* To monitor human rights situations in Mon territory and other areas southern part of Burma

* To protect and promote internationally recognized human rights in Burma

 

human rights foundation of monland


Human Rights Publication 3/95 (May 15, 1995)


P. O. Box 11, Ratchburana, Bangkok 10140, Thailand

 

 

Brief Human Rights Abuses in Mon Territory

 

1. Human Rights Abuses in Thaton District

 

From the beginning of dry season up to the end of March, because of the SLORC launched the military operation combined Local Infantry Battalion No. 62 and 31, the Mon villagers in Kyaikmaraw township named Line, Kawkhalein, Kyaikabin, Palaingkamort, Kawgo, Kanni, Kawkyaik, Pinekamar,            Kawjamalein and Kotkataw, were constantly tortured and the many villagers escaped from the villages and displaced in jungle or in farmlands around the along side of Gaing River.

 

Starting dry season, when the SLORC launched military operation to this area, they continuously accused the local villagers as supporters of Mon troops and by accompanying with many kinds of human rights abuses were violated by them. The military operation of combination of Infantry Battalion No. 62 and No. 31 troops which based in Kawkarake Town and Kawbain village, was mostly led by Col. Ohn Myint [1] , Lt. Col. Than Win, Captain Aye Min, Captain Thin Hlaing and Captain Aung Lwin.

 

In September, the Battalion No. 62's about 100 troops led by Col. Ohn Myint came into Kotkataw and Line village to search for Mon rebels and arrested all men in the villages and tortured them to admit to SLORC troops who were the Mon rebels and the supporters of the rebels in their villages. Nai Phu, Nai Chit Palae, Nai Yu, Nai Hla Sein and Nai Hlein were severely tortured and detained for one week as they accused the supporters of Mon rebels. They also took some high-price belonging of villagers like video, engine of small rice mill, etc., from those villages.

 

In October, about 150 troops of the operation led by second commander Lt. Col. Than Win, Captain Aung Lwin and Captain Aye Min launched some offensives in this areas and arrested many villagers for portering. On the way, when the porters tried to flee, the troops shot them and also shot some shell into Kyaukapin, Kawgo, Palaingkamort and Line villages with launchers on October 28. Nai Nyein, Mehm Hla Tin, Mehm Kon Htaw and Mi Aye Kyi got shell injuries. The many kinds of taxation and the rice were constantly force-contributed to SLORC troops by the villagers.

 

In the third of November, Captain Aye Min led the 60 troops came into Kawkataw, Kawgo and Palaingkamort villages and arrested some villagers for portering. While the villagers were fleeing to escape for portering, the troops shot to them in Kawgo village and one villager, Nai Lon (age 25 years) died on spot. The some arrested villagers were terribly tortured by the troops as they tried to flee and the troops accused them as supporters of rebels by hiding the arms of the rebels. They also told to the villagers, they will accuse the villagers who were not in the villages when they came, were as Mon soldiers.

 

In last week of December and first week of January, Col. Ohn Myint led about 200 troops launched big offensive in this area and arrested many village headmen and villagers. When the troops came into those Line, Palaingkamort, Kyaukapin and Kawkataw villages, they arrested about 10 village

headmen and many villagers. In the interrogation, the soldiers fixedly covered the faces of the victims and poured water on their heads. Like severe torturing to them was actually to persuade them to show the arms hiding places of the rebels and told them to relocate the villages quickly. When the village headman replied it was impossible to relocate the villages and they were severely beaten by the troops.   Since then, most village headmen and villagers fled into jungle and took refuge in safe place. The administration of the villages were loose and the villagers were no longer tolerate to stay in their villages.  In last week of January, they ordered the villagers from those four villagers to relocate into Kawbain village where they have military outpost as soon as possible. After they issued the order, one abbot from Palaingkamort village approached them to not make the relocation and they angried to the abbot. As a result, the troops forcedly disrobed the abbot. After that, the most men in the villages did not dare to return and stay in the villages again.

 

In February, the troops issued an order mentioned that if the civilians were innocent or had no connection with rebels, they must stay in their village and must relocate into Kawbain village as the issued order before. If the villagers refused for their order, they will accuse those villagers as rebels. After the troops issued this order, they oftenly came into the villages and they destroyed some houses and took the belongings from the house which had no any man as they accused those men were rebels. For the family members of those men, also afraid to stay in the villages and fled to join their husbands in the jungle or in some farmlands to escape from the dangerous situations.

