Dooplaya Situation Update: Win Yay Township, January to October 2016

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Dooplaya Situation Update: Win Yay Township, January to October 2016

Published date:
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Win Yay Township, Dooplaya District during the period between January and October 2016, including development projects, military and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) movement, education, healthcare and the region’s social and economic situation. 

  • There were no significant military activities by either the KNLA or the Tatmadaw between January and October, and local villagers responded positively to seeing soldiers from Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #351 wearing civilian clothing and sightseeing with soldiers from the KNLA. However, minor clashes in September 2016 caused some local people to worry about an increase in instability.
  • Although the educational situation in Dooplaya District has generally improved, villagers in deep rural areas reported receiving insufficient educational support, especially regarding the availability and quality of teachers.
  • The development of the International Asian Highway has caused many villagers to have their land confiscated and their homes lost. Villagers propose and request that a Community Based Organisation (CBO) helps negotiate between the Myanmar government and the KNU in order to ensure that villagers will be compensated for their losses.

 

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] A Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) comprises 500 soldiers. However, most Light Infantry Battalions in the Tatmadaw are under-strength with less than 200 soldiers. Yet up to date information regarding the size of battalions is hard to come by, particularly following the signing of the NCA.  LIBs are primarily used for offensive operations, but they are sometimes used for garrison duties.

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

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

[6] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the October 4, 2017 official market rate of 33.35 baht to US $1.

[7] The Asian Highway Network is a United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific-supported project that aims to link 32 countries in Asia across 141,000 kilometres of roadway. In Burma/Myanmar the project has involved land confiscation and forced labour. For more information about the Asian Highway Network, see “Beautiful Words, Ugly Actions:The Asian Highway in Karen State, Burma”, KHRG, August 2016; “The Asia Highway: Planned Eindu to Kawkareik Town road construction threatens villagers’ livelihoods,” KHRG, March 2015; “‘With only our voices, what can we do?’: Land confiscation and local response in southeast Myanmar,” KHRG, June 2015; “Tollgates upon tollgates: En route with extortion along the Asian Highway,” KHRG, October 2009; and “Development by Decree: The politics of poverty and control in Karen State,” KHRG, April 2007. In addition, fighting continues erupting between the Tatmadaw and the DKBA along the highway, with the latest clash erupting in early July 2015, resulting in the highway between Myawaddy and Kawkareik shutting down for several days, “DKBA, Tatmadaw fight over illegal highway tolls,” Myanmar Times, July 3rd 2015. 

[8] Pa Doh is a title meaning ‘governor’ or ‘minister’ within the government or military. 

[9] On October 15th 2015, after a negotiation process marred with controversy over the notable non-inclusion of several ethnic armed groups and on-going conflicts in ethnic regions, a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed between the Burma/Myanmar government and eight of the fifteen ethnic armed groups originally invited to the negotiation table, including the KNU, see “Myanmar signs ceasefire with eight armed groups,” Reuters, October 15th 2015. Despite the signing of the NCA prompting a positive response from the international community, see “Myanmar: UN chief welcomes ‘milestone’ signing of ceasefire agreement,” UN News Centre, October 15th 2015, KNU Chairman General Saw Mutu Say Poe’s decision to sign has been met with strong opposition from other members of the Karen armed resistance and civil society groups alike, who believe the decision to be undemocratic and the NCA itself to be a superficial agreement that risks undermining a genuine peace process, see “Without Real Political Roadmap, Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Leads Nowhere...,” Karen News, September 1st 2015. The signing of the NCA followed the January 12th 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. For KHRG's analysis of changes in human rights conditions since the preliminary ceasefire, see Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, May 2014.

[10] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the October 4th 2017 official market rate of 1363 kyat to US $1.

[11] Villagers here are expressing their concern that mining of the nearby mountain will ultimately result in their displacement. For similar concerns see, ‘Villagers raise concerns regarding proposed stone mining and cement production in Win Yay Township, Dooplaya District,’ January 2018.

[12] U is a Burmese title used for elder men, used before their name.

[13] Saya (male) or Sayama (female) is a Burmese term used for any teacher, pastor, or any person to whom one wishes to show respect.

[14] Naw is a S’gaw Karen female honorific title used before a person’s name.

[15] 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; “Woman raped and killed in Pa’an District, October 2012,” KHRG, December 2012; and Chapter IV in Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response in Southeast Myanmar since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, June 2014.