Hpapun District Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, January to February 2013

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Hpapun District Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, January to February 2013

Published date:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Dwe Lo Township, Hpapun District during January and February 2013, including forced labour, arbitrary taxation, land confiscation, negative impacts of gold mining and an overall update on access to healthcare, education and livelihoods.

  • Tatmadaw IB #96 soldiers continue to force villagers to work; four villagers are required to carry materials for the soldiers each month.
  • Villagers were coerced, including by a member of the Federal Trade Union of Kawthoolei (FTUK), to sell their land to be used in gold mining projects. Villagers reported environmental destruction and health concerns related to the impacts of gold mining.
  • Increasing presence of KNLA checkpoints around gold mining sites has led to an increase in taxes for area villagers, but also to a decrease in the presence of Tatmadaw forces.
  • Fewer human rights violations and a general improvement in access to land and freedom of movement were reported.

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] Infantry Battalion (Tatmadaw) comprised of 500 soldiers. However, most Infantry Battalions in the Tatmadaw are under-strength with less than 200 soldiers.

[4] 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.

[5] The Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), formerly the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, was formed in December 1994 and was originally a breakaway group from the KNU/KNLA that signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burma government and directly cooperated at times with Tatmadaw forces. The formation of the DKBA was led by monk U Thuzana with the help and support of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the name of the military government in Burma at that time. For more information on the formation of the DKBA, see "Inside the DKBA," KHRG, 1996. The DKBA now refers to a splinter group from those DKBA forces reformed as Tatmadaw Border Guard Forces, also remaining independent of the KNLA. As of April 2012, the DKBA changed its name from "Buddhist" to "Benevolent" to reflect its secularity.

[6] A village tract is an administrative unit of between five and 20 villages in a local area, often centred on a large village.

[7] All conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the June 19th 2014 official market rate of 982 kyat to the US $1.

[8] An unofficial lottery system popular in Burma.