Toungoo Situation Update: Htantabin Township, August to October 2017


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Toungoo Situation Update: Htantabin Township, August to October 2017

Published date:
Friday, February 16, 2018

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Htantabin Township, Toungoo District during the period between August and October 2017, including healthcare, education, villagers’ livelihoods, gambling, Tatmadaw activities and location.

  • In the period between August and September 2017, the Tatmadaw based in Toungoo District is led by Military Operation Command (MOC) #13 and actively maintains at least two Tactical Operations Command and eight Light Infantry Battalions. Villagers report increased tensions after the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) refused to follow Tatmadaw orders to remove KNLA checkpoints in Shway Naung Pin village and Na Hsel Ta Maing area.

  • In August 2017, KNU Toungoo District administrators investigated and arrested U Kyaw U for committing a financial fraud and ordered two Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers who had allowed the fraud to take place to temporarily resign from their positions for six months.

  • As villagers in Thandaunggyi Township do not have a sufficient amount of available teachers, villagers have recruited recently graduated students and people from religious groups to be teachers. 


[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] Military Operations Command (MOC) is comprised of ten battalions for offensive operations. Most MOCs have three Tactical Operations Commands (TOCs) made up of three battalions each.

[4] 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.

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

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

[7] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the January 25th 2018 official market rate of 1,326.11 kyats to US $1.

[8] 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. 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, “Ongoing militarisation in southeast Myanmar,” KHRG, October 2016 and “Dooplaya Field Report: A quasi-ceasefire? Developments after the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, from January to December 2016,” KHRG, September 2017.

[9] The Karen National Union's Education Department. The main goals of the KED are to provide education, as well as to preserve Karen language and culture. During the civil war in Burma/Myanmar the KED became the main organisation providing educational services in the KNU controlled areas in southeast Burma/Myanmar. The KED also previously oversaw the educational system in the seven refugee camps along the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border, however in 2009 these activities were restructured under the Karen Refugee Committee – Education Entity (KRCEE). See "Conflict Erupts over Govt teachers deployed to KNU areas," Karen News, August 20th 2013 and the KRCEE website: "About," accessed July 21st 2015.

[10] 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.