Toungoo Interview: Saw A---, October 2016
Toungoo Interview: Saw A---, October 2016
This Interview with Saw A--- describes the situation in Htaw Ta Htoo (Htantabin) Township, Toungoo District, in October 2016, including education, healthcare, NCA (Nation Wide Ceasefire) impact and IDP (Internally Displaced Person) return.
- Saw A---, who is an IDP, describes his perspectives on the return of IDPs in Toungoo district and the marginal problems that he would face when he goes back to B--- village where he originally came from.
- Saw A--- also stated about how the new NLD (National League for Democracy) government’s education department is sending teachers to Karen areas controlled by the country government, and that he thinks these government teachers are extinguishing the Karen written language, culture and history.
This photo was taken by a KHRG researcher in Ei Tu Hta IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] camp in Hpapun District on October 12th 2016. The photo shows Saw A--- who was representing as the temporary IDPs’ camp commander during a survey planning meeting known as a “Go and See” workshop. He was interviewed by a KHRG researcher about his perspectives on returning to his home land in Toungoo District, and about the information that has been given to IDPs about their proposed return. [Photo: KHRG]
 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 conducting interviews, community members are trained to use loose question guidelines, but also to encourage interviewees to speak freely about recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important and share their opinions or perspectives on abuse and other local dynamics.
 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.
 The 21st Century Panglong Conference was held on August 31st 2016 in Nay Pyi Taw. It marked a crucial step in negotiations between the Burma/Myanmar government and ethnic groups towards an agreement for peace and national reconciliation. It followed from the historic first Panglong Conference, in 1947, in which Burma established its independence from Britain. See “Myanmar's Suu Kyi kicks off peace conference with appeal for unity,” Reuters, August 31st 2016.
 Sporadic fighting in 2016 has been ongoing in ethnic areas although this is not thought to be a direct result of the Panglong Conference.
 See, for example, “More than 3,000 villagers flee escalating conflict in Karen State,” September 12th 2016, The Irrawaddy.
 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. Despite the signing of the NCA prompting a positive response from the international community, see “Myanmar: UN chief welcomes ‘milestone’ signing of ceasefire agreement,” UN News Centre, October 15th 2015, KNU Chairman General Saw Mutu Say Poe’s decision to sign has been met with strong opposition from other members of the Karen armed resistance and civil society groups alike, who believe the decision to be undemocratic and the NCA itself to be a superficial agreement that risks undermining a genuine peace process, see “Without Real Political Roadmap, Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Leads Nowhere...,” Karen News, September 1st 2015. The signing of the NCA followed the January 12th 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement 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.
 Saw A---was in a Karenni refugee camp for an unspecified amount of time before moving to Ei Tu Tha IDP camp.