News, Personal Accounts, Report & Analysis on Human Rights Situation in Mon Territory and Other Areas Southern Part of Burma

The Mon Forum


Issue No. 3/2002


March 31, 2002


The Publication of Human Rights Foundation of Monland (BURMA)


Contents


 


News:

(1)        Huge fund for development projects,

(2)        Forced labour used in Kya-inn-seikyi Township,

Report:

(1)     The extent of Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) and the suffering of the civilians


Some Acronyms
in This Issue

SPDC -         State Peace and Development Council,

SLORC -       State Law and Order Restoration Council,

MOMC -       Military Operation Management Command,

IB -               Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),

LIB -             Light Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),

KNLA -         Karen National Liberation Army,

NMSP -        New Mon State Party,

BCP -              Burma Communist Party.




News

 

Huge Fund for Development Projects

(March 2002, Ye Township, Mon State)

When Ye Township authorities planned to build a tar motor road from Ye to Abor village, which is 3 miles long, they instructed the village leaders in the area to provide them with 5 million Kyat fund.

The construction of this motor road is also well-known as "self-help program" and the authorities instructed that the civilians in the area concerned who may have to use this road have to pay for all costs of construction.

In early March, MOMC No. 19 Commander, Brigadier Ye Win ordered to the village headmen in the surrounding villages that as the road was roughly built last year and it must complete for the construction by pouring tar on it in this year.

To receive 5 million Kyat funds from the road construction, he ordered the headmen from five village tracts, An-din, Asin, Zee-phu-taung, Duya and Abor, to provide 1 million Kyat from each village tract. Then, the deadline for this fund collection for the road construction was before the end of March.
 


After fund collection, the headmen need to give to the commander and then, he will give responsibility to village headmen from Asm and Abor to construct the road, according to the reliable source.

The commander and Township authorities planned to build more roads inside Town wards and also ordered Town ward leaders to collect fund. The construction of roads in Town ward is also known as "self-help program" and the civilians have to provide all required funds.

For example, when Ye Township authorities planned to build the roads in Thihi-zeya ward in Ye Town, they also collected 2, 500 Kyat for each house. By showing the reason for road development and provision of better communication, many other Town wards' civilians also have to provide fund for the authorities.

In Thiri-zeya Town ward, there are about 500 households and the authorities would receive 1.25 million Kyat totally and they would spend this money to pour tar onto the roads in Town ward. Many Town residents believe that the authorities would not need to spend all amount of money the collected because there are only three short roads in the ward.

Additionally, to equip with auto-exchange phone communication in Township PDC's Administration Department, the authorities also collected 1000 Kyat from each household in March. Equipping phone in the regime offices is also described as "development program" and the civilians also have to pay for all costs.

Forced Labour used in Kya-inn-seikyi Township

(March 2002, Karen State)


In March, when the Township authorities led by Township PDC General Secretary, U Aung Lin, planned to build a water canal and a road in Kaw-bein village tract, they have forced the local villagers to contribute labour in these construction works.

On March 11, the Township authorities ordered to dig a water canal from Paya-gyi village to Kaw-htit village, which is a half-mile long and ordered the villagers from these two villages to contrib-ute their labour in digging the earth. According to the order, each house from villages needed to dig about 1 kyin of earth (one kyin of earth is about 100 cubic feet in volume and the Measurements 10 feet square and 1 feet depth).

The villagers from both villages had to come and dig the canal. Some family could complete within one day if two men came and worked. Many families needed to complete their pieces of work two days or

three days.

Later the authorities also planned to build a rock laying road from Kaw-bein to Paya-gyi village, which is also a half-mile long and they forced the villagersO from three main villages, namely, Kaw-bein, Min-ywa and Paya-gyi to contribute their labour in finding stones, crashed stones into small pieces, and lay stones on the embankment.

Accordingly to the order, the authorities forced the villagers on a rotation basis to contribute their labour in the construction. Each two wards from one village had to go and contribute their labour. There were about 50-70 villagers working in the construction and the authorities instructed one villager from each house of the two wards in the villages.

