The Mon Forum


News, personal accounts, reports & analysis on the human rights situation in Mon territory and other areas of the Southern part of
Burma

 

July 31 2002

Issue No. 7/2002

 

Publication of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland

 


CONTENTS

News:
1) IB No. 62 soldiers killed 5 Mon villagers after raped a girl
2) Torture a Mon man by LIB No. 343
3) Teaching of Mon language is barred in a school in Ye Township


News in Brief:
Violations against women and forced labour by members of the Burmese army


Report:
Kanbauk-Myaingkalay Gas Pipeline and Negative Impacts to the Civilians

 

Commentary:

No Surprise for SPDC's Sexual Violations against Women

 

*********************************************************************

 

Some acronyms in this issue

 

SLORC-                State Law and Order Restoration Council,

SPDC-                  State Peace and Development Council,

IB -                        Infantry Battalion                   (of Burmese Army),

LIB-                       Light Infantry Battalion          (of Burmese Army),

MOMC-                 Military Operation Management Command (of Burmese Army),

NMSP-                  New Mon State Party,

KNLA-                   Karen National Liberation Army,

 

 

 

 

News:

 

IB No. 62 soldiers killed 5 Mon villagers after raped a girl

About 4 o'clock in the morning, four soldiers from Burmese Army's Infantry Battalion No. 62 shot five Mon villagers in a village in Thanbyuzayat Township in Mon State, after they raped a young Mon girl.  

Four soldiers of IB No. 62, which base in Thanbyuzayat town, took military patrol in area along the Thanbyuzayat - Ye motor road and a gas-pipeline nearby and they went into a Mon village called "Ganaing-padaw" in early morning.    Ganaing-padaw village is situating about 9 kilometers far in southeastern part of Thanbyuzayat Town.  

When they arrived into village, they entered into village secretary, Nai Kun Tit's house.  Nai Kun Tit did not wake up and they met his grand-daughter, Mi Eat Sar (16 years old and a school girl from a middle level school in a village nearby), who was cooking rice to give food donation to the monks in the dawn accordingly to Buddhist traditions.  

Four soldiers including a soldier, Thein Naing (Burmese Army's ID Number 176399) climbed onto the house and raped the girl.   While the soldiers were raping the girl, Nai Kun Tit waked up and tried to help her.   But as he knew the soldiers had the guns and he run down from his house to garden's entrance and shout to the villagers for help.  

Because of his shouting, one soldier shot at him.    He lied down in the entrance of the garden and died on spot.   And, the soldiers had quarrel each other as some of them disagreed shooting to the man.  Then, they shot each other again.  

After several shooting on the house, other family members waked up and run around in the house while the shooting between the soldiers occurred.  Then another four villagers, including Mi Eat Sar, the rape victim, was shot down by soldiers.   They also died on spot with many injuries.  

The villagers who were killed in this incident are:

(1)                  Nai Kun Tit (66 years old), the secretary of the village,

(2)                  Mi Kun Bae (60 years old), wife of Nai Kun Tit,

(3)                  Mi Eat Sar (16 years old), raped victim and grand-daughter of Nai Kun Tit,

(4)                  Min Chit Ko (20 years old), grandson of Nai Kun Tit, and

(5)                  Nai Wet Tae (42 years old), labourer for Nai Kun Tit's farm.

Because of shooting, a IB No. 62 soldier, Thein Naing, received serious injuries and lied down in the kitchen of the house.   In the morning, the army officers from Thanbyuzayat's IB No. 62 headquarters came and inquired the incident.   And, when they found their men really involved shooting against the innocent villagers, they told the villagers to separate the news that the villagers were killed in the middle of fighting that happened between rebels and their battalions. 

IB No. 62 bases in Thanbyuzayat Town, which is about 80 miles far from Moulmein, the capital of Mon State.  It has main responsibility to take security of the area and Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas-pipeline.  

 

 

Torture a Mon man by LIB No. 343

On July 17, 2002, a group of SPDC troops from LIB No. 343 led by Maj. Lin Oo tortured a 40 years old Mon farmer in his fruit plantation until he lost consciousness near Khawza village, southern part of Ye Township.

The torture of this innocent civilian occurred when Maj. Lin Oo and his troops launched a military offensive in the area against Mon rebels.   When the soldiers arrived his plantation, they arrested the man, Nai Nyunt Maung, and interrogated him to give them information about the activities of a rebel leader, Nai Bin.   When the man replied he just hear about this rebel leader and said the Mon soldiers did not come to his plantation.

The commander of Burmese Army did not believe him and accused all farmers have been supporting the rebels by providing them with food and shelter.   After the soldiers could not get any answer from the man, they brought along with them and ordered him to show the bases of the rebels.  

As the man have not really known the place of rebels' base, he could not show them.   He was brought by soldiers for three days in the forests and they used him to walk in advance as human-shields.   During those three days, the soldiers beat him everyday.   Although his family members and village leaders tried to get information about him but they did not know how of his faith. 

