News, Personal Accounts, Report & Analysis on Human Rights Situation in Mon Territory and Other Areas Southern Part of Burma
The Mon Forum
Issue No. 7/2001
July 31, 2001
The Publication of Human Rights Foundation of Monland (BURMA)
(1) Civilians in area along Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline are in trouble,
(2) Arbitrary killing of villagers by LIB No. 343 in Ye Township,
(1) Breach of rule of law and continuous forced labour in southern part of Burma,
Some Acronyms in This Issue
SPDC - State Peace and Development Council,
SLORC - State Law and Order Restoration Council,
IB - Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
LIB - Light Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
USDA - Union Solidarity and Development Association (a support group to SPDC}
NMSP - New Mon State Party,
KNU - Karen National Union,
KNLA - Karen National Liberation Army
ILO - International Labour Organization,
ILC - International Labour Conference
Civilians in area along Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline are in trouble
After SPDC constructed and lied route for new gas pipeline from Kanbauk to Myaingkalay, a village in Pa-an Township of Karen State, in which SPDC has a cement factory, the civilians in Mon State are demanded to provide security cost and farmers are in trouble to manage water flow in their farms in April and May 2001 for cultivation, according to some civilians in Thanbyuzayat and Mudon Township of Mon State.
From beginning of 2001 till the end of April, Burmese Army's IB No. 31, that bases in Thanbyuzayat town of Mon State, have demanded the village headmen and militia forces from Pa-nga, Karote-pi, Wae-kara, Wae-rat, An-khae and Htin-yuu villages, to provide 5 militiamen from each village. IB No. 31 took these militiamen, combined with their troops and launched military patrols along gas pipeline, with purpose to stop disturbance, which could be created by rebels. Cap. Myo Thiha led the military operation.
In SPDC's military battalion, like IB No. 31, it remains fewer soldiers after it sent for offensives in border area and conscripts militiamen from every village and operates patrol in Township area. But, IB No. 31 have not provided any assistance for those militiamen and ordered the concerned village headmen to support these militiamen with foods and salaries. In many villages in Township area, the army formed militia force with 10 men to 20 men depending on village population and household number. The militia force's main responsibility is to safeguard their villages from the robber)' and kidnapping. However, while IB No. 31 has less number of soldiers in their base, the commander conscripted village militiamen to act as soldiers to take security of pipeline. And, the civilians in villages have to support those militiamen with foods and special payment during they were in operation. The village headmen collected 300-500 Kyat from each household to pay for those militiamen and some rice for their foods.
As the pipeline passes through many paddy farms in Mudon and Thanbyuzayat Townships, the farmers could not make water canals like the previous year they had done to transfer and balance water levels in their farms. Many farmlands are divided into two parts and farmers have faced more difficult situation to plough their lands and created better land conditions.
In July, in Mudon township, after a piece of pipeline is thrown away by water and later when the authorities tried to get their pipe, some paddy plants were destroyed. However, they did not pay any compensation cost for the loss of paddy plants.
Actually, while this Kanbuauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline is supporting the regime operated cement factor}' and for the profit of corporations involved, many thousands acre of lands owned civilians have been confiscated by the local authorities without compensation cost. Additionally, this gas pipeline also creates some impacts on the livelihood of local agriculture communities.
Arbitrary killing of villagers by LIB No. 343 in Ye Township
On June 6, 2001, a commander of LIB No. 343, Maj. Lin Oo killed two Mon men and tortured a Mon woman from Kaw-hlaing village, which locates in southern part of Ye Township, in front of other villagers with accusation of rebel-supporters, said a local villagers who met with our human rights workers.
In the morning of June 6, LIB No. 343 military column with 200 troops arrived to that village after they patrol in the area. Soon they arrived, they arrested two men, Nai Bo (30 years old) and Nai Myaing (35 years old), and another woman, whose name was unknown. The soldiers made arrests with accusation of rebel-supporters, and they believed these men and women have supported a Mon splinter group, which has launched military activities against the rebels.
After arrest, the commanders ordered his soldiers to interrogate one man, Nai Bo, first. During their interrogation, they also beat, kicked and cut his body with knives. After severe torturing, at mid-day, the soldiers gathered all villagers and Maj. Lin Oo, himself stabbed into the man's stomach with his knife until dead.
