Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, August to September 2017

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Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, August to September 2017

Published date:
Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, Mergui-Tavoy District during the period between August and September 2017, including civilians’ livelihoods, education, military activities, development projects, drug issues, and healthcare.

  • Most of the schools in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township are primary schools, so students do not have opportunities to further their studies to high school.
  • Students from civilian schools receive free school materials from the Karen Education Department (KED), but teachers receive only about 4,600 baht ($146.14 USD) per year so students have to pay schools fee in order to support the teachers.
  • Development projects in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township gradually increased after the 2012 Preliminary Ceasefire. The CKB Company has operated in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township since 2003 and has confiscated more than 200 acres of villagers’ land for their projects’ purpose.
  • The number of individuals who use and sell drugs like opium, yaba and marijuana has increased because young people have started to use these drugs more. Karen National Union [KNU] police officers in Ta Naw Th’Ree Township arrested more than 30 drug sellers at the KNU police gate in Kay village, Kay area, Ta Naw Th’Ree Township, Mergui-Tavoy District between June to September. Most drug sellers transfer drugs to Bamar villages on Ta Naw Th’Ree beach side and the Thai/Burma border side.
  • Drug users and sellers who were arrested by the KNU police officers have to go to KNU prison for 15 days and pay 300,000 kyats ($225.56 USD) as punishment.

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] 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] On January 12th 2012, a preliminary ceasefire agreement was signed between the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government in Hpa-an. Negotiations for a longer-term peace plan are still under way. For updates on the peace process, see the KNU Stakeholder webpage on the Myanmar Peace Monitor website. For KHRG's analysis of changes in human rights conditions since the ceasefire, see Truce or Transition? Trends in human rights abuse and local response since the 2012 ceasefire, KHRG, May 2014. In March 2015, the seventh round of the negotiations for a national ceasefire between the Burma/Myanmar government and various ethnic armed actors began in Yangon, see “Seventh Round of Nationwide Ceasefire Negotiations,” Karen National Union Headquarters, March 18th 2015. Following the negotiations, the KNU held a central standing committee emergency, see “KNU: Emergency Meeting Called To Discuss Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement And Ethnic Leaders’ Summit,” Karen News, April 22nd 2015.

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

[5] A standard refers to a school year in the education system of Burma/Myanmar. The basic education system has a 5-4-2 structure. Primary school runs from Standard 1 to Standard 5, lower secondary school is Standard 6 to Standard 9, and upper secondary school is Standard 10 to Standard 11.

[6] Civilian schools are not financially supported by either the KNU or Burma/Myanmar government, thus, parents of students who attend civilian schools often have to pay school fees to cover teachers’ salaries and classroom expenses.

[7] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the January 30, 2018 official market rate of 1,319 kyats to US $1.

[8] Certification that students receive in ‘civilian’ schools that are not supported by the KNU or Burma/Myanmar government is often not recognized by either authority as valid. For this reason, the principle had to make an agreement with the Burma/Myanmar Education Department to ensure that Standard Nine students would be recognized and thus able to continue on to Standard Ten in upper-secondary school. 

[9] KHRG has started to receive reports of land confiscation by the CKB Company, also known as the Green Dragon Myanmar Company, in Mergui-Tavoy District, “Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw A--, February 2017,” KHRG, 2017, “Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Taw Na Th’ree Township, 2017,” KHRG, 2017. According to the company website (https://www.greenmyanmardragon.com/about1-c221j) CKB Company currently has 20,000 acres of palm oil plantation and an additional 3,500 acres for further planting in Mergui-Tavoy District.

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

[11] 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 ceasefireKHRG, 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.

[12] Kaw la, is a Karen term which is sometimes used to refer to individuals in Burma/Myanmar who are perceived to have a darker skin colour. In Kayin state, it is often associated specifically with followers of Islam (Muslims), although this association is sometimes erroneous, and Muslim individuals do not typically self-identify with this term.