On the last day of three days, the commander was too angry to the man and then ordered his men to beat him as a group.   About five soldiers beat him with their fists, sticks and gun-butts.   They beat the whole of his body and his face.   Because of cruel beating in his face, most of his teeth broke and at the end, he lost consciousness.  And, the Burmese Army left him behind near a plantation of another farmer.   The farmers near the area found him and they brought him back to the village, Khawza.  

After he arrived back home, his family knew that he was beaten by LIB No. 343 soldiers and they did not dare to bring him to Ye town hospital, as they could face another threat from the commander.   So, they have to treat him in village with a tradition herbal doctor. 

Normally, in the southern part of Ye Township where the Mon rebels have some military against the Burmese Army, the Burmese commanders always ordered and restricted the movement of the local farmers.   They ordered to not go to their farms and to not stay in their farms at night.   Most farmers tried to go and worked at their farms at daytime in a hurry and returned to their homes in the evening.  

Nai Nyunt Maung is also a disabled man because one of his arm broke and useless.   As he could not work like other farmers and he decided to stay even at night-time in his farm, while the most farmers returned homes in the evening.   So the soldiers from LIB No. 343 arrested him while he was at his farm.   Thus, they accused him as rebel-supporters. 

 

Teaching of Mon language is barred in a school in Ye Township

In mid-July, after a primary school was built in a Mon village in southern part of Ye Township, the nearest SPDC's LIB No. 587 commander ordered to not teach Mon language in that school, which was taught for many years.  

The order was officially issued by the commander and if the village headman in that village, Kun-doo, allowed the Mon teachers to allow the teaching of Mon language as a subject in school, they must be punished, said by one of village headmen.   The battalion bases near that village in 2001 after confiscating many hundreds acres of lands from the Mon villagers.

According to that headman, the battalion commander ordered the headmen to collect money from the villagers in May and to re-build a new primary school again, as the old school, which was a Mon national school, was in ruin condition.  First, most of the villagers thought after the school was built, they could teach the Mon language again.   But when they heard the new order, most of them surprised and disagreed with the order.    However they had to keep silence.

"If someone would like to teach Mon language, they can teach in forest in where nobody hear", said by the commander, when the village headmen begged him for the teaching of Mon language.

The village has only about 80 households and the commander ordered to build a new school with own fund.  Therefore, many houses have to pay about 5000-10000 Kyat to have enough fund to complete the building.   The monks from the village monastery also donated some wooden lumbers and poles for building as they thought the school would be allowed for the teaching of Mon language.   In mid-July, the school building with 90 feet in length and 45 feet in width was completely built. 

After the school was built, the commander ordered to not teach Mon language anymore.   If the Mon teachers came and taught the Mon language or if the headmen allowed for the teaching, they must be punished.   He also threatened the Mon teachers must be arrested and the headmen would be dismissed if they did not listen his order.  

In most villages in Ye Township, NMSP's Mon education department established many Mon national schools since over 20-25 years ago and introduced the Mon education system that mainly supported the teaching of Mon language and the use of Mon language in text books and curriculums.   Later after NMSP lost some of its territory, the regime gradually occupied the Mon schools and put their teachers to teach Burmese language to implement its assimilation policy.   Later, the Mon and the regime agreed each other to teach both Mon and Burmese languages.  

In the last schooling year, Kun-doo village primary school taught both Mon and Burmese languages and the students and their parents also were also happy to study both Mon and Burmese languages.  

 

******************************************************


News in Brief:

Abuses against women

Rape Cases


Immigration official raped a young Mon woman

On June 14, 2002, an official of Ye Township's SPDC immigration department raped a 22 years old young Mon woman after she was arrested by officials for illegal migrating to Thailand.  

On that day, the Deputy Chief of Township immigration department, U Than Win (about 40 years old man), checked the passengers from all trucks in Ye river bridge, a largest bridge in town, and arrested 23 Mon villagers who were suspected to migrate into Thailand to seek work, including 22 years old unmarried Mi K--- H---, from Lamine village, Ye Township, Mon State.  

The group of villagers, including 2 traffickers, was also brought by the officials and policemen to police station to face the trials.    The officials also took 700, 000 Kyat from those traffickers and villagers.   When they put 2 traffickers in trials, all migrant villagers were needed for approval in the court. 

For the release of these villagers, the officials also requested money.   Some villagers also paid bribe to officials and then they were released.   However, the young woman could not pay in advance and appealed to pay later.   But U Than Win did not accept and brought the young woman to a house and raped her for the whole night.  

On the next day, he released the woman to return her home.   The woman also explained to her parents about the rape case and they also informed the officers from military intelligence to handle the case.   Until now, they could not know how the punishment would be given to that official.

 

LIB No. 587's three soldiers raped a Mon girl

On July 8, 2002, three soldiers from LIB No. 587 arrested a 18 years old Mon girl near Kun-doo village, southern part of Ye Township and they as a gang raped her.  

The soldiers repeatedly raped the young girl, Mi Khin Htwe (the daughter of Nai At) until she lost consciousness.   The rape incident occurred in a half way between the two Mon villages, Ayu-taung and Kun-doo, in the northern part of Ye Township.   The native village of Mi Khin Htwe is from Ayu-taung village.

