major aaaa 
                                                           Central Farm Agriculture [Dept.] Member

 

Order #244 (Thaton)

To:   [blank]                                           Stamp:                                      6-11-99
                                                  Karen Buddhist Army
                                                           D.K.B.A.

Regarding the subject, xxxx village head, tomorrow, 7-11-99, in the morning at 8 o’clock, come without fail to meet at yyyy village. When you receive this letter, come without fail tomorrow precisely.

There is no other matter. I want to meet and discuss with the xxxx village head. Don’t think anything else. Now I have come back from the hospital and I have to discuss with the village head, so [you] must come. If [you] have work, leave the work and come. If you don’t dare come alone, call your friends, ask for [the way to] yyyy camp and come. I will be staying at zzzz farm. [You] must come exactly [as ordered].

(Don’t fail.) If [you] fail it will be the Gentleman’s[your] responsibility. I want to meet and discuss, so I am asking. If I ask the Gentleman and you don’t come, one day I will arrive at xxxx village for sure (that’s all).

                                                                                     D.K.B.A.
                                                                                     Sergeant
                                                                            Saw aaaa - agriculture

[This DKBA order was written in Burmese. Clearly the village head has some reason to be very afraid of this DKBA Sergeant, given all the assurances that he only wants to talk. The threat to arrive at the village if the village head doesn’t come is a serious one, because if he has to resort to coming to the village then he will seriously punish the village head and the villagers.]

 

Order #245 (Papun)

Urgent Army Information: xx                        Stamp:     
                                                      Karen Buddhist Army
                                                               D.K.B.A.                        Date: 31/1/2000

To:          yyyy tract, xxxx village head

Full of respect, writing to let you know as below. When you receive this letter, on 5/2/2000 you will meet at zzzz village at 12 o’clock. If [you] don’t come, [we] must take action.

                                                                      Receive, obey, and do,
                                                                                  xxx/yy
                                                                          [Sd.] 31/1/2000
                                                                Company #1 Sergeant Major
                                                                            xxxx Battalion

[This DKBA order is written in Sgaw Karen.]

 

Order #246 (Papun)

Urgent Army Information: xx                        Stamp:     
                                                      Karen Buddhist Army
                                                                 D.K.B.A.                       Date: 31/1/2000

To:          yyyy tract, xxxx village head

Full of respect, writing to let you know as below. When you receive this letter, on 5/2/2000 come to meet at zzzz village at 12 o’clock. Not coming is out of the question. If [you] don’t come, [we]must take action.

                                                                      Receive, obey, and do,
                                                                                31-1-2000
                                                                                  xxx/yy
                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                   Company #1 Sergeant Major
                                                                              xxxx Battalion

[This DKBA order is written in Sgaw Karen.]

 

Order #247 (Papun)

Urgent Army Information: xx                          Stamp:     
                                                        Karen Buddhist Army
                                                                 D.K.B.A.

To:     xxxx village head.    Full of respect, writing to let you know as below. When you receive this letter, on 3/2/2000 you will meet at yyyy village at 12 o’clock. If [you] don’t come, [we]must take action.

                                                                      Receive, obey, and do,
                                                                                  xxx/yy
                                                                          [Sd.] 31/1/2000
                                                                    Company #1 Sergeant Major
                                                                            xxxx Battalion

[This DKBA order is written in Sgaw Karen.]

 

Order #248 (Dooplaya)

                                                      Stamp:                                  Date: 14-5-2000
                                            Karen Buddhist Army
                                                    D.K.B.A.

To:    Chairperson/Secretary, VPDC

Informing [you] with this letter, the price for the wood for the office building has already been coordinated at xxxx [village] DKBA office with all members of the VPDC. Until now it [the wood] has not arrived yet. The owner of the wood, Saw aaaa, will wonder about the money, so the gentlemen[you] must send the money quickly. The thatch is not enough. Find and send 200 more thatch[shingles].

                                                  Company Commander [Sd.]
                                                  Company 2
                                                  Central #xxx Battalion
                                                  Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]

[This DKBA order was written in Burmese. The village has been ordered to pay the cost to buy wood for the DKBA from a sawmill owner to build a DKBA office; however, as the wood has not yet arrived the DKBA officer believes that the villagers have not yet paid the owner of the wood. Thatch shingles are up to a metre long and require villagers to gather leaves and bamboo, make bamboo frames and then tie leaves onto the frame to make each one.]

 

Order #249 (Pa’an)

To:     xxxx village                                                                      Date: 3-6-2000

Send this to the leader. There is no unusual subject. Inform him [the leader] for us. When the leader above sees this, one person must come to us. The moment when [you] see this letter, come at once. Truly, if [you] don’t come [we] are going to take action on your village. That is all.

Writer:     #999 Brigade
               xxx Battalion, staying at xxxx [sic: yyyy]

If [you] don’t come quickly, action will be taken.
Must come today.

[The writer of this letter from DKBA #999 Brigade is virtually illiterate. He writes in Burmese in a messy scrawl, and makes several bad spelling and grammatical mistakes.]

