Hpapun Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, August to October 2013

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Hpapun Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, August to October 2013

Published date:
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Dwe Lo Township, Hpapun District between August and October 2013, including environmental damage due to gold mining projects, villagers’ efforts to prohibit mining projects, restrictions on freedom of movement and updates on Tatmadaw activities and civilians’ livelihoods.

  • Villagers noted that since the ceasefire Tatmadaw demands for forced labour have decreased. Now, if requests for labour do occur, soldiers sometimes ask permission from the village elder and pay money as compensation.
  • Villagers in Meh Way village tract united in opposition to a proposed gold mining project, resulting in the prohibition of gold mining in the Meh Way River.
  • Tatmadaw Light Infantry Division (LID) #44 Operations Commander Tin Min Hla conducted a gold mining operation in Meh Hpray Hkee village tract, Bilin Township, Thaton District causing flooding that damaged farms and plantations in Waw Muh village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Hpapun District.
  • In the wake of the October 13th 2013 bombing in Yangon, Border Guard Forces (BGF) and Tatmadaw soldiers have arbitrarily stopped and questioned travellers, restricting their freedom of movement.

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/Myanmar 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/Myanmar, 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] In Karen, the Burmese phrases Na Ah Pa (SPDC) and Na Wa Ta (SLORC) are commonly used to refer to the Burma/Myanmar government or to Burma/Myanmar’s state army, the Tatmadaw. Many older Karen villagers who were accustomed to using the phrase Na Wa Ta (SLORC) before 1997 continue to use that phrase, even though the SLORC has not officially existed since 1997. Similarly, despite the official dissolution of the SPDC in March 2011, many Karen villagers continue to use the phrase Na Ah Pa (SPDC) to refer to the Burma/Myanmar government or to the Tatmadaw; see: "Mission Accomplished as SPDC ‘dissolved’," Myanmar Times, April 4-10th 2011.

[4] Light Infantry Division (Tatmadaw); commanded by a brigadier general, each with ten light infantry battalions specially trained in counter-insurgency, jungle warfare, "search and destroy" operations against ethnic insurgents and narcotics-based armies. LIDs and organised under three Tactical Operations Commands, commanded by a colonel, (three battalions each and one reserve), one field artillery battalion, one armoured squadron and other support units.

[5] At the time of this report’s publication, the KHRG interview mentioned above had not yet been published.

[6] During October 2013 there was a string of bombings in Yangon and other parts of Burma/Myanmar. On October 13th 2013, homemade devices exploded in two separate Yangon Townships. See “Vigilance urged after a spate of bombs planted in Burma,” The Irrawaddy, October 2013. The following day, on October 14th 2013, a bomb detonated in Traders Hotel, a popular tourist hotel in Yangon, injuring one American. See “Bomb blast hits Traders Hotel in Rangoon,” The Irrawaddy, October 15, 2013.

[7] Infantry Battalion (Tatmadaw) comprised of 500 soldiers. However, most Infantry Battalions in the Tatmadaw are under-strength with less than 200 soldiers. Primarily for garrison duty but sometimes used in offensive operations.

[8] 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 Burma/Myanmar 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.

[9] See “Papun Situation Update: Dwe Lo Township, March 2012 to March 2013,” KHRG, July 2013.

[10] On January 12th 2012, a preliminary ceasefire agreement was signed between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. Negotiations for a longer-term peace plan are still under way. 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.