* 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 Report 1/97 (May, 1997)
___________________________________________________________________

 

Report One

The Forced Purchasing of Paddy in Mon State

 

Report Two

Golden Jubilee Mon National Day was Prohibited and other Oppression against Mon Literature and Culture

 

Some Acronyms

SLORC - State Law and Order Restoration Council,

NMSP - New Mon State Party

 

 

Report One

 

 

The Forced Purchasing of Paddy in Mon State

The Set Amount of Paddy and Related Abuses by Government


Like other farmers in the whole country, the farmers in Mon State were also forced to sell their rice at the beginning of 1997. The government authorities created paddy buying centers in the whole Mon State and forced the farmers to sell their rice at low price. All farmers are required to sell about 12 baskets (the unit weight of one basket paddy is 46 pounds) per acre and if they refused they must be punished. The SLORC has set the price of one basket of paddy is only 80 Kyats while the farmers can get about 400-500 Kyats in the market price.

 

In Mon State, among ten townships, the villagers and town residents from Thaton, Paung, Kyaik-ma-yaw, Chaung Zon, Mudon, Thanbyuzayat and Ye have large rice-fields and have to sell a huge amount of paddy to the government. For example, according to the instruction of Township LORC of Mudon, the farmers in the whole area were forced to sell about 872,000 baskets of paddy to government. About 9 paddy buying centers were opened in the whole township's area and every farmer had to send their paddy to the nearest paddy buying center. The duration of purchasing these all amounts of paddy was defined from December 9, 1996 to February 12, 1997.

 

Similarly, Thanbyuzayat township's farmers were instructed to sell about 400,000 baskets of paddy while Ye township's farmers were instructed to sell about 500,000 baskets. Before the NMSP agreed for a ceasefire with military regime, the SLORC troops could not reached to the whole areas of these two township and could not get according to their set amount of paddy. After ceasefire, the SLORC troops went into every villages and forced the farmers to sell their rice. But the farmers from the areas under the SLORC firm control such as Mudon, Kyaik-ma-yaw, Chaung Zon, Paung, Thaton townships, were constantly forced to sell the constant amount of paddy to the government.

 

The military also instructed to the farmers the quality of paddy they needed and if the quality was low or not reached to the defined standard, it must be refused by authorities. The authorities also instructed to farmers to not sell the paddy after it was wet by rain water or later was drought by sunshine, unclear paddy with mud, paddy with yellow colour seed, paddy with low quality and small seed and etc.. In addition, to get high quality paddy, they also forced to sell the real rice from their farm and did not allow buying low quality paddy and sell to them.

 

In Mudon township, the military and township LORC instructed the farmers to sell the set amount of paddy before the end of January. At the beginning of February, the authorities including soldiers arrested the farmers who did not finish or refuse to sell the set amount of rice. In some villages, the villagers had to flee from their homes and the authorities went into every house and took the paddy from their paddy-store. In some cases, the farmers were arrested and his paddy was also confiscated.

 

Because of this forcible confiscation of paddy, about 44 houses of farmers in Hneepadaw village, Mudon township, was burnt into ashes by sudden flame from a house kitchen. When the authorities, village security forces and soldiers came into village to arrest farmers and confiscate paddy on 6 February about 1:00 p.m. afternoon, all villagers fled from their homes. In one house, while a housewife was cooking for foods, she was taken by soldiers to find her husband to come home. The flame from her kitchen spread to her whole house and then to a whole section of the village. Most villagers fled out of the section and all their houses and belongings were burnt into ashes. Estimatedly, the villagers lost about 16 million Kyats totally in cash because of this flame and the government did not inquiry the incident to pay compensation or provide any humanitarian help to the victims.

 

In addition, in March, the SLORC authorities and soldiers went into Kalortort village, Mudon township, to arrest the farmers and take the paddy. In some houses, besides they took paddy from the store, they also took other valuables and other belongings from the houses. One farmer from this village said to our human rights workers that:

 

On that day, the township authorities, village security forces (pyi-thu-sit) and soldiers came into village and climbed every house in our section. When they reached to my house, the soldiers arrested my husband and put him on the truck to take him to Mudon. They went to our paddy-store and destroyed its wall and took all paddy to their paddy truck (10 wheel trucks). The authorities told me that we left to sell them about 70 baskets and now we have only 50 baskets, so they said to buy paddy and give them. I explained to them I have no cash to buy paddy and the commander angered to me and shout me to go out. Then the soldiers and authorities climbed to my house and take all our belongings such as my necklaces in my bed room, my son's tape cassette recorder, clock, steel carriage cage and others.