 

In March, the troops came into those villages oftenly and ordered to the villagers again and again to return back to their villages and to relocate their villages to another place. Because of the refusal of the villagers, on March 10, about 35 troops led by Col. Than Hlaing arrested the village headmen from Kawjamalein and Pinekamar villages and severely tortured them by allegation of having contacts Mon troops. With the same allegation, the troops also arrested the headmen Nai Seik (33 years) and Nai Chit (39 years) on March 11 and tortured them. Other arrested village headmen in this area were chairman Nai Aung Khin (52 years) and secretary Nai Maung Chit of Kwannaeparae village. Other village headmen from Kawkataw and Kawkyaik villages were also tortured by the same troops with allegation of supporting the Mon rebels. Then, many villagers fled into the jungle east of their villages and some villages were nearly and totally destroyed as nobody want to stay longer in the villages.

 

As the mentioned human rights abuses, the villagers had to abandon the villages and fled into safe places. But they cannot take refuge to refugee camp in Thai-Burma border, because the border area is very far away for their families to take refuge. Very few family arrived to Mon refugee camp Halockhani.

 

 

Human Rights Abuses in Moulmein District

 

In January 1995, before the SLORC launched military offensive against the Karen National Union (KNU) bases in Karen State, its local battalions had separately arrested Mon civilians for portering in Mudon, Thanbuzayat and Kyarinnseikyi townships of Moulmein District. In the second week of March, the Battalion No. 207 and Battalion No. 208 arrested nearly 1000 men in Kyarinnseikyi township. In the third week of January, the combination troops of Local Infantry Battalion No. 62 and Battalion No. 209 arrested nearly 600 men in Mudon township. In the Kyauktalone festival of Mundon township alone, about 220 men were arrested. The Battalion No. 62 also took responsibilities in arresting hundreds of men in Thanbuzayat township. The soldiers arrested those civilians from several places like on the streets, on the train and railway station, in markets and etc..

 

In February, the SLORC had confiscated rice from local farmers of Mudon township who were fail to serve "yearly selling rice to the government" in Mudon township. Since the BSPP (Burmese Socialist Program Party) before 1988, the government has bought rice from local farmers with low prices. In this cultivation year, the rice products in Mudon southern part villagers were reduced because of flood in rainy season. Thus, some farmers from Klortsot, Htonemine, Kwankhabawe and Yaungdawn villages. Since December of last year, the SLORC opened "rice buying centers" in several places of Mudon township to forcedly buy the rice from farmers. When the farmers from those mentioned villages were fail to sell to them until February, they alleged the farmers were encouraged by Mon troops to not sell them rice. Therefore, in second week of February, the military from the Light Infantry Battalion No. 209 and local SLORC supporters confiscated many baskets from those farmlands in their houses.

 

In recent March, by attempting to give more intensive pressure to the New Mon State Party, the SLORC troops have serenely tortured the local civilians in Mudon Township of Moulmein District after they accused having contact and helping the local troops of Mon National Liberation Army, the military faction of New Mon State Party.

 

On March 16, one company of Burmese troops led by Captain Tin Soe from Local Infantry Battalion No. 62 arrested some village headmen and ordinary villagers from the village in southern parts of Mudon township. Most of those villages are closely situated along and between the Mudon-Thanbyuzayat railway and motor road. Most of the villagers are local farmers who work for lowland rice-growing farms and rubber plantation. On that day, the troops came into Yaungdaung village and arrested the chairman of the village Nai Nee and went throughly to Hneepadaw and, also arrested the chairman of the village Nai Boe Ni and secretary Nai Nu. They sent those village headmen to Klortsot village in their outpost and they were severely tortured by the soldiers. The soldiers fixedly covered their faces with plastic bags and poured water on their head and beated them with rifle-butts and combat boots.

 

On the next day March 17, the soldiers from the same military battalion arrested other village headmen and leaders of SLORC village militia, by accusing them who were supporters of Mon troops and having contacts. On that day, they arrested the chairman of Doma village Nai Myint, the Secretary of Klortsot village Nai Chein, leader of Khapourhtaw village militia Nai Kwit, leader of Kwankhabawe village militia Nai Pan Kar, leader of Bae Dore village militia Nai Htuu and chairman of Kmar-aii village Nai Maung Myint arrested by soldiers and brought them the Klortsot military outpost and interrogated about the activities of Mon troops and members of the New Mon State Party in Mudon Township. Then, they also accused those village headmen and militia leaders who have constantly supported the Mon troops for taking bases in their village and establishing the administrative function of the New Mon State Party. They had tortured them by many kinds of atrocity. They detained them altogether with village headmen who they arrested on March 16. According to the victims, when the military interrogated them, some were came from Military Intelligence Service and they asked the questions very in detail and if they were dissatisfied, they ordered the soldiers to torture those arrested village leaders. After military detained and tortured them for three days, some were for four days, they released them. The soldiers also warned them to cut off their contacts with Mon rebels or if they continuously contacted with Mon rebels, they must be punished more severely than the present kinds of tortures. They also threatened those village leaders, if they did the same as before with Mon rebels, some village must be relocated which they thought the main bases of Mon rebels.

