Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: K’Ser Doh and Ler Muh Lah townships, December 2017 to February 2018

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Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: K’Ser Doh and Ler Muh Lah townships, December 2017 to February 2018

Published date:
Thursday, July 26, 2018

This Situation Update describes events that occurred in Kleh Muh Htee [village tract], K’ser Doh Township and M’saw [village tract], Ler Muh Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District. It includes information about the health conditions of internally displaced people (IDPs), corporal punishment in local schools, lead mining, drug use, logging and land confiscations. 

  • Teachers in K’Ser Doh Township have been giving out corporal punishments to their students, raising concerns in the local community.
  • Lead mining has contaminated streams and rivers throughout Mergui-Tavoy. Rural populations are dependent on them for their water supply.
  • In 2018, drug use is becoming more widespread throughout Mergui-Tavoy District, due to weak enforcement by the national authorities.
  • In 2017, a former KNLA soldier started a logging business in Maw Nee village, without the consent of the local community. This has caused heavy deforestation in the area.   
  • The Asia World Company confiscated land from local villagers in M’Saw to develop a palm oil plantation. They did not provide proper compensation. Many households remain displaced.

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

[4] 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.

[5] All conversion estimates for the kyat in this report are based on the July 26, 2018 official market rate of 1,445 kyat to US $1.

[6] Yaba 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.

[7] Asia World is a Burma/Myanmar company with significant investments in the shipping industry, infrastructure, and plantations in Myanmar. It is known within Burma/Myanmar as Shwe Swan In. Asia World and its additional companies owned by Myanmar national Stephen Law were added to the US Sanctions list in July 2016 due to their historic and continued links to the Burma/Myanmar military regime, see “US extends sanctions, further targets Asia World,”Myanmar Times, May 17th 2016. KHRG analysed the impact of Asia World and other private company’s roles in development in Chapter 6: Development, “Foundation of Fear: 25 years of villagers’ voices from southeast Myanmar,” October 2017, KHRG. In KHRG’s operation area of Toungoo District, Asia World constructed a hydroelectric dam resulting in damage to villagers’ land and the relocation of villagers, see “Toungoo Interview: Saw H---, April 2011,” KHRG, September 2012 and continue to develop on land traditionally used by villagers, see “Toungoo Field Report: Slow transitions towards real change, January to December 2015,” January 2017, KHRG. Additionally, in Mergui-Tavoy District, Asia World confiscated villagers’ land for plantations, see “Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: Ler Muh Lah and Ta Naw Tree Townships, January to June 2015,” KHRG, October 2015.