 

Similarly, the farmers from Paung, Kyaikmayaw, Thanbyuzayat, Ye were also arrested by the SLORC officials and soldiers and detained in short imprisonment term for their failure of selling set amount of rice to the government.   While they were detained, the soldiers or polices also mistreated them such as beating or putting them in a dog-cell.

 

 

For instance,

In the first week of March, a farmer, Nai Tim Ye (47 years old) from Wetae village, Mudon township, was severely tortured by soldiers and township policemen because of his constant refusal to sell the paddy. They beat him with gun butts and fists. His whole back was severely injured and some tooth were broken.

 

 

SLORC Set Order in Forced Purchasing of Paddy from Farmers

 

To realize how the SLORC is instructing to conduct forced purchasing paddy from the farmers and we also gathered a set order instructed by the Secretary of Mudon Township LORC to all quarters (in town) and villages' chairmen to set up paddy buying centers and purchase paddy from farmers. The list of the set amount of paddy was also attached with this order.

 

Here is the translation of a set order by Mudon township LORC in forcing the local farmers to sell their rice.

 

 

Township Law and Order Restoration Council

Mudon Township, Mudon Town,

Letter No. 060/2-5/Township LORC

Date: December 19, 1996.

 

To

Chairman

Quarter/ Village Law and Order Restoration Council (All)

Mudon Township

 

SUBJECT: Purchasing paddy from farmers

 

We set this order to all Quarter/ Village LORC that in the paddy purchasing season of 1996/1997, you must have to buy to complete 827,000 baskets of paddy from the whole township according to instruction of the State. You must have to instruct the farmers to sell 12 baskets of paddy per acre and the set date is from December 9,1996 through February 12, 1997. You must have to complete this duty on this deadline. Please inform the farmers in the respective area that we will not accept the following kind of paddy.

 

The kinds of unaccepted paddy are,

 

(1) The wet paddy by rain,

(2) The already wet paddy (but is drought) by rain

(3) The paddy with mud or sprout,

(4) The paddy with yellow seed,

(5) The paddy with low dwarf seed,

(6) The paddy which unreached to qualified standard of respective sort,

(7) The low quality paddy bought and replaced from other farm,

 

(Signature)

Chairman,

(Myint Soe)

Secretary,

Township LORC Mudon Township

 

 

Note: The list of the amount of the paddy to purchase in "1996-1997 paddy purchasing season" is also attached.

 

 

The list of the amount of paddy, 1996-1997 paddy purchasing season

Mudon Township, Mon State (The respective paddy purchasing center and the villages)

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.  Name of paddy  

        purchasing center          

Villages to sell to center

The set amount             Total amount of of paddy                         of paddy

1.         Phar-out

Kawkhani

Naungkhari

Kya-Inn

Kawkhamae

Phar-out

Yogo

5825

2810

6990

22735

21810

9840

Total

70000                              70000

2.          Kway-one

Tharpaton

Kway-one Naingpraing Kyauktalone Mainganane

16000

14900

18900

2500

6700

Total

69000                               69000

3. Town quarter (1)

Kawkhapone

Kwantar

Baeyan               Kinchaung

Quarter (1)

Quarter (4)

15335

10600

4200

3415

19050

12400

Total

75000                               75000

4. Town quarter (2)

Quarter (2)

Quarter (3) Kyonephaik

Wet-tae

Nyaung-gone

30500

24500

11000

9000

50000

Total

135000                           135000

5. Tagondaing

Tagondaing

Tawku

Kyaik-ywe

21000

18000

16000

Total

55000                              55000

6. No. 078 center

 

 

 

 

Teingon

Gone-nyin-tan Naunghlon

Ah-kun

 

Total

70000

5000

40500

3599

 

12000                            12000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. No. 079 center               Kamawet

66000

 

 

                                          Seintaung

                                          Taungkay                               

52000

29000

 

 

                                          Total

147000

            147000

 

8. Kalortort                       Phaedow

6500

 

 

                                          Kalortort

26000

 

 

                                          Kawpeehtaw

                                          Taung-pa

                                          Htone-mun

15000

30000

3500

 

 