She and her two friends (a boy and a girl) paid a visit to Kun-doo village and when they returned to their homes in Ayu-taung village, in evening about 4 o'clock, they met those 3 soldiers.   As they knew the soldiers could make problem to them, and they also decided to return to Kun-doo village again.  

But the soldiers followed and dragged Mi Khin Htwe into a rubber plantation.   Although the boy who came along with her tried to stop, but the soldiers pointed the guns at him and threatened to kill him.   Then the boy ran to Ayu-taung village, to ask for the help from the villagers.  

In rubber plantation, the soldiers repeatedly raped her until she lost consciousness.   When a group of villagers arrived to incident place, the soldiers already left and they found only unconscious and injured girl laid down near a rubber tree.   Then they carried her back to the village.  

Although the villagers and the headmen knew the case, they did not dare to inform to the battalion commander, because they were afraid.   They only kept a silence for the case.   Among three soldiers, one soldier was a medic in the battalion and he could recognized him very well, said by the boy.   He added the other two soldiers were ordinary soldiers.  

LIB No. 587 takes base near that village since 2001 and it confiscated many hundreds acres of lands from the Kun-doo and Ayu-taung villages.  

 

LIB No. 343's commander threatened to kill a woman

On July 15, 2002, when LIB No. 343's military column commander, Maj. Lin Oo met a woman in Ye Town, he threatened her for killing, with accusation that woman was buying food for rebel soldiers.  

The Mon woman, Mi Nwe Yee (about 40 years old) is from Khawza village, in southern part of Ye Township, where some Mon rebel groups, launched the military activities.   When the commander met her in the market, he believed she bought some food for rebel soldiers. 

Then he approached close to the woman and grasped her arm and asked about her shopping.  When the woman refused and said that he bought foods and home used materials, he did not believe and drew a knife and tried to kill her.   But the woman suddenly ran into the crowd in the market and could escape from his killing.  

As the commander and his troops regularly launched the offensives in southern part of Ye Township against a Mon armed group led by Nai Bin, he could recognize some villagers from Mon villages and so he always suspected the villagers as the supporters of the Mon armed group.  

 

Forced labour

Porter service

Regular porter and porter fee for LIB No. 586

On June 25, when the troops of LIB No. 586, which is under the command of MOMC No. 19, launched a military offensives in the southern part of Ye Township, the Burmese soldiers also arrested many porters from Yin-ye village and demanded porter fee.

Before the troops arrived into the village, they arrested all villages and farmers who they saw in the village and used them as porters to carry ammunitions and food supplies along with them.  They arrested nearly 20 villagers and used them as porters, said by a villager.

When they arrived into the village, the commander called the village headmen and asked them to pay for porter fee if the whole villagers would not like to be porters.   The soldiers asked the village headmen to pay them 2000 Kyat from every household immediately.  

The commander also complained to the village headmen, "you are also collecting tax fund for rebels.   We are defending for your security, why don't you pay us."    The headmen had no choice and had to collect for them.  

The village has about 400 households and most percentages of villagers are poor fishermen.   The commander and his troops also waited for one night until they got complete amount of money from the villagers.   Then, on the next day, after receiving money, the troops took 20 porters along with them and returned to their base.   They decided to not launch offensives because it was not a good for carrying a lot of money to frontline.  

 

Porters for IB No. 77

IB No. 77 troops led by Lt. Col. Myo Lwin and Maj. Kyaw Kyaw Oo arrested about 40 porters from Wet-nan and Wet-sadon villages of Kya-inn-seikyi Township on June 20, to use them as porters in their military offensives against KNLA.

The troops went into these two villages, which are close each other and are in 'free-fire zone' and arrested about 40 villagers including some women.  The soldiers forced them to carry ammunitions and food supplies for 7 days and the commanders said they would release them after that period. 

During the soldiers were taking these porters, they launched offensives in 'Kyaik-done' area, in the middle part of Township area.   After 7 days offensives, the troops returned to those two villages again.  And, when they tried to get another 40 villagers to replace with old porters, the could not get because many men and other villagers fled from villages.   So, they used the same porters for another weeks.

One woman porter said that they forced her to carry 4 mortar shells and she was also beaten when she could not climb the mountains like other men porters.   She said she also saw the soldiers killed some Karen villagers in some rural villages in Kyaik-done area.

On July 2, these battalion troops also entered into Taung-bauk village and arrested 10 villagers as porters including Nai Halae, who was used as a guide.   When he showed wrong way to arrive into a Mon village, he was also severely beaten.  

IB No. 77 troops also entered into Taung-bauk village in May and shot into a group of Mon villagers and killed 2 villagers and injured 3 villagers.  

 

Forced labour for IB No. 31 Headquarters

On June 12, a commander of IB No. 31 Maj. Naing Win ordered the village headmen of Kwan-hlar village, which is close to the army base, to send 6 trucks and 15 men to construct a road in their headquarters.  

IB No. 31 headquarters situates in Thanbyuzayat Town and Kwan-hlar village situates in the southernmost part of Mudon Township in Mon State, IB No. 31 also used forced labour from that village.  

