Hpa-an Situation Update: T'Nay Hsah Township, March to May 2013


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Hpa-an Situation Update: T'Nay Hsah Township, March to May 2013

Published date:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in July 2013 by a community member describing events occurring in Hpa-an District between March to May 2013, including land confiscation, killing and drug-related incidents in T'Nay Hsah Township. The situation update describes more than 1,000 acres of villagers' lands in T'Nay Hsah Township that were confiscated in the mid-1990s by Tatmadaw Battalions #547, #548 and #549. As a result, about 150 villagers have continued to shelter in a monastery for nearly two decades because their land was confiscated. Villagers appealed to local authorities by furnishing their land grants, but were informed by the Tatmadaw that their land grants are illegal and the lands belong to the military. The update also describes two villagers, a 16-year-old boy from Y--- village and a 62-year-old woman from G---, who were killed in separate incidents by BGF Battalion #1016 soldiers in T'Nay Hsah Township in disputes related to a methamphetamine pill commonly referred to as yaba. According to the report, many young people use the drug, but villagers are afraid to speak against drug abuse because BGF soldiers are involved in its sale. The update also describes two BGF veteran commanders who confiscated 20 acres of land owned by two women from H--- village, Ta Kreh Township. The commanders demanded the women pay a total of 1,100,000 kyat (US $1129.23) for return of the land; the women negotiated with the soldiers, but ultimately sold their personal belongings in order to pay for the return of their land.


[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 Hpa-an District can be found in the report, "Hpa-an Photo Set: BGF production and sale of yaba in T'Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships," KHRG, July 2013.

[3] Although the community member writes that the land confiscation occurred 20 years ago, unpublished interviews received by KHRG suggest the events likely occurred in 1995. About 30 households have resided on the monastery grounds since their lands were confiscated.

[4] Yaba, which means 'crazy medicine' in Thai, is a tablet form of methamphetamine. Introduced to East Asia during World War II to enhance soldiers' performance, methamphetamine has become increasingly popular in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Vietnam, and in Burma where it is typically manufactured; see "Yaba, the 'crazy medicine' of East Asia," UNODC, May 2008.

[5] As of August 8th 2013, all conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 975 Kyat to the US $1.

[6] Border Guard Force (BGF) 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.