 

On March 23 in early the morning 2: 00 a.m., the same SLORC troops from Local Infantry Battalion No. 62 came into Kwankhabawe village and arrested three villagers by accusing the supporters of Mon troops. They were Mi Say, (women, ages 43 years), Nai Jek, (man, ages 36 years) and Nai Khapue, (man, ages 35 years). As soon as they arrested, they accused them who contacted the Mon troops and to admit they were supporters of Mon troops. Terribly, they fixedly covered the faces of those victims with plastic bags for many minutes to cut off breathing and to admit they were like supporters of Mon troops when they suffered nearly died. Then, the soldiers also continuously poured many gallons of water on their heads. According to the local villagers, the torturing of the soldiers lasted for one hour but no one died. After that they tied up those villagers and brought with them to the Htonemine village. When they arrived Htonemine village about 5: 00 a.m., they arrested another two villagers named Nai Saung (man, ages 45 years) and Nai Gone (man, ages 55 years), and again accused them who have regularly contacted the Mon troops as supporters of Mon troops. Then, the soldiers tortured those villagers by the same method they used in torturing of the Kwankhabawe villagers. The soldiers tied up those six villagers and brought them to the Klortsot village where they have military outpost there. They detained those villagers for four days and serenely tortured to admit they have had contacts with Mon troops. Also to show them the bases of Mon troops and the houses in the village who accepted the Mon soldiers when they arrived. At the same time of detention and torturing, the soldiers asked for ransoms to pay 25,000 Kyats per each. Therefore, the families of those victims had to sell their farmland, rubber plantation and other belongings to pay for ransoms within four days deadline. After they paid ransoms, the soldiers released them.

 

In the second week of April, they informed the village leaders of Kwankhabawe and Htonemine villages to meet them and they interrogated them about the Mon troops taking bases in their villages.  However, the village leaders admitted that some Mon officials of New Mon State Party had ever come into their village and although, they knew those Mon rebels came, they were unable to drive out them as the rebels also armed with guns.  The military did not satisfy on the suggestions of the village leaders and again, severely tortured them as the same kinds of atrocity before. At the end, the military did not accept any reasonably complaint of the village headmen and they warned for the second times, the village must be relocated if they continuously allowed the Mon rebels to come into their villages. And, the military issued an order to the village leaders that if the Mon troops or Mon officials came into their villages, they must kill those rebels and if not, their villages must be relocated.

 

On April 24, the soldiers from the same battalion had confiscated the rubber plantation lands which situated near the Yaungdaung village and planned to relocate the villagers of Kwankhabawe (manly 400 families resided) and Htonemine (over 300 families resided) villages. The owners of the rubber plantation were mostly from the Yaungdaung village and reportedly, they did not received any compensation from the military for confiscation of their valuable lands and rubber trees. By conscripting the labours of the villagers, the military cut down all rubber trees and make dear ground to settle the villagers. For the villagers under the vulnerable conditions of forced relocation by the soldiers, some villagers have fled from their village and hid in the forests near the Taungnyo mountain range which lied along the east part of Mudon-Thanbyuzayat motor road. The villagers, mostly, did not want to move away from their villages because they have costly surroundings their villages and possibly, their owned rubber plantation and low-rice farmlands are situated close to their villages.

 

 

Human Rights Abuses in Tavoy District

 

Since the beginning of dry season, by the time in October of last year, after the SLORC restarted the Ye-Tavoy railway construction, the local inhabitants of Mon, Karen and Tavoyan have constantly conscripted as slave-labours in the construction sites and have served for payments to the military to buy some facilities for the construction. For some village the payments were instructed by reasons to hire another labourers, if those villages unable to provide the military the needed labours for the work-scale of their village. To escape from the conscription of labours and many kinds of high taxation, the local inhabitants resided along the rail-route areas had to flee to the mountainous areas of eastern parts of Ye-Tavoy motor road and faced troubles such shortage of foods after the SLORC issued the orders and operated to cut off foods for whom staying in jungles and another worst abuses if they were arrested again by SLORC troops in their hiding places when the SLORC launched military operation which oftenly happened. (The brief outline conditions had been published in Human Rights Interviews 1/95)

 

In February, after the SLORC signed a gas exploitation agreement with foreign oil companies UNOCAL (USA) and TOTAL (France), the SLORC have tried to relocate many local Mon villages which were possible for Mon troops to take bases and attack the gas drilling areas and gas pipeline route areas.