After requisition of forced labour, the village headmen sent 6 loading trucks and 15 men from his village.  The commander used the trucks to carry stones from the streams and used the villagers to crush the stones into small pieces and lay on the embankment of rough road.   The villagers, trucks and the drivers were forced to work for two days.   They had to carry their own foods and tools.      

 


REPORT

 

Kanbauk-Myaingklay Gas Pipeline and Negative Impacts to the Civilians

 

Background of gas-pipeline

In 2001, SPDC planned to extend the factory of a cement production in Pa-an Township, in Karen State, to produce more cement.   The factory situates near a village called "Myaingkalay", and it is also known as "Myaingkalay cement factory".   Recently, this factory received gas energy for its operation from Rangoon and when the factory extended to produce more amounts of cement with the new machinery equipment, the factory required more energy.   Therefore, SPDC decided to bring gas for energy to use in the extended factory from Kanbauk onshore gas station.   Kanbauk gas station normally operated to store gas from Yatana gas field from Mataban Sea and send to Thailand via Yatada gas pipeline.   US's Unocal and France's Total oil and gas companies have cooperated with the regime in exploiting the gas.

Accordingly to the SPDC's plan, the Construction Ministry, Ministry of Energy, and the Southeast Military Command bases in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State implemented in a new gas pipeline construction from Kanbauk gas container to reach to Myaingkalay cement factory.   Thus, the new gas pipeline also known as "Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline. 

The construction of gas pipeline took about 10 months and it started in November 2000.   This gas pipeline is about 210 miles and first, it passes some part of Yebyu Township of Tenasserim Division and then proceeds into Mon State.   In Mon State, it passes the whole (south-north) length of Ye Township, Thanbyuzayat Township and Mudon Township, and it also passes some part of Kyaikmayaw and Moulmein Townships.   From Mon State, it proceeds into Pa-an Township of Karen State where the cement factory situates.   (See in the map)

When it passes through in Tenasserim Division, it came along Ye-Tavoy motor road, then the route passes through many paddy growing farms, rubber and fruit plantations and even into villages in Mon State.   When the gas pipeline passes through, the regime's authorities and army confiscated all civilians' lands, crop trees and houses without payment and to move out from their places as quick as possible.  

When the authorities construct the pipeline in Yebyu Township area, they also ordered the civilians who stayed along the motor road to cut trees and move their houses if they were in the route.   Similarly, when the route proceeded into a Mon village called Wae-winkara in Thanbyuzayat Township, it passed through into 7 house surroundings of the villagers totally and another 13 surroundings partly.  The authorities ordered those 7 families to move from their houses and destroy their houses within 3 days.   The army from LIB No. 31 also came and threatened to move quickly.   If not, they would be arrested for disobeying the order.  

Whenever the route passed into paddy farms or rubber and fruit plantations, the route took 30-50 feet each side of pipeline and the farmers lost these lands.   As example, when the route passed into Kyaikmayaw Township along the motor road, although it did not cross into any village, about 50 feet of land along the route, which was grown with most rubber trees were confiscated.   As estimation, about 200 acres of land in that Township areas, which had rubber trees and a few rice fields were confiscated without payment.   No farmer received any compensation cost during the time of confiscation.  

This was not the end of the story.   After the gas pipeline construction completed and the regime could bring the gas to the designated place, however, the people along the pipeline area still face more and more suffering.   Under the rule of military regime, the majority of Mon people and other ethnic people could not know how about the danger of gas which passed through their area, and no knowledge and education was provided to them.  

Additionally, the local people have been suffered from the main purpose of the security of gas pipeline.   Then the impacts of pipeline such as movement restriction, limitation of agricultural activities, pipeline explosion and gas separate into the community and continual use of forced labour.   The details of these impacts are mentioned as below:

 

 

Small compensation for confiscated land

After for over one year confiscation of lands along the pipeline, the authorities have been quiet and silent and have not said any for the compensation cost.   However, in January 2002, the authorities from the regime decided to provide some compensation cost to villagers and farmers, those who lost some pieces of their land along the pipeline route. 

Most villagers in Mudon, Thanbyuzayat and Ye Townships lost some pieces of their lands in the villages or in paddy farms.  For example, the pipeline route passes through into Wae-winkara village near Thanbyuzayat town and the villagers from that village were ordered to remove their houses or to leave from their lands within 3 days.  

In some places, when the pipeline totally passes into a house and gardens, the villagers had to destroy their houses, took some useful wooden limber and moved to another places where they like.  The regime authorities did not provide them with any space of land.   Some families had to sell their properties and paddy farms or rubber plantations and bought lands and built their new houses again.   

After over one year of land confiscation, the regime decided to pay compensation cost for the villagers or farmers, who lost the lands.  On January 9, 2002, the local Township authorities, officials from Ministry of Energy, village authorities hold a ceremony to compensate to 7 families who lost their lands in December 2000 when the regime's construction department and Southeast Command built the gas pipeline.

When the pipeline passes, every family at least lost about half acre of land and some lost over one acre of land depending on how long the pipeline passed into their lands.   The authorities paid 18000 Kyat per acre of land accordingly to the price set by the regime, while the land price was about 100, 000 Kyat set by the civilians.   Most villagers in this village not only lost their lands, they also lost their wooden houses, but the authorities paid compensation for only lands.

