Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Te Naw Th'Ri Township, August 2012 to March 2013

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Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Te Naw Th'Ri Township, August 2012 to March 2013

Published date:
Friday, August 23, 2013

This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in June 2013 by a community member describing events occurring in Mergui-Tavoy District between August 2012 and March 2013, specifically concerning land confiscation and plantation destruction in the region. In this report, two land confiscation cases from Pa Wa region are presented wherein the lands of 70 villagers were confiscated by Ngway Ga Ba Company. Only three villagers received compensation for the land confiscation and the subsequent destruction of their plantations. Moreover, this report also details another land confiscation case carried out by U Than Htay with the goal of planting 1,200 acres of rubber in the region. Following negotiations with Te Naw Th'Ri Township Secretary Saw Htee Wah, he has said that he will give compensation to villagers. Because of the land confiscation and plantation destruction, the villagers lost their livelihoods and had to find work at the perpetrating company or in other locales to sustain themselves. This update also notes the destruction of beh htee[1] in a collaborative effort among villagers, the Karen National Union (KNU), civic officials and the Burma government in Th'Mee La and Koh Daw in Ta Keh region. This situation report also reports on the education, health and the livelihood situations of villagers from the region.

Footnotes

[1] Beh htee is the Karen-language name for Mitragyna speciosa. The plant, known in English as kratom, produces a mildly narcotic sensation in users when its leaves are chewed. Kratom is outlawed in Burma and Thailand.

[2] 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.

[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 Mergui-Tavoy District can be found in the report, "Mergui-Tavoy Photo Set: Dam, logging and mining operations negatively impact communities in K'Ser Doh Township, January to April 2012," KHRG, July 2013.

[4] Although the cause for this decrease is not entirely clear from the community member's report, evidence suggests it might be a result of the January 2012 ceasefire between the Burma government and the KNU.

[5] As of July 12th 2013, all conversion estimates in this report are based on the official market rate of 987 Kyat to the US $1.

[6] 'Hpah Tee', meaning 'uncle', is a familiar Karen term of respect attributed to an older man; it does not necessarily signify any actual familial ties between the 'uncle' and the villager who wrote this report.