Situation Update | Hlaingbwe Township, Hpa-an District (February to April 2016)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in April 2016. It was written by a community member in Hpa-an District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security. This report was received along with other information from Hpa-an District, including 15 photographs.
Now, the armed groups [based] in Lu Pleh [Hlaingbwe] Township, Hpa-an District area are [President] Thein Sein’s army [Tatmadaw], which has become [President] U Htin Kyaw’s army [Tatmadaw]. There is also DKBA [Democratic Karen Buddhist Army]’s Poh Bee’s army, they operate in Meh T’Waw [village area] and Khoh Loh Kloh [Salween River] area. KNU [Karen Nation Union]’s army [KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army] operate on the [Thai-Burma] border in the Thoo Mweh Nee [Moei River] area. U Htin Kyaw’s army [Tatmadaw] operate in Hkler Day army camp, Klaw K’Tee army camp and Ma Ner Plaw [army camp].
The [Tatmadaw] army camps in Poo Loo Plaw, Hpaw Pah Hta, Htoh Doh, K’Ma Hkoh and T’Bluh Klah based by LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] #338, LIB #339 and IB [Infantry Battalion] #28 (which are under command of MOC [Military Operation Command] #12) removed their armies to their army base in Hlaingbwe Town on February 25th 2016. They replaced [the army camps] with the BGF [Border Guard Force]’s Battalion #1015 and Battalion #1016’s soldiers, which are in BGF’s Cantonment Area #4. These BGF battalions placed around 10 to 15 soldiers in each camp for security, and among them the Tatmadaw soldiers placed one Lance Corporal or Corporal in each camp to monitor the camp.
There was only one town in Lu Pleh Township, named Lu Pleh Town by Hpa-an District [Burma/Myanmar government name: Hlaingbwe Town], but after KNU and Thein Sein’s government signed the [2012 preliminary] ceasefire, they [Burma/Myanmar government] established a new town named Klaw K’Tee Town [Burma/Myanmar government name: Shan Ywa Thint Town]. They also constructed a new vehicle road between Lu Pleh Town and Klaw K’Tee Town, and repaired the road from Klaw K’Tee Town to the [Thai-Burma] border, which is where Meh T’Ree and Meh T’Waw villages are. When the road was being constructed, it damaged some of the villagers’ farms’ water channels; however, villagers asked the road construction company to repair the farms’ water channels, and the company agreed and repaired them for them, so the villagers did not complain about the damage. They finished constructing all bridges in these areas [where a vehicle road is being constructed] in 2016. They started laying stones to construct the road to be travelable in both summer and raining seasons.
In the past, Thein Sein’s government had full authority and did everything [they planned]. Civilians did not trust them. Currently, civilians are waiting for U Htin Kyaw’s government to take the country’s government authority. Civilians were happy when U Htin Kyaw received the country’s authority and they hope that there will be change in Burma/Myanmar. However, civilians have not seen this new government conduct any campaign [about their plans] yet; the civilians want to see and want to hear [the new government’s plans].
Civilians hope that there will be change in the country when U Htin Kyaw rules the country. From 2014 to 2015, the rice price was 3,000 kyat [US $2.52] per basket, [but] in 2016, the rice price is getting more expensive: it is 4,000 kyat to 5,000 kyat [US $3.36 to US $4.20] per basket. The temperature in 2016 is higher than the previous year.
Regarding health in Lu Pleh Township, Hpa-an District, I have seen that Backpack health workers [Back Pack Health Worker Team] take responsibility [provide healthcare] in the village tracts, such as Hkler Day, Kwee Law Hploh, Daw K’Kya, Meh T’Moo and Klaw Kyaw. The other village tracts have village-level clinics but if the diseases are serious, they have to send [the patients] to [hospital] in Lu Pleh [Town] or to [hospital] in Hpa-an Town.
In the past, there were a few schools in Lu Pleh township, Hpa-an district, but since the KNU and Thein Sein’s government began the [2012 preliminary] ceasefire, almost all villages have schools. Most of the schools are U Htin Kyaw’s [Burma/Myanmar] government schools and they are mostly primary schools. The schools teach up to fourth standard. There are [some] KNU schools too, which teach up to fourth standard. Students who finish Burma/Myanmar government primary schools have to go to study at Burma/Myanmar government high schools in Hlaingbwe Town to continue their studies, and students who finish KNU primary schools have to go to study at KNU high schools in Meh T’Ree village and Thoo Mgeh Nee area, along the Thai-Burma border, to continue their studies.
Most of the civilians in Lu Pleh Township, Hpa-an District are Buddhist. There are a few Baptist Christians, Anglican Christians and Seventh-day Adventist Christians.
Most of the civilians in Lu Pleh Township, Hpa-an District are farmers, working on hill farms and migrating for work in Thailand.