As an instance,

"A Wae-winkara villager Nai Aung Shein's family, who lost one acre of land and the whole of his house, while the pipeline passed through into his garden.  He had to destroy his house and moved into his relatives' house in the same village, Wae-winkara, and had to build a new house.   He lost about 400, 000 Kyat worth for both land and house.   He also lost another 100, 000 Kyat to build a new house by buying building materials.   But in the ceremony, he received only 18, 000 Kyat from the authorities for his one acre lost lands.  

"Among 7 families who lost the lands, the range of money amount they received was between 3600 Kyat - 18000 Kyat.   After receiving the money, the headmen of Wae-winkara also cut some money from them.   They complained to the villagers that as they have demanded the compensation cost on behalf of the villagers, they have rights to take some money.   They took 5000 Kyat from Nai Aung Shein, at the end he received only 13000 Kyat.   The village headmen also cut from the other families 1000 Kyat to 3000 Kyat per family depending on the amount of money they received." 

In the ceremony, accordingly to the villagers, some company personnel also attended and provided compensation cost to the local villagers together with regime's authorities.  But the villagers did not know whether the company or the regime compensated, and which company.   This is also the first for the local Mon rural civilians receiving the small amount of compensation, while many others did not receive after the lands lost because of infrastructure projects or military deployments.

Similarly, the SPDC authorities from Ministry of Energy, Mudon Township authorities and company personnel also held a ceremonhy in Mudon Town to compensate to farmers.   In Mudon Township, the pipeline passed into many local farmers' paddy farms and some farmers lost about one acre, some lost about half an acre of land, which a few member lost only about 0.25 acre of land.   The authorities compensated only 2000 Kyat per acre of land to the farmers, while the land price in market price is about 150000 - 200000 Kyat per acre of land.   In this compensation, some farmers could receive only 500 Kyat because they lost less land.  

Mudon Township farmers also said that the amount of money paid by the regime authorities was too little and it could cover only for travel cost when they went from their villages to town to attend the ceremony to take compensation cost.   Many farmers, ever some would not like to attend the ceremony, but all of them were forced to attend.  

Although the authorities paid for the compensation cost in Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, Kyaikmayaw and Moulmein Townships for farmers and civilians who lost their lands, there was no news they gave compensation cost to the farmers in Ye Township.   The pipeline route passed into many hundreds of paddy farms and rubber and other fruit plantations in this township area.  

 

 

Sabotage of gas-pipeline and SPDC's accusation against KNU

On April 30, 2002, one part of gas pipeline in the northern part of Ye Township was sabotaged by an unknown rebel armed group and SPDC accused KNLA involved in this sabotage.  

In SPDC's press conference hold on May 9, Col. Min Lwin from Defense Ministry expressed to the reporters from various news agencies that the members of KNLA involved in sabotaging of Kanbauk - Myaingkalay gas pipeline about 9:30 p.m. in night time near a bridge called "Tha-pyay-chaung", which situates between Anin and Hnit-kayin villages.  

He also accused that because of sabotage and the flame separate along pipeline, two villagers, who guarded near incident place also got serious injuries in their backs.  He also added that as the pipeline is built along the Moulmein - Ye railway road, some part of railway roads were also destroyed. 

KNU also refused for the responsibility of sabotage and said they had no military activity in that area.  The pipeline was badly damaged and the villagers nearby saw a lot of flame went up onto the sky.   Some villagers who stay far from the area thought one village in the area was burnt.     

Because of this sabotage, it also posed that the battalions of Burmese Army that took base in the area, militia force and SPDC local authorities were unable to take any security for their pipeline. 

As the explosion happened far from the villages, no villager was harm for the explosion of gas.   However, the paddy crop in the area along the pipeline and railway road were destroyed.  

This is also the first time of sabotage and so the SPDC local authorities and Southeast military command had more intentions to beef up more security along the pipeline route and the surrounding area to prevent another sabotage.   In protecting this gas-pipeline, the authorities and army not only use their armed troops and militia forces, but also conscript the civilians in taking security in gas pipeline.  

In that press conference, SPDC's spokesmen also accused KNLA for another sabotage of Rangoon-Myaingkalay gas pipeline on May 6, in Bee-lin Township area of Mon State.   This is the previously built gas pipeline to constantly supply energy for the operation of Myaingkalay cement factory.   In this sabotage, although there was no big effect or flame separated in the nearer area, but only 2 feet of gas pipeline broke.  

 

Gas pipeline explosion in Mudon Township

Beside this sabotage, gas pipeline also exploded near a Mon village in the southern part of Mudon Township.   On January 4, 2002, in the early morning about 4:30 a.m. the gas pipeline exploded in area between Yaung-daung and Kwan-hlar villages, which are in the southern of Mudon town and close to Thanbyuzayat town.  

In this explosion, no village was injured but some part of railway was destroyed as the gas-pipeline passed along the railway.   The sound of explosion is too loud according to the villagers and most villagers were afraid and run away from their villages.  