During the villagers were forced many women and children under 18 years old had involved in the construction, but the authorities never instructed to not take women and children. According to a villager, about 50% of the total villagers in the worksites are women and children.

As a self-help program, the Township authorities also ordered Kaw-bein village headmen to build concrete roads in the whole village. In this village, there are one main road and many other small roads.

On February 10, the Chairman of Kawkareik Township, U Ko Ko Kyi, arrived to this village and ordered the headmen to build a piece of model concrete road near the market, which they have to expense about 30, 000 Kyat to buy cement and other materials. As the cost was small amount, it was not so difficult for the headmen to collect money.

Later on March 14, the Township authorities came to the village again and hold a meeting with  the village headmen. In that meeting, he ordered to construct all roads in the village to have concrete roads. The headmen faced a very difficult situation to collect money from the villagers. However, Township Chairman U Ko Ko Kyi ordered they must complete all construction works not later.than March 24.

The headmen had only ten days deadline to complete the construction of the roads with concrete layer. The cost for the construction was about 2. 5 million Kyat and they suddenly managed to collect fund from the civilians to complete road construction.

The household families who stay along  the main road also have to pay up to 30,000 Kyat and the families who stay in small roads had to pay less amount of money. The whole village had to provide fund for this road construction. On March 24, while the roads were nearly completed, the Township Chairman came and hold the opening ceremony of the concrete roads in Kaw-bein village.


 

Report

The Extent of Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) and the Suffering of Civilians

I. The Regime's Plan for the Extent of Burmese Army

In 1988, when there was pro-democracy uprising occurred in the whole part of Burma,  the size of the tatmadaw (Burmese Army or Myanmar Armed Force) was only 180,000 troops while it had many enemies in all parts of border areas. At that time, there were many ethnic armed forces and Burma Communist Party (BCP), which the tatmadaw had to fight against. Since after the leaders of SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) seized State power from the hands of pro-democracy demonstrators, planned to increase the number of tatmadaw troops to enable to uproot all rebel activities.

After BCP collapsed, many ethnic armed force under the command of BCP entered into ceasefire agreement with SLORC, with promise they would not have to surrender but to have opportunity to do business and development in their own areas. So that the tatmadaw could reduce its burden to suppress the rebel activities in the northeastern part of Burma.

However, the SLORC leaders did not abandon their initial plan to increase the number of its troops from 180, 000 troops up to 500, 000 troops and at the same time, it had intensified its military offensives against many other ethnic armed forces in the southern and eastern parts of the country. It had succeeded and could occupy many ethnic rebel bases and their political headquarters.

Although SLORC/SPDC had not seen the foreign threats until the recent years when there was border tension and drug problems with Thailand, however, they have gradually increased the numbers of its armed force and later renamed it "Myanmar Armed Force". Even the time while the SLORC/SPDC found many difficulties in finding available budget to support the extended numbers of its army, they still continue enlarging the number of its army. In their position- taking warfare, whenever it occupies in some parts of the areas, the tatmadaw deploy the new military battalions and take these positions permanently. As these new battalions have not received the available budget from the military commands, the local civilians in the area concerned are always forced to feed the soldiers.

While there are more enemies for the tatmadaw in the southern part of Burma, SLORC/SPDC has deployed more troops and new battalions in Mon State, Karen State and Tenasserim Division. There have been many instances of new military deployment in large number of troops in southern part of Burma.

In early 1990s, when the tatmadaw planned to launch the military offensives against KNLA 4th Brigade and to take security for Yadana gas-pipeline and Ye-Tavoy railway construction, the SLORC deployed a new Military Operation Management Command No. 8 (MOMC No. 8) and ten battalions from LIB No. 401 to No. 410 in Yebyu Township, Tavoy Township and Thayet-chaung

During 2001, just recently, the SPDC deployed another new MOMC No. 19 in Ye Township of Mon State with nine military battalions. It also deployed the artillery battalions in the mountains of that Township area and a navy in an island western part of the Township.

