Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, February to June 2014

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Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, February to June 2014

Published date:
Thursday, December 4, 2014

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District from February to June 2014, including land confiscation, extortion, violent abuse and updates on economic development projects and access to education.

  • Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #434 confiscated villagers’ farm lands in Meh Ka Law village tract. General Engineering (GE) Platoon Officer U Htay Aung Kyaw gave permission to U D---, from a different village, to produce bricks on the confiscated land, provided he sold all bricks produced to him.

  • Captain Khin Zaw Tun from Ammunition Platoon #642 repaired and extended the fence of his battalion, which included two acres of Saw A---’s field. Captain Khin Zaw Tun then leased back the land he confiscated to the villagers. However, most villagers were not able to afford the leasing fees.

  • On May 5th 2014, two separate incidents were reported whereby villagers’ cows were seized by Tatmadaw officers, who demanded 100,000 kyat (US $100.70) for their return.

  • On March 2nd 2014, Border Guard Force (BGF) Officer Tha Beh violently abused two village heads from E--- and F--- village, as well as a sentry from E--- village. The F--- village head was shot in the hand by Officer Tha Beh’s subordinate officer, injuring Officer Tha Beh in the process. The villagers report that although they previously had to be afraid of Officer Tha Beh, they are no longer afraid as he was transferred to another district after the incident.

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 categorized by Type, Issue, Location and Year, please see the Related Readings component following each report on KHRG’s Website.

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

[4] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the October 15th 2014 official market rate of 993 kyat to the US $1.

[5] 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.

[6] Paddy is rice grain that is still in the husk.

[7] The strategic operations commander heads the strategic operations command (SOC), usually comprised of three to four battalions and a headquarters for defensive operations.

[8] The researcher did not specify what is meant by ‘took over eight polling stations’. KHRG was unable to follow-up with the researcher before the publication of this report. However, KHRG will publish an update as soon as the information becomes available.

[9] The Union Solidarity and Development Party (Pyi Khaing Pyo in Burmese, Pa Ka Hpa in Karen) is the successor of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. It was officially registered as a political party on June 2nd 2010 and is headed by Burmese President Thein Sein.

[10] KHRG has received numerous reports involving human rights abuses involving BGF Officer Tha Beh, including violent abuse, forced labour, explicit threats and arbitrary arrest and detention. See “Hpapun Interview: U A---, January 2014,” KHRG, October 2014; “,” KHRG, September 2014; “Hpapun Incident Report: Forced labour and violent abuse in Bu Tho Township, January 2014,” KHRG, August 2014; “Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, November 2013 to February 2014,” KHRG, August 2014; and “Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, August to November 2013,” KHRG, December 2013.

[11] 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 battalions are assigned two digit battalion numbers and 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.

[12] For more on this incident see “Hpapun Interview: U A---, January 2014,” KHRG, October 2014 and “Hpapun Incident Report: Violent abuse in Bu Tho Township, April 2014,” KRHG, November 20, 2014.

[13] KCCSC is a small community based organisation (CBO) based in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border that provides services to the Karen community in Thailand and Kayin state.