Nay Pyi Taw Interview: Daw A---, February 2017


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Nay Pyi Taw Interview: Daw A---, February 2017

Published date:
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This Interview with Daw A--- describes events occurring in Pyay Ma Nar Township, Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory in February 2017, including land confiscation, dam construction, forced labour, Tatmadaw activities and livelihood issues.

  • The Burma/Myanmar government built a school in B--- village, Meh Pauk village tract, Pyi Ma Nar Township. Nevertheless, they did not provide food and accommodation for school teachers. Therefore, villagers were forced to do Loh Ar Pay [unpaid labour] in order to construct the building for teachers. In addition, one family was asked to pay 10,000 kyat [US $7.32] to buy logs, zinc sheeting and other materials for the building construction.
  • Daw A--- stated that many villages in Pyi Ma Nar Township will be affected if the middle Paunglaung dam project is implemented. In addition, villagers are concerned that their lands and plantations will be destroyed when the dam is constructed.
  • When the Burma/Myanmar government built the new capital city in Nay Pyi Taw, the Tatmadaw confiscated all the lands from Sin Thaw Kyauk Than Pen village tract and they constructed their military headquarters buildings on the confiscated land. Therefore, all the villagers from that village tract had to relocate to a lower area. However, the Tatmadaw did not pay any compensation to villagers.


[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] This is a sub-ethnicity of Karen.

[4] Daw is a Burmese female honorific title used before a person’s name.

[5] Sub-middle schools operate as smaller satellite units of a central middle school, usually located in a township’s administrative centre.

[6] Loh ah/ar pay is a Burmese term now commonly used in reference to forced labour, although traditionally referring to voluntary service for temples or the local community, not military or state projects

[7] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the 08/11/2017 official market rate of 1,354 kyat to US $1.

[8] It is believed to have been ordered by the Burma/Myanmar government but that has not been confirmed.

[9] In villages, one leader is elected per ten households to take responsibility for local issues.

[10] In larger villages, one leader is elected per one hundred households to take responsibility for local issues.

[11] For further information please see the report by Physicians for Human rights. This that “found that the Guiding Principles and the Basic Principles and Guidelines were not followed in the planning and construction of the Paunglaung dam, and that the flawed displacement process led to the loss of jobs and income, as well as increased food insecurity, poverty, and limits on access to water.” See “Forced Displacements and Destroyed Lives around Upper Paunglaung Dam in Shan State, Myanmar,” Physicians for Human Rights, October 2015. See also, “Drowning the Green Ghosts of Kayanland,” Kayan Women’s Union, 2008.

[12] For more information on the Nancho dam project see Burma Rivers Network.

[13]The upper and lower Paunglaung Dams send their electricity to Nay Pyi Taw, for more information see Burma Rivers Network.

[14] Naypyidaw (also spelled Nay Pyi Taw) is the capital city of Burma/Myanmar. This is commonly by villages to refer to the Burma/Myanmar government. In 2005 the military regime moved the capital from Rangoon to a greenfield at its present location, 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of the city. See “Nay Pyi Taw now less of a ghost town,” Bangkok Post, December 11th 2013.

[15] For more information about LIB #66’s expansion to their military bases and of their military activities see, “Bullets and Bulldozers: The SPDC offensive continues in Toungoo District,” KHRG, February 1997.

[16] Land form #7 is the land grant required to work on a particular area of land. In Burma/Myanmar, all land is ultimately owned by the government.

[17] Land form #1 is a legal document relating to land ownership.

[18] As the capital city and the location of the headquarters of the Tatmadaw, Nay Pyi Taw has a high presence of the military and security forces.

[19] The Union Solidarity and Development Party (Pyi Khaing Pyo in Burmese, Pa Ka Hpa in Karen) is the successor of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. It was officially registered as a political party on June 2nd 2010 and is headed by Burmese politician Than Htay who is the current chairman and retired Brigadier General in the Tatmadaw. Previously the party was run by former Burmese President and Prime Minister, Thein Sein who was in charge until 2015. In November 2015, the National League for Democracy (NLD) ousted the USDP in a landslide election, winning a majority of seats in parliament.

[20] Burmese prefix meaning ‘officer’