Toungoo Interview: Saw A---, January 2016

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Toungoo Interview: Saw A---, January 2016

Published date:
Thursday, February 2, 2017

This Interview with Saw A--- describes an arbitrary arrest that occurred in Htantabin Township, Toungoo District, in January 2016. Saw A--- describes how he was arrested and sued because of a demonstration, which he and other people held against Kaung Myanmar Aung Company on January 12th 2016 after the company confiscated villagers’ lands. Saw A--- faces criminal charges for using a loudspeaker, as it broke the law against the disturbance of public peace. Chief of Police, Aye Zaw from No. 2 Police Station, Toungoo District, submitted the charge against him as a complainant.  

Footnotes

[1] KHRG trains community members in southeastern 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.

[2] In order to increase the transparency of KHRG methodology and more directly communicate the experiences and perspectives of villagers in southeastern 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] Saw is a S’gaw Karen male honorific title used before a person’s name.

[4]Although it is not clear what specific law this is referring to, there is evidence that the Burma/Myanmar government authorities have used legislation to limit opposition and peaceful protest. To find out more on this issue please see, “They Can Arrest You at Any Time: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Burma,” Human Rights Watch, June 2016.

[5] Bo is a Burmese title meaning ‘officer.’

[6] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the 26th January 2017 official market rate of 1355 kyat to US $1.

[7] The demonstration for which Saw A--- has been charged was organised by villagers to demand their farmland be returned after 2400 acres of land was confiscated by Kaung Myanmar Aung Company. See, “Toungoo Situation Update: Thandaunggi and Htantabin townships, November 2015 to January 2016,” July 2016.

[8] Kaung Myanmar Aung Company (KMAC) or Kaung Myanmar Aung Group of Companies is a Myanmar-owned business group with investments in teak plantations in Toungoo District, and mining, agriculture, shipping, construction and real estate development within Myanmar. Their chairman is Mr Khin Maung Aye. KMAC have been implicated in land confiscation cases in southeast Myanmar which have included threats to villagers who were customary owners of the lands, see “Toungoo Situation Update: Thandaunggyi and Htantabin townships, November 2014 to February 2015,” July 2015. Affected villagers held protests against the company in 2015 and early 2016 in order to demand the return of their lands, see “Toungoo Situation Update: Thandaunggyi and Htantabin townships, November 2015 to January 2016,” July 2016. For information on a similar case with KMAC in Pyin Oo Lwin Township, Mandalay Division, see “Presidential adviser sues 13 farmers for trespassing,” Myanmar Times, September 2nd, 2013.

[9] Maung is a Burmese male honorific title used before a person’s name

[10] Ko is a Burmese title meaning older brother. It can be used for relative as well as non-relative.

[11] The Myanmar Farmers Development Party [MFDP] was formed in 2012 and has its headquarters in Yangon. The MFDP is chaired by U Kyaw Swar Soe. The party claims to represent the rural peasantry on a campaign bed based on the modernisation and mechanisation of agriculture. For more information see, "Myanmar Farmers Development Party," The Irrawaddy, October 2015.

[12] Here the interviewee refers to two separate interviews. One given at the 50th anniversary of the Kaung Myanmar Aung Company and one given by the Administrator of Na Gar Mout. It has not been specified when these speeches where given and what was said during the speeches.

[13] The Myanmar Farmers Development Party is a Myanmar based political party. It was established in 2012, and contested the 2015 election claiming to represent impoverished farmers. For a brief outline of the political party please see, “Myanmar Farmers Development Party”, The Irrawaddy.

[14] The interviewee is now referring to a separate speech to the two already mentioned. It is not specified when this speech by the Farmers Development Party was given.