Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Moo, Ler Doh and Hsaw Htee townships, January to June 2012

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Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Moo, Ler Doh and Hsaw Htee townships, January to June 2012

Published date:
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in July 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Nyaunglebin District between January and June 2012. Specifically discussed are Tatmadaw demands, including new gold mining taxes imposed by Light Infantry Battalion #264 and their demands for sentries, and the construction of a bridge inside Na Tha Kway village, which has displaced many villagers without providing compensation. This report also includes information about 400 villagers who gathered together on March 12th to protest the construction of Kyauk N'Ga Dam on the Shwegyin River in Hsaw Htee and Ler Doh townships; the opening of a Karen Nation Union (KNU) liaison office in Ler Doh town on April 9th, during which over 10,000 villagers awaited government officials; the arrival of representatives from the Norwegian government to the internally displaced persons (IDP) area in Mu The; and a visit by a United States Senator on May 29th in Ler Doh town and subsequently in Nay Pyi Daw. The report also describes work and food security problems in Nyaunglebin, where some villagers have migrated to neighbouring Thailand and Malaysia for employment, or to work in Yangon's growing entertainment industry. The community member spoke with villagers in the area who expressed overall satisfaction with the peace and ceasefire process, and they hope that it will continue to be stable.

Footnotes

[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 writing situation updates, community members 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 Nyaunglebin District can be found in the report, "Sustained Tatmadaw resupply operations in Thaton, Nyaunglebin and Papun during ceasefire," KHRG, May 2012.

[3] In this context, "people," includes both individuals as well as corporations who possess the financial backing to undertake the respective project.

[4] This statistic is the community member's estimation based on personal experiences in the community.

[5] As of August 22, 2012, all conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 875 kyat to 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.

[6] A sluice is a construction for channeling water to wash and separate gold from silt.

[7] It is likely that the community member was referring to Susan Collins, a US senator who visited Burma during this period. Senator Collins is not, however, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. See "President U Thein Sein receives US Senator Hon Susan M. Collins and Party," New Light of Myanmar, May 30th 2012; see also "Sen. Susan Collins visits Thailand, Myanmar; to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi," The Bangor Daily News, May 29, 2012.

[8] Although the community member uses the term "ambassador," there technically was no US ambassador appointed at this time. It is likely that the community member meant Foreign Service Officer Michael Thurston, who attended these meetings, but his position at that time was what is called a Chargés d' Affaires, which is an alternative to ambassadors that nations have used throughout history. See "President U Thein Sein receives US Senator Hon Susan M. Collins and Party," New Light of Myanmar, May 30th 2012. On July 11th 2012, Derek Mitchell became the first US Ambassador to arrive in Burma since September 30, 1990.