After a man died, the soldiers brought arrested woman and interrogated her again about the rebel troops' activities. Wherever she answered she did not know about Mon splinter group activities, she was beaten. At the end after they could not get satisfy answer from her, they also stabbed her hands with knives. And they also cut her mouth because they believed she did not give the true answer. But the soldiers did not kill her.
Then, they continuously tortured another man, Nai Myaing, and forced him to admit he was a contact person to rebel soldiers. They similarly tortured him severely while they did not get satisfied answers. At the end, they brought him outside of the villages at 5 o'clock in the evening and killed him outside of the village by stabbing with knife.
While they were torturing the villagers, although the village headmen guaranteed these villagers were not rebel-supporters, but the commander did not listen to them. Before the soldiers left from village, the commander also announced to villagers that if they try contact to rebels, they must be killed. And they left from village.
In southern part of Ye township area, troops of a Mon splinter group, have launched military activities and some fighting with Burmese Army often occurred. Whenever the fighting happened the villagers nearby were always accused as rebel-supporters.
After execution of those villagers, although the village headmen informed to LIB No. 343 battalion, the commander Maj. Lin Oo was not brought to trial and not dismissed from the battalion. He was moved from that area as a duty that many battalions needed to implement. The civilians in the area said, they never heard he was punished for killing the innocent villagers.
Breach of Rule of Law and Continuous Forced Labour in Southern Part of Burma
I. ILO's Actions on Burma
In coming September 2001, ILO (International Labour Organization) plans to send a High-Level Team to Burma to investigate whether the regime, SPDC and its local administration authorities and armed force (tatmadaw) members have stopped the practices of requisition of forced labour (the so-called lote-ar-pay) in many parts of Burma.
Accordingly our local HURFOM (Human Rights Foundation of Monland) human rights workers', reports, the requisition of forced labour have still continued in many rural areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tenasserim Division until the end of July, 2001. When they talked with local civilians in rural area who have to work for army battalions especially said, they never received any payment for the labour they have contributed.
After additional order issued by SPDC's Ministry of Home Affairs supplementing to the order 1/99, to stop requisition of forced labour, most administration authorities in lower part of Burma have stopped their practices. However, tatmadaw members have not stopped requisition of forced labour and did not follow both order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order. In October 2000 order it clearly mentioned that members of armed force must stop the requisition of forced labour.
During the month from to June to July before ILO High-Level Team to Burma, SPDC regime and the local authorities tried to close information down that related to all cases of the requisition of forced labour. There are some evidences of the authorities' meetings with civilians in Mon State and other areas in southern part of Burma. Since ILO Governing Body's review on the case of forced labour in Burma and before ILO special sitting on Burma in June, the members of armed forces, have conscripted many civilians as porters during porter service and other works of construction and agriculture for army.
II. Breach of "rule of law"
Under the rule of military regime, the local authorities or military commanders have the highest authority in their respective control area. They could do what they liked without caring the existing laws and orders. In period under the rule of the then regime, SLORC and the current SPDC, the regime could adopt their administrative power in towns and villages by relying on their military battalions or commanders in the area.
Most parts of rural areas are under SPDC semi-control and therefore, it remained dependent on military battalions in these area. Thus, justice and rule of law could not come into existence in these area for several years.
In many cases, after SPDC's order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order, the civilians in both urban and rural areas have not protected according to the orders and laws. The authorities have not explained the detail description of these orders to the people and orders have been just for a show to ILO and international organizations. The authorities and members of armed force have not shown interest on these orders and the higher authorities also have not made much input above their subordinates to follow these orders. While SPDC distributed October 2000 order, it reached only to headmen in village tracts and villages in rural areas and SPDC authorities in urban area, but the explanation of this order to civilians were conducted in many places.
After receiving October order, although members of SPDC administrative
authorities reduced the practices of requisition of forced labour or conducted more secret requisitions of forced labour, but tatmadaw members who have a high authority in every respective area, have still conscripted compulsory labour from the civilians in rural areas. Tatmadaw members have conscripted many rural civilians as porters during their military operation and offensives against rebel armed forces in southern part of Burma, Mon State, Karen State and Tenasserim Division.