                                          Kwankabyue

                                          Doema

                                          Set-twae

                                          Hneepadaw

                                          Yaungdaung

                                           Kwan-hlar                                                                               

7500

5200

6300

12500

5500

22000

 

 

                                          Total                           

140000

             140000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Kawparan                           Kawparan

                                               Kadonepaw

                                               Balout                 

23820

3560

9620

 

 

                                               Waegaleet

                                               Kamar-oat

1600

5400

 

 

                                               Nae-kyaw

17000

 

 

                                               Total

17000

               17000

 

GRAND TOTAL                    28 villages

872000

                872000

 

 

 

Report Two

 

Golden Jubilee Mon National Day was Prohibited and other Oppression against Mon Literature and Culture

 

The Prohibition of Mon National Day

On the eve of the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day, on 21 February, the prepared celebration in most towns of the whole Mon State were ordered to stop by the SLORC's intelligence and local authorities. This order was issued and instructed to concerned local authorities by No. 5 Military Intelligence Battalion based in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State.

 

This forcible prevention of the Mon National Day made the whole Mon populace to be angry and created more dissatisfaction on the government. The Mon community leaders including Buddhist monks and university students have celebrated the Mon National Day at township and village level every year and this day has been performed as a very important day for the Mon people to remember the day of establishment of Mon kingdom in Pegu.

 

As a special occasion to celebrate the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day, the Mon people have prepared for nearly three months before this day to conduct a smooth and proper ceremonies. The respective celebration committees were formed in villages and towns. Each celebration committee sent representatives and a Central Celebration Committee, Golden Jubilee Mon National Day was formed in Moulmein and attempted to celebrate a biggest celebration in Moulmein and invited all community leaders in the whole Mon State to attend this ceremony.

 

The central celebration committee also asked the SLORC to allow the ceremony in "Maing Dar" ground, a biggest ground in Moulmein where the Mon National Day was celebrated every year in the past. But the authorities rejected the request on the eve of the cerebration. They were informed by the intelligence officers that the celebration was barred definitely and it was unnecessary to celebrate Mon National Day because the SLORC has always celebrated the Mon State Day, on March 19, every year for the Mon people. They also added if the Mon people would like to celebrate this day, they must hold in monasteries or other religious buildings and did not allow in public grounds.

 

After the formation of celebration committees, the members had tried hard in preparing in every sector such as collecting funds, distributing pamphlets, requesting and preparing the suitable grounds, and etc.. When all preparing processes were nearly completed, the celebration was officially prohibited. Thus, on 18 February, the central celebration committee decided not to celebrate the Mon National Day without in a public ground. The committee also declared that the Golden Jubilee was invisible to celebrate inside a monastery or religious building and stopped celebration.

 

 

An excerpt of the declaration was:

 

Like other ethnic nationalities in Burma, we, people, warmly accept the 1st Wanning Tapotwe day is an historic and important day for us to celebrate the Mon National Day. Additionally, we have been waiting for the coming of the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day for several years (in this century). Meanwhile, we, the central celebration committee, have attempted and prepared to celebrate a most brilliant ceremony of  the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day in this year. (..................)

However, we, Mon people, are unlucky, because after several rounds of discussion with government authorities, the celebration is absolutely prohibited to celebrate in Maing Dar ground.

 

If we celebrate this day in other places instructed by the authorities, the ceremony must be faint and

invisible like the golden jubilee.   (..........)   Therefore, due to the 18 February meeting of the central

celebrating committee, we decided to not celebrate this day.

 

The central celebrating committee adopted three objectives to celebrate the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day as below:

 

(1) To remember the native and historical background of the Mon people.

 

(2) To achieve the strong unity among the Mon people.

 

(3) To achieve the national reconciliation among all ethnic races in the Union of Burma.

 

These objectives are faint arid we express sorrowfulness to all Mon people for the impossible situation to celebrate the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day.

 

Like Mon National Day in Moulmein, the authorities also prohibited the celebration in other towns such as Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, Ye and Paung.

 

This behaviour is an action of the military regime in preventing democratic and ethnic rights in Burma. Since the military came into power, like other ethnic nationalities and democratic opposition, the Mon people have been deprived of rights to enjoy freedom of expression and assembly.

 

 

Other Oppression against the Mon Literature and Culture

 

Besides the forced prohibition of the Golden Jubilee Mon National Day, the activities for the promotion of Mon literature and culture were also constantly disturbed by the government. At the same time, the SLORC has also attempted to stop the Mon Education System adopted by the NMSP and the local community.