Whenever there is the new military deployment, the civilians firstly suffered from the loss of their lands and valuable properties.   As mentioned above, as the new military commands or battalions could not receive the available budget for the establishment of new bases and accommodations to their soldiers, they always  confiscated the lands with valuable fruit or rubber trees at first hand to get these crops.   So, the civilians lost both their crops and ancestral lands.

Continuously, the civilians would suffer more from the constant contribution of unpaid labour during the construction of new battalions and command. The civilians in the areas nearby are not only forced to contribute labour, but are asked to provide building materials, that could find locally, such as wooden poles and lumbers, roofing thatches, bamboo and others.

 

Again the Civilians, sometimes, had to provide food for these battalions and unfair and constant tax for them to operate their bases and during their military operations. More terribly, these new battalions arrest the villagers nearby and use them as porters during their offensives or military operations to cany food supplies and ammunitions.


II. Forcible Recruitment and Formation of Paramilitary

Although the tatmadaw tried to increase the number of its troops to 500,000, it has been hard for diem. A very few number of young people who are unemployed or fled from their homes joined the army voluntarily. Most low educated persons and many other young people are not interested to join the Burmese Army, as they know about hardship and difficult in army and the salary is also low. If compared with BSPP time, less new soldiers have joined to the army during SLORC/SPDC era.

Tatmadaw also set up many recruitment bases in several parts of Burma close to military training schools, however, they could not get the set number of young recruits as they estimated. In this situation, the commanders have found many ways to get new recruits. By the secret instruction to the recruitment bases concerned to arrest young people and children (who are under 18 years old in Burmese tradition) and put them in the army.

In arresting the young people and children to be soldiers, sometimes, the battalions themselves arrested these young people or children in the rural villages when they launched military operation and sent to the military training school. After they are trained for two to three months, then they became new soldiers and are sent to the battle-fields.

In other way, the commanders from recruitment bases also appointed "soldier customers (or the recruitment agents)" in Rangoon and Mandalay, the capitals of Burma, to arrest some young people or children who came from rural areas to seek works or to meet their relatives. The term of "soldier customers" is translated from Burmese word and actually, these appointed agents always to find traveling or homeless or helpless young people or children in the cities and arrest them with some reasons and send to the recruitment bases. The commanders also provided awards, especially foods and money, to those agents.

Accordingly to a young soldier, who was arrested by an agent explained the commanders from the recruitment base also gave to that agent about one sack of rice (about 64 kilograms), 4000 Kyat and some milk. Even the price for award is not so high, however, many poor people in Rangoon and other cities involved to be soldier customers because these people have very little income and unemployed.

According to that escaped soldier, over 50% of young or child soldiers have been recruited by this way and most of them have no desire to become soldiers, but they are not allowed to contact with their parents or families. Some of these young soldiers also died during the offensives and even their parents did not know their plight of their sons.

Even though the commanders of Burmese Army have attempted to get 500, 000 troops in its army, the number have not reached as they expected. Therefore, they also found any ways to recruit new soldiers, especially to form paramilitary force in every States and Divisions and recruited some firemen, young village men and village militia troops to attend the military training schools.

The military commanders concerned also ordered the local town section or village leaders to give the lists of young people to them and planned to force them to attend the military training schools.

After these training schools, these trainees are also formed as "paramilitary force" - in their own area and the military battalions or commands concerned instructed them to take the security of their own areas. among the trainees, the leaders of village tract militia troops arc always appointed as the commanders of the new formed paramilitary force and are offered officer rank. Although this paramilitary forces do not have to follow with the local military battalions or commands to attack against the rebel armies, but they have main responsibility to take security in their own area.


III. Forced Recruitment in Rural Area

If compared with the situation in Mon State, there are more rebels' activities in Tenasserim Division and the leaders of tatmadaw have planned to recruit more militiamen and formed them as "anti-insurgency paramilitary force" and let that paramilitary force takes responsibility for security of their own area.

Since 1999, LIB No. 273 and No. 282 that had military activities in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division also increase the number of militiamen in every village and tried to extend the number of tatmadaw. They increased the number of the militia force two times in the former villages, which already had militia force. And they formed militia force in many villages, which did not have before. The battalion commanders also arranged for these men to attend basic arm and military training in their battalion base and let them went back to their homes after training.

