Situation Update | K’Ser Doh Township, Mergui-Tavoy District (2013)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in May 2013. It was written by a community member in Mergui-Tavoy District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security.
Ground situation of K’Ser Doh Township, Mergui-Tavoy:
There are two large areas in K’Ser Doh Township. They are Kleh Mu Htee large area and Paw Hkloh large area.
In the present day, civilians are facing a lot of problems regarding development projects which are done by companies and rich people.
[Now], it is easy and quick to travel around. Transportation is getting easier [less restricted] and [there is] no need to put a lot of effort into [buying travel documents or paying checkpoint taxes] for traveling.
It is not easy for widows, orphans and poor people, even though it is easy to travel.
The current business [developments in the area] have had negative impacts on natural resources, the sustainable lives of people in the community and on their [community] development. Businesses run against [harm] natural resources and abuse human rights.
Businesses, such as rubber plantations, palm tree plantations, mining and charcoal [operations], damage the forest, streams and rivers.
After leaders signed the ceasefire in 2012, companies started doing business with the Government and it became a problem for the local people. Companies are doing business with the rich people and these rich people are cronies. They do some agriculture, plant palm trees and rubber trees and say that they have permission from the KNU [Karen National Union] and the Burma government. Actually, it is not true. They are just saying it to get the opportunity, permission and recommendation by the both sides’ leaders.
The civilians said that they do not know which side of the government [KNU or Burma government] they should pledge their allegiance to. The local people do not have a sustainable life and their working places [plantation and fields] are being reduced. They do not have a place to build their houses and also they do not even have fresh water to drink because of the logging and [the companies] drawing wood through the river. Some of the villagers are able to dig wells, but some cannot.
Currently, the local people are losing their rights and they do not have a sustainable life. Their development is stopped because companies and the government are doing business on their lands. It also damages the environment. Trees are decreasing and lands without trees are increasing. Streams have gone dry and fish, frogs and birds are decreasing.