Incident Report: Looting in Papun District #2, May 2012

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Incident Report: Looting in Papun District #2, May 2012

Published date:
Monday, March 25, 2013

The following incident report was submitted to KHRG in May 2012 by a community member describing an incident that occurred on May 14th 2012, where the Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1014 looted durian from H--- village, X--- village, and Y--- village, Bu Tho Township, Papun District. The report also describes the negative attitudes of the villagers towards military actors in regard to the abuses they face, particularly forced labour, which they feel will continue to occur in the future.

Incident report | Bu Tho Township, Papun District (May 2012)

The following incident report was written by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security.[1] This report was received along with other information from Papun District, including four other incident reports,[2] one interview and two situation updates.[3]

Part 1 – Incident(s) detail

Type of Incident

Looting

Date of Incident(s)

May 14th 2012

Incident Location (Village, Township and District)

H--- village, X--- village, Y--- village, Meh Pree village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District

Victim Information

Name
Age
Sex
Nationality
Family
Occupation
Religion
Position
Village
Saw M---
35
Male
Karen
Married
Farmer
Buddhist
Villager
H--- village
Saw N---
40
Male
Karen
Married
Farmer
Buddhist
Village Leader
X--- village
Saw L---
33
Male
Karen
Married
Farmer
Buddhist
Second Village Leader
Y--- village

Perpetrator information

Name

Rank

Company/Battalion/Division

Based at

Commander's Name

Saw Nyunt Thein

Commander

Border Guard[4] #1014

D--- village, the Border Guard Camp

Battalion Commander Maung Chit[5]

Part 2 - Information Quality

1. Explain the specific manner how you collected this information.

I always visited them [villages] in the past, so that they know me very well. Therefore, when they have to suffer this time, they wrote about it in a letter to me.

2. Explain how the source verified information accuracy.

We dare to say that this information is true because we already went and found the telegram from the District [Karen National Union District Office]. Therefore, we [can] say that this information is true.

Part 3 – Incident Details

Describe the Incident(s) in complete detail. For each incident, be sure to include 1) when the incident happened, 2) where it happened, 3) what happened, 4) how it happened, 5) who was involved, and 6) why it happened. Also describe any villager response(s) to the incident, the aftermath and the current living situation of the victims. Please use the space prepared below and create an attachment if needed.

This is the report about the incidents that took place in the ethnic areas. We would like to report about the problems that occurred because, in the NPD [Nay Pyi Daw] government military [Tatmadaw], there is no love or obedience between the upper and lower [ranking] leaders. As a result, an order from above will say one thing, but the soldiers who follow the instruction do another thing. There are many problems appearing, but [we] would like to report one problem that is not conducive to human rights.

This problem that we are going to report on should be called a "forced labour" problem. This forced labour problem happened in H---, X--- and Y--- villages. These villages are from Meh Pree village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District. The person who violated the human rights is Commander Nyunt Thein, who is the subordinate of Battalion Commander Maung Chit, from the Border Guard Battalion #1014. Commander Nyunt Thein's battalion is based in B--- village. Battalion Commander Maung Chit and his subordinates, which are commander Nyunt Thein's group from NPD government military Border Guard Battalion #1014,[6] have a habit and behaviour of doing these kind of activities, so they went and looted things from the villagers. As we found out, Commander Saw Nyunt Thein's group went and looted the villagers' things on May 14th 2012. They looted 15 durians from X--- village, five durians from Y--- village and 47 durians from H--- village. Moreover, the villagers had to send the durians to B--- village for Commander Saw Nyoo Thien, but they didn't get any payment. The villagers had to give [the items] out of fear; even if they wanted to give [them] or not, they had to give [them].

Burmese President Thein Sein and the head of Operations Command said that they will make forced labour end among their soldiers,[7] but the words are meaningless. Their soldiers continuously frighten the villagers and force the villagers to do labour, because the Burmese governments, one after another, have practiced this against all the people who live in Burma. Therefore, for the ones who have authority and arms, it is really difficult to change their behaviour. Consequently, these kinds of problems will happen a lot in the future.

Part 4 - Permission for Using the Details

Did the victim(s) provide permission to use this information? Explain how that permission was provided.

The information can be used everywhere. Wherever you [KHRG] need to use it, you can.

Footnotes

[1] KHRG incident reports are written or gathered by community member in Papun District who have been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. KHRG trains community member in eastern Burma to document individual incidents of abuse 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 incident reports, community members are encouraged to document incidents of abuse that they consider to be important, by verifying information from multiple sources, assessing for potential biases and comparing to local trends.

[2] Two other Incident Reports involve the same victims and Battalion # 1014, and are published as "Incident Report: Looting in Papun District #1, May 2012," KHRG, March 2013, and "Incident Report: Forced Labour in Papun District #1, May 2012," KHRG, March 2013. See also "Border Guard #1014 demands for labour and goods in Papun District, May 2012," KHRG, March 2013.

[3] 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 2013. In the meantime, KHRG's most recently-published field information from Papun District can be found in the report, "Incident Report: Looting in Papun District #1, May 2012," KHRG, March 2013.

[4] 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.

[5] Commander Maung Chit's name is sometimes spelled "Maw Hsee." Commander Maung Chit's name is sometimes spelled "Maw Hsee." Commander Maung Chit is not to be confused with Maung Chit Thu, who is a top-tier officer in the Border Guard, while Maung Chit is the commander for Battalion #1014. Maung Chit Thu is part of the intelligence division for the Border Guard and not much is currently known about his actual role in the command structure. In December 2012, KHRG verified that these two names do not refer to the same officer. For more information on Maung Chit Thu's authority, see this KHRG report: "Pa'an Situation Update: June to August 2011," KHRG, October 2011.

[6] KHRG received reports on the activities of Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1014, which has been active along the border of Papun and Thaton Districts. Battalion #1014 is commanded by Major Maung Chit, which is also sometimes spelled Maw Hsee, whom is allegedly to be a part of an advisory committee that oversaw the 2010 transformation of the DKBA into the BGF, and assumed responsibility for business activities for the group. See "The Situation In Karen State After the Elections," EBO (Euro-Burma Office) Analysis Paper No. 1/2011, April 2011. More recently, on August 5th 2012, the KNLA and BGF #1014 engaged in a firefight in Mae Seik village, Papun Township, despite the terms of the ceasefire. KNLA and Government's Militia Fight – Four Soldiers Killed Karen News, August 7th 2012. For additional articles discussing abuses perpetrated by BGF #1014, see these KHRG reports: "Torture and killing in Thaton District," KHRG, October 2012; "Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, received April 2012," KHRG, June 2012; "Papun Interview: Saw T---, August 2011," January 2012; "Thaton Situation Update: June to October 2011," KHRG November 2011; All the Information I've Given You, I faced it myself, KHRG December 2011, page 14.

[7] The Burmese government has pledged to the International Labor Organization (ILO) that it will end forced labor in Burma by 2015. These pledges were embodied in a Memorandums of Understanding between the Government and the ILO, signed on March 16, 2012. For more information on the issue of forced labor and Burma's relationship with the ILO, see Civilian and Military order documents: August 2009 to August 2012, KHRG, October 2012.