During this military recruitment for paramilitary force, many villagers were forced to attend the militan' training and to hold arms. Many ethnic Mon and Tavoyan villagers in this area did not want to join the paramilitary force because they could be dangerous when there was fighting with the rebel armies. And, they were also afraid of being killed by the rebel soldiers. Then, many of them gradually resigned as members of paramilitary force and asked for retirement.

In late 2001, the number of this armed force dropped seriously and LIB No. 282 and No. 273 tried to reform them again. As the commanders from these battalions have known less people wished to join this armed force, and they tried to create a new system of "a rotation basis" to be part of paramilitary force.

 

As an instance,

On January 1, 2002, LIB No. 282 of Burmese Army based in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division, ordered the villagers from 4 Mon and 1 Karen villages on the Te-Tavoy motor road, to take security of their own villages by involving in paramilitary armed force on a rotation basis and they have to pay if they avoid to be recruits.

LIB No. 282 provided 10 rifles more for each of four Mon villages, Aleskan, Kyaukadin, Kwetalin and Tapu; and one Karen village, Law-thaing and ordered all villagers that they must serve as members of paramilitary force on a rotation basis to protect their own area.

These 10 rifles were extra arms besides they had provided before. Since 1999, they also formed village militia force and those battalions also equipped the villagers with arms. Now, again, when they equipped arms to the villagers in five villages, they have known that less villagers wanted to join as permanent recruits and so that they ordered the villagers to take this duty on a rotation basis. In the arrangement of rotation, every 10 men in each village have to hold guns for one-week period and after they completed their duties, they need to give these guns to another 10 men.

During they were holding guns, they also have to listen the orders from LIB No. 282.  They really became as soldiers and needed to fight back the rebel soldiers if they came close to their villages.

In this case, many villagers who are the farmers would not like to join into this armed force, because most of them farmers and did not have any experience for battling with rebel armed force. However, they are forced to join in this armed force in the rotation duty, if not, they would be fined to pay 5000 Kyat for one-week period. But a very little number of villagers who could afford to pay but most of them have to join this armed force.

Sometimes, the tatmadaw battalions also use these village paramilitary forces as their soldiers and ordered them to launch the military operations together with them.


As an instance,

On January 16, 2002, when LIB No. 273's a low rank commander, Maj. Ngwe Lin, arrived to Tapu village and he gathered about 50 men from paramilitary force from Tapu, Kwetalin, Kyaukadin, and Aleskan villages. Then he operated a military activity in eastern pan of the motor road with all militiamen. They left from that village and went into jungle to find the rebel force. However, they could not find any rebel, but heard there was illegal cattle traders' movement and tried to arrest traders. When they arrived, to a Mon village, Hlae-seik, they also arrested a Mon man, Nai Ngwe, and forced him to show the way of traders. When the man could not find the ways that traders have used, a commander of LIB No. 273, Sergeant Thein Win angered and beat him with gun butt in his face.

Similarly to Yebyu Township area, Ye Township based MOMC No. 19 also instructed the villagers in the whole Ye Township to increase the numbers of militia force or members of paramilitary in every village to protect their own area.


As an instance,

On January 18, 2002, the commanders of MOMC No. 19, Brigadier Te Win called a meeting with all headmen from all villages in Township and guided them to increase the number of village militiamen in village and every village chairman must become the chief commander of paramilitary force. He instructed to all village headmen that to provide the list of villagers who have ages between 13 and 25 years old, and said all of them in this age range needed to attend the military training school.

On that day, he also formed a model paramilitary force for a Mon village called Abor with 20 villagers as new recruits. He also ordered to the village headmen that as this armed force have responsibility for the security of their own area, and so that the villagers needed to pay for salary to those armed force members. For that village, he also instructed every household to provide 1000 Kyat every month for the expenses and salary for the members of paramilitary.