In the area, as the regime also built a dam and most villagers thought the dam was collapsed and exploded.   Therefore, many villagers fled from the villages to the higher area as most of the villages are in the lower part of the dam.   If the dam was really collapsed, most villages must be under flood and destroyed.  

After the explosion, as some parts of railway were destroyed and the authorities stopped train transport for 3 days and stopped the passengers to not use the railway.   After the explosion, the gas got out for several hours.   Then, the authorities and army commanders from the Southeast Command based in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State, went and inspected the incident.   Then the commanders contacted to Kanbauk onshore gas station to stop the gas sending to Myaingkalay.  

After the gas flow ceased, the authorities and construction workers repaired the pipeline again.  As the villagers did not know why the gas pipeline blow, most of them just give their opinions.   According to some villagers, the pipeline is not so strong as the construction department have not used thick pipeline and it could easily broke when the pipeline were laying under head of the sun.   In January, the temperature level was high and it made the pipeline too hot and explosion occurred.  

Some villagers also saw some gas also dropped from a joint of pipeline pieces and the authorities have been careless for reconstruct or rejoin it.   For some period, the gas touched with hot substance and that was the way the gas pipeline could explode.  

The reason why the pipeline was exploded was not given by the authorities.   And, they did not also take any responsibililty for the displaced villagers due to this explosion.   Even the authorities knew how the impact of the gas when it exploded, however, they never explain to the villagers in the area nearby.   For the villagers in Mudon Township, they just know the gas could be dangerous for them.  

After this gas pipeline explosion, the villagers in the area feel fear more and they now know more about the dangerous situation for the communities' people.   However, they have no choice to go to other place to escape from their native areas because they have all their properties for the survival of their families in there. 

 

Restriction against the civilians' movements near pipeline area

About 210 miles gas pipeline passes through many hundreds of lands of paddy fields, fruit plantations and rubber plantations.   The gas pipeline passes many paddy fields, rubber, fruit plantations in Ye Township; many paddy fields, rubber plantation in Thanbyuzayat Township; many paddy fields in Mudon Township, many rubber plantations in Kyaikmayaw Township, paddy fields in Pa-an Township.  

Since the gas pipeline passes their plantations, when they go to their plantations or paddy fields in eastern or western part of the route, they always have to walk over the pipeline.   Sometimes, as they have to walk along the railway, they are likely moving along the pipeline.   

After the gas pipeline was sabotaged in the northern part of Ye Township, the authorities in Mon State, in where the most parts of pipeline lies through, and in Yebyu Township of Tenasserim Division, made the restriction against the civilians's movement, especially to farmers, who have regularly traveled in the area.   In the sabotage of the pipeline, the authorities always accused that the local villagers or farmers in the area concerned also cooperate with the rebel armed force.  

The authorities ordered to farmers and villagers to not go across or along the pipeline at night time and in some area, even in day time.  

As an instance,

"In May 2002, the authorities from Ye Township area also ordered the civilians in villages to not go close to the gas pipeline even in day-time.   The village authorities and local army personnel declared, if they go close or cross the pipeline in day-time, they must be punished for beating and if they go at night time they must be killed by shooting.   In an order issued by LIB No. 299 in the southern part of Ye Township, they officially declared that someone who crossed the pipeline in late evening or at night time will be shot to dead.

"In some villages, the authorities also stick this order on the village offices' blackboards.   Many villagers who belonged plantations around the gas pipeline area faced more and more difficult for their travel across the pipeline to arrive their plantations.  There are many plantations around the gas-pipeline in both southern and northern part of Ye Township and some hundred civilians' families, who have been dependents on these plantations, are effected by this order.  

"According to the villagers in the area, the time while the authorities and army were restricting the farmers, they also need to harvest their fruits.   Many of them lost their crops or fruits because of this restriction."

Some villagers tried to go to collect their fruits because most of them were getting ripe, and the collection of these fruits must be on time.   If not, the farmers would lose them.   Some villagers were also arrested and beaten by the troops of Burmese Army who took security along the pipeline. 

As an instance,

"On May 8, when about 40 year old woman from Koe-mile village went to her planation across the gas pipeline, she was also arrested by soldiers from LIB No. 299 and after arrest, a group of soldiers beat her.   They angered why she did not listen to their order.   Because of beating, she got a lot of inner injury, and was brought back to village.   The soldiers also ordered to not take her to town's hospital and so she was treated with a local herbal doctor in her village for several days."

Similar movement restriction against the civilians especially to farmers also made in Mudon Township, Mon State.   In this Township, the gas pipeline mainly passed through many hundred acres of paddy farms and the paddy growing farmers have to go to their farms every day.   Sometimes, the farmers who have to work hard in their farms always came late to their homes in villages.

In May, the village authorities and militia declared that all farmers must not cross into pipeline route area from 6:00 p.m. in the evening until 6:00 a.m. in the morning.   Maj. Naing Win of IB No. 31 instructed the militia force in every village that they have rights to shoot anyone who crossed or walked along the gas pipeline.  

When there is a security situation occurs in a specific area, the local army battalions their commanders have the highest authority and issue all orders, including the conscription of forced labour.   There orders are also against their own recent SPDC's order No. 1/99, which stopping for the requisition of forced labour in Burma.  

