Tenasserim Interview: Saw K---, August 2011


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Tenasserim Interview: Saw K---, August 2011

Published date:
Thursday, September 15, 2011

This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in August 2011. The KHRG researcher interviewed Saw K---, a 30-year-old medic with the Backpack Health Worker Team (BPHWT), an organisation that provides health care and medical assistance to displaced civilians inside Burma. Saw K--- described witnessing a joint attack by Tatmadaw soldiers from three different battalions on a civilian settlement in Ma No Roh village tract, Te Naw Th'Ri Township, Tenasserim Division in January 2011. Saw K--- reported that mortars were fired into P--- village, causing residents and Saw K---, who was providing healthcare support in P--- village at that time, to flee. Saw K--- reported that Tatmadaw soldiers subsequently entered P--- village and burned down 17 houses, as well as rice barns and food stores belonging to villagers, before planting landmines in the village. According to Saw K---, the residents of P--- have not returned to their homes, and have been unable to coordinate to restart the school that was abandoned in P--- because most households now live at dispersed sites in the area.


[1] When conducting interviews, KHRG researchers use loose question guidelines, but also to encourage interviewees to speak freely about recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important and share their opinions or perspectives on abuse and other local dynamics. KHRG's most recent analysis of the situation in Tenasserim Division can be found in the recent Field Report, "Militarization, Development and Displacement: Conditions for villagers in southern Tenasserim Division," KHRG, March 2010.

[2] Thara is a Karen term used for a teacher, pastor, or any person to whom the speaker wishes to show respect. The interviewer uses this phrase throughout this interview when speaking to the interviewee.

[3] In Karen, the Burmese phrases Na Ah Pa(SPDC) and Na Wa Ta (SLORC) are commonly used to refer to the Burmese government or to Burma's state army, the Tatmadaw. Many older Karen villagers who were accustomed to using the phrase Na Wa Ta (SLORC) before 1997 continue to use that phrase, even though the SLORC has not officially existed since 1997. Similarly, despite the official dissolution of the SPDC in March 2011, many Karen villagers continue to use the phrase Na Ah Pa(SPDC) to refer to the Burmese government or to the Tatmadaw; see: "Mission Accomplished as SPDC 'dissolved'," Myanmar Times, April 4-10 2011. The term Na Ah Pawas used by the interviewer and interviewee, and "SPDC" is therefore retained in the translation of this interview.