He not only ordered the headmen to form a stronger paramilitary force, he also town ward leaders to provide at least 3 men from each town wards to be recruits to take security duties in town. InYeTown, there are about 10 town wards, the commander would have another 30 recruits at least in town.

Unlikely to Yebyu Township, MOMC No. 19 appointed the members of these paramilitary force permanently, but the civilians have to pay for them. MOMC also instructed that each member of this armed force must receive 10, 000 Kyat as their salary. For example, the headmen in Abor village, which has about 20 paramilitary force, have to collect 200, 000 Kyat every month to pay for the salary.

Since January, MOMC No. 19 continuously informed headmen in many villages in Township to send the list of the villagers who would join the paramilitary force. When the village chairman informed to them that they are ready to take arms, the MOMC commanders also went to that village and make as ceremony of "equipping with arms" to the village paramilitary force. And, then they will provide shoot days to them.


As an instance,

On March 1, 2002, MOMC commanders went to "Palaing-kee" village and hold a ceremony of equipping arms to 10 village paramilitary force. In that village, the chairman had to take responsibility to be the leader of paramilitary force and MOMC equipped them with 10 AK-16 rifle guns. The commanders also instructed to the villagers that they must have 10,000 Kyat salary for each of  them. The village, who is the leader of armed force, have to collect 100,000 Kyat every month from the villagers for their own salaries.

MOMC. No. 19 was not only recruiting the civilians in town and villagers to involve in paramilitary force, but they also forced firemen from Fire Brigade in Township to attend basic arm equipment training and are also formed as paramilitary force after training.

On January 18, MOMC No. 19's commander Brigadier Ye Win called a meeting with all firemen in Township and instructed them that all firemen must attend basic arm equipment for some weeks and they must involve as recruits for paramilitary force to defend the country if there is a danger poses to the the country.

In Ye Township, there are about 50 firemen in town and another 50 in several villages. They were arranged to attend the military training in March and the Chilians had to pay for their accommodation cost during training. The authorities and village headmen collected 500 Kyat from every house in Township to support them during training.

In other part of Mon State, the military battalions concerned also ordered the village headmen to collect the list of young men for the preparation to force them to attend the military training schools. Actually, the SPDC planned to give the basic military training to all young men and then, they would recruit them again when they needed, especially to take the security of their own area or to defense the country.


As an instance,

On January 18, 2002, with an order from a local military battalion, IB No. 32, that based in Thanbyuzayat Town, Mon State, the village headmen and militia force from Wakaru village, called a meeting with all villagers and collected the list of villagers between 9 and 30 years old. There were 69 villagers had between that age range. According to them, they collected that list to provide data to IB No. 32 for an arrangement to provide military training to those people in the list. In the meeting, the Chairman also explained that for the defense purpose of the country, they collected the list of young people to attend the training school. He added that after training, if they do not want to join the Burmese Army, they could return and stay at homes. When the country needs them they have to join the army.

After various types of recruitment, the Burmese Army combined the number of these recruits into its armed force, and therefore, the number of Burmese Army increased suddenly during these years 2000-2002.   As there is no foreign threats or invasion, the number of troops in this armed force is over-number and it makes a big burden for the rural community people to feed them and to pay for all expenses.

IV. Supports for the operation of army bases


In Ye Township, when MOMC No. 19 deployed its new military battalions in the northern and eastern part of Township area, it could not provide enough budget to run the daily activities of these battalions and just have instructed them to find their own fund with their own method. As it confiscated a thousand acre of land from the civilians which are grown with valuable fruit and rubber trees, these battalions also could raise their own fund by selling rubber woods, rubber liquid and various types of fruits.

However, as the battalion commanders have to take various responsibility, not only to run the office, but also to feed soldiers and their families, the total budget that received from MOMC No. 19 and money from selling the products are not enough. Then, as a usual way, the army commanders tried to collect fund from the Chilians again.


As an instance,

On December 10, 2001, when a military column of LIB No. 587 launched a military activity in the western part ofYetract Township area, in An-din village tract, the commander of that battalion, Captain Taza Tun, ordered the village headmen to collect fund for their food expenses with rate 5000 Kyat from each village in one month. Village tract has about 7 villages and. they received. 35000 Kyat every month for their food expenses.

