Hpa-an Situation Update: Paingkyon Township, June to November 2013

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Hpa-an Situation Update: Paingkyon Township, June to November 2013

Published date:
Friday, June 13, 2014

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Paingkyon Township, Hpa-an District during the period between June and November 2013, including arbitrary taxation; the killing of a family accused of practicing witchcraft; and ceasefire awareness activities carried out by armed actors for the local community.

  • BGF soldiers collected taxes on a variety of goods, including vehicles, produce and cows; villagers responded by requesting reductions in taxes with some success. Forced labour demands by BGF soldiers continued, but villagers have been able to obtain some payment for labour. 
  • BGF #1015 soldiers killed a family of four on direct orders from the commander, who accused the father of practicing witchcraft. 
  • Villagers reported an increased sense of freedom and safety; forced labour has decreased and the planting of new landmines has ceased. Armed actors have also begun to share the location of landmines, allowing villagers to mark their locations.
  • The BGF, KNLA and Karen Peace Council (KPC) met with villagers in order to provide information regarding the ceasefire.

This Situation Update was initially published in May 2014 in the Appendix of KHRG’s in-depth report, Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response in Southeast Myanmar since the 2012 ceasefire.

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. For additional reports categorised by Type, Issue, Location and Year, please see the Related Readings component following each report on KHRG’s Website.

[3] 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 formalised ceasefire agreements with the Burmese government and agreed to transform into battalions within the Tatmadaw. BGF 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 ForceDemocratic Voice of Burma, August 2010, and, “Exploitation and recruitment under the DKBA in Pa’an District,” KHRG, June 2009.

[4] As of January 13th 2014, all conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the official market rate of 987 kyat to the US $1.

[5] Paddy is rice grain that is still in the husk.

[6] See “Hpa-an Incident Report: Extrajudicial killing in Paingkyon Township, June 2013,” KHRG, May 2014.

[7] Light Infantry Battalion (Tatmadaw); 500 soldiers but most in the Tatmadaw are under-strength with less than 200 soldiers.

[8] The KNU/KNLA Peace Council (also called the Karen Peace Council or KPC), is an armed group based in Htoh Gkaw Ko, Hpa-an District, which split from the Karen National Union (KNU) in 2007 and subsequently refused to comply with orders from the then-SPDC government to transform its forces into the Tatmadaw Border Guard. See: “KPC to be outlawed if it rejects BGF,” Burma News International, August 30th 2010.