Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw A---, February 2017

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Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw A---, February 2017

Published date:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Interview with Saw A--- describes events occurring in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, Mergui-Tavoy District, during the period between 2014 and February 2017, including the negative consequences of road construction, land confiscation and an update on villager livelihoods.

  • In B--- village, Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, Mergui-Tavoy District, the Burma/Myanmar government Ministry of Construction has led a road construction project for four years. They did not hold a consultation meeting with the villagers or ask permission from the land owners before they started the road construction project.
  • The road construction damaged around ten villagers’ plantations. Rubber, cashew, betel nut and other fruit tree plantations. Lands were damaged by the dumping of rocks and soil on villagers’ plantations. The interviewee reports that on his land more than 300 cashew trees and 500 rubber trees were damaged. No compensation has been given for any damage caused by the road construction project or any land that was confiscated.
  • The Forestry Department of the Burma/Myanmar government confiscated B---villagers’ land and has planted teak trees and rubber trees on the confiscated land for reserved forest. No compensation was given to the land owners for the confiscated land.   

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] Pa Dtee or Dtee is a familiar term of respect in S’gaw Karen attributed to an older man that translates to “uncle,” but it does not necessarily signify any actual familial relationship.

[4] Saw is a S’gaw Karen male honorific title used before a person’s name.

[5] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the September 7th 2017 official market rate of 1358 kyat to US $1.

[6] According to the signboard referred to by Saw A--- the Burma/Myanmar Government Department of Road Construction is responsible for leading the road construction project, not a particular company. It is not known if a company was hired to construct the road.

[7] After further follow up after this interview, KHRG researchers learned that Saw A--- does not have a land title for his land but only a land tax receipt. In this interview, he incorrectly referred to his land tax receipt as a ‘land title.’

[8] This was the road construction company’s third visit to the land as part of the road construction project. When they initially came, the company constructed but did not pave the road. When the company came in 2017, they paved and widened the road.

[9] A viss is a unit of weight equivalent to 1.6 kg or 3.52 lb.

[10] Rubber tree produce latex when they are 7 years old and above.

[11] The majority ethnic group in Myanmar, also known as ethnic Burmese or Burman.

[12] The sign board referred to by the interviewee states that 110 acres are included in the project but does not state how much of the land was confiscated from villagers.