Hpapun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, February to March 2018


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Hpapun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, February to March 2018

Published date:
Thursday, May 24, 2018

This Situation Update describes events occurring in Lu Thaw Township, Hpapun District during the period between February and March 2018, including information about fighting, internal displacement, education, health and livelihoods challenges.

  • The Tatmadaw have been reconstructing a military road in Karen National Union (KNU) territory between Ler Mu Plaw and Kay Pu village tracts since November 2017 without permission from local civilians or KNU authorities.
  • The Tatmadaw’s road construction damaged local communities’ lands, plain and hill farms and reserved forests without any prior consultation and compensation for those impacted.
  • Fighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) on March 5th 2018 and lasted until March 12th 2018, forcing 2,295 individuals from Ler Mu Plaw, Saw Mu Plaw and Kay Pu village tracts to become internally displaced.  
  • Civilian home guards were shot on sight by Tatmadaw soldiers and buffalos were killed and injured by shrapnel from mortar shells in March 2018.
  • Civilians urged the Tatmadaw to withdraw their troops and stop the vehicle road construction between Ler Mu Plaw and Kay Pu village tracts, Lu Thaw Township.


[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] Tatmadaw refers to the Myanmar military throughout KHRG's 25 year reporting period. The Myanmar military were commonly referred to by villagers in KHRG research areas as SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) from 1988 to 1997 and SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) from 1998 to 2011, which were the Tatmadaw-proclaimed names of the military government of Burma. Villagers also refer to Tatmadaw in some cases as simply "Burmese" or "Burmese soldiers".

[4] The Karen National Union is the main Karen group opposing the government

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

[6] Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs are individuals or groups who are forced to flee their homes but do not travel across international borders, and thus do not fall under the definition of a ‘refugee’ as defined in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

[7] The number of IDPs and endangered civilians are estimates from the period between March 3rd and March 16th, and have changed since this situation update was written.

[8] 'Home guard' or gher der groups have been organised locally in parts of northern Karen State to address Tatmadaw operations targeting civilians and the resulting acute food insecurity. Villagers interviewed by KHRG have reported that gher der were established with the objective of providing security for communities of civilians in hiding, particularly when those communities engage in food production or procurement activities, and when other modes of protection are unavailable. For more on the gher der see: “Self-protection under strain: Targeting of civilians and local responses in northern Karen State,” KHRG, August 2010