Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, November 2011


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Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, November 2011

Published date:
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in January 2012 by a villager describing events occurring in Papun District during November 2011. The villager who wrote this report detailed an incident in which 18 Tatmadaw LIB #218 soldiers were killed or injured by landmines and local villagers were subsequently ordered to porter the supplies and equipment that the soldiers had been carrying. The villager also provides information on the closure of the Yunzalin River to boat traffic between Papun Town and Ka Ma Maung for three days by Border Guard Battalion #1013 soldiers and the imposition of a tax on boats travelling along the river. The villager also reiterated concerns expressed by other villagers in recent KHRG reports about severe flood damage to agricultural areas at the end of the 2011 monsoon season and resulting food shortages due to the destruction of paddy crops. This report notes that villagers have responded to food insecurity by replanting damaged fields with diverse crops as quickly as possible after the floodwater subsided, sharing food amongst themselves and pursuing additional livelihoods activities, including cutting bamboo cane to sell.


[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 writing situation updates, villagers are encouraged to summarise recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important, and present their opinions or perspective on abuse and other local dynamics in their area.

[2] In order to increase the transparency of KHRG methodology and more directly communicate the experiences and perspectives of villagers in eastern Burma, KHRG aims to make all field information received available on the KHRG website once it has been processed and translated, subject only to security considerations. As companion to this, a redesigned website will be released in 2012. In the meantime, KHRG’s most recently-published field information from Papun District can be found in the report, "Papun Interview: Saw H---, March 2011," KHRG, February 2012.

[3] All conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report 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 February 7th 2012, this unofficial rate of exchange was US $1 = 770 kyat . This figure is used for all calculations above.

[4] The villager who wrote this report also mentioned that Bo Lah Kyeh ‘is Bpoh Leh’. It is not clear whether this is an alias or some other description of this commanding officer; four KHRG researchers who are fluent in Sgaw Karen, in which this report was originally written, were unable to determine what was meant by this.

[5] Previous KHRG reports written by villagers trained by KHRG have documented extensive flood damage to agricultural areas at the end of the monsoon season in August and September 2011; see: "Nyaunglebin Situation Update: August to October 2011," KHRG, December 2011. Villagers have noted that food security concerns have been compounded by the scarcity of cultivable areas, where repeated and prolonged displacement due to targeted attacks on civilians, coupled with over-population in hiding areas as villagers attempt to avoid these attacks, has created shortages of arable land, depleted soil fertility and reduced potential crop yields. "The places to which people flee are crowded and the hill fields there are not good. Many people do not have farms to grow paddy, so livelihoods have become harder and there are more and more people who do not have enough food. Then in September, it rained very heavily, farms were destroyed." See "Papun Situation Update: Luthaw Township, November 2011," KHRG, January 2012. For detailed analysis of the root causes of current food insecurity in Papun District, see Acute food shortages threatening 8,885 villagers in 118 villages across northern Papun District, KHRG, April 2011.