Situation Update | Hti Lon Township, Hpa-an District (March 2014)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in April 2014. It was written by a community member in Hpa-an District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor local human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security. This report was received along with other information from Hpa-an District, including seven other situation updates, 1080 photographs and two video clips.
I would like to report that the Tatmadaw have constructed a dam near A--- village, Hti Lon village tract, Hti Lon Township [Township #5], Hpa-an District. Due to the dam, water has flooded the villagers’ paddy fields and plantations, which has impacted their livelihoods. The Tatmadaw soldiers that are situated in A--- village are from LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] #203. The Tatmadaw also constructed a dam in Maw Ko village, impacting the village and the villagers’ paddy fields.
The names of the farmers [in Maw Ko village] whose paddy fields have flooded are:
1) U X---
2) Saw Y---
3) Naw Z---
4) Saw Ba---
5) Saw De---
6) Saw Ju---
7) Saw Mg---
8) Naw Ma---
9) Saw Jo---
10) Saw Li---
11) Saw Mi---
12) Saw Ko---
13) Saw Ta---
14) Saw Ya---
15) Saw Su---
16) Saw La---
17) Saw Pe--- and
18) Saw He---.
The names which I have listed above are the individuals whose land, paddy fields, and plantations have been flooded after the Tatmadaw constructed the dam. The names that I have listed here are only those from Maw Ko village. As the water began flooding their land, they tried to speak with the Tatmadaw, but the Tatmadaw did not do anything for them.
The Tatmadaw also constructed a dam in A---village, and these are the names of the villagers whose land was flooded and their paddy fields were destroyed:
These villagers are kaw la thu, and they are those whose lands were flooded due to the dam constructed by the Tatmadaw. Although they asked for compensation from the Tatmadaw, the Tatmadaw did not listen to them.
Another issue, in A--- village, is that the Tatmadaw confiscated the homes of kaw la thu, and asked them to move to another area. The Tatmadaw battalion who confiscated the land is LIB #203. After they confiscated these lands, they installed a sign [on the land] which stated, “This land belongs to the Tatmadaw. Do not trespass.” The kaw la thu who live near these places had to move, and now live at the corner of their lands and beside the road. The names of the kaw la thu whose paddy fields were confiscated are:
[Later, I found out that] these kaw la thu are not Muslim, but are actually Buddhist. When I went to meet with them, they told me, “We are kaw la thu, but we are not Muslim. However, as our skin is black, the Buddhists and the Burmese discriminate against us. For this reason [our skin color], we, the kaw la thu who live here, have been oppressed in many different ways [by the Tatmadaw]. We cannot go anywhere else; our parents and grandparents were born here, our original birth place is also here, and we are living here now. If you look at the places that we live, you will see and know the situation [of oppression] that we live in. We do not need to explain anything further to you. Although we try to explain [the situation] to you, we also need to look out for our lives in the future [be aware of our safety]. We are fearful [of the Tatmadaw]. They are taking all of our land and we are being forced to move [to other places]; we are forced to live in the corners [of our fields and beside the road].”
The two villages have to suffer [from the same issue]. One area is in the upper [Eastern] side of Maw Ko village where Karen people live and another area is in A--- village where the kaw la thu people live.