Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Mone Township, November 2013 to January 2014

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Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Mone Township, November 2013 to January 2014

Published date:
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District during the period between November 2013 and January 2014, including military activities, villagers’ livelihoods, education, obstacles to free religious practice, healthcare and freedom of movement.

  • The preliminary ceasefire agreement signed in January 2012 has had a positive impact, leading to a reduction in attacks by the Tatmadaw, but military activity such as the manning of checkpoints during the transportation of rations and troops along roads used by villagers is still on-going in some areas. On January 20th 2014, a Tatmadaw soldier pointed a gun at a group of villagers as they travelled home from a shopping trip to Kyaukkyi town.
  • Villagers have reported fewer restrictions placed on their freedom of movement since the ceasefire. However, the Karen National Union placed travel restrictions on local villagers, insisting that they were not allowed to travel freely without permission letters. The Tatmadaw questioned villagers as they travelled past Tatmadaw checkpoints and army camps, with villagers from Hpapun District facing more questioning than villagers from other districts.
  • Villagers report feeling freer to carry out agricultural livelihood activities due to a reduction in military activity, but some villagers faced food shortages after their paddy fields were damaged by excessive rain.
  • Displaced people built a primary school, which they also use as a place of worship, as their original church was burned down by the Tatmadaw in the past.

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] On January 12th 2012, a preliminary ceasefire agreement was signed between the KNU and Burma government in Hpa-an, the capital of Kayin State. The exact terms for a long-term peace plan are still under negotiation. For updates on the peace process, see the KNU Stakeholder webpage on the Myanmar Peace Monitor website. For KHRG's analysis of changes in human rights conditions since the ceasefire, see Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, May 2014.

[3] All conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the 11 July 2014 official market rate of 974 kyat to the US $1.

[4] A basket is a unit of volume used to measure paddy, milled rice and seeds. One basket is equivalent to 20.9 kg. or 46.08 lb. of paddy, and 32 kg. or 70.4 lb. of milled rice. A basket is twice the volume of a big tin.

[5] The researcher is explaining that, due to armed conflict, villagers were displaced to many different areas and therefore were unable to develop their school system.

[6] The Karen National Union's Education Department. The main goals of the KED are to provide education, as well as to preserve Karen language and culture. During the civil war in Burma the KED became the main organisation providing educational services in the KNU controlled areas in Southeast Burma. The KED also previously oversaw the educational system in the seven refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border, however in 2009 these activities were restructured under the Karen Refugee Committee – Education Entity (KRCEE). See "Conflict Erupts over Govt teachers deployed to KNU areas," Karen News, August 20th 2013 and the KRCEE website:  "Who Are We," accessed February 6th 2014.

[7] A big tin is a unit of volume used to measure paddy, milled rice and seeds. One big tin is equivalent to 10.45 kg. or 23.04 lb. of paddy, and 16 kg. or 35.2 lb. of milled rice.

[8] The community member is referring to the Karen National Liberation Army’s 5th Brigade area, which comprises the same geographic area as Hpapun District.

[9] As explained above by the community member, this is because there is no liaison office in Hpapun District and the mountainous environment of the location provides a natural defence against attack.