Papun Interview: Saw D---, January 2012


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Papun Interview: Saw D---, January 2012

Published date:
Thursday, July 19, 2012

This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during January 2012 in Bu Thoh Township, Papun District, by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The community member interviewed Saw D---, the 44-year-old L--- village head, who described forced labour, Tatmadaw and Border Guard targeting of civilians, demands for food, and denial of humanitarian services, such as a school. He specifically described that both the Border Guard and the KNLA planted landmines around the village and, as a result, the villagers had to flee to another village because they were afraid and unable to continue with their farming. Saw D--- also mentioned that the Tatmadaw often made orders for forced portering without payment, or if they did pay, the payments were not fair for the villagers, including one villager who stepped on a landmine while portering. In addition, he described an incident in which one villager was shot at and arbitrarily tortured while returning from Myaing Gyi Ngu town to L--- village. Saw D--- also raised concerns regarding food shortages and the adequate provision of education for children.


[1] KHRG trains community members 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, community members 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] 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 Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, received April 2012," June 2012).

[3] As of July 3, 2012, all conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 878 kyat to the US $1. This reflects new measures taken by Burma's central bank on April 2nd 2012 to initiate a managed float of the Kyat, thus replacing the previous fixed rate of 6.5 kyat to US $1.

[4] These terms refer to kinds of bamboo. Wah kluh is a kind of bamboo which is a little longer than wah may.

[5] A standard measurement of the length of bamboo poles commonly referred to in Karen as the length from one’s fingertips to one’s elbow, about 18 in. / 45.7 cm.

[6] Border Guard battalions of the Tatmadaw were established in 2010; they are composed mostly of soldiers from former non-state armed groups, such as older constellations of the DKBA which concluded ceasefires with the Burmese government and agreed to transform into Border Guard battalions within the Tatmadaw. Border Guard battalions are assigned four digit battalion numbers, whereas regular Tatmadaw infantry or light infantry battalions are identified by two or three digit battalion numbers; see "DKBA officially becomes Border Guard Force," Democratic Voice of Burma, August 2010, and, "Exploitation and recruitment under the DKBA in Pa’an District," KHRG, June 2009; see also Border Guard transformation footnote above.

[7] A viss is a unit of weight equivalent to 1.6 kg. / 3.52 lb.

[8] The villager is explaining that the villagers do not have any information regarding whose property, if any, has been confiscated.

[9] 0.125 of a mile / 0.2 of a km.