To prevent such attacks of Mon troops in future, the SLORC destroyed one Mon village named Kyauktayan village in Yebyu Township. The Kyauktayan village was situated on the Andaman seacoast and in the consideration of SLORC troops, the village was in well position to attack the gas drilling areas by using fishing boat. On February 16, about 100 troops from SLORC's Light Infantry Battalion No. 406 led by Col. Aung Min and Lt. Col. Win Aung came into this village and arrested all village leaders and took them to Natkyisin where they have military outpost. And the soldiers ordered or forced them to move their villagers to Natkyisin. Mostly, as the villagers of Kyauktayan were fishermen and very impossible for them to move from their own village. Although the village headmen insisted for the impossible relocation of their villagers who were survival for fishing in seacoast, anyhow, the military did not accept their complaints and totally rejected. Then, the commander issued an order to move the village within one week without any complaint or, if not, the SLORC troops must destroy the village. In the situation when the villagers did not want to move, and on February 23, the troops came into their village again and destroyed all houses within two days and drove out all villagers from there. The Kyauktayan village had nearly 250 households. It was also very inconvenient for the villagers to move into Natkyisin village because they have nothing such as cashes to buy land and facilities to build new houses. Therefore, the villagers displaced in the jungle nearby and faced hardships to survive and at the same time, impossible to take refuge in the border areas as the village was far away from Mon refugees camp.

 

In March, after the survey team of gas pipeline was attacked by Karen troops, many local Karen and Mon villages were vulnerable to be forcedly moved by SLORC troops again. On March 8, when the Karen troops attacked the survey team, it was reportedly five workers died in the incident and many of them were wounded. Under the situation while the SLORC troops were angering to the rebel groups, on March 24, one Mon village named Taungchun was totally burnt down by SLORC troops because of the allegation of rebel base. About 80 troops of SLORC's Local Infantry Battalion No. 104 led by Lt. Aung Nyein, together with 40 porters, arrived to the Taungchun village in the night of March 23. As soon as they arrived, they arrested all men in the village and many men fled from the village at night time. They stayed in the village for one night and on the next day morning about 10: 00 a. m. the troops burnt down the villages and drove out all villagers from there and ordered them to move to Kyaethonenyima village. There were about 60 households in that village and mostly, the villagers were farmers.

 

In April, when the small fighting occurred near the Ah Mae village, the SLORC troops were angry to the Ah Mae villagers and later, forcedly moved the villagers. Since the beginning of March, the SLORC troops ordered the abbot of the village, to move all villagers to Kyaethong-nyima. But the villagers did not want to move from their village where they have stayed for longest time in there. After the villagers refused to move, the troops accused that the villagers were encouraged by Mon troops to refuse for the relocation. Thus, when the troops came into the village, they have confiscated all belongings of the villagers and arrested the villagers for portering or to show the way and to direct the bases of Mon troops. At the same time, the troops confiscated rice in the village for their troops and to sell it, and at the end, the rice in the village was empty. For the suffering villagers, they had no longer tolerate to stay in the village and abandoned their surroundings and farmlands and, escaped from the torturing of SLORC troops. On the eve of Mon New Year water festival (April 13), after the SLORC troops issued an order if they met someone in the village, they must kill every time, abbot left the village. Therefore, the village with 125 households was automatically destroyed and empty with villagers. The villagers were separately moved to their farmlands or in the jungle and many families enabled to escape to the border refugee camp, Payaw. (The Human Rights Interviews regarding Forced Relocation had been published in Publication 2/95)

 

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[1] Col. Ohn Myint was a SLORC commander who attacked one section of Halockhani Mon refugee camp on July 21 of last year,   He was the second commander of Infantry Battalion No, 62 at that time.   When one company troops of Battalion No. 62 led by him went back from Three Pagoda Pass to its headquarters in Thanbyuzayat of Mon State, the entered into Mon refugees and arrested many Mon refugees for portering and burnt down about 120 houses of Mon refugees.