Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, October 2014

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Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, October 2014

Published date:
Friday, February 6, 2015

This Situation Update was written in October 2014 and describes events occurring in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District, including issues of land confiscation.

  • The Burma/Myanmar government Land Registration and Management Department and Land Administrative Department in Hpapun District confiscated villagers’ lands and gave it to Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalions (LIBs) #340, #341, #434 and #642, which are under Tatmadaw Southeast Command Headquarters.
  • Tatmadaw Operations Commander (G3) Zaw Myo Tin, who is operating in A--- military camp bought six acres of land from a villager in A--- village. However, when he fenced his land, he incorporated approximately sixty acres, which included other villagers’ land.
  • The land owners reported the confiscation of their land to the Karen National Union (KNU), as well as to the Burmese Parliament Representative U Saing Than Naing. With the help of the KNU, some of the villagers were able to continue working on their land.

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] The perpetrators of these abuses may have been claiming authority under one of the Burma/Myanmar government laws that allows rights to land to be transferred from villagers to private entities. The Wasteland Instructions Law (1991) enabled both domestic and foreign investment in large-scale commercial enterprises through transfer of use rights to designated "wasteland" (or "vacant, fallow and virgin land"). This practice was recently reaffirmed by the Vacant, Fallow, Virgin Land Law (2012). As development has increased in southeastern Burma/Myanmar since the signing of the government-KNU ceasefire in January 2012, KHRG has received an increasing number of complaints of confiscation of "uncultivated land" or "wasteland." For KHRG documentation of land confiscation arising from development projects, see: Losing Ground: Land conflicts and collective action in eastern Myanmar, KHRG, March 2013. For summary and analysis of the legal and policy framework relating to land management in Burma/Myanmar, see: Legal Review of Recently Enacted Farmland Law and Vacant Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law, Food Security Group - Land Core Group, November 2012. 

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] Operations Commander (G3) is an operations, plans and training officer. Also known as strategic/Tactical Commander.

[7] All conversion estimates for the Kyat in this report are based on the January 29th 2015 official market rate of 1026.74 kyat to the US $1