Pa'an Interview: Naw K---, September 2011


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Pa'an Interview: Naw K---, September 2011

Published date:
Friday, January 13, 2012

This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in September 2011. The KHRG researcher interviewed Naw K---, a 45 year old woman from L--- village in Pa'an District, who described an incident in which Tatmadaw LID #22 and Tatmadaw Border Guard soldiers forced local villagers to porter military supplies and equipment while wearing Border Guard uniforms during a joint attack on a KNLA Battalion #101 camp at Kler Law Hseh. In the interview below, Naw K--- explained that, while she was attending a funeral in Th--- village, many Th--- villagers were absent from the village, some having already been arrested by Border Guard soldiers to serve as porters and others having fled the village due to fears that they would be arrested to porter. Naw K--- told KHRG that the Th--- village head informed her that he had to wear a Border Guard uniform while forced to accompany Border Guard soldiers during their attack on the KNLA camp at Kler Law Hseh and she witnessed him departing Th--- village in the company of Border Guard soldiers. This incident was previously described in the KHRG report "Pa'an Situation Update: September 2011," published on October 24th 2011. In addition, Naw K--- also mentioned additional forced labour demands placed on local villagers to work on government-owned agricultural projects. She also described how villagers attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of forced labour demands through negotiation with commanding officers, and strategic temporary displacement to avoid arrest.


[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. KHRG's most recent analysis of the situation in Pa'an District can be found in the recent Field Report, Functionally Refoulement: Camps in Tha Song Yang District abandoned as refugees bow to pressure, KHRG, April 2010.

[2] Note that locations mentioned throughout this interview are censored consistently with those in a report previously published by KHRG in October 2011 that details the same incident described by Naw K---. See "Pa'an Situation Update: September 2011," KHRG, October 2011.

[3] According to a KHRG researcher familiar with the situation in Th--- village, P--- is a prominent local KNU leader.

[4] 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 4-10th 2011. The term Na Ah Pa was used by the villager who conducted the interview and interviewee, and "SPDC" is therefore retained in the translation of this interview.

[5] A previously-published report detailing this same incident identified the timeframe of the joint LID #22 and Border Guard attack on KNLA Battalion #101 at Kler Law Hseh as being between 8:45 am and 10:45 am. See "Pa'an Situation Update: September 2011," KHRG, October 2011. According to a later update provided to KHRG by the same villager who wrote that report, Th--- villagers were again forced to porter military equipment for Border Guard soldiers on October 3rd 2011.

[6] A previously-published report describing events in T'Nay Hsah Township during the same time period describes an incident in which local village heads were ordered on September 26th 2011 to arrange 100 villagers from M--- and G--- villages to provide forced labour on bean and corn plantations owned by Border Guard Battalion #1017 Commander Dih Dih in Za Ya Phyu [also known as Th'Ro Wah] village. See: "Pa'an Situation Update: September 2011," KHRG, October 2011.