Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, November 2014 to January 2015


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Hpapun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, November 2014 to January 2015

Published date:
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This Situation Update describes events and issues occurring in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District during the period between November 2014 to January 2015, including illegal logging, punishment, education, and livelihoods.

  • In C--- village, Pa Heh village tract, primary school students who did not pass the examinations were punished by their teacher who made them sit down and stand up 500 to 1,000 times.

  • Karen National Union (KNU) soldiers arrested two people found on a bamboo raft carrying logs which had been cut down on November 3rd 2014.

  • Saw A---, the representative of the Karen Office of Relief and Development (KORD), came to hold a meeting in B--- IDP camp regarding cuts to rations and how internally displaced persons (IDPs) can earn their livelihoods in the future.


[1] KHRG trains community members in southeast 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 southeast 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] A Standard refers to a grade in the Burmese education system. Primary school runs from Standard 1 to Standard 4, middle school is Standards 5-8 and high school is Standards 9-10.

[4] They are unable to go to school due to the pain inflicted from having to stand up and sit down 500-1,000 times.

[5] Saw Q--- is one of the loggers, but as the researcher mentioned, he was not implicated by Maung F--- or Saw G--- when they were questioned.

[6] Here they are referring to the fact that they know that logging living trees is illegal, so they would accept their punishment and would not complain about being arrested.

[7] KHRG does not have information regarding exactly where in Hpapun District they were sent.

[8] 'Home guard' or gher der groups have been organised locally in parts of northern Karen State to address Tatmadaw operations targeting civilians and the resulting acute food insecurity. Villagers interviewed by KHRG have reported that gher der were established with the objective of providing security for communities of civilians in hiding, particularly when those communities engage in food production or procurement activities, and when other modes of protection are unavailable. For more on the gher der see: “Self-protection under strain: Targeting of civilians and local responses in northern Karen State,” KHRG, August 2010. The Forest Department sent a home guard with them for multiple reasons. Firstly they could provide directions; second they can provide security and lastly they are likely to have family in the area which means they will know the area very well.

[9] Hkaw Taw is the Karen name for Myaing Gyi Ngu. The researcher used both names in this sentence.

[10] The KNU may be bribed by wealthy individuals to do logging.

[11] The researcher is referring to the January 12th 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement, signed between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. However, on October 15th 2015, after a negotiation process marred with controversy over the notable non-inclusion of several ethnic armed groups and on-going conflicts in ethnic regions, a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed between the Burma/Myanmar government and eight of the fifteen ethnic armed groups originally invited to the negotiation table, including the KNU, see “Myanmar signs ceasefire with eight armed groups,” Reuters, October 15th 2015.  For KHRG's analysis of changes in human rights conditions since the preliminary ceasefire, see Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, May 2014.

[12] Although it was previously stated that there are no trees on this land, that was referring to trees which bear fruit. The trees in this circumstance are referring to trees which do not bear fruit.

[13] By this the researcher means if you are around people who are suffering from ‘eyes sore’ or ‘conjunctivitis’ you are likely to contract the illness as well because it is airborne. Conjunctivitis is in not an airborne disease, but is actually contracted through touching or using something which has been previously touched by someone with the disease.

[14] 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.