Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, August to September 2012

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Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, August to September 2012

Published date:
Friday, April 12, 2013

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Bu Tho Township, Papun District, in the period between August and September 2012. The community member reports the use of villagers for forced labour by Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1013; from August 5th to September 28th 2012 the Battalion regularly ordered villagers to act as messengers and carry out work in Th'Ree Hta army camp; villagers were also forced to carry ammunitions and food for the soldiers without payment and to cut down bamboo canes. The community member goes on to describe BGF Battalion #1014 Commander Saw Maung Chit's failed attempt to recruit soldiers voluntarily in Meh Pree village tract and Htee Th'Daw Hta village tract, leading him to demand a total of 33 million kyat (US $37,437) from the two village tracts. Further, the report describes the arbitrary arrest, two-day detention and torture of S--- villager, Saw H---, by BGF Battalion #1014 Officer Saw Way Luh. This torture of Saw H--- left him with serious injuries; Officer Saw Way Luh is reported to have explained his torture of Saw H--- by claiming that the villager was a Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) spy. Villagers' difficulties regarding health care, food shortages and education are also described in this report.

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 2013. 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, July to October 2012," KHRG, April 2013.

[3] While the community member wrote that the abuses documented in this report occurred between August 18th and September 12th 2012, the incidents described in this report actually span August 5th to September 28th 2012.

[4] Though the community member suggests that both BGF Battalions #1013 and #1014 have been involved in the torture of villagers, the incident of torture described in this report involves BGF Battalion #1014 only. In another recent KHRG report, BGF Battalion #1014 were also implicated in the violent abuse of a villager, described in the following report: "Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho and Dwe Lo townships, September to December 2012," KHRG, March 2013.

[5] Demands for soldier salaries involving different BGF Battalions, #1016, #1018 and #1019, have also been reported in Hpa-an District, details of which can be found in the report: "Demands for soldier salaries in Hpa-an District," KHRG, October 2012.

[6] As of 25th March 2013, all conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 882 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.