Papun Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, July to October 2012

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Papun Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, July to October 2012

Published date:
Thursday, February 28, 2013

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2012 by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights. It describes events occurring in Papun District during the period between July to October 2012. Specifically discussed are Tatmadaw and Border Guard abuses, including forced labour, portering, land confiscation, coercive land sale transactions, and damages to the villagers' livelihood. The community member mentioned that large amounts of the villagers' land were confiscated and damaged, as well as an increase in waterborne diseases, from gold mines that were initially operated by the DKBA, but now villagers are uncertain if the private parties who are negotiating permission to continue from the KNU will be allowed to continue the mines. This report also describes how Border Guard #1013 confiscated more than 75 acres of plantation land in order to build shelters for soldiers' families, which created direct problems for villagers livelihoods. Tatmadaw Infantry Battalion #96 has been forcing villagers to perform various work for the base and for soldiers on patrol, and demanded bamboo poles to repair their camp. Moe Win, a company second-in-command from Tatmadaw Light Infantry Division #44, sexually abused Naw C---, a married woman from T--- village, in her home while she, her baby, and her husband was sleeping. The Company Commander promised Naw C--- 200,000 kyat as compensation and to ensure she not report the crime, but only 100,000 kyat has been paid. This report, and others, will be published in March 2013 as part of KHRG's thematic report: Losing Ground: Land conflicts and collective action in eastern Myanmar.

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 Papun District can be found in the report, "Papun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, March to November 2012," KHRG, February 2013.

[3] For additional information and analysis on the ceasefire between the Burma government and the KNU, see "Steps towards peace: Local participation in the Karen ceasefire process," KHRG, November 2012.

[4] Set tha is a Burmese term for forced labour duty as a messenger stationed at army camps or bases and serving as a go-between to deliver orders from army officers to village heads, but also involving other menial tasks when no messages are in need of delivery.

[5] Border Guard battalions of the Tatmadaw were established in 2010, and they are composed mostly of soldiers from former non-state armed groups, such as older constellations of the DKBA, which have formalized ceasefire agreements with the Burmese government and agreed to transform into 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. For more information, 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.

[6] Muh Gah literally means "aunt" but it is also a prefix to address someone who is the about the same age with your parents or aunt.

[7] The DKBA was formed in December 1994, led by monk U Thuzana with the help and support of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which was the name of the military government in Burma at that time. For more information on the formation of the DKBA, see "Inside the DKBA," KHRG, 1996.

[8] As of November 27th, 2012, all conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 852 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.

[9] The community member is likely referring to members of the Norwegian Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MSPI) who have been actively visiting rural areas in Karen state to meet with local communities. For more information on the MPSI pilot projects, see "Nyaunglebin Situation Update: KyaukKyi Township, July 2012," KHRG September 2012; see also "Situation Update: Moo, Ler Doh and Hsaw Htee townships, Nyaunglebin District (January to June 2012)," KHRG October 2012.

[10] Wah Thoh is "giant" bamboo that has a diameter of around 8 inches, with narrow leaves that are less than an inch wide.

[11] Wah kluh is "giant" bamboo that has a diameter of around 8 inches, with broad leaves that are around 4 inches wide.

[12] Wah May is a narrow kind of bamboo that has a diameter of around three inches.