Similarly to this military battalion, in August 2001, Sergeant Mvint Oo, from IB No. 61, which bases in Ye town also collected the battalion fund in villages near Ye. On August 11,2001, when the commander went to six Mon villages and met with village leaders and instructed them that they must provide to IB No. 61 with fund 10000 Kyat each month from every village. From these six villages, IB No. 61 could receive 60, 000 Kyat every month.

If compared with many other Townships, the people in Ye Township have faced more suffering to pay and feed the Burmese Army, after MOMC No. 19 took bases in Township. Besides MOMC No. 19 and its 9 military battalions, a military column of LIB No. 343 and an Artillery Regiment No. 309 also took base in an island called "Kalar-gote" in the western coastal area of Township. These battalions have taken base in the island since September 2001.

To supply these troops with foods and many other expenses, the village headmen from three main villages in the island have to take responsibility. The island has about 700 households totally, the village headmen collected 200 Kyat for each household. They could receive 140, 000 Kyat per month and they had to pay to the army. Then, the army paid salary to 4 militiamen in village with 20, 000 Kyat and took the remaining money.

Among many battalions, LIB No. 343 that bases in the northern part of Ye Township has been the crudest battalion in taking money from the civilians. While it took money in "Kalar-gote" island for its expenses, its other military column separated in Township also collected money from different areas.


As an instance,

Since July 2001, one column of that battalion took base near Taung-bon village, northern part ofYe Township and ordered the village headmen to collect 300 Kyat fund and 4 kilograms of rice from every household. As the village had about 1,100 households altogether, that military column could receive about 300, 000 Kyat every month and a lots amount of rice.

In many cases, the army battalions, which have less budget to use in their battalions always observe some wrong-doings done by the civilians and they take fine from them to get some cash for their expenses. The fines are mostly quiet high if compared with the civilians' committing of some wrong-doing. Although the civilians do not satisfy for these types of fines, however, they have no chance to complain.


As an instance,

On March 14, 2002, Tactical Commander, Lt. Col. Aung Kyaw Nyein,form IB No. 32 in Kya-inn-seikyi Township of Karen State, forced a local truck belonged to Nai Thein Than (38years old) to cany paddy from their paddy-buying center to the Town with many other trucks. When his truck arrived to a place near Chaun-htit-kwa village, an old bridge was collapsed while his truck was moving on it with a heavy load. So the commanders who used many trucks without payment, but provide some gasoline, also asked him to pay to rebuild the road. They also took fine the truck owner to pay 400, 000 Kyat money as a fine. If the bridge was re-built, it would need to spend only 150, 000 - 200, 000 Kyat said by villagers, but they took more fines from that driver. Although the truck owner did not satisfy for the large money of fine, however, he had no place to complain or to find justice.

Many civilians in the rural have greatly suffered from collection of money to support the battalions of Burmese Army and the local paramilitary force. Some many poor families, who have less income also could not afford to pay these various types of fund or tax to the army and sometimes, they also had to flee from  the villages or sell their properties. For the families who have some paddy fields and fruit plantations are able to pay these fund because they have crops to sell and pay to the army.

V. Civilians' support for army self-reliance projects

Generally, because of no available budget provided by the command concerned, the local tatmadaw battalions also have to create self-reliance program as a policy in army. In most situation, the commanders of the battalion concerned have to take responsibility to create this self-reliance program.

Depending on in the areas they are situating, the different military battalions have different types of self-reliance program. But most battalions have involved in the agriculture activities, by growing crop trees with a main objective to get regular income.

When the military battalions created self-reliance program, they also created many types of fruit plantations, which were feasible to the land soil in the southern part of Burma, such as betel-nut plantation, coconut plantation, palm plantation and others. Some battalions also created rubber plantations while many others created paddy cultivated farm lands. Some battalions, which bases close to the sea also created shrimp farms or fish pools.

