Situation Update | Kyainseikgyi Township and Win Yay Township, Dooplaya District (January 2017)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in January 2017. It was written by a community member in Dooplaya 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 Dooplaya District, including one other situation update, one interview and 203 photographs.
This Situation Update describes events occurring in Dooplaya District, during the period between January 9th and January 21st 2017, including issues related to education, road construction, bridge construction, human rights abuses and livelihood.
There is a one self-funded school in Meh T’lee village, Meh T’lee village tract, Waw Raw [Win Yay] Township, Dooplaya District. This school was built by the village community. There are 34 students in the school: 18 male students and 16 female students. The local community would like to have a better school in order to enable students to study diligently at the school and in comfort. Organisations [NGOs and CBOs] that help to improve [the educational situation in Burma/Myanmar] are not able to reach this village [because this village is in a remote area].
In January 2017, the Education Commemorative Festival [ECF] was held in a school in Noh Khlo village, Noh Khlo village tract, Waw Raw Township, Dooplaya District. They [school teachers] organised the Education Commemorative Festival and gave awards to students. Also, they [school teachers] organised school fundraising by selling [food and other supplies]. Some parents saw that their children were given awards. These students were very enthusiastic and happy to participate [in the ECF].
In January 2017, a construction of a school was started in Kyu San village, Kya village tract, Noh T’kaw [Kyainseikgyi] Township, Dooplaya District. The Burma/Myanmar government came to construct this school. None of the local organisations [NGOs] were involved with the school construction. This is the only school project conducted by the Burma/Myanmar government in Kyu San village. This school is constructed in a strong and sturdy manner meaning it cannot be easily damaged. There is a guarantee for this school [that it will be completed]. This school is not finished yet. It will cost 55,000,000 kyat [US$ 40,515] to finish this school construction project.
Road construction and bridge construction
One bridge was constructed between Tha Raw Wah area and the Three Pagodas Pass. This bridge was built in Noh Khlo village, Noh Khlo village tract, Waw Raw Township, Dooplaya District. Construction of this bridge started in 2016. People can cross this bridge [now] if they are travelling. This bridge construction was conducted by the Burma/Myanmar government and it was finished in 2017.
There is a bridge in Kwin K’saw Kyin village, Kwin K’saw Kyin village tract, Waw Raw Township, Dooplaya District. [Construction] started on the bridge in 2016, but it will not be finished until [late] 2017. The time taken by Burma/Myanmar government’s construction workers to construct bridges can differ. They [construction workers] can finish the construction of big bridges early [ahead of schedule] but the construction of small bridges is [often] delayed. The local community does not know what they are planning.
There is a bridge in T’me Klow River in E--- village, A’Plo village tract, Waw Raw Township, Dooplaya District. An office was constructed nearby a bridge. This bridge construction project started in 2016 and it was finished in 2017. People have been crossing this bridge for almost one month. According to the [E---] village head, the office was constructed when the bridge was being constructed. This office is for authorities and leaders when they have a meeting. If the KNU and the Burma/Myanmar government had to discuss something [regarding bridge construction], they called a meeting in this office. This office was constructed by the Burma/Myanmar government. After the bridge was constructed, they [the Burma/Myanmar government authorities] had to leave this office. Before they went back, they told Kyauk Ku villagers, “We give you this office and you can use it for whatever you want”. After they said this to the villagers, the authorities left.
In January 2017, the [existing] road was widened in H--- village, T’kher Klow village tract, Noh T’kaw Township, Dooplaya District. The Burma/Myanmar government widened the road which affected many villagers’ land and property but none of the villagers dared to say anything [against the Burma/Myanmar government]. Due to the road construction, some villagers’ rubber plantations were destroyed, some villagers’ houses were damaged and some villagers’ lands were affected. Some villagers cannot sell goods anymore because their shops were destroyed due to the road construction [linked to the widening of the road]. The Burma/Myanmar government did not consult with villagers. Villagers are afraid to say something against the Burma/Myanmar government.
Human rights abuse
Date information was received: January 15th 2017
Incident date: October 12th 2016
The name of a victim: [Naing] A--- (unknown age)
Marital Status: Married (has one daughter)
Occupation: Plantation worker
Location: Kyonedoe Town, Kawkareik Township, Dooplaya District
He [victim] went to work on a wild elephant yam plantation in B--- village. The incident happened in the wild elephant yam plantation between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM on October 12th 2016. When he [victim] was going to urinate under a group of bamboo [trees], three people, who were wearing camouflaged dress, similar to a soldier’s uniform and holding three AK-47s, grabbed A--- in the wild elephant yam plantation. They pushed his head down to the ground and beat him. Then they asked him where his parents-in-law were. A--- told them that his parents-in-law live in Kyonedoe Town but they did not believe him. Then they hit his back with the butt of the gun three times and they punched him in the face two times. Again, they furiously slapped his face two times. In the evening, one of the B--- villagers sent him [Naing A---] back to Kyonedoe Town. The victim was not beaten because of who he was but he was beaten because of his parents-in-law.
Local villagers do not know exactly who these three people who committed the human rights violation [violent abuse] are. There are only two different armed groups, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army [DKBA] and the Border Guard Force [BGF], situated nearby the place that the incident happened. Most of the villagers thought that the most likely possible perpetrators are DKBA soldiers. I went to ask many villagers about this case, they confirmed that the incident happened. While they were not 100% certain upon the perpetrators identity, they said that Par Kyaikin, Sar Der and Mar Dah Wa [from the DKBA] could be the perpetrators. The incident took place in B--- village, Noh Tar Khaw village tract, Noh T’kaw Township, Dooplaya District.
In January 11th 2017, a road accident happened in C--- village, Kwin K’saw Kyin village tract, Waw Raw [Win Yay] Township, Dooplaya District. A car and a motorbike crashed into each other. The accident occurred at 7:40 PM. In fact, the accident should not have happened because the car driver was driving in a safe manner and he initially avoided the motorbike. There were two people who rode on the motorbike. Their names are F--- and G---. These two people were very drunk when they crashed into the car. The case was resolved at 8:17 AM on January 12th 2017 [with a meeting between the people involved]. When the case was being resolved there were many people involved. They are the village tract leader, village head, two military policemen, the car driver, and the motorbike riders’ families. The car driver was not very happy because he thought it [the accident] was not his fault. However, the two motorbike riders asked him to give 1,650,000 kyat [US$1215] as compensation. The community leaders made a decision that he [car driver] had to give money to the two motorbike riders as per their demand. There was no justice served in this case.
Regarding livelihood, villagers in Dooplaya District have to confront with climate change [which has affected the quality, size and price available for their harvest]. This year the price of rubber has increased more than last year. The price for sesame seeds and betel nuts has decreased. One big tin of sesame seeds is priced at 45,000 kyat [US$33] this year and 100 betel nuts are priced at 2,000 kyat [US $1.5]. Last year one big tin of sesame was priced at 70,000 [US $51] or 80,000 kyat [US $58] and 100 betel nuts were priced at 3,000 [US $2.2] or 4,000 kyat [US $3].
Regarding the information that I [KHRG community member] wrote above, I knew about the incidents because villagers reported to me what happened. Regarding human rights, abuses still happen just as they did in the past. There is still no justice and equality for villagers. Road construction and bridge construction projects have increased since the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. These projects have negatively affected villagers’ livelihood.