Nyaunglebin Interview: Naw A---, November 2016


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Nyaunglebin Interview: Naw A---, November 2016

Published date:
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This Interview with Naw A--- describes events occurring in Hsaw Htee (Shwegyin) Township, Nyaunglebin District, including goldstone mining.

  • According to Naw A---, the Karen National Union permitted business men to conduct goldstone mining in September 2016 on Hsaw O’o Law Klo River in Shwegyin Township.
  • Due to the goldstone mining project, the river has been polluted. As a result, local villagers have been exposed to hazardous chemicals and the risk of sickness and disease.


[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] 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 KEDbecame 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.

[4] The interviewee switches between ‘goldstone’ and ‘gold’ mining, both of which may be conducted in this area. Goldstone mining is locally used to refer to the separation of gold from stone using a grinding machine; gold mining is locally used to refer to the separation of gold from sand using water. Both processes involve the heavy use of chemicals to refine the separation of gold from other materials.

[5] KHRG has previously reported on the issues surrounding gold mining in Hsaw Htee [Shwegyin] Township. See, “Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Kyauk Kyi Township, February to April 2013,” December 2013, and “Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Moo, Ler Doh and Hsaw Htee townships, January to June 2012,” October 2012.

[6] These chemicals have no direct translation in English. They most likely refer to cyanide and mercury. Both chemicals are extremely toxic to human health and the environment.

[7] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the August 23, 2017 official market rate of 1359 kyat to US $1.

[8] Bo Lay is a Burmese title for a military rank, equal to 2nd Lieutenant.