Whenever they created these plantations, the battalion commanders always asked the seed plants from the civilians nearby. Actually, they could buy these seed plants from the local farmers or even from the regime's husbandry farms managed by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, they just took from the civilians by forcing them and without payment.


As an instance,

SPDC's LIB No. 538, which bases in Taung-dee village, Kya-inn-seikyi Township, Karen State, planned to create a betel-nut plantations in the lands confiscated in the area nearby. Maj. Thein Tun had to take responsibility to create this plantation and so that he asked many seed plants from two villages near the base. In an order dated on January 16, 2002, he ordered to the village headmen ofHla-kada village to provide 2000 seed plants of betel-nut and to village headmen of Seik-galay village to provide 1000 seed plants respectively. As the villagers from both villages are traditional paddy cultivation farmers, they could not get betel-nut seed plants in their villages. And so, the village headmen collected money from the villagers and bought from another villages. Then they brought to the battalion.

This battalion also grew coconut plantation and also requested the village headmen from Meepran and other villages to get about 200 coconut plant trees and have ordered the village headmen to send these coconut plants. For the village headmen, sometimes, they faced difficulties to get the set amount of plants and they were also warned by the army commanders concerned to send them as quick as possible. (The order by LIE No. 538 to village headmen requested coconut plants is in page )

Similarly to this battalion, No. 4 the Central Training School near Thanbyuzayat Town created a betel-nut plantation and requested 15 betel-nut plants from each household from aMon village nearby, Waekarat to get about 1, 000 betel-nut plants. If some did not have any coconut trees, had to pay 500 Kyat for one family to the army.

The army battalions are not only forced the civilians to provide them materials and seed plants, but they also forced the civilians to contribute labour in these projects. Normally, most soldiers do not have skills in agricultural works and then they forced the villagers, who are mostly farmers, to do on behalf of them.


As an instance,

In February 2002, to create self-reliance program, the Commander-in-ChiefofMOMCNo. 19, Brigadier Ye Win also gave instruction to their battalion to create a shrimp farm nearAsin village, western part ofYe Township.  They also took about 300 acres of lands in the area between Asin and Zee-phu- taung village and forced the local villagers to dig many pools.

However, as the pools are too close to the sea and the embankments are not strong enough, some embankments were destroyed by waves in late March. So that the commander ordered the village headmen from these two villages to take responsibility to rebuild the embankment. And, he also instructed to conscript only the people who have good skills in building the embankments. The headmen could get only 10 villagers from these villages and forced them to rebuild the embankment. These 10 men had to work for nearly two weeks to complete all rebuilding of embankments, but they were not paid. When they went to the work-place, they also have to carry their foods and tools.

In many cases, when the tatmadaw battalions created self-reliance program, the commanders concerned also confiscated lands or properties from the civilians without payment and used as their own lands and properties. MOMC No. 19 have not only confiscated the lands from the Ye Township's civilians to deploy their new military battalions, but also confiscated the civilians' lands for their self-reliance programs.


As an instance

On February 27, 2002, with a plan to raise livestock for "livestock products industry" for the fund raising project of MOMC No. 19, the commander from that command confiscated about 40 acres of land just 2 miles outside of Ye Town. These lands were owned by a Tavoyan man, U Soe Thein, and a Man man, Nai Kyaw Ngwe. U Soe Thein had about 5000 rubber trees while Nai Kyaw Ngwe had about 2000 rubber trees. These men suddenly lost their lands and a sister of Nai Kyaw Ngwe, who was dependent on that land go mental after she knew the news of land confiscation by the tatmadaw.

In raising the money for the battalion fund, although the local military battalions have used various exploiting ways from the civilians, the higher military officers blind their eyes. They would not like to investigate what abuses committed by their battalions, because they are the key persons, who adopted this self-reliance program.



VI. Unlawful activities


While the new tatmadaw military bases are taking base in one area, the civilians always suffered from the abuses and looting. The soldiers always beat the civilians when they have problems and sometimes, looted
the civilians' belongings. In some cases, the commanders themselves ordered the soldiers to loot the civilians' belongings, while sometimes when their soldiers made looting in some places, the commanders also closed most of the cases.


