Living conditions for displaced villagers and ongoing abuses in Tenasserim Division


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Living conditions for displaced villagers and ongoing abuses in Tenasserim Division

Published date:
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Villagers in SPDC-controlled parts of Tenasserim Division, including 60 villages forced to move to government relocation sites in 1996, continue to face abuses including movement restrictions, forced labour and arbitrary demands for 'taxation' and other payments. In response, thousands of villagers continue to evade SPDC control in upland jungle areas. These villagers report that they are pursued by Burma army patrols, which shoot them on sight, plant landmines and destroy paddy fields and food stores. This report primarily draws on information from September 2009. Because KHRG has not released a field report on the region since 2001, this report also includes quotes and photographs from research dating back to 2007.


[1] Earth Rights International began publicizing abuses related to the Yadana project with the release of the report Total Denial in July 1996, later pursuing a litigation strategy in the United States that spread to Belgium and France. The group has continued to release reports on pipeline related abuses since 1996. Most recently, see Total Impact: The Human Rights, Environmental, and Financial Impacts of Total and Chevron's Yadana Gas Project in Military-Ruled Burma, September 2009; Getting it Wrong: Flawed 'Corporate Social Responsibility' and Misrepresentations Surrounding Total and Chevron's Yadana Gas Pipeline in Military-Ruled Burma, September 2009. KHRG also documented abuses related to the pipeline project. See, "Ye-Tavoy area update," January 1996; "Effects of the gas pipeline project," May 1996.

[2] See, Laid Waste: Human rights along the Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay gas pipeline, Human Rights Foundation of Monland, May 2009.

[3] For the most recent report by KHRG dedicated to documenting abuses in Tenasserim Division, see "A Strategy of Subjugation: The Situation in Ler Mu Lah Township, Tenasserim Division," KHRG, December 2001.

[4] The SLORC changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, but the changes were mostly cosmetic; in Karen areas, trends in abuse continued much as before.

[5] These townships include SPDC-designated Palaw, Mergui, Tenasserim and Bokpyin townships. See, Protracted Displacement and Militarisation in Eastern Burma, Thailand Burma Border Consortium, November 2009.

[6] For more on the strategies villagers use to resist abuse, see Village Agency: Rural rights and resistance in a militarized Karen State, KHRG, November 2008.

[7] For more on this forced relocation, see "Free-fire zones in southern Tenasserim," KHRG, August 1997.

[8] A Burmese term traditionally referring to voluntary service for temples or the local community, not military or state projects; now commonly used to refer to most forms of forced labour.