 

Order #250 (Pa’an)

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
#999 Brigade
Special Battalion

                              Stamp:                                               Stamp: 
                    Karen Buddhist Army                 D.K.B.A. Brigade 999 Special Battalion
                             D.K.B.A.                              Ba Ma/0169 Lt. Colonel Chit Thu

To:      Group leader     
           ( Chairperson/Secretary )      xxxx village
           Karen Literature and Culture male teachers/female teachers     

                                                                                               Date: 10-4-2000

Subject:     Asking for trainees and trainer male/female teachers needed by
                 the teaching department

1)     Regarding the above subject, the year 2000 hot season Karen literature and culture refresher course and local camp teacher training will be opened and taught at Myawaddy township, Ko Ko village, from 20-4-2000 to 16-5-2000.

2)     Therefore, choose and gather Karen literature and culture male and female teachers and trainees according to the needs below, including a total of ( 5 ) people, then send them to arrive on 20-4-2000, requesting your help.

Note:     In the teacher training, we will accept male/female teachers with at least
             9th Standard high school education level. For local literature teaching, [we will
             accept] whoever can attend.

*    From your village, male/female schoolteachers: 2 people
     Attend without fail
               and
*    Come to give information and register at                              [Sd.] 10-4-2000
     Ko Ko village basic education primary school                    (Battalion Commander)
     Karen literature/culture office                                             Special Battalion
                                                                                                 #999 Brigade
                                                                                               Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                                              Shwe Ko Ko camp

[This is a typed and copied order in Burmese sent to many villages, with the village name, the number of trainees requested, and the notes at the bottom written in by hand.]

 

Order #251 (Pa’an)

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
#999 Brigade
Special Battalion

                                 Stamp:                                            Stamp: 
                        Karen Buddhist Army             D.K.B.A. Brigade 999 Special Battalion
                                  D.K.B.A.                          Ba Ma/0169 Lt. Colonel Chit Thu

To:      Chairperson     
           Secretary          
           xxxx village                                                                     Date: 10-4-2000

Subject:     Invitation to attend the hot season Karen literature and culture training
                 opening ceremony

Regarding the above subject, the year 2000 first-time hot season Karen literature and culture training opening ceremony will begin at Myawaddy township, Ko Ko village, on 21-4-2000. Gentlemen, come on time to attend at the Karen literature training school, to arrive on 20-4-2000, you are respectfully invited.

Note: [this note takes the form of a poem]
               Wish (Desire)
               Your - literature and culture -
                    Look forward
                    (Without fail) - desire to come.

                                                                                 [Sd.] 10-4-2000
                                                                            (Battalion Commander)
                                                                                 Special Battalion
                                                                                    #999 Brigade
                                                                                 Dee Kay Bee Ay
                                                                                Shwe Ko Ko camp

[This order was typed in Burmese and distributed to many villages, with the names and villages of addressees written in by hand.]

 

Order #252 (Pa’an)

         Stamp:          
Karen Buddhist Army               First time Karen literature and culture instructors’
        D.K.B.A.                                               refresher course
                                             Invitation to the basic training closing ceremony

#999 Brigade Special Battalion, led by Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Saw Chit Thu, held the first-time Karen literature and culture instructors’ refresher course/basic training in Myawaddy township, Ko Ko village. We will hold the closing ceremony according to the agenda below, so come without fail, you are respectfully invited.

Place:         Shwe Ko Ko playground
Date:          17-5-2000
Time:          Morning, 8:00 o’clock

                                                                 Karen Literature and Culture Training
                                                                           Organising Committee

[This is a typed order in Burmese, copied and sent to all villages in the area.]

 

Order #253 (Pa’an)

                                                                                     Stamp:
                                                               D.K.B.A. #999 Brigade Special Battalion
                                                                    Ba Ma/0169 Lt. Colonel Chit Thu

4 Years and 5 Months Anniversary - Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA] #999 Brigade
Special Battalion Emergency Meeting

Battalion Commander - Special Battalion Lieutenant Colonel (Saw Chit Thu) himself gave a speech to explain to the officers/non-commissioned officers/soldiers.

(1)     Within our Special Battalion we have to achieve unity and improve for the future, and don’t do anything against the civilians at all. The people love us, so we have to work for many people, really for the whole Karen nationality.

(2)     The enemy among the Karen (Kay Eh Nyu [KNU]) organisation has sent 100 of their people among the (Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]). They are not in our Special Battalion, but we have to be careful. If anyone among our battalions, companies, and soldiers speaks about our organisation, we must take timely action.

(3)     The (Democracy federation - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) has sent 70 of their people to the (Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]) organisation. They are not in our Special Battalion’s Battalion Companies, but we have to be careful.

(4)     On the upcoming 9999 [9/9/99, a day planned for nationwide protests], something will happen. The whole organisation of the (Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]) is not involved with the others, so we must prepare ourselves. We will wait for orders from General Headquarters, and we will all keep the same heart.

(5)     Our whole (Dee Kay Bee Ay [DKBA]) organisation only has the sign of (Bee [for ‘Buddhist’]), but we will stand and work for all Karen mothers and children. Even if other nationalities don’t love our (Dee Kay Bee Ay) organisation, we wish that Karen nationals, Karen mothers and children will love us with their whole hearts.