In the new military employment, the concerned military regiments in rural areas by cooperating with the local village authorities have still forced the villagers to build their military barracks, tactical commander office and other infrastructure in recent months in Mon State. In many military battalions, they have their own agriculture lands as self-self program, and the civilians were constantly used to work in these farms.
Even SPDC is increasing its troop numbers in Mon State and Karen State, still tatmadaw troops could not provide security for motor road, railway road, river way and bridges. As a result, they still force the local civilians to provide security in these places and instructed them to inform the nearest army base about the activities of rebel troops.
Why are these types of requisition of forced labour occurring after SPDC's supplementing October 2000 order? Actually, the military regime, SPDC has no strong commitment to put in place the definite frame works of legislative, executive and administrative measures or have not taken actions against its military men, who violated laws and orders described in October 2000. Thus, the violation of requisition of forced labour continued ever after October 2000.
Although the laws that prohibited all sorts of the requisition of forced labour (lote-ar-pay), have existed in legislative measures, but in practice, the regime has not implemented the laws sincerely. Since November 2000 till the special sitting of ILO on Burma, SPDC authorities have not inquired information on requisition of forced labour which were widespread in the rural areas and have not created a legal framework to take actions against the violators of laws and orders.
Because of lack of legal system and justice, the villagers who suffered from the requisition of forced labour have no place to file or complain their cases ever they knew and understood the orders. They also faced no safe situation if they talked about the army's abuses even to their village headmen. The village headmen themselves who knew the order could not refuse when the army requested labour from their villages. Thus, both 1/99 order and supplementing October 2000 order are not so effective in rural area.
All the time before ILC (International Labour Conference) Special Sitting on Burma, the higher authorities and military intelligence (MI) already knew there was requisition of forced labour in many parts of rural area, however, they have no seeable attempts to stop forced labour. Instead, now, the authorities tried to close down all cases of forced labour and attempts to shut the mouths of civilians to not say true happenings in the recent months.
III. SPDC's Attempts to Close the Cases of Forced Labour
After ILC (International Labour Conference) Special Sitting on Burma in second week of June, SPDC regime started worry for the continuation of forced labour and their lack of responsibility to have fulfilled their obligation to stop forced labour in Burma. The regime plans anyhow they have to implement a measure to prevent ILO High-Level Team to not receive any true information about forced labour that happened in recent months.
In recent June and July, before ILO team arrived to Burma for observation, the local authorities in southern part of Burma arranged meetings with local civilians in capital of State or Division, town wards, village tract and village and explained the government order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order. After explanation, normally, they explained to civilians that the foreigners would come to Burma in September, and if they arrived into their area, the civilians must tell to foreigners that there was no forced labour in Burma.
There were many evidences that the local authorities have arranged such meetings with local villagers. An evidence in Karen State is:
On May 26 and 27, 2001, in Karen State, five members group of Kawkareik Township authorities led by Township Secretary U Aung Lin went to five villages in township area and hold meeting with village civilians.
They went to Kha-rit, Kaw-go, Kaw-bein, Kaw-pauk and Min-ywa villages and hold meetings with them. In meetings, the authorities explained to villagers that the authorities would not use longer for lote-ar-pay (requisition of forced labour) in rural area according to order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order. After explanation about the order, he also added that some foreigners would come to Burma and they could reach to their township area. If they arrived and asked about lote-ar-pay and tax demands in the area, they must tell to those foreigners there were no these types of labour and tax demands by the authorities. They also threatened to villagers that if someone expose these cases to foreigners, these persons must be punished. The authorities also took the photos of the meeting. During the whole meeting, the authorities did not allow the civilians to ask any questions on these orders and the reason why they have to lie the foreigners.
After meeting, the authorities collected for each village 8, 000 K/atfrom headmen for their expenses of traveling, films and developing photos. So that the authorities received about 40,000 Kyat totally from five villagers for their expenses during two days trip. Then, the village headmen have to collect from the villagers again.
Another evidence in Mon State is:
In first week of June, SPDC ordered Mon State authorities to hold meetings with civilians in ten townships (in two districts, namely Moulmein District and Thaton District), and instructed to explain about the order of No. 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order.
Therefore, all level of Mon State authorities had arranged and hold meetings with civilians in every town ward, village tract and in some villages that the regime had a policy to stop all requisition of forced labour or the so-called lote-ar-pay. In every meeting, according to instruction by Mon State PDC, the respective level authorities have to explain to civilians about 1/99 Order and October 2000 order And, they warned the civilians if the foreigners come and ask them whether there was conscription of lote-ar-pay and collection of tax for labour were taken, they must answer NO.