 

In every dry season from the beginning of March to the end of April, the Mon community leaders including Buddhist monks and university students arranged for the dry season literacy training to teach the Mon language to children and adults. This kind of training have been managed by the community for more than ten years in village and town levels. This training was initiated in local villages and later separated to the towns. The government authorities have felt very unhappy for this training arranged by the Mon community leaders and have always make troubles when they have chance.

 

Even though the authorities have tried to disturb, the promotion of the Mon literature was unstopped and more and more training courses were conducted in more several Mon villages. First of all, the authorities did not allow to use the government schools, which were built and paid by the villagers, to use as training centers. Only some villages, where the village leaders were willing to participate and encourage for the training, had chance to use the schools. If the authorities allowed to use the schools, the community could organize more students and the training was more well-known.

 

Sometimes, the authorities also came to the village and met concerned community leaders and warned officially to stop the arrangement of the teaching of Mon language. Though many community leaders were warned to stop but they continued their activities and when one leader was arrested, the others continued. Later on, the authorities could not stop the training.

 

Since 1996, the authorities changed the tactics in suppressing the literacy training. While the community leaders were running the training, the authorities also came in and conducted another training such as the Buddhist Cultural Training, in the town and villager levels to divide the students and attempt to weaken the Mon literacy training.

 

In an interview with a Buddhist monk from Kamawet village, Mudon township, he explained:

 

In this dry season literacy training, there are more students than the last year. Their parents agree to bring their children to the monasteries. Here, in the training, the monks teach them how to read and write Mon language and in the evening, college students also teach the children about the traditional Mon dancing. They are happy to come to the training.

 

We started teaching of Mon language for about 8 years already. Before that we just taught the boys, novices, monks who stayed with us and later more children came and the training was begun, while the government school was closed. Last three years ago, we had chance to use the government primary schools for dry season training.

 

These schools were built by the villagers but the government came and put their sign-boards. When the student numbers grew up in the training, they stopped us not to use the schools as training center. Then we moved into monasteries' compound and arranged for the training. But in the monasteries, we had no desks, chairs and other materials like for a smooth training and prepared for the best as we can. Anyhow, we could provide the students who have strong desire to study the Mon language.

 

In this dry season, after we started the training for one week, the authorities from Mudon also came and opened a Buddhist Cultural Training, which is taught in Burmese. They forced the village leaders and security forces to conduct this training and thus village leaders and members of security forces send their children to that training. They also encourage their closest friends to send their children to that training. This is the way they challenge our training. But very few number left from our training.

 

By using several kinds of tactics the SLORC has always tried to stop the promotion of the Mon literature and culture in its controlled area. This Mon literacy training is remained as an important activity for the survival of the century-long Mon literature and the identity of the Mon people. According to their Burmanization policy, the successive government have attempted to assimilate the Mon people to became Burman and forced the Mon children to learn Burmese only in their schools.

 

Moreover, the suppression against the Mon Education System is continuous in rural area. In the rural Mon villages, where there are no government school, have created the Mon National Schools and run the Mon Education System. In the schools, all subjects are taught by Mon language except Burmese and English. This education system was invented by NMSP for two decades and the community leaders in the area maintained the system. Since NMSP-SLORC ceasefire in 1995, the SLORC has constantly attempted to stop this education system.

 

In 1996, the SLORC troops also forced many Mon teachers to leave from these schools and forced the villagers to build the new schools to put the government education system. In 1997, the Mon villagers were still under the pressure to abandon the Mon teaching system and accept the government system.

 

 

For instance,

 

In Thaung Pyin village of Ye township, although the villagers have accepted the Mon education system for over 10 years, but the authorities came and pressured the village headman to build a government school. They forced the village headman to collect cash from the villagers in March and April, to build a new government school which costs about 2 million Kyat.

 

In Kya-Inn-Seikyi township area, many Mon teachers were, threatened to leave the Mon schools and if not, they must be arrested. Many teachers left the schools and sought other jobs. It was similarly in Yebyu township. In some villages in both townships, after the Mon teachers left from the schools, there were still no government school. The village children lost to continue their education.

 

Under this circumstance, the Mon people have tried hard for the survival of the Mon literature, culture and identity. The successive governments have continuously restricted all activities and the related killings, arrests, detentions, torturings and other maltreatments were always committed by the government officials and soldiers.