As an instance,

On October 21, 2001 in the morning, with an order of second-tactical commander, Lt. Col. Ngwe Soe,five soldiers from IB No. 106 bases near Morkanin village,YeTownship, also looted a lots of clothes from two stores owned two Mon women, Mi Cho and Mi Shwe Win, in village and took them away for selling. Many villagers believed this was the punishment by the commander as these store owners failed to pay tax to him. Although this looting was unfair, however, the store owners had no place to complain about the cases.

During the military battalions are creating army owned plantations, they also forced the civilians or the villagers nearby to fence the plantations. And, they also warned the local villagers to keep their cattle far from these plantations and if their oxen or buffalo or cow went to the plantations, they would not get back their livestock.


As an instance,

On March 8, 2002, when an ox owned by a Kaw -for villager went to find grass, it arrived to paddy farms owned by LIB No. 356 and ate a little amount of their paddy. A commander of that battalion, Maj. K/aw Soe found and shot to that ox. Then his soldiers butchered it and made distribution to some village headmen nearby and said that if anyone's cattle ate paddy in the army, they must be butchered. The price of that ox is about 200, 000 Kyat accordingly to the owner, but he did not get any meat or compensation.

Sometimes, the military battalions which has less budget during their military operations, also kidnapped the civilians and requested ransom for them to cover all their expenses. Although the higher commanders or authorities know about this type of kidnap, however, they did not stop their subordinate commanders and soldiers to halt this act.


As an instance,

On January 16, 2001, in the evening time, when a military column of LIB No. 282 came into Natkyisin village, Tebyu Township, Tenasserim Division, they arrested about 6 villagers and took them away. And, the commander ordered the village headmen that they must need to pay 100, 000 Kyat for each person as ransom to release them. Then the arrested villagers' families and relatives had to find money for them and paid to the commanders. And, they were released and were also instructed that to not tell about this kidnapping story to their higher commanders.

Under the rule of military regime in Burma, the local military battalions have the absolute power in the rural areas, and they also involved in some administrative activities instead of the authorities. Sometimes, they also involved in looting the civilians' belongings like the authorities and took fine from traders, business people and the ordinary civilians.

No one can complain against the members of Tatmadaw, when they committed the abuses and oppression against the civilians. Even the headmen of village communities could not protect their villagers. If they tried to avoid the orders instructed by the commanders and failed to collect fund or provide the requested things, they could be dismissed by commanders.

In most case, like the commanders involve in the corruption, later many village headmen became involving in the corruption. When they collected the fund from the villagers, they also took some money into their pockets, as they do not have to be accountable to anyone for that money.



 


VII. Conclusion

When the Burmese Army planned "militarization" in the southern part of Burma, the local ethnic civilians, Mon, Karen and Tavoy people have to serve for several things. As first violations of human rights, the civilians faced the deprivation of foods and income, when their lands are confiscated for troop deployment. Then they continuously suffered from paying tax or fund, providing foods, contributing unpaid labour and materials during deployment and at the end, the troops directly involve in oppression of ethnic people's education, protection of literature and maintenance of their cultures and traditions.

After huge number of troops are deployed in Mon State, the commanders from the military commands or battalions have the highest power in the area and they personally or officially involved in the restriction against the Mon people for the national struggle to restoration their literature and culture, and the operation of Mon education.

They have been involved in stopping for the celebration of Mon National Day, the building of Mon national schools and the operating of Mon national education, the conducting of dry -season Mon literacy and others.

The land confiscation for the new military deployment also pushes the Mon community economically to be weak, by taking the valuable resources owned by ethnic Mon people for many centuries.

The local Mon community leaders believes that SPDC's militarization or  the deployment of more Burman ethnic troops in other non-Burman ethnic people areas is also a main plan of the regime for their assimilation policy, by transferring more Burman people and to have balanced number of population among the Burman and other people like Indonesia dictators transferred army and Indonesian people to East Timor in the past. They also believe that the SPDC's militarization and troop deployment is the neo-colonialism applied by the regime.