 

Conscription of forced labour for pipeline

After the gas-pipeline was sabotaged in late April, the local authorities in many townships in Mon State and the local military battalions have forced the local villagers and town residents to take security along the gas pipeline area, to fence the gas pipeline, to clear grasses and small plants along the pipeline and other works related to the security of pipeline.

Even before sabotage, the authorities have worried about the rebel activities into the area and also forced the local villagers along the pipeline to clear the grasses and small trees, which could be used by rebel soldiers to hide.   In the area where the route passed through paddy-fields, the authorities and army also ordered to the farmers to not plant paddy near the gas pipeline.   They ordered to have space 30-50 feet each side of the route.  

First, the Township authorities, village authorities and army in the area concerned ordered the villagers to build many huts along the route and ordered the headmen to arrange for security persons in the pipeline on a rotation basis.   When the pipeline goes along the railway, the villagers also had to build their huts along the pipeline and take security for both pipeline and railway.

As an instance,

"In an order date on May 14, the local Township authorities and army battalions in Mudon and Thanbyuzay Townships ordered the civilians who stay close the pipeline route to take security for the pipeline.   In area near Thanbyuzayat Town, IB No. 32 battalion that bases in Thanbyuzayat town also ordered the villagers in the area to build the huts along the pipeline or railway.   In this area, the pipeline passes along the railway and therefore, the villagers had to build their huts along the pipeline route.  

"On May 24, IB No. 32 commanders ordered the village headmen from Kwan-hlar, Yaung-daung, Hnee-padaw in the southern part of Mudon Township, to build one hut every (estimation) 500 meters in distance along the pipeline route and instructed that 3 villagers needed to stay in one hut for 24 hours.   They also ordered the village headmen to manage and send the villagers for the security of the pipeline, on a rotation basis.  

"For Kwan-hlar village, as it has three huts near village to take the security, the village headmen had to manage to send 9 villagers every day to the pipeline route.   As the pipeline route near that village lies under water in the paddy farms along the railway road, the villagers had to take security for both pipeline and railway.   All villages in Mudon Township similarly have to take security along the pipeline and railway.

"In the instruction by the village headmen, they ordered that each house must send at least one member of their family and if one house fails to send one villager, they needed to pay 200 Kyat per day or 24 hours.   Except some houses in the village, many houses sent the villagers to take security in the pipeline."

Not only the villagers in Mudon Township are forced to take security for the gas pipeline, the civilians in Thanbyuzayat, Ye and Yebyu Townships are also forced for the same purpose.     Maj. Naing Win of IB No. 31, which bases in Thanbyuzayat Town, took responsibility for security in the area close to that town.  

In Mudon Township, besides the villagers were forced to take security in the gas-pipeline, they were also forced to clear grasses, bushes and small forests along the gas pipeline route.   In the conscription of forced labour, the militia force in the villages concerned has to take responsibility and they forced the villagers to clear bushes along the route.

As an instance,

"On May 9, 2002, the militia force from Kwan-klar village of Mudon Township forced 24 villagers from that village to clear the bushes, grasses and small forest from the area of their village to Phaung-sein village, which is about one mile long.   The villagers were forced for the whole day in clearing of these bushes and small trees.   During this process, two militiamen from the village also guard the villagers for the whole day in their working.  

"Similarly to this village, the militia forces in another villages in Mudon Township such as Yaung-daung, Hnee-padaw, Kalort-tort, Doe-ma, Kama-wet and others were also forced to clear bushes and grasses along the pipeline route in the village areas.   Normally the villagers had to bring their own foods and tools in these works."    

In some villages, the militia troops under the command of military battalion concerned also took responsibility in the pipeline.   The village authorities and the militia force (the Chairman of village authorities is always the leader of militia force) not only forced the villagers to take security in the pipeline, but they were collecting fund from them for their own expenses.  

As an instance,

"On May 7, 2002, the village authorities from Wae-rat village, Thanbyuzayat Township, ordered the villagers to take security along the gas pipeline near their villages and then, the leader of village militia force also collected 700 Kyat from each household.   This tax collection was for the expenses for the militia force during they were taking security for the pipeline.   As the village has nearly 200 houses, the militiamen received a lot of money from the villagers.   Most villagers from that villages said they did not see the militia force took the security of pipeline, but they spent the villagers' money for their own families' food and expenses when they received special guesses like the military commanders or township authorities.

"Similarly, on May 19, although the villagers were forced to not only take security for the pipeline and clearing the pipeline route, the militia force in Kwan-hlar village of Mudon Township, also collected fund from the villagers for the use of their expenses.   They collected 200 Kyat for every household regardless of their villagers were poor or rich."

In Thanbyuzayat Township, the commanders from the No. 4 Central Military Training School also ordered all villagers in villages southern part of Township, who stay close to the pipeline route to take security of it.   Similarly to Mudon Township, the villagers in this Township were forced in clearing bushes and small trees along the pipeline first and then to fence with bamboo along the pipeline route.   They were also instructed to take security of the pipeline.   If one family refused to work or send one person to take security, that family must have to pay 500 Kyat per one round of conscription.   The conscription for forced labour started since May 15, and taking of gas pipeline security has been until now. 

