Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Ler Doh Soh Township, January to June 2015

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Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Ler Doh Soh Township, January to June 2015

Published date:
Friday, January 29, 2016

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Ler Doh Soh Township, Mergui-Tavoy District during the period between January and June 2015, including the settlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), militarisation, arbitrary taxation, education situation, healthcare improvements, and villager livelihoods.

  • The Karen National Union (KNU) is set to arrange land for the IDPs in Ler Doh Soh Township who were originally displaced from Htee Hta Sway delta area in Ayeyarwaddy region due to the Nargic cyclone happened in 2008.

  • The Tatmadaw demand a tax at their checkpoint when the villagers go to Thailand to trade their buffalo and cows. Moreover, if the villagers wish to transport timber to their village, they also have to pay 50,000 kyat (US $38.43) per truck at the checkpoint, even if they only use the timber as building material for their houses.

  • Since the 2012 ceasefire, it has become easier for the villagers from Ler Doh Soh Township to travel to Da Weh village tract, as they do not get questioned like they used to.

  • The healthcare sector has also improved since the ceasefire, as there is now a clinic set up in each village as well as many hospitals set up in this township. In addition, the KNU is planning to set up another hospital in Law Ther village, Da Weh village tract.

Footnotes

[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] The Mon people are believed to be some of the oldest inhabitants of Southeast Asia. Most live in the central Myanmar government demarcated areas of Mon State, located in the south of Burma/Myanmar and bordering Kayin State, Bago Region (formerly Pegu Division) and Tanintharyi Region (formerly Tenasserim Division). These areas overlap to an extent with KHRG’s research areas, which follow a locally defined system of demarcation.

[3] According to the KHRG community member who wrote this report, this checkpoint is manned by Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers. They demand 100 Baht (US $2.75) from businessmen who wish to cross. The KNU also tax villagers living near the checkpoint 500 kyat (US $0.38) and two baskets (49.8 kg) of rice per house each year.

[4] Although the KHRG community member writes that villagers pan for lead, it is possible that he meant they engage in gold panning, in which lead products can be used in the process.

[5] The KHRG community member is referring to the preliminary ceasefire agreement that was signed on January 12th 2012 between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. 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. 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.

[6] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the January 15th 2016 official market rate of 1, kyat to the US $1,301.17