In some places of Mon State, the authorities called meetings with civilians and explained some pieces of Order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order and other issues. After explanation, the authorities selected some of their supporters especially the members of USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association) to be village/town ward representatives to meet with foreigners if they come and ask about lote-ar-pay and tax fund instead of labour.
On April 24, 2001, headmen of Bo-net village PDC authorities called a meeting with villagers and informed Chaung-zon Township authorities would come and explain some issues to civilians. When the meeting started at afternoon time, the Township authorities explained to villagers several issues and they included only one issue of Order No. 1/99. They also warned to villagers that if strangers come into villages, the villagers must have to inform to authorities as quick as possible.
About 2: 30p.m., the authorities said the meeting completed and declared for closing of the meeting. After the villagers returned, they asked village PDC authorities and some USDA members to stay on. Then, when Township authorities asked whether there was lote-ar-pay, village authorities and USDA members replied there was no demand of forced labour and tax fund instead of labour. They also recorded the questions and answers with a mini tape recorder. Then, they also selected three USDA members to be representatives to meet with foreigners who would come and question about forced labour
From June 4 to June 7for four days, Moulmein Township authorities hold meetings in many town wards and explained about the order of 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order.
On June 5, in a meeting held in "Shwe-myaing-thiri" ward, Chairman of Ward SPDC authorities explained a crowd of civilians from the ward that now the regime was planning to stop all requisition of forced labour according to its order No. 1/99 and additional October 2000 order. Then, he said that if the foreigners come and the people in the ward about lote-ar-pay and tax collection to build roads in wards, they must answer to those foreigners that there was no lote-ar-pay and tax for road construction in the recent months. He added that if someone tell to foreigners that there was lote-ar-pay and tax payment for road and other constructions, that person must be punished. But he did not mention what types of punishment.
The similar meetings were also held in other city wards, such as, Kyaik-pha-nae, Thiri-myaing, Shwe-taung, Mayan-gone and Myaing-tha-yar, and civilians in these wards were also forced to tell the foreigners there was no kte-ar-pay, and tax collection for road and other constructions.
Sometimes, the authorities have discussed in secret way and instructed the village headmen if the foreigners come and ask them about requisition of forced labour or lote-ar-pay, they must have to answer NO to them.
As an evidence,
On May 1, 2001 (May Day), Township Worker Association (SPDC control Trade Unions) in Kawkareik Township called a meeting with headmen from three Mon villages, namely, Kha-rit, Kaw -ka-taw and Kyauk-ye-twin villages and forced them to say there was no forced labour and no tax collection for road and other construction instead of labour requested by authorities and army from their villages. Three headmen from Kharit village, Nai Tin Aung, Nai Khin Maung Win and Nai Ka; two headmen from Kaw -ka-taw village, Nai Maung Hla and Nai Tin Shein; and one headman from Kyauk-ye- twin village, Nai Man Than attended the meeting. In the meeting, the authorities instructed them that they must say there was no lote-ar-pay and tax collection and let them practise how to say. Then, the SPDC worker authorities asked them questions whether there was forced labour and tax collection in recent months, they- have to answer that "no forced labour and no tax instead of labour". The authorities also recorded questions and their answers with a mini tape recorder.
These are SPDC preparation to close down information that connected to all cases of its requisition of forced labour and additionally, the civilians are forced to not tell true to ILO High-Level Team.
IV. Requisition of Forced Labour in Recent Months
A. Forced Labour for Porter Service
Like other many SPDC administrative bodies, members of Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) received 1/99 order and supplementing October 2000 order to not make any requisition of forced labour from civilians. However, at the same time, they also received order from the concerned military commands to operate military activities and to launch offensives against rebel armies.
In southern part of Burma, there are two military commands, Southeast Command and Coastal Region Military Command. Under these two military commands, there are many tactical commands and these commands have authorities to control for armed forces in each area. Normally, when the local military columns have launched military operations or offensives during in the jungle, they have still arrested or taken civilians as porters to carry ammunitions and food supplies. Even in the period from April to July, there have been some use of civilian porters occurred in southern part of Burma.
From 28rh May to 6th June, when two military battalions of Burmese Army, IB No. 61 and LIB No. 299 changed their deployment in Three Pagoda Pass, a border town with Thailand, in southern part of Burma, the soldiers used about 40 villagers from Ye Township area as civilian porters during their operations, according to a source from Three Pagoda Pass.
Before the operation started on 28th May, IB No. 61 battalion, which bases are in Ye Town, ordered the village headmen from 10 villages in northern part of township to provide 40 villagers to carry their ammunitions and food supplies for soldiers when they moved from Ye Town to Three Pagoda Pass town. Thus, the village headmen in northern part of township area from Ah-por, Duya, Ann-din, Hnee-hnall, Ah-zin, Zee-pu-taung, palaing-see and others had to provide 3 to 6 villagers depending on the number of households in the village.
Additionally, the civilians in Ye town have to pay porter fee to hire about 24 porters for their quota. They paid money to IB No. 61 commanders and that battalion also hired some porters. The battalion has to pay 8000 Kyat for each porter and there are 8 town wards in Town. Each Town ward had to take responsibility to provide 3 porters and collected 24, 000 Kyat from civilians.
Villager porters collected by headmen had to go IB No. 61 battalion GHQs in Ye and then IB No. 61's troops picked them up on 28th May and moved to Three Pagoda Pass by jungle way together with their 200 troops. They arrived to that border town on 1st June and those porters were taken against on 4th June by LIB No. 299, which returned to Ye Township. The troops arrived to their base on 6th June and released all porters. The soldiers used them for several days.
During April and May, one of SPDC battalion, IB No. 109, which is under the control of Southeast Command, had operated military activities to attack against KNLA troops in eastern part of Kya Inn Seikyi township and along Three Pagoda Pass - Thanbyuzayat motor road.
On April 4, 2000, when IB No. 109 troops arrived at Chaung-zon village, after 10 kilometers far from Three Pagoda Pass town, they arrested 10 trucks, which were on motor road proceeded to Thanbyuzayat town and forced drivers of these trucks to carry and bring their soldiers, ammunitions and food supplies to a village called Mae-za-lee, about 30 kilometers from Chaung-zon. Although truck drivers worried the shooting from KNLA soldiers, but they have no choice and had to go along dangerous part of Three Pagoda Pass - Thanbyuzayat motor road.
The battalion troops just moved around in the area and took porters from the villages they arrived or arrested the travelers who were on the road. On May 6, 2001, when troops arrived to a Mon village in the area called "Ta-dein", they also arrested four villagers, Nai Roy, Nai Tim Aung, Nai Maung and Nai Ah Blai and used them as porters to earn' their foods and other supplies for three days. Similarly to the arrest of those villagers, when troops arrived to another villages, they also arrested villagers as porters for porter service
Like previous two battalions, many other military battalions, who have duties to launch military patrol in a specific area also have arrested many number of porters in rural area and forced them to carry ammunitions and food supplies for the army. As an instance, on July 2, 2001, a battalion, LIB No. 232, which launched military offensives in Kya Inn Seikyi township area, asked 20 villagers from Taund-dee village and 20 villagers from Kha-won village locate in western part of Township area for porters. Thus, those villagers were forced to carry ammunitions and food supplies around the area. At that time, most men had to leave from their farms while they were quite busy in planting small plants in paddy farms. ^
B. Forced Labour in Battalions' Works
Both Southeast Command and Coastal Region Military Command ordered their subordinate military battalions to create "self-reliance" program, especially, to find paddy growing farms and some plantations to have a regular income to support their soldiers and families who stay in the battalions. The following cases are how some military battalions have used forced labour in recent months.
Sometimes, the soldiers forced the headmen to send the villagers on a daily basis to do daily works in their bases such as cooking, carrying water, collecting fire-woods, etc. The villagers would not get any payment for their works in the battalions.
In the first and second week of April, the villagers from Kanni, Kaw-lyan, Meegalone, Chaung-phar, Kha-rit, Daw-phar and Kyone-doe village tracts, Kawkareik Township of Karen State, were forced to reap paddy grains in LIB No. 545 and No. 546's paddy farms. These battalions had grown about 300 acres of dry-seasonal paddy crop by taking water from Gyaing river which is close to their farms.
Since the beginning of cultivation, the authorities have forced the villagers from these village tracts, to plough the lands, to grow small paddy plants, to take water with pump engines into farms until they could reap the paddy. These battalions also collected fund from villagers to buy fertilizers and gasoline for their use in cultivation.
Similarly, on June 20, 2001, a squad commander from LIB No. 546 asked 1, 000 leave thatches to roof their barrack in Kanni village, Kawkareik township. The village headmen had to collect thatches and send the bases.
On June 22, a police officer who base in Kha-rit village, Kaw-kareik Township, rebuilt a barrack and ordered the villagers from Kyauk-ye-twin, Nyar-chan-gone and Kyaikabin, to send 25 bamboo from each village. Therefore, about 30 villagers from three villagers have to carry bamboo for 4-5 miles distance, from their villages to police base. They did not get any payment and were not fed with foods.
C. Forced Labour for New Military Deployment
In recent months, the Burmese Army or SPDC has deployed more military battalions in Kya Inn Seikyi Township, Karen State and Ye Township, Mon State, which are main strategic positions for their troops to command their military regular patrols and offensives.
Whenever a new military battalion is deployed in one area, the regime confiscated some available lands for that battalion to have enough lands to build all required buildings, to grow some trees and vegetables, to build bankers and dig canals and for other matters.
Additionally, in building military barracks and other infrastructure for the existence of military battalion, the civilians nearby are constantly forced by soldiers to contribute their labour in building or to provide building materials for which they have to contribute their manual labour outside of military camp.
In late March 2001, SPDC's two new military battalions, LIB No. 548 and LIB No. 549, under the command of Southeast Command planned to deploy their troops in Phaya-ngote-to village in Kya Inn Seikyi Township. For building of military barracks and other building, the commanders from these battalions have ordered the villagers nearby to contribute their labour without any payment.
On March 25, LIB No. 548's Commander, Lt. Col. Khin Maung Win, called a meeting with village headmen from 9 villages from Yale, Da-none, Sin-boke-inn, Htee-pa-lay, Phaya-note-to, Kyaik-round, Ah-kyar, Ze-zone and Kalort-taw-chaung and ordered them to send villagers from their villages to contribute labour for new battalions' construction.
Lt. Col. Khin Maung Win ordered the headmen that 20 villagers from big village and 10 villagers from small villages had to go every day and work in their base. The headmen had to manage to send the villagers on a rotation basis for every day. If the men could not go to the battalion's construction site, the women had to go instead. The villagers in the area had to work for two weeks.
In Ye Township area, SPDC planned to deploy about 10 military battalions to put them under the command of No. 19 Operational Control Command that bases in eastern part of Ye township, along Ye river. Currently, No. 19 Command planned to build 2 battalions, LIB No. 583 and LIB No. 591.
On July 7, 2001, No. 19 Command's commander Col. Than Toe, LIB No. 583 commander, Lt. Col. Soe Naing and LIB No. 591 commander, Lt. Col. Myo Win, called a meeting with village headmen from 19 big and small from Kyaung-ywar and Tu-myaung village tracts and explained them they needed to build 3 barracks to use as Tactical offices. The commanders said two big villages, Kyaung-ywa and Mi-chaung had to build one building each and other small villages had to build one remaining building.
On July 10, Kyaung-ywa started building the tactical office with the contribution of villagers' labour and the village headman also had to hire a carpenter with payment collected from the villagers. The carpenter produced design of building and give instruction to villagers how to build.
D. Forced Labour for Development Projects
In most parts of rural and city like Moulmein, Mudon and Thaton in Mon State, SPDC Mon State adopted a lot of "self-help" development project, specially, to build road or rebuild roads in city ward or villages, or the roads connects from a town to village and from one village to another. As the government has no enough budget to assist building roads and other types of development projects, such as building schools, clinics and hospital, the concerned town or ward community people have to provide fund for these projects.
Additionally, the SPDC authorities including the tatmadaw commanders in the area also involved in forcing the civilians to contribute their labour in building roads, to crush stones, lay pieces of stones and other works. Sometimes, the authorities forced trucks including drivers to carry stones, tar and other facilities to work places from distance places. The authorities never paid transportation cost for those trucks and drivers.
In a road construction in Kyaikmayaw Township of Mon State, which is called Kyaikmayaw - Chaung-htit-kwa motor road, not only the civilians in Township are forced to work in the construction, but the authorities forced trucks and drivers in Kawmayaw and other township area.
On March 8, 2001, SPDC Motorcar and Truck Administrative Committee of Mudon Township, ordered to truck owners in Kamawet, a biggest Mon village in township and where most truck owners are there, to go and carry stones for Kyaikmayaw - Chaung-htit-kwa motor road. The authorities ordered 21 trucks and drivers to go and work in that construction places, even the road is not Mudon township.
When the trucks arrived to work place, they were instructed to load on and about 450 kyins of pieces of stones for each truck from several places where the civilians in the area have collected, carry them to designated construction sites. One kyin of stones is the volume of 100 cubic feet. One truck could load only about 2 kyins in one trip and most trucks have to take 15-20 days to complete their duties. The authorities did not provide these trucks for their gasoline expenses and labour cost.
At the beginning of this year, the authorities in Ye Township planned to build a motor road from Ye town to Kyaung-ywa village, which is about 10 miles far from town. In building this motor road, the authorities had not only already collected fund from the civilians, but also conscripted labour from the civilians nearby.
In March, Kyaung-ywa village tract authorities ordered the villagers from Kyaung-ywa, Kan-hla, Pha-gyi, Kyauk-mi-chaung, Kwin-shay and Kyone-lon villages to collect stones in streams and other places that required laying stones on the road. They ordered each household must collect one kyin of small stones. These six villages have about 850 households and the villagers had to collect about 850 kyins of stones for authorities. To get one kyin of stones, the villagers have to spend at least 3 days.
In March and April 2001, IB No. 82 battalion that bases in Pa-an Township forced the civilians from Ein-du, Zarthapyin, Kaw-kyaik, Thaya-gone, Kyayar and Kyone-phae villages to construct a 4 miles long road, that connects Zarthapyin and Ein-du villages. As the village headman had to send the villagers on a rotation basis, every household had to work in the construction.
E. Forced Labour for Security Purposes
Although SPDC increased its troops from 200, 000 number to 350, 000, however, it could not take responsibility for protection of the roads, villages, infrastructure sites in rural areas. So, the local authorities and army give civilians this responsibility to safeguard the railway and motor road, gas-pipeline, bridges and other important places.
Sometimes, KNLA troops also launched military activities in Kawkareik Township, Karen State, and the authorities in Township tried to prevent rebel activities. Thus, they planned to clear bushes along the motor road, near bridges and along river, with purposes to prevent rebels to not get close to these important places.
In late May, 2001, for the security of Kawkareik Township's roads and bridges, the authorities ordered the villagers from Kanni, Thayet-taw, Kaw-khaik, Kaw-lyan, Ywa-galay and Kaw-kyaik villages to clear the bushes and glasses proceeded to Myawaddy, a border town which is opposite of Mae Sot town. The villagers had to do this work for about one week.
Gas pipeline that provides energy to a cement factory in Myaing-kalay village, Pa-an Township of Karen State, also passed close to a village called "Wae-kanaing", Thanbyuzayat township Mon State. The troops from LIB No. 106 that have to take responsibility for security of pipeline and the area to prevent the activities of rebel troops. As the troops could not safeguard for the whole area, the commander laid his duty to villagers.
On May 7, 2001, the column commander of LIB No. 106, Maj. San Nyo Win called, a meeting will all villagers of "Wae-kanaing", and ordered them to pay porter fee 500 Kyat per household, as he explained he needed to hire porters during military operations. Then, he added as the army could not take security the whole area, 4 villagers each night must take the security for their villages and in surrounding area including pipeline.
1. In Burma, because of lack of "rule of laws", and the people have no access to justice. The implementation of regulations and laws related to the requisition of forced labour in judicial and administrative measures have been delayed. After the regime regulated the laws and supplementing order for requisition of forced labour in legislative measures, its higher authorities including high rank commanders of Burmese Army have no strong commitment to halt all practices of requisition of forced labour and act for punishment
against the violators.
2. For Burmese Army (tatmadaw), which has no modernized logistical system for its troops during military patrol in a specific area and military offensives in frontier areas, it has totally remained and relied on "civilian porters", who are arrested or requested from community leaders in remote area. To halt this practices of requisition of forced labour, Burmese Army needs to revise its logistical system or needs to stop its activities. Without this change, the requisition of civilian porters would continue as long as the fighting in frontier area is on going.
3. The regime and its authorities recently conducted insincere activities to stop the community people and leaders to not tell true situation on the requisition of forced labour to foreigners or international organizations especially ILO Team. So that it is a concern among the civilians that if they tell true about the recent requisition of forced labour, they could be punished. For ILO High-Level Team, it must ensure to protect the persons who talked with team members.
4. The regime must mention about the security reason to stop ILO team members to not get entry to some areas where gross violations of requisition of forced labour including arrests of porters often occurred. These areas might close to armed conflict areas between Burmese Army and ethnic rebel forces. In most of these areas, according our human rights workers, the requisition of forced labour is more serious.
5. Additionally, the regime would attempt to put their interpreters for translation or as security persons together with team members and would provide misinformation as much as it could. In fact, ILO must have some consideration whether they wrong information from SPDC support persons, including interpreters, regime's worker associations, some village/ town ward headmen, army commanders and other sources
October 2000 Order Supplementing Order No. 1/99
The Government of the Union of Myanmar The Ministry of Home Affairs
Yangon, 1st Waxing of Tazaungmon 1362. M.E
(27* October, 2000)
ORDER SUPPLEMENTING ORDER NO. 1/99
The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, under the direction of the State Peace and Development Council, hereby directs that the following amendment shall be made to Order No. 1 /99dated 14 May, 1999 as requisition of forced labour is illegal and is an offense under the existing laws of the Union of Myanmar:
1. Clause 5 of the said Order 1 /99 shall be substituted with the following:
(a) Responsible persons including members of the local authorities, members of the Armed Forces, members of the Police Force
and other public service personnel shall not requisition work or service notwithstanding anything contained in Sections 7(1) and 9 (b) of the Towns Act, 1907 and Sections 8 (1) and 11 (d) of the Village Act, 1907
(b) The above Clause (a) shall not apply to requisition work or service when an emergency arises due to fire, flood, storm,
earthquake, epidemic disease, war, famine and epizootic that poses an imminent danger to the general public and the community
2. When the responsible persons have to requisition work or service for purposes mentioned in Clause 1 (b) of this Supplementary Order the following shall be complied:-
(a) The work or service shall not lay too heavy a burden upon the present population of the region.
(b) The work or service shall not entail the removal of workers from their place of habitual residence.
(c) The work or service shall be important and of direct interest for the community. It shall not be for the benefit of private individuals,
companies or associations.
(d) It shall be in circumstances where it is impossible to obtain labour by the offer of usual rates of wages. In such circumstances,
the people of the area who are participating shall be paid rates of wages not less favourable than those prevailing in the area.
(e) School teachers and pupils shall be exempted from requisition of work or service.
(f) In the case of adult able-bodied men who are the main supporters of the necessities of food clothing and shelter for the family and indispensable for social life, requisition shall not be made except only in unavoidable circumstances.
(g) The work or service shall be carried out during the normal working hours. The hours worked in excess of the normal working hours shall be remunerated at prevailing overtime rates.
(h) In case of accident, sickness in disability arising at the place of work, benefits shall be granted in accordance with the Workmen's Compensation Act.
(i) The work or service shall not be used for work underground in mines.
3. When the responsible persons have to requisition work or service for purposes mentioned in Clause 1 (b) of this Supplementary Order, they shall do so only with the permission of the Deputy Commissioner of the General Administration Department who is also a member of the relevant District Peace Development Council.
4. The State or Divisional Commissioner of the General Administration Department who is also a member of the relevant State or Divisional Peace and Development Council shall supervise the responsible persons to abide by the Order No. 1/99 and this Supplementary Order.
5. The phrase "Any person who fails to abide by this Order shall have action taken against him under the existing law" contained in
Clause 6 of the said Order No 1/99 means that any person including local authorities, members of the Armed Forces, members of the Police Force and other public service personnel shall have action taken against him under Section 374 of the Penal Code or any other existing law.
Col. Tin Hlaing
Ministry of Home Affairs
Letter No. Pa-Hta-Ya / 2-3 (3140)/0o 3
Dated: 27 October, 2000