(6)     In this 4 years and 5 months anniversary meeting, our Special Battalion officers/non-commissioned officers/soldiers will understand clearly that our work is for all Karen mothers and children, we deeply believe in this.

(7)     Now our work is not showing improvement. People are finding many ways to divide us. If we improve and if we have unity, it will not be easy for other nationalities to oppress us, we should all know this. That is why you and I, all of us, will keep our hearts strong and united so that other nationalities cannot oppress us, until our hopes and aims are fulfilled under the flag.

[In this document most of the organisation names are spelled out phonetically using their English acronyms, as shown and placed in brackets. ‘4 years and 5 months’ refers to the anniversary of the founding of the DKBA in December 1994, so this meeting was held in May 1999. 9/9/99 was a date designated by dissidents for nationwide demonstrations which never materialised. This document was typed in Sgaw Karen and distributed.]

 

Order #254 (Dooplaya)

                                                                                           Stamp:
                                                                               Karen Peace Army Group
To:  Regarding government matters                         Haun Thayaw Special Region

Writing a letter to inform the xxxx [village] chairperson.
The matter is the one [you] already know [about].
Right now, as soon as this letter arrives, come without fail to meet at once at yyyy village, you are informed. If [you] fail, action will be taken. That is all.

                                                                           Peace Army Group
                                                                                Major xxxx

[This is an order from the "Karen Peace Army" formed in 1997 by a corrupt KNLA officer named Thu Mu Heh, which operates in Dooplaya District under the wing of the SPDC; it is worth noting that this order is written entirely in Burmese and orders the village head to come and meet in a village where there is an SPDC camp. For more background on the KPA, see "Dooplaya Under the SPDC: Further Developments in the SPDC Occupation of South-central Karen State" (KHRG #98-09, 23/11/98), and "Starving Them Out: Forced Relocations, Killings, and the Systematic Starvation of Villagers in Dooplaya District" (KHRG #2000-02, 31/3/00).]

Other Topics

The orders included below cover general topics which do not fall directly under other headings. In Order #255, SPDC authorities order village heads to build cabinets and set up their houses to look more like Village Peace and Development Council administrative offices - at their own expense, of course, and using their own labour. Order #256 involves routine enquiries and demands which SPDC officers make from day to day on village heads, while Order #257 is a letter written from one village head to another in Dooplaya District, included here because it gives a taste of a typical daily event in a village.

Order #255 (Pa’an)

                        Stamp:                              Township Peace and Development Council 
Township Peace and Development Council    Myawaddy town
                   Myawaddy town                       Letter number 3 / 1-329 / Taut 4
                                                                 Date: Year 2000, August 11th 
To:     Chairperson
               xxxx           Ward/Village Peace and Development Council, 
                                 Myawaddy town

Subject:  To keep furniture in Ward/Village Peace and Development Council offices

Regarding the above subject, some offices of Ward/Village Peace and Development Councils in Myawaddy township have been found not to be set up as offices, and furniture and papers are not systematically kept. Therefore, it is required to make at least 3 cupboards to keep papers systematically in each Ward/Village office by the deadline of 31-8-2000. Send a report of the status of implementation, you are informed.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                              (for) Chairperson
                                                                          (aaaa / Deputy Chief)
Copies to:
    - Chairperson, Myawaddy District Peace and Development Council, Myawaddy
    - Circulation/Office Copy

[This is a typed and copied letter, sent out to many villages with the village name written in afterward by hand.]

 

Order #256 (Pa’an)

                                                                                     Date: 8-9-2000
To:
     Ma aaaa [village headwoman’s name], I am writing a letter with respect. I pray that all are healthy. Has Mother recovered? Did Ko bbbb [another village elder] arrive? If possible, [I] want to get a small hen. If Ko bbbb arrives, please inform me.

People are not coming to the kyaun [school or monastery; in this context, monastery]. [I]hope they will come on full moon day. How much is the price of 1 gallon of diesel? I want to make a fire offering on full moon day at the pagoda, so I want to know the price of diesel. Reply to me.

Respectfully, Deputy Warrant Officer cccc.

                                             yyyy Camp.                         [Sd.] 8-9-2000

 

Order #257 (Pa’an)

To:     Village head                                                        Stamp: 
          xxxx village                                   Village Peace and Development Council
                                                                               yyyy[village] 
                                                                                  1-5-2000

In zzzz village, the bull buffalo of U aaaa disappeared from the grazing ground on Dta Gu Hla Sote 7, year 1362 [April 25th 2000]. If you see it arrive at [the village of] the village head concerned, reply to let us know, you are requested.

                              Buffalo shape:                      Rounded horns
                              Teeth:                                 4 teeth
                              Humps:                                1 hump
                              Rope through nostrils:           Green nylon rope
                              One hollowed bamboo bell.
                              From the breastbone to the knee he has a wound.

                                                                           From,     Village Head
                                                                                        zzzz village

[This is a letter from one village head to another, not an order; however, we have included it here to reflect the atmosphere of the villages, and to reward those who have read this far by ending the report on a slightly lighter note.]