Papun Interview: Maung Y---, February 2011


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Papun Interview: Maung Y---, February 2011

Published date:
Friday, September 2, 2011

This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted in February 2011 in Dweh Loh Township, Papun District, by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Maung Y---, a 32 year-old married hill field farmer, who described an incident that occurred on February 5th 2011, in which he and eight other villagers were arrested at gunpoint by Tatmadaw Border Guard Battalion #1013 soldiers and arbitrarily detained. During this time, Maung Y--- reported that they were forced to porter military rations and sweep for landmines using basic tools. He described how one villager was denied access to medical treatment and forced to porter despite serious illness, and reported that families of the detained villagers were forced to pay arbitrary amounts of money to the Battalion #1013 troops in order to secure their release. Maung Y--- also reported that, after this incident, his village was ordered by Battalion #1013 to produce and deliver 7,000 thatch shingles, as well as to provide four more villagers to serve as porters. In response to this, Maung Y--- reported that villagers had, at the time of interview, refused to comply with these forced labour demands.


[1] KHRG trains villagers in eastern Burma to document individual human rights abuses using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar. When conducting interviews, villagers are trained to 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.

[2] When these documents have been processed and translated by KHRG and when sufficient information has been compiled and analysed, a full Field Report on the situation in Papun District will be available on the KHRG website. Until then, KHRG's most recent analysis of the situation in Papun District, and more specifically, in Dweh Loh Township, can be found in the recent Field Reports, "Southern Papun District: Abuse and the expansion of military control," KHRG, August 2010; and "Southwestern Papun District: Transitions to DKBA control along the Bilin River," KHRG, August 2010.

[3] A local villager trained by KHRG to document the human rights situation also reported that in February 2011 Tatmadaw Border Guard Battalion #1013 soldiers arrested villagers in southern Dweh Loh Township to serve as porters, after local community leaders were unable to meet a demand for porters issued by Battalion #1013. The villager reported that Battalion #1013 demanded at least 45 porters from at least 10 villages in the Baw Kyoh River valley. See: "Papun Situation Update: Dweh Loh Township, May 2011," KHRG, August 2011.

[4] The interviewee did not provide any further information about 'Lieutenant Steel.' In November 2010, the Mizzima News Agency reported that former DKBA Battalion #909 Commander Lieutenant Saw Steel, who had previously been active in Dooplaya District, had defected to KNLA Battalion #101, which operates in Dooplaya and Pa'an Districts; see: "38 DKBA splinter troops rejoin KNU," Mizzima News, November 19th 2010. It is unclear from the interviewee's testimony, however, whether the Battalion #1013 soldiers were referring to the former DKBA Battalion #909 Commander, another specific individual, or making general reference to a Karen armed group such as the DKBA or KNLA.

[5] All conversion estimates for the Kyat in this interview are based on the fluctuating informal exchange rate rather than the government's official fixed rate of 6.5 kyat to US $1. As of August 31st 2011, this unofficial rate of exchange was US $1 = 737 kyat. These figures are used for all calculations above.

[6] The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) was officially 'dissolved' on March 30th 2011; see: "Mission Accomplished as SPDC 'dissolved'," Myanmar Times, April 4-10 2011. The term 'SPDC' was used by both the interviewer and interviewee, and is therefore retained in the translation of this interview.