A Karen Community Leader, Saw O Moo, Was Murdered by Tatmadaw forces in Hpapun District, April 2018

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A Karen Community Leader, Saw O Moo, Was Murdered by Tatmadaw forces in Hpapun District, April 2018

Published date:
Friday, June 15, 2018

On April 5th 2018, Saw O Moo was murdered by Tatmadaw forces on the edge of Htee Hsee Hta Plaw [also known as T'Ree Plaw] farm area, Ler Mu Plaw village tract, Lu Thaw Township. He was on his way back home from a meeting to organise humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs). Until now, the Tatmadaw has refused to allow his family to retrieve his body and bury it according to the traditional Karen way. This News Bulletin will pay tribute to the important work that Saw O Moo did for his community, and will analyse how his murder violated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) Code of Conduct. [1]

Footnotes

[1] This News Bulletin was written by KHRG office staff and is based on information from a community member from Hpapun District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor local human rights conditions. It summarises information from two situation update and tow interview received by KHRG in April. 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.

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

[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] IDP refers to an internally displaced person.

[5] 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.

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

[7] For detial informaiton about Saw O Moo's case see "Saw O Moo: Defender of Indigenous Karen Territories, the Environment and Way of Life", KESAN, May 2018.

[8] This information is taken from unpublished report received in May 2018.

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

[10] 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. Karen civilians and the KNU have more recently expressed their concerns about the lack of progress in moving from a ceasefire towards genuine political dialogue. See, KNU Chair Highlights Weaknesses In The NCA During Anniversary Celebrations, Karen News, October 2017 and NCA signatories urge govt to reboot peace process, DVB, October 2017. In February 2018, two additional armed ethnic groups signed the NCA under pressure from the Burma/Myanmar government.

[11] See "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" UDHR, December 1948. 

[12] See "Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Live" ICRC, 1949.

[13] For more detail information please see "Military news group", Tatmadaw Defence Services Office, April 2018.

[14]For more detail information please see "Tatmadaw Claims Killed Karen Community Leader Was a Plainclothes Fighter", The Irrawaddy, April 2018.

[15]For more detail information please see "A Tribute to Saw O Moo – Karen Enviroment and Social Action Network", Burma Link, April 2018.

[16] "Hpapun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, February to March 2018", KHRG, May 2018.

[17] For more detail information please see "Tatmadaw Claims Killed Karen Community Leader Was a Plainclothes Fighter", The Irrawaddy, April 2018.