Thaton Situation Update: Bilin Township, March to May 2017

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Thaton Situation Update: Bilin Township, March to May 2017

Published date:
Thursday, November 30, 2017

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Bilin Township, Thaton District during the period between March and May 2017, including healthcare, education, development projects and armed group activities.

  • Non-governmental organisations, the Burma/Myanmar government and the Karen National Union (KNU)  provided healthcare services such as clinics in Kwee Lay village, Ta Au Ni village and Hpaw Gee Hkee village for the prevention of malaria, vaccination, TB testing and prenatal care.
  • Educational challenges in Bilin Township include inappropriate and extended absences by Burma/Myanmar government teachers and the Burma/Myanmar government school’s refusal to recognise the legitimacy of KNU schools, religious schools, and self-funded schools.
  • A low-cost housing project for refugee returnees was planned in A--- village and B--- village, Bilin Township, Thaton District; consequently, additional illegal logging happened in Toe Teh Hkee and Ta Au Hkee forests when the KNU government allowed for some logging in order for building these houses.

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] A post-ten school is an unofficial school for Karen students who have passed the Standard 10 exam. Most post-ten students will transition to universities or work with the KNU/KNLA.

[3] The Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) was formed in 1947 by the Karen National Union and is the precursor to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Today the KNDO refers to a militia force of local volunteers trained and equipped by the KNLA and incorporated into its battalion and command structure; its members wear uniforms and typically commit to two-year terms of service.

[4] Border Guard Force (BGF) battalions of the Tatmadaw were established in 2010, and they are composed mostly of soldiers from former non-state armed groups, such as older constellations of the DKBA, which have formalised ceasefire agreements with the Burma/Myanmar government and agreed to transform into battalions within the Tatmadaw. BGF battalions are assigned four digit battalion numbers, whereas regular Tatmadaw infantry battalions are assigned two digit battalion numbers and light infantry battalions are identified by two or three-digit battalion numbers. For more information, see “DKBA officially becomes Border Guard Force” Democratic Voice of Burma, August 2010, and “Exploitation and recruitment under the DKBA in Pa’an District,” KHRG, June 2009.

[5] KHRG continues to receive reports discussing abuses involving BGF Battalion #1013 and #1014, including:

BGF Battalion #1014 demands forced labour, asserts heavily militarised presence in villages in Hpapun District, June 2015,” KHRG, December 2015; "Hpapun Incident Report: Villager killed by Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1013 in Bu Tho Township, March 2015,” KHRG, September 2015; “Human rights violations by Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1014 in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District, May 2012 to March 2014,” KHRG, July 2015. Further reports detailing abuses involving these battalions are also available on the KHRG website.

[6] 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).