Thaton Situation Update: Bilin Township, February to April 2016


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Thaton Situation Update: Bilin Township, February to April 2016

Published date:
Monday, February 19, 2018

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Bilin Township, Thaton District, during the period between February and April 2016, including drugs, healthcare, development, military activity, and villagers concerns .

  • Drug use has increased in Billin Township, particularly among young people. Local authorities have not taken any action against drug trafficking, and villagers are concerned that drugs will continue to impact children and youth in the area.
  • Clinics were built in Thaton District, however, one clinic that was built  in Eu--- village has yet to open. Thus, villlagers still cannot access healthcare services from this clinic.Since the clinic is empty, the villagers offered an old grandfather with no home to live in the clinic.   
  • Community development projects were implmented throughout Thaton District. Bridge Asia Japan (BAJ) organisation built schools, and the Japanese Nippon Foundation distributed paddy rice and solar panels in some villages.
  • Military activitiy did not increase in Thaton District between Febraury and April. However, the Tatmadaw’s on-going presence in some villages causes villagers to feel insecure and fear for their safety.


[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 southeast 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] KHRG continues to receive reports detailing villagers’ concerns over increased drug use and drug trading in their communities. See for example “Growing drug use and its consequences in Dooplaya and Hpa-an Districts, between February and December 2015,” May 2016.

[4] Yaba, which means ‘crazy medicine’ in Thai, is a tablet form of methamphetamine. First developed in East Asia during the Second World War to enhance soldiers' performance, methamphetamine has become increasingly popular in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma/Myanmar where it is typically manufactured. See, Yaba, the 'crazy medicine' of East Asia, UNODC, May 2008; Chapter IV in Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response in Southeast Myanmar since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, June 2014; “Thaton Situation Update: Bilin Township, July to September 2016,” KHRG, April 2017; and “Dooplaya Field Report: A quasi-ceasefire? Developments after the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, from January to December 2016,” KHRG, September 2017.

[5] 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.

[6] The Karen National Union is the main Karen group opposing the government.

[7] The Karen National Liberation Army is the armed wing of the KNU.

[8] Tatmadaw refers to the Myanmar military throughout KHRG's 25 year reporting period. The Myanmar military were commonly referred to by villagers in KHRG research areas as SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) from 1988 to 1997 and SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) from 1998 to 2011, which were the Tatmadaw-proclaimed names of the military government of Burma. Villagers also refer to Tatmadaw in some cases as simply "Burmese" or "Burmese soldiers".

[9] The Nippon Foundation is a Japanese NGO currently implementing social innovation and development projects in Burma/Myanmar. KHRG commonly receives updates from community members on The Nippon Foundation’s recent activities in  Karen State, see more at “Nyaunglebin Field Report: Militarisation, land confiscation, violent abuse, ‘re-relocated’ IDPs, landmines, and development projects, December 2015 to December 2016,” October 2017, KHRG, and “Hpa-an Field Report: Continued difficulties under ceasefire, January to December 2015,” October 2016, KHRG. 

[10] KHRG has received numerous reports of human rights violations committed by soldiers from Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1014, including killing, torture, violent abuse, explicit threats, arbitrary taxation and demands and land confiscation. For more information, see “BGF Battalion #1014 demands forced labour, asserts heavily militarised presence in villages in Hpapun District, June 2015,” KHRG, December 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.

[11] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the 29 January 2018 official market rate of 1,328 kyats to US $1.