Pa'an interviews: Conditions for villagers returned from temporary refuge sites in Tha Song Yang


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Pa'an interviews: Conditions for villagers returned from temporary refuge sites in Tha Song Yang

Published date:
Friday, May 6, 2011

This report contains the full transcripts of seven interviews conducted between June 1st and June 18th 2010 in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed seven villagers from two villages in Wah Mee Gklah village tract, after they had returned to Burma following initial displacement into Thailand during May and June 2009. The interviewees report that they did not wish to return to Burma, but felt they had to do so as the result of pressure and harassment by Thai authorities. The interviewees described the following abuses since their return, including: the firing of mortars and small arms at villagers; demands for villagers to porter military supplies, and for the payment of money in lieu of the provision of porters; theft and looting of villagers' houses and possessions; and threats from unexploded ordnance and the use of landmines, including consequences for livelihoods and injuries to civilians. All seven interviewees also raised specific concerns regarding the food security of villagers returned to Burma following their displacement into Thailand.


[1] KHRG reported this incident on April 1st 2010 in the Pa'an District Field Report titled "Functionally refoulement: Camps abandoned in Tha Song Yang District as refugees bow to pressure", KHRG, April 2010. According to reports received at the time from relatives of the victims and local villagers, Saw Pe---, 10, and Saw Po---, 7, found an undetonated round from an M79 grenade launcher in the forest, which exploded when they played with it. It should be noted that determining the exact age of these boys has proven difficult due to the fact that rural villagers often do not keep formal calendars and do not possess identification papers or birth certificates, making the identification of exact birth dates difficult. Their grandfather and older brother could not agree on their ages, though they arrived at the ages of seven and ten. Local villagers interviewed by KHRG, meanwhile, estimated the boys to be between the ages of three and seven.

[2] KHRG reported this incident on September 22nd 2009 in the News Bulletin titled "Security concerns for new refugees in Tha Song Yang: Update on increased landmine risks", KHRG, September 2009.

[3] Saw P--- used the Karen term 'Lah Nwee' which translates directly as 'month seven' but corresponds to the Gregorian month of June.

[4] Saw P--- used the term 'Kay Gko' which corresponds to the month of March in the Gregorian calendar.