When the gas pipeline passes in the area, where valleys and small streams, the construction workers could not immerse the pipeline under the ground and just put above ground.   The authorities and army felt very unsafe for those parts of gas pipeline and it could be sabotaged easily by rebel troops.  So they instructed the village authorities in the area concerned to find bamboo to make high fences in where the pipeline is on the ground.   They forced the villagers to both cut the bamboo and then to fence the pipeline.  

As an instance,

"In southern part of Thanbyuzayat town, where the pipeline passes through, about 23 parts of pipeline are above ground and army and the local militia force have to take responsibility to take security of these parts.   They also forced the villagers for guarding it.  Thus, the army from No. 4 training school ordered the villagers from Wae-kha-tar, Wae-kha-mi, Pain-nae-taw, Sot-palaung, Gone-myit-taya ,Wae-rat and other villages were forced to cut many hundreds of bamboo in early June 2002.   The army also set the place for the villagers to where they need to send their bamboo.   The army ordered the villagers from 12 villages in area and instructed that small villages needed to provide 50 bamboo each and other medium and big villages needed to provide over 100 bamboo each.   After the villagers carried their bamboo to the set places, again the army forced the villagers to fence the pipeline.   When they made fence in each part of pipeline, they used many hundreds of bamboo to complete the fence.   In some place where the pipeline passes through on the stream, the villagers are forced to make fence even in the water."

In where the gas pipeline was sabotaged in the northern part of Ye Township, the villagers were forced to clear the route of pipeline, soon after the explosion.   After the sabotage between Anin and Hnit-kayin villages, the villagers from both villages were forced to suddenly clear the forests in the area.  

On May 1 and 2, 2002, the authorities from Ye Township and army commanders from IB No. 106 came to incident place and ordered the villagers from Anin and Hnit-kayin villages to go and clear the small forest and bushes along the pipeline.   The village authorities ordered that each house must need to send at least one villager to the work-site to work for the whole day.  About 400 villagers are forced to work four days continuously.  

The villagers were also instructed that they needed to carry their own food and tools and to reach to the work-site 7: 00 a.m. in the morning.   The villagers took their lunch in their work-sites and are not allowed to return homes at mid-day.   The authorities ordered to stop their works only at 6:00 p.m. in the evening. 

Besides these villages, many other villages, which situate close to the gas pipeline were also forced to clear the bushes and small trees along the route.   In the conscription of the villagers to be unpaid labourer along the gas-pipeline in the northern part of Ye Township, LIB No. 586 have actively involved. 

As instances,

"On June 23, the commander of LIB No. 586, Lt. Col. Ngwe Soe also forced the whole villagers from Than-gyan-kun village in northern part of Ye Township for the whole day to complete clearing the bushes and small trees, which are in their village area.  They forced one person from each house and if someone failed to go and work in the work-site, that family must have to pay 1000 Kyat to the army commander.  

"On June 11, 2002, LIB No. 586 forced the villagers from Kyone-paw village to clear the gas-pipeline route from 6:00 a.m. in the morning until 10:00 at night time.   While the commanders forced the villagers to complete clearing in one specific part of pipeline, they found they could not complete and then, forced about 40 villagers from another three villages, Palaing-kee, Sin-pyan and Thayar-gon, to come and contribute labour in clearing the gas pipeline route from 8:00 p.m. in the evening of June 11, until 3:00 a.m. of June 12.   The conscription of forced labour is at night time.   Why the army forced the villagers at night time?   Because on the next day morning, a senior commander from MOMC No. 19, Brigadier Ye Myint, from Ye would come and check for the security of pipeline.   That was why the commander of LIB No. 586 was hurry to complete his duty."

In most situation, whenever the Village and Township PDC authorities conscripted forced labour from the civilians, some villagers and town residents also refused by pointing out Order No. 1/99 and supplementary  order in October 2000, that prohibiting the use of forced labour.   When those civilian administrative authorities are unable to conscript the unpaid labour, the army commanders suddenly involved in and ordered the villagers directly to both town and village civilians to contribute their labour in taking security for the pipeline or to clear along the route.   At that time, the civilians have no choice, but they have to go and work.  

 

Impacts from the gas pipeline to the livelihood of the local people

When the gas pipeline was constructed and passed into the paddy farms, rubber and fruit plantations, depending on the level of lands, sometimes, the construction workers put the pipeline under the water and sometimes they put the route above the ground.  

In the paddy farms, whether the construction workers immersed the gas pipeline under the water or on the ground, the farmers still faced problems for their works in paddy cultivation.   First the authorities in every area ordered to the local farmers to not plant their paddy about 20-30 feet both sides of the route.   And, so the farmers lost a lot of the lands.  

Besides they lost some lands, the paddy farms are also divided into two parts and the farms, who owned these lands have found a lot of difficulties in cultivation of their farms.   First they found difficulty of water flow to the whole area of their lands and otherwise, it makes them too difficult to bring water because pipeline.   The most difficulty they have found is to bring their ploughing equipment.   Most of these equipment are men-made tools and when the farms plough their lