News, Personal Accounts, Report & Analysis on Human Rights Situation in Mon Territory and Other Areas Southern Part of Burma
The Mon Forum
Issue No. 1/2002
January 31, 2002
The Publication of Human Rights Foundation of Monland (BURMA)
(1) Civilians along gas pipeline route get small compensation for their lost properties,
(2) Burmese Army disrobed a Mon Buddhist monk with a suspicion of rebel,
(3) Milia (security force) recruited by Burmese Army but civilians have to pay
SPDC's human rights violations in Brief:
(1) Collective human rights abuses in Ye Township after military deployment and new armed conflict,
PART II: Violations related to suspicion of rebel-supporters and sexual harrassment against women
Some Acronyms in This Issue
SPDC - State Peace and Development Council,
IB - Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
LIB - Light Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
MOC - Military Operation Command (of Burmese Army),
NMSP - New Mon State Party,
KNLA - Karen National Liberation Army,
MRA - Monland Restoration Army
Civilians along gas pipeline route get small compensation for their lost properties
(Thanbyuzayat township, Mon State)
On January 9, 2002, the local township authorities and an unnamed company compensated small money to the local villagers who lost their lands and other properties in Weng-ka-rai, when they built Myaing-kalay - Kanbauk gas pipeline in late 2000.
In December 2000, when SPDC's Construction Ministry and local military command found for the route of gas pipeline, they ordered 7 families in Weng-ka-rai village to move from their houses and lands within three days because the route crossed into their lands. At that time, the authorities did not say for any compensation cost.
The SPDC constructed this pipeline with a main purpose to bring gas from Kanbauk, onshore station of Yatana gas field and supply energy for an extent cement factory in Myaing-ka-lay village, Pa-an Township of Karen State.
Although the current price of their lands and trees were higher, but they received only small money as compensation cost. Most villagers lost one or half acre of lands when the authorities confiscated their lands and their wooden house. While the market price for one acre of land is about 100, 000 Kyat, one villager, Nai Aung Shein, who lost about one acre of land received only about 18, 000 Kyat for his land and house. This family lost actually about 400, 000 Kyat including his wooden house but only small amount of money with which he could not buy another space of land.
According to the villagers, the company personnel gave money directly to civilians who lost the lands, but the village headmen from that village also cut the money from villagers. The headmen told to villagers, they have told to authorities and company to get this compensation and so the villagers also have to pay them travel cost. They cut from 2000 to 5000 Kyat depending on the amount of money that villagers received. The villagers, however, have no place to complain for their dissatisfaction.
Similarly, the SPDC authorities from Ministry of Power and Resource also compensated the farmers who lost their paddy growing land along the pipeline. The compensation cost for that paddy farmland was also low. Many farmers in between Mudon and Thanbyuzayat towns of Mon State, lost their paddy farmlands during gas pipeline construction.
Minister of Power and Resource, Col. Own Myint came to Mudon town and paid the compensation cost to farmers with 2000 Kyat per acre of lands. Some farmers lost about a half acre of land while some lost only 0. 25 acre of land. The current price of paddy farmland is over 100, 000 Kyat per acre of land in Mudon township. Depending on soil quality, some lands are expensive up to 200, 000 Kyat per acre of land.
Mudon township farmers also said that the amount of money paid by the regime authorities was too little and could use only travel cost when they went to town to take this compensation cost.
After pipeline construction passed into huge paddy farmlands, many farmers' lands are divided into two parts. The local farmers who still use traditional way of cultivation faced difficulties and wasted their time in bringing their equipment and cattle across the farms as the authorities have not allowed to work near, pipeline.
On January 5, 2002, there was an explosion at a junction of pipeline and the villagers nearby fled from the site. After this explosion, many villagers have
feared for further dangerous conditions of pipeline.
Burmese Army disrobed a Mon Buddhist monk with a suspicion of rebel
(January 2002, Three Pagoda Pass)
On January 28, after an armed conflict between Burmese Army and a Mon splinter group, Monland Restoration Army (MRA), Burmese Army's LIB No. 550 disrobed a Mon monk in Kyon-kwee village, Three Pagoda Pass township with accusation he was a rebel.
When the 63 troops of LIB No., 550 were operating a military patrol to fight against MRA and KNLA, they were shortly attacked by MRA soldiers near Kyon-kwee village, which is about 15 Kilometers far from Three Pagoda Pass town, a well know border point with Thailand.
After attack, LIB No. 550's commander, Lt. Col. Tin Maung Lwin angered to the attack and arrested the monk, Nai Galae (about 45 years old). He got wrong information from other villages that that
monk involved in fighting against them in recent fighting when he was a layman. And the commander believed that he robed into monk later.
After arrest and before the soldiers disrobed him, the soldiers tortured him for over one hour during their interrogation. The soldiers used various types of torture during interrogation. They beat and put his head into a bowl of water for some minutes until he told something. They also punched in his stomach and kicked him.
Accordingly to villagers who have known him said, he did not involved in fighting against the Burmese Army in the recent fighting. But when a group of Mon soldiers from MBA came into village, they ordered him to buy some food supplies and liquor from other villages near Three Pagoda Pass. And, an ambush attack occurred near a village on the main road to Three Pagoda Pass and the Burmese Army believed he was an informer to MRA and involved in that fighting.
As he was afraid of being suspected as a rebel, he robed to be a monk by the help of Kyon-kwee monastery. But he was unexpectedly arrested and disrobed by soldiers. After disrobe, they brought him along with Burmese Army's troops and until now nobody knew whether he was killed or alive.
As the commander from LIB No. 550 angered to the attack and ordered to 200 villagers in village to not go to their hilly paddy farms or fruit plantations, which are outside of the village. If they met them in farms or plantatons, they must be accused as rebels. The commander also added that if they decided to go out from the village, they must not return back again.
All villagers in village were also accused as rebel supporters and the Burmese commanders also dissatisfied on them and said they did not follow according to his order to stay only inside village, he must burn down the whole village.
Because of this order, many villagers are afraid of being killed and tortured and so decided to leave from village. After the troops of Burmese Army left on January 30, about 30 families of 150 villagers from the village also fled to Halockhani Mon refugee resettlement site, which is about 10 Kilometers far from their village. The remaining villagers also moved to other area and displaced.
Before this incident, the same battalion also arrested some village headmen in the area near Three Pagoda Pass town with similar suspicion of rebel-supporters . The soldiers arrested the chairman of Kyaw-palu village, Nai Tun and his villager Nai Tin Hlaing, with accusation they were supporting MRA troops during their attack against Burmese Army.
After the Mon splinter group, MRA, declared to resume fighting against SPDC after their split from NMSP, the Burmese Army also launched offensives against this group. Later in November and December 2001, this new splinter group moved to Three Pagoda Pass township area and have launched guerrilla tactics of fighting against the Burmese Army. Therefore, the troops of Burmese Army, which involved in joint operation, from IB No. 106, IB No. 62 and LIB No. 550 believed the villagers in the area have supported this rebel army.
Militia (security force) recruited by Burmese Army, but the civilians have to pay
(January 2002, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division)
On January 1, 2002, LIB No. 282 of Burmese Army based in Yebyu township, Tenasserim Division ordered the villagers from 4 Mon and one Karen vil-lages on motor road to take security of their own villages by involving in militia force on a rotation basis and they have to pay if they fail to be recruits.
LIB No. 282 provided 10 rifle guns more to four Mon villages, Aleskan, Kyaukadin, Kwetalin and Yapu; and one Karen village Law-thaing and ordered to all villagers that they must serve as militiamen (village security personnel) on a rotation basis to protect their own villages. These 10 rifle guns are extra arms for each village although each village already has a group of militia force.
LIB No. 282 also instructed that each village's period and they must change with another recruited 10 men. The village headmen have responsibility to recruit the villagers every week to be temporary militiamen. If one village is unable to be a militiaman for one week, he must need to pay 4500 Kyat of money to the headmen as a fine.
LIB No. 282 also ordered the village militiamen, they must also need to launch the military patrol in the surrounding area of their villages. They have to take responsibility to shoot the rebel soldiers if they came close to their villages. Actually, LIB No. 282 commander offered some of his works to these village militia force.
Many villagers, who are farmers and do not like to hold these guns have been disappointed to be militiamen. And they are afraid of being shot the rebel soldiers if they hold these arms during they were launching patrol in the surrounding area of their village. However they could not pay fine every week to avoid from the recruit by village headmen.
Similarly to Yebyu township, Ye Township based MOC No. 19 also instructed the villagers in the whole Ye township to increase the number of militiamen in every village to protect their own villages.
On January 8, 2002, the commander of MOC No. 19, Brigadier Ye Win called a meeting with headmen from all villages and guided to increase the number of village militiamen in village and every village chairman must become the leader of military force.
On that day, he also formed a military force for a Mon village, Abor, with 20 villagers as militiamen. He also ordered to village headmen as this militia force is taking responsibility for security of the village, the villagers need to pay for salary of those militiamen. For Abor village, he instructed every household must have to provide 1000 Kyat each month for support to militiamen.
He not only ordered the village headmen to form stronger militia force, even in Ye town, he asked town ward leaders to provide 3 militiamen for each ward to take security of their ward and the headquarters of MOC No. 19 and IB No. 61, which base in town. In Ye town, there are about 10 wards and he appointed about 30 militiamen to take security in Ye town.
Unlikely to militiamen in Yebyu township, MOC No. 19 appointed these militiamen permanently and the army also equipped them with arms to those militiamen. The village headmen have to take responsibility to recruit villagers as they like to be militiamen.
He said the villagers needed to pay to village militia force with 10000 Kyat for each man in each month. For example, the headmen in Abor village, which has 20 militiamen, have to collect 200, 000 Kyat every month from villagers to pay for salary. He added that town militiamen have less responsibility and less danger if compared with village militia force and so the town residents have to provide only 7000 Kyat salary to each militiaman.
MOC No. 19 is not only recruiting the civilians in town and villages to be militiamen, -they also forced firemen from township Fire Bridge to attend basic arm equipment training with purpose to use them as paramilitary troops.
On January 18, MOC No. 19's Brigadier Ye Win called a meeting with all firemen in township and instructed them that all firemen must attend basic arm equipment training for some weeks and they must involve in military if there is a danger poses to the country.
In Ye township, there are about 100 firemen from Township Fire Brigade and all these men were ordered to attend the training. For travel and training cost for those firemen the civilians in township have to pay. Town ward leaders and village headmen collected fund 500 Kyat from each household in towns and in villages to provide for accommodation cost to those firemen during their training.
SPDC's Human Rights Violations in Brief
An innocent passenger killed in careless shooting
(Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State)
On December 13,2001, IB No. 62 soldiers shot to a passenger on a ferry which traveled from Thanbyuzayat to Ye, after that ferry failed to stop for soldiers.
Name of passenger was Nai Blai, 37 years old and he was a native of Morkanin village, Ye township. The SPDC troops were launching military patrol in the area along the motor road and stopped the ferry car used the road to carry them or to ask money as usual. During this incident, the ferry driver did not see that their ferry was stopped by soldiers and continued moving. The soldiers angered to driver and carelessly shot to the car.
Nai Blai was shot and died on the spot. IB No. 62 has not inquired for this killing but asked for help to IB No. 106 which based in Morkanin village to provide some money and foods for the remaining family of the victim.
IB No. 106 provides to his family with 10000 Kyat of money, some milks and sugar during they were holding alms donating to monks accordingly to Buddhist tradition.
Killing in a porter service
(Kya-inn-seikyi township, Karen State)
On January 12, when a fighting broke out between SPDC troops from IB No. 201 and KNLA troops in Three Pagoda Pass area, two Karen porters from Lay-poe village were killed, said an escaped porter.
IB No. 201 and LIB No. 550 have operated military operation along Three Pagoda Pass - Thanbyuzayat motor road in launching their military offensives against KNLA and the Mon splinter group, MRA.
During this offensive, about 60 troops of IB No. 201 led by Lt. Col. Myo Aung, arrested some villagers along the road and in villages whom they met and brought them to carry ammunitions and food supplies. The soldiers also arrested about 10 porters on January 11, when they went into Lay-poe village.
Then, when the troops moved to Taung-zon area on the road, the fighting broke out. Two porter patients died after fighting with serious injury, said the escapee. He added that they used the porters to move in advance and that was why porters are shot.
Trucks used on the road are also forced to carry some soldier and porter patient to Three Pagoda Pass town hospital for treatment.
* FORCED LABOUR
Forced labour in a dyke construction
(Ye Township, Mon State)
Since mid-December 2002, when the local township authority of Morkanin village, Ye Township, built a dyke to keep water, the villagers from Morkanin village have been forced to contribute their labour on a daily basis.
The authorities planned to build this dyke with 80 feet in length, 14 feet in height and 10 feet width to keep in the above of embankment and to distribute for the farms. According to the source, although the authorities from IB No. 106 and township construction department received about 10 million budget to build this dyke, however, they did not hire the labourers from village, but forced the villagers to work instead.
After dyke construction, many fruit plantations in the above area of embankment would be destroyed by flood, added the source.
Porter service and unpaid labour for LIB No. 538
(Kya-inn-seikyi Township, Karen State)
On November 10, 2001 the Burmese Army's LIB No. 538 based in Phaya-ngote-to village, Kya-innseikyi township, Karen State, conscripted 45 villagers from Taung-dee village; 45 villagers from Kha-won village and 45 villagers from Kyauk-paya village to build their military barracks and did some works in battalion headquarters.
On November 22,2001, this battalion ordered Khawon village to provide the base with 3000 bamboo; Mee-pran village to provide the base with 1000 bamboo; Win-yaw village to provide the base with 2000 bamboo; and Taung-dee village to provide the base with 25 men for one week to build the military barracks.
On December 30, LIB No. 538 military column led by battalion commander Lt. Col. Zaw Tun asked 16 villagers from Win-thaung village to be porters to carry their ammunitions and food supplies.
On January 1,2002, the same military column asked 16 villagers from
Phar-da-yal village to carry ammunitions and food supplies.
* FORCIBLE TAKING OF PROPERTIES
Forcibly buying of paddy in Yebyu Township
(Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division)
In January 2002, the SPDC authorities in Yebyu township ordered the villages in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division to sell their paddy at low price set by paddy-buying center, which are designated in every village tract.
In an order, the authorities set every farmer in township must sell 10 baskets per one acre of farmland to paddy-buying center. The cost set by the centers is only 350 Kyat per basket of paddy, while the price in the market is about 600 Kyat per basket.
The authorities instructed to village headmen that the villages in Min-tha village tract such as Ye-ngan-gyi village has to sell 500 baskets; Sin-swe village has to sell 800 baskets; Cha-taw village has to sell 1500 baskets; Hmaw-gyi village has to sell 3500 baskets; Le-gyi village has to sell 3500 baskets; Sin-gu village has to sell 3000 baskets. They instructed to Gan-taw village tract that East Gan-taw village has to sell 8000 baskets and West Gan-taw village has to sell 15000 baskets respectively. They also instructed to Thin-gun-kyun village to sell 1500 baskets of paddy and Talaing-myaw village to sell 1500 baskets of paddy.
Cash extortion for road construction
(Kawkaraik Township, Karen State)
When SPDC authorities in Kawkaraik Township built a road from Kanni village to Kaw-khike village, they collected 2000 Kyat from every household from four Mon villages, on December 5,2001.
They collected about 2 million Kyat from 1000 households in Kanni village; about 600,000 Kyat from 300 households in Kaw-kyaik village; 200,000 Kyat from 100 households from 100 households in Kaw-khike village; 600, 000 Kyat from 300 households in Kaw-lyan village respectively.
Cash extortion for Independent Day
To celebrate national International Day on January 4, 2002, Mon State General Administration Office has collected huge amount of fund from civilians and motorcar associations. In an order on December 26, 2001, that SPDC office ordered 38 motor associations in Mon State, to provide 5000 Kyat from some association and some small associations had to provide 1000 Kyat. The office received over 100,000 Kyat from these associations.
* SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Rape attempt against a Mon teacher
(Ye Township, Mon State)
On January 5,2002, a Sergeant from LIB No. 343 attempted to rape a Mon teacher, Mi Ai Chan, about 7:00 o'clock in evening time at Pram-maw village.
LIB No. 343 based in Pran-maw and that evening, the army Sergeant sneaked into the teacher house, while she was alone. Then he tried to rape her. So, she also called for help and the villagers in surrounding area arrived to arrest him. As the villagers knew that that Sergeant tried to rape the teacher for some days already, and so they were quick to stop his attempt.
Collective human rights abuses in Ye Township after military deployment and new armed conflict
Part II: Abuses related to suspicion of rebel-supporters and sexual harrassment against women
I. Rebellion in Ye Township area
In the previous “The Mon Forum”, it describes mainly about the conscription of forced labour from the civilians during SPDC and Burmese Army deployed new military battalions in various part of Ye township area, southern part of Mon State. As another type of requisition of forced labour is the arrest of porters to use them carrying ammunitions and supplies during their military offensives. Since April 2001, the civilians in various villages of Ye township have been constantly suffered from these abuses, although SPDC's Ministry of Home Affairs officially issued to orders to stop its authorities and army to not use the practices of the requisition of forced labour.
Although general population in urban areas have been less suffered from the use of forced labour, it has not made any changes civilians in rural areas or in areas where the Burmese Army have operated military activities against ethnic rebel armed group.
In this part II of the report, it mainly focuses on the conditions of the civilians in the rural area, how they have suffered from various types of abuses related to suspicion of rebel supporters, including rape against women.
In this township area, except in Ye town, the Mon armed groups led by Col. Pan Nyunt and other rebel commanders, Nai Hlein and Nai Bin, have operated their military activities against SPDC and Burmese Army in various parts of township. Most villages in this Ye township area are Mon villages and the Mon rebel soldiers have often come into villages or temporarily based closely to villages to collect fund and foods from the civilians.
When the troops of Burmese Army came into these areas, they also made ambush attacks by using guerrilla tactics. Whenever the troops of Burmese Army are attacked near a village, the villagers who stay close to fighting area are suspected as rebel-supporters.
Since the rebel armies have no big number like the regime's army, they have generally used tactics of ambush attack and the Burmese troops are too angry for the attacks and always thought the local civilians must have cooperation with rebel soldiers. In the conflict area of Ye township, many innocent civilians were suffered of punishment by the regime soldiers because they are Mon people or the same ethnic people to rebel soldiers.
In the recent months from October to December 2001, the Mon splinter group which split from NMSP, which is given new name as Monland Restoration Army (MRA) led by Col. Pan Nyunt, have operated some military activities in northern part of township area while another splinter group with no exact name, led by Nai Bin and Nai Hlaing have operated military activities in the southern part of township area. On the other hand, KNLA troops sometimes also launched the military activities in northeastern part of township area.
To against these rebel armies' activities, the Burmese Army have used all local military battalions in Ye township area to find the rebel soldiers and attacked them. Additionally, Burmese Army also brought some military battalions from Arakan State in launching military offensives in southern part of Ye township to reinforce their army.
The troops of Burmese Army's gross human rights violations against the Mon civilian in rural areas are described as below:
II. Violations related to suspicions of rebel-supporters
In the northern part of Ye township, both KNLA and MRA have launched some military activities in rural area and sometimes, even into the areas, where Thanbyuzayat - Ye motor road and railway road pass through. Their purpose of operating the military activities are to collect revolutionary fund and to disturb the Burmese Army's logistics.
Sometimes, the unknown armed rebel groups also planted explosive bombs underneath of railway and trains were also attacked by these planted bombs. Whenever there was a bomb explosion in railway, the Burmese Army arrested the villagers in the villages nearby or farmers in the nearest farms or fruit plantations. After arrest, the soldiers also interrogated those farmers or villagers to tell what they see and why the rebel soldiers could plant the bombs. During the interrogation, the villagers are always cruelly and inhumanely tortured by soldiers.
As an instance,
"On October 2,2001., about 10: 00 a.m. in the morning, a train that came from Moulmein, the capital of Mon State, was blasted with an explosive bomb in Ye township, near Taung-bon village. Because of explosion, the train's head was hit and some train drivers were injured, but no civilian passengers was injured.
"Soon after bomb blast, the soldiers from the nearest military battalion, IB No. 106 troops arrived to that place. And, the soldiers suddenly arrested about 20 villagers who worked in rubber plantations nearby. The soldiers also detained these villagers in Taung-bon village. During the soldiers interrogated these villagers, they had used cruel methods of torture until the villagers admitted that they involved in helping the rebels in planting bombs. When the soldiers interrogated these villagers, they also rolled the round iron bars along the lower pan of villagers' legs, covered their heads with plastic and dropped water on them until they lost consciousness, cutting their skin with knives and other methods.
"To get some evidence, the soldiers went around many rubber plantations. During their military activities, the soldiers also looted villagers' foods, livestock, and other belongings, which were in the plantations.
"After 3-4 days interrogation and cruel tonure, the army however did not receive any evidence that the villagers cooperated with rebels. Then, the military commanders also secretly informed to village headmen that if those arrested men could pay them with 5000 Kyat per each as ransom, they would release some of them who did not involve in planting bombs.
"And, the arrested villager families bribed the commander and he released 15 men who he believed not involving in rebel activities. However, the army believed some 6 men knew the activities of rebel armies and have not released them and detained until the end of January 2002. These six men are: (1) Nai Pan Tin; (2) Nai Kalay Ngal; (3) Nai Pyar; (4) Nai Tar Masae; (5) U Wa Pae; and (6) Nai San Kyi. At the moment, they detained these villagers in different places, while they detained a Arakanese man U Wae Pae at base of LIB No. 587. Among the villagers U Wae Pae was a Burmese soldier who surrendered to Mon army before NMSP-SLORC ceasefire. After ceasefire, he worked as a day labourer in rubber plantations to collect rubber liquid in Mon villagers owned plantation. After he was arrested by soldiers from LIB No. 106, they accused him that he was only one who knew about arms and explosive materials, and so he was cruelly and inhumanely tortured."
In both southern and northern part of Ye township, the local civilians have mainly relied on their fruit products, such as lime, betel-nut, cashew-nut, orange and others from their plantations. They regular have to travel and work in their plantations which are far from their native villages or Ye town. When they are there, they are also accused by Burmese soldiers as rebel-sympathizers or supporters and face torture and inhumane treatment.
Sometimes Burmese Army also ordered the civilians to not travel to their workplaces or to not stay in their plantations in order to cut off civilians' supports to rebel armies. Whenever there is a movement restriction against the local civilians, they faced more economic hardship to get regular income to support their families with various domestic expenses.
Some civilians who own plantations in area which are not so far from their villages broke the restriction instructed by SPDC soldiers and attempted to go to their plantations to collect their crops. When they were arrested by SPDC soldiers, they would face punishment or cruel torture.
As an instance,
aOn November 23,2001, after Burmese Army ordered the villagers in southern part ofYetownship, to not go and stay in their plantations, one Mon villager from Tin-dein village, Nai W— (49 years old), was arrested by soldiers of LIB No. 378 in his beb el-nut plantation while he was collecting his betel-nut fruits. His plantation is only a half mile far from the village. After arrest, he was severely beaten by sticks and gun butts in many parts of his body. After the soldiers left, the villagers brought him toYetown hospital for treatment because of some of his bones were broken. He was taken treatment in hospital for over 2 weeks."
Sometimes as the soldiers are angry for breaking of their restriction order, they also beat elder people and children who they met in plantations or on the roads to plantations.
As an instance:
"On November 15, 2001, when a group of 10 villagers from Hangan village, in southern pan of Ye township, returned to their homes from plantations they were also arrested by soldiers from IB No. 104. Although this battalion bases in Tavoy township of Tenasserim Division, but it launched military activities inYetownship as reinforced force for the local battalions. Among the group of farmers, a young boy, Mehm SoeAung (19 years old) could speak fluent Burmese language. The soldiers asked him why he could speak Burmese fluently. He said he was a high student at 10thgrade. The commander also argued against him that as he was a student why he did not stay in town but stay in forest. As a punishment that as he was a 10thgrade student who broke the restriction order, the commander ordered his Sergeant to beat him 10 times. The soldiers beat another villagers including 60 years old man, Nai Din, during they were interrogating them about the activities of rebel troops."
Whenever the fighting happened in one place, the villagers nearby the fighting place were always tortured and beaten by soldiers. Like the previous instance in train bomb blast, the villagers in the fighting place were accused as rebel-sympathizers and they must face torture by soldiers.
As an instance,
"On November 3, 2001, when a military column of LIB No. 588 launched their military activities in eastern part of motor road close toMorkanin village, northern part of township, the SPDC troops were attacked by KNLA soldiers. Because of the attack, one SPDC warrant officer was killed. Thus, column commander arrested a farmer, Nai Ein (56years old), who stayed in fruit plantation nearby and tortured him with accusation he had some cooperation with rebel soldiers. He got a lot of injuries because of torture. They also burnt down his farm hut, so his foods and paddy crops, which stored underneath of the hut. After the troops of Burmese Army left, the villagers brought him back to his village, Baround. As he was afraid of further torture, he did not go to hospital inYetown for better treatment and a local tradition herbal doctor in his village treat him.
"Again, the same troops from LIB No. 588 moved to area close to Wa-bor village and they were attacked against by KNLA troops on November 4. About 10 soldiers got injunes and the commanders were too angry. Therefore, LIB No. 588 also shot to civilians who were in fruit or rubber plantations.
"On November 4 in the morning, about 10 soldiers from LIB No. 588, who separated from the main group also shot a Mon villager, Nai SoeMyint (25 years old), who worked in a rubber plantation with a suspicion he was a rebel. While he was carrying rubber liquid, one soldier shot at him and he got serious injunes with bullets. Then the soldiers left him. After the soldiers left from the sight, the farmers from the nearest plantations carried him to village. Then, his family brought him to a hospital for treatment in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State. Lucky, he survived and but had to pay about 60,000 Kyatfor treatment.
“On November 9, when the same military column arrived close to Bay-ka-lawe village in the morning about 6: 00 a. m., they also shot to a young boy, Mehm Kyaw M.oe (17 years old), with a suspicion he was a rebel soldier. This boy is from Morkanin village and he worked in his father rubber plantation to collect rubber liquid in every early morning. He got serious injuries, but the soldiers left him behind. After the village headmen heard about wrong shooting from soldiers and they came and took him back to his village. The commander of military column lied to villagers that he was shot while there was a fighting with KNLA soldiers. He also threatened the boy's parents to not tell about the true to other villagers and local authorities about the shooting, but to say that the boy was shot in mid of fighting place."
Sometimes, the SPDC soldiers tortured the whole villagers from a village when they were attacked by rebel soldiers. Normally, SPDC soldiers accused the villagers that they were receiving the rebel soldiers and providing shelters in or near the village. While SPDC soldiers could not find any persons who involved supporting the rebel soldiers, they gave punishment to villagers from the whole village, including women and children.
As an instance,
"On November 1, when a SPDC military column from LIB No. 378 led by Lt. Col. Sein Tun Aung, launched a military activity in southern part of Ye township, they were also attacked by a Mon splinter group led by Nai Hlaing and Nai Bin in evening time. 4 soldiers died and 5 soldiers got serious injunes. The fighting took place near Mi-htaw-hla Kalay village and the soldiers believed the villagers from that village were supporting the rebels to fight against them.
"On the next day, on November 2, the commander of LIB No. 378 ordered all villagers from every house to gather in village's football field including elder people, women and children. Some women also had to bring even 3-months old babies and many other children with them and gathered them football ground in where no shady place. The soldiers put them about 4 hours in football ground under hot sun ray. Some children cried because of hot and tasty, but the commander did not allow them to stay under shady trees or to return homes.
"During the soldiers were putting the villagers under hot sun as a punishment, the soldiers climbed to every house in village to find evidence who had supported the rebel army. However, the soldiers took villagers' properties including gold wares, home-used materials and others. According to villagers, he said that in this looting by LIE No. 378, the villagers lost about 3 million Kyat worth of properties, which were taken by SPDC soldiers.
"After four hours of gathering of villagers in football ground and completion of looting, the soldiers released women and their children to return their homes. And they also tortured the remaining men in football grounds again. They interrogated every man. As most men could not speak Burmese language, some of them were cruelly beaten and tortured by soldiers until evening."
Similar to northern part of Ye township area, some civilians in southern part of township were killed by SPDC soldiers with suspicion of rebel soldiers. Among the villagers, the soldiers always accused them that most headmen were collaborating and supporting the rebels. So, SPDC soldiers killed some Mon village headmen.
As an instance,
"On October 16, SPDC soldiers from LIB No. 528 entered into a Mon village, Magyi, andgathered all villagers including women and children in the middle of village and threatened them they would be killed if they supported the Mon army. At the same time, the soldiers climbed on to every house and took villagers' properties, but they said to search evidences how the rebel soldiers had stayed in village.
"After interrogation, the soldiers also tortured Nai Ein in front of other villagers and beat him. Then they brought him with them with a suspicion he was a rebel-supporter. After 4 days cruel torture, the soldiers killed him in a small forest near the sea. According to villagers, he was innocent."
The civilians in the northern part of Ye township always have constantly suffered from the torture and killing by soldiers with suspicion of rebel supporters. Sometimes, the operation commanders also kidnapped some villagers and requested a ransom to release them.
As a main local military battalion, LIB No. 343 played an important role in launching military offensives against rebels in northern part of township area. This military battalions also treated the villagers in rural areas more inhumanely if compared with other military battalions.
As an instance,
"On November 2, when a military column of LIB No. 343 troops led by Lt. Col. Maung Maung launched a military offensives in eastern part of motor road, they arrested one woman, Mi Khin Aye (60 years old), and Nai Htein (35 years old) in fruit plantations for interrogation. The soldiers also interrogated about the activities of a new Mon splinter group, led by Col. Pan Nyunt. The soldiers brought these villagers about 24 hours and at night they also tied them up. After they did not get exact answer from these two villagers, at the end, the commander released them.
"On November 3 the commander of another military column from LIB No. 343 led by Maj. Lin oo also arrested three farmers who were in fruit plantations and requested some ransom for release. Three villagers were: (1) Nai NaungAye, 44years old and stayed in Ye town; (2) Nai Ha Lae, 30years old and stayed in Sonhtit-thar village; and Nai Kun Cho, 25 years old and stayed in Kalort village. Then, Maj. Lin Oo informed to their families that to pay 100, 000 Kyatfor each person as a ransom. As the villagers took long days to collect full amount of money, they brought these villagers along with them for 5 days. After the commander received 300, 000 Kyat, he released these three villagers.
“On November 6, when the military column arrived near Cha-ha-ke village, they also arrested one village in a plantation and Maj. Lin Oo also interrogated him about the activities of Mon army. During interrogation, he also cut the villager's body parts and tortured. At the end, when the villager could not give a satisfied answer, he also stabbed and killed him.
In late 2001, because of more Burmese Army battalions deployed in the Ye township and at the same time there are more military activities launched by the rebel armies. The Mon civilians who are traditionally farmers are suffered from by torture, killing and detaining by Burmese Army with suspicion they are rebel-supporters. Additionally, these villagers also had to pay for expenses to the army.
III. Movement restriction against the civilians
During Burmese Army launched military offensives against both ethnic and communist rebels in 1970s, it used "four cuts campaign" to cut any civilian assistance to rebel armed group. Because of this campaign, many thousands of civilians in rural areas had to abandon their farms and other properties and were forcibly relocated by Burmese Army, in the so-called resettlement camp.
Before NMSP agreed for ceasefire with the military regime, SLORC, the Mon people in the rural area in where the MNLA troops operated military activities had similarly suffered from forced relocation. Accompanying with forced relocation, Burmese Army had constantly restricted the civilians or farmers to not go and stay in their work-places, especially, paddy-cultivated farms or fruit and rubber plantations from which the civilians could get foods and raised their income.
After NMSP-SLORC in 1995, for over three years, the local farmers in Ye township had chance to go their farms anytime they liked and stayed for several days with any problem. However, in early 1998, when a Mon splinter group operated more intensive military activities in southern part of Ye township, the Burmese Army's local IB No. 61, LIB No. 343 and LIB No. 299 started adopting a restriction plan against the rural farmers. These battalions suspected the Mon farmers in rural area would support these rebel soldiers with food and other assistance. To stop these supports, they have gradually ordered the farmers to not stay at farms or plantations at night time.
In late 2001, after a Mon splinter group, MRA, split from NMSP, they have launched their military activities in northern part of Ye Township area. At the same time, this new armed force also had a military cooperation with former Mon splinter group. Therefore, the Burmese Army had to suppress these armed groups. And, KNLA troops also launched their military activities in the northeastern part of this township area. So, there has been a full rebels' military activities in the whole township area.
This also makes a lot of effects to the local farmers who worked in their rubber or fruit plantations. As the township has wide land area, the local inhabitants grow betel nut, lime, orange, durian, cashew nut and rubber trees and collect a lots of crops every year and imported these products to other parts of Burma. In Ye Township, the local inhabitants could produce many thousands ton of betel nut fruits and could provide this nut for many shops countrywide.
However, in late 2001, the Burmese Army from former local battalions, IB No. 61, LIB No. 343, LIB No. 299, IB No. 106 and the new battalions under the command of MOC No. 19 have adopted a new restriction against the local farmers, which barred them to not work in their plantations, with objective to stop them to not support rebel armies, who mainly used plantation area to hide attack from Burmese Army and to find foods. In fact, the civilians who have totally relied on these rubber and fruit plantations face constant suffering.
According to a villager from Yin-dein village,
"On November 18, 2001, a Burmese (SPDC) military battalion, LIB No. 528, that was sent from Arakan State, also ordered the villagers from Tin-dein, Tinye, The-khone and Morkalort villages to not go to their paddy farms and betel nut plantation. If someone was arrested in farm or plantation, he/she must be killed, said the commander.
"Villagers from these villages own a lot of betel nut plantation and they could produce about 10 million betel nut fruit and the farmers lost nearly all of their fruit because November was harvest time. The price for one fruit of betel nut is 3 Kyat and most betel nut farmers lost their yearly income.
"Similarly, this month (November) was harvest time for paddy growing farmers. The farmers for these four villages could produce about 25000 baskets of paddy and most farmers lost their crops. During harvest season, the paddy grain could easily ripe and then dropped onto ground. If you delay to reap the grain, you will lose all your crops. As the farmers were stopped to reap their crops, they totally lost their paddy. The price of paddy is about 700 Kyat per basket in market, so the farmers lost their yearly income like betel nut farmers.
"While the army prohibited the farmers to not reap their crops, Ye Township PDC authorities also ordered the farmers to sell their paddy to government set paddy buying center at low price, 300 Kyat per basket. The farmers, who have to complete this duty in accordance with instruction by SPDC authorities, need to sell their paddy 8 baskets per acre of land. The farmers are too confused and disappointed with that situation."
In an instruction by local military battalions, they would allow some farmers to stay in their farms and fruit plantations if they have a permission letter from a commander from the nearest battalions. Without this permission document, the farmers could be fined to pay some ransom and face torture (torture related to movement restriction are documented in above category).
First, if the soldiers met some farmers without any permission document issued by military commanders or village headmen, they would be arrested and interrogated by torture. Then the commanders will take fine money from them to use for the expenses in their battalions.
As an instance,
"On November 11 ,2001, when the Burmese Army's LIB No. 299 launched a military operation in the surrounding fruit plantation area close to Hangan village, southern part of township area, the army arrested 10 farmers who had no permission document to stay in their plantations. The soldiers slapped some farmers and interrogated about the rebel activities. Then, they took fine 2000 Kyat from each farmers and let them return to their villages."
Sometimes the restriction order was verbally issued by commanders in the meeting with village headmen and then the headmen had to inform to their villagers again. Because of information barrier, some villagers did not know about the order or about they need to take permission document along with them and to continuously work in their farms or plantations. While they were arrested by soldiers they were punished or tortured without having knowledge about the movement restriction.
But sometimes, some battalions officially issued the order and stopped the farmers to not stay or work at the farms or plantations.
As an instance,
"On November 16, 2001, the battalions under the command of MOC No. 19, such as LIB No. 586,No. 587 and No. 588; and a local military battalion, IB No. 106, issued an order that the villagers who had rubber and fruit plantations in eastern part of Thanbyuzayat-Te motor road were prohibited to work or stay in their plantations. If the farmers were found in that area in both daytime or nighttime, the soldiers must shoot to them and killed. The battalions also gave three days time for farmers who are in plantations to return back to their native villages, and ordered their relatives in villages to inform the farmers who were in plantations about the order as quick as possible. Many villagers and farmers felt disappointed with this order because at that time, they needed to harvest their crops, such as paddy and betel-nut.
"Before this order, LIB No. 591 that bases near Kyaung-ywa village, operated military activities along Ye river and found many farmers were staying in their plantations and hilly paddy farms. Then the commanders from LIB No. 591 also ordered the farmers from Kyauk-taing, Saw-kae, Lake-pote and other villages to return their homes. If they were still in farms or plantations, the soldiers would shoot to them, said the commanders."
Later, when the Burmese Army intensified its military offensives, they also made a new movement restriction against paddy growing farmers who worked in western part of Thanbyazayat - Ye motor road to not work in their paddy farms. The farmers also lost their crops because that time was harvest time.
As an instance,
"On December 10, 2001, with order by IB No. 106, Taung-bon village headmen informed to all villagers in village that all farmers who worked western of motor and railway roads, needed to complete their harvest within 20 days. In the traditional methods of harvest, the farmers have to spend about 45 days to complete all processes of harvest, including reap crops, separate grain and paddy seeds, put the paddy to be drought, clean all dusts and other works. In the order, the village headmen also informed to villagers that if they stayed in paddy farms for over 20 days, they must be killed. It meant the deadline for the villagers was December and the army would not allow any farmers to stay in their farmers beyond December.
During 20 days while the army and authorities allowed for harvest, the farmers however had to ask permission from headmen to issue a permission document. If they had no such document, they could be arrested or accused as rebel-supporters by soldiers, who operated military operations in their farms. To get permission document to travel to their own farms, a farmer paid 100 Kyat to village headman each time when they asked for permission. For the farmers who needed to complete all harvest processes delayed while they had to ask for permission.
Not only the army commanders have ordered the civilians to not stay in farms or plantations, they also instructed the headmen from each village to regularly inform them about the activities of rebel soldiers. If they heard that the rebel soldiers passed close to their villages, or came into villages, they urgently needed to inform to the nearest army outpost. If they failed those village headmen could be punished or tortured.
As an instance,
"On October 23,2001, the commanders of LIB No. 591 called a meeting with headmen from about 20 villages and asked them to come and inform the situation in their village and the surrounding area to army outpost in Kyaung-ywa village once a day. If they failed to inform they could be punished. The commanders did not say what kind of punishment would be given.
Many of them knew they could be slapped or beaten. As some villages are far from the outpost, about 2 hours walk, and the village headmen were quite disappointed. They needed to walk back and forth for over 4 hours between their villages and army outpost every day."
When the local military battalions instructed for the movement restriction against the villages for their military purpose to cut villagers' support to rebel, at the same time, the villagers also lost their properties especially. As long term effects, some villagers also faced food-shortage problems and some villagers also moved to another area or into Ye town, where they could get foods for their survival.
IV. Sexual harrassment against women
Whenever there are more SPDC soldiers in rural area, there have more sexual harassment against rural women during their military offensives or while they were taking bases near the villages.
After more military deployment in Ye township area, the local villagers started worrying this type of abuses and most of them have not allow their wives or daughters to stay alone in the farm's huts or plantations. Men always accommpany with them and stay in farms or plantations.
In Mon tradition, most rape cases are closed by victims as secret cases because they are ashamed or worry for the "look down" situation from other people in community. Sometimes, the women did not say even to their parents or husbands after rape by soldiers in villages or in farms.
However, the soldiers from the new battalions who own guns could have chance to rape the women by pointing guns. For the soldiers who have low income for visits to brothels or young soldiers who have no wife always attempt to rape women whenever they have chance.
During the Burmese Army is launching military offensives in recent months, the soldiers from both new battalions and former battalions went around into a large plantation area in eastern part of motor road and some were attempting to rape women at behind of their commanders.
Sometimes, when the army took base near the plantations and villages, the soldiers always from the base always try to rape women in plantations and in villages. In most situation when the soldiers are getting drunk and could not control their cognition and then they attempt for rape.
As an instance,
"On October 8, 2001, a low rank commander of IB No. 61, Sergeant Kyaw Myint, who had duty to take security a bridge near Son-htit-tar village, about 10 miles fromYe town in the north, went to that village and he was drunk with liquor he looted from a shop in village in evening.
"When he returned to his temporary outpost in bridge, he was alone and walked back at dark evening. Then he went into a hut owned by Nai Htai in a plantation during his return and asked the farmers to give him 100, 000 Kyat as a ransom. He said he was from a rebel group. The farmers did not believe because of his fluent Burmese and made petition to him that he had no money and to forgive. The Sergeant also threatened him for killing, but at the end, he agreed that the farmers had no money and said to show him the way how to get his outpost.
"The farmer brought him along the way and then he met another farm-hut owned by NaiMaung and went into the hut. Then he released the first farmer. In the second farm-hut he met Nai Maung and his daughter Mi Htwe Tin and her husband NaiMaung Din. Mi Htwe Tin is about 30years old and he has a small baby with her. The Sergeant also said the same word that he was sent by a rebel group and he needed 100, 000 Kyat ransom from that farmer. But the farmers said they had no money in farm to pay him and so to forgive them. But this time, he took a long knife from that farm-hut and kidnapped her. He added that if they didn't give a ransom of 100, 000 Kyat he will bring the woman with him. He put his knife on the throat of woman and threatened to burnt down their farm-hut. After he knew he could not get money, he brought the woman by pointing knife on her body.
"About 15 minutes leaving from farm-hut, he shoved her down onto ground and he asked to get sex from her The woman made a lot of petition and explained she was a mother of a baby and to not rape. But the Sergeant refused and beat her in stomach one time and then raped her.
"After rape, he brought the woman along with him along the slippery road in dark night. Whenever she could not grasp and fell down, the Sergeant beat her. Then, when they arrived near village's cemetery, he brought her into there and tried to kill her to close down the case. She cried and made a petition that she would not say about the harassment. He changed his mind and brought her to a farm-hut where there was no man.
"He also threatened her that there were some land mines in the surrounding area, if she tried to run, she must be blasted with mine. The woman was too frighten and did not have idea how to flee. On the hut, he tried to rape the woman again. But the woman pretended she got stomach ache and appealed to him to not rape her again.
"The hut was close to the soldiers' outpost that taking security of the bridge and the Sergeant said he will go there to inform his friends. He also threatened her to not run and if she run he will be died because of land mines in the area. Then he left. The woman also thought that if a group of soldiers came and raped her, she would be similarly died. And she decided to run. Although she afraid the landmine, on the other hand, she also worried for her small baby and hurried up to her farm-hut. She arrived to her hut about mid-night."
The commanders of IB No. 61 knew the case from villagers and worried there would be problem for their battalion and moved Sergeant Kyaw Myint on October 10, 2001, three days after rape. Accordingly to reliable source, he was moved to a new military battalion, LIB No. 587.
This is an instance that the Burmese Army's commanders never tried to punish their soldiers who involved in sexual harassment and in most time, they blind their eyes. During their military offensives in rural area, while the soldiers are in hunger for sex, the commanders blind their eyes and somehow encourage indirectly for sexual appetite of their soldiers.
After NMSP entered into ceasefire with military regime, SPDC has more opportunity to deploy new military battalions without any trouble. Accompanying with SPDC's militarization plan in Mon State, the civilians in rural area have constantly suffered from human rights violations especially conscription of forced labour and inhumane treatment by SPDC soldiers related to suspicion of rebel-supporters.
In the category of forced labour, the civilians were forced to contribute their labour during construction of military bases and then they were taken as porters in the army's logistic service.
During the Burmese Army is launching military offensives in rural area, they always suspected ethnic people as supporters of concerned rebel groups. They have not cared much whether they have evidence or not, but always arrested the villagers and interrogate them with torture. Some villagers are also shot wrongly by Burmese soldiers but no action has ever been taken for these mistakes.
In Ye township, if compared with the situation in previous years, the civilians have been suffered in 2001 during the Burmese Army launched more military activities against various group of rebel armies.