Forced Labour, Extortion, and Festivities: The SPDC and DKBA burden on villagers in Pa'an District


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Forced Labour, Extortion, and Festivities: The SPDC and DKBA burden on villagers in Pa'an District

Published date:
Friday, December 22, 2006

In Pa'an District of central Karen State, Burmese authorities impose strict controls on the movements and activities of all villagers while also taking their land, money and livestock, using them as forced labour, and forcing them to join state paramilitary organisations. Muslims are being forcibly evicted from their villages into relocation camps to make way for new SPDC army camps. Simultaneously the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) acts on behalf of the SPDC in many areas, extending the regime's control in return for impunity to exploit and extort from the civilian population. The double burden of forced labour, extortion, restrictions and forced conscription imposed by two sets of authorities takes a heavy toll on the villagers, yet in a cruel irony they are also being forced to give money and unpaid child labour to prepare New Year festivities where the DKBA plays host to foreigners and Rangoon movie stars.


[1] See Setting up the Systems of Repression (KHRG #2006-04, September 2006), pp. 31-36; and KHRG Photo Gallery 2006, Section 3a: Militarisation, violent abuses and 'development'.

[2] Mark A. Hostetler, "Toxicity, plants – castor bean and jequirity bean,"  June 26, 2003, accessed online on December 22nd, 2006.

[3] "Ricinus communis (Castor bean)," Cornell University, Department of Animal Science, accessed online on December 22nd, 2006.

[4] These are long-handled self-propelled (petrol-fuelled) ploughing machines used mainly to plough irrigated rice fields; the operator walks behind the machine.

[5] For more information on the situation of Burmese Muslims see Easy Targets: The Persecution of Muslims in Burma, May 2002 (KHRG #2002-02).

[6] "Thailand's cynical ploy on Burmese migrant workers," The Nation, December 12th 2006.

[7] Official name of the Burmese armed forces.

[8] See Andrew Selth, Burma's Armed Forces: Power Without Glory.  2002, Norwalk: Eastbridge; p. 81.

[9] "Information Sheet," Myanmar Information Committee, accessed online on December 15th, 2006.