Hpapun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, 2016

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Hpapun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, 2016

Published date:
Monday, September 18, 2017

This Situation Update gives a historical perspective on events occurring in Lu Thaw Township, Hpapun District since 1992, which continue to affect villagers in 2016, including military activities, militarisation, Tatmadaw attacks on villagers, civilians being shot on sight, killings, IDPs, food shortages, civilians’ livelihoods, education and health.

  • Since the Tatmadaw attacked villagers in Htee Moo Khee area, Lu Thaw Township in the years prior to 2016, civilians fled for their lives, leaving behind their lands and all of their belongings; they have not been able to return to their own villages yet.
  • Significant human rights abuses happened in Lu Thaw Township around 1997 because villagers were threatened by the Tatmadaw frequently. Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion [LIB] #77 attacked villagers and children. They shot villagers on sight, killed their animals, burned villagers’ houses, schools and rice barns.
  • Displaced civilians and children faced food shortages whilst they were in their hiding places in the jungle. Some civilians fled to refugee camps in Thailand.
  • Children could not access medicine, medical healthcare and education because teachers and students were separated from each other and there was no medicine for them when they fled the Tatmadaw. There were very few students who got a chance to go to school and they had to study in fear in the jungle.
  • After the Karen National Union [KNU] signed the 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement with the Burma/Myanmar government, the Tatmadaw has not withdrawn from any of their army camps in Lu Thaw Township.
  • Access to health and education in recent years has improved because civilians no longer have to flee.

Footnotes

[1] 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 writing situation updates, community members are encouraged to summarise recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important, and present their opinions or perspective on abuse and other local dynamics in their area.

[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] This Situation Update was written as part of KHRG’s 25 year anniversary review in 2017, summarising human rights trends since KHRG’s formation in 1992. This update is based on a KHRG community member’s account of the situation and, due to the lack of detailed record keeping at this time, specific dates may not be verifiable.

[4] Light Infantry Division (LID) of the Tatmadaw is commanded by a brigadier general, and consists of ten light infantry battalions specially trained in counter-insurgency, jungle warfare, search and destroy operations against ethnic insurgents. They were first incorporated into the Tatmadaw in 1966. LIDs are organised under three Tactical Operations Commands, commanded by a colonel, three battalions each and one reserve, one field artillery battalion, one armoured squadron and other support units. Each division is directly under the command of the Chief of Staff (Army).

[5] On January 12th 2012, a preliminary ceasefire agreement was signed between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. Negotiations for a longer-term peace plan are still under way. For updates on the peace process, see the KNU Stakeholder webpage on the Myanmar Peace Monitor website. For KHRG's analysis of changes in human rights conditions since the ceasefire, see Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, May 2014. In March 2015, the seventh round of the negotiations for a national ceasefire between the Burma/Myanmar government and various ethnic armed actors began in Yangon, see “Seventh Round of Nationwide Ceasefire Negotiations,” Karen National Union Headquarters, March 18th 2015. Following the negotiations, the KNU held a central standing committee emergency, see “KNU: Emergency Meeting Called To Discuss Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement And Ethnic Leaders’ Summit,” Karen News, April 22nd 2015.

[6] While the report details with events occurring in 2016, the researcher sent a photo taken in 2017 for further information. 

[7] This is likely to refer to Shoklo Malaria Research Unit who have been running a number of malarial clinics in Karen State. However more specific information and confirmation is currently unavailable.