Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Ma K---, (January 2018)


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Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Ma K---, (January 2018)

Published date:
Thursday, August 30, 2018

This Interview with Ma K--- describes events occurring in Ler Doh Soh Township, Mergui-Tavoy District, in January 2018, including cases of land confiscation, use of coercion by companies, and challenges in community mobilisation.

  • Continued development projects have resulted in ongoing land confiscations and land disputes in Tanintharyi region. Villagers and CSOs have reported instances in Dawei area where farmers are taken to court by the Myanmar government for harvesting or living on their customary lands.
  • Local communities are worried about the lack of transparency and access to justice.
  • Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and villagers face challenges in community mobilisation efforts. 


[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] The National League for Democracy (NLD) is the current political party that governs Burma/Myanmar. Led by Aung San Suu Kyi and President Htit Kyaw, the NLD won the General Elections in 2015 and came into power in 2016. For more information, see “Burma Country Report,” HRW, 2017, and for additional background information, “Foundation of Fear: 25 Years of Villager’s Voices from Southeast Myanmar,” KHRG, 2017.

[4] 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 12th2012 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 government 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.