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

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

Published date:
Friday, July 15, 2016

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Ler Doh Soh Township, Mergui-Tavoy District between June and November 2015. It also provides updates on the general situation, including education, livelihoods, development projects and military activities.

  • The mining activities of Ba Wa Pin Maing, Wa Kon Maing, and Pa Ka Ri Maing companies have affected some of the waterways in the Htee Ler Klay large area.
  • Karen language and culture has been allowed to be taught in Burma/Myanmar government schools since the 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement was signed. Since 2014/2015, primary education has been provided for free in Ler Doh Soh Township by the Burma/Myanmar government.
  • Some companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have carried out development projects in Ler Doh Soh Township, including building schools, libraries, churches, bridges, and have installed water pipes and electricity.

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] In Mergui-Tavoy District, ‘small areas’ are equivalent to village tracts, whereas ‘large areas’ are composed of several village tracts, yet are smaller than a township. There is no equivalent to a ‘large area’ in the other six KNU-demarcated districts.

[3] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the 28 April 2016 official market rate of 1,169.58 kyats to the US $1.

[4] U Paing Company Limited is also known as Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL). It is a large conglomerate controlled by the military through the Ministry of Defence.

[5] The researcher might be referring to when the company established itself in Ler Doh Soh Township. The founding year usually given for UMEHL is 1990.

[6] A Light Infantry Battalion (Tatmadaw) comprises 500 soldiers. However, most Light Infantry Battalions in the Tatmadaw are under-strength with less than 200 soldiers. They are primarily used for offensive operations but they are sometimes used for garrison duties.

[7] The KHRG community member is referring to the preliminary ceasefire agreement that was signed on January 12th 2012 between the KNU and the 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.

[8] The Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) is the armed wing of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), which was established as a separatist group in 1958. The NMSP signed a ceasefire with the Burma/Myanmar government on February 1st 2012.

[9] The term Kaw Thoo Lei refers to Karen State as demarcated by the Karen National Union (KNU), but the exact meaning and etymology is disputed; see: Jonathan Falla. True Love and Bartholomew: Rebels on the Burmese Border, Cambridge University Press: 1991.

[10] A standard refers to a school year in the education system of Burma/Myanmar. The basic education system has a 5-4-2 structure. Primary school runs from Standard 1 to Standard 5, lower secondary school is Standards 6-9, and upper secondary school is Standards 10-11.

[11] The Karen National Union's Education Department. The main goals of the KED are to provide education, as well as to preserve Karen language and culture. During the civil war in Burma/Myanmar the KED became the main organisation providing educational services in the KNU controlled areas in southeast Burma/Myanmar. The KED also previously oversaw the educational system in the seven refugee camps along the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border, however in 2009 these activities were restructured under the Karen Refugee Committee – Education Entity (KRCEE). See "Conflict Erupts over Govt teachers deployed to KNU areas," Karen News, August 20th 2013 and the KRCEE website: "About," accessed July 21st 2015.

[12] It is not clear which organisation the community member is referring to here.

[13] The Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) was formed in 1947 by the Karen National Union and is the precursor to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Today the KNDO refers to a militia force of local volunteers trained and equipped by the KNLA and incorporated into its battalion and command structure; its members wear uniforms and typically commit to two-year terms of service.

[14] The KHRG community member did not specify what CF stands for. Based on the context it is likely to refer to community forestry, a form of forestry in which local communities play a significant role.

[15] At this point, the KHRG community member mentions that the report covers events during the entire year, despite having written June-November in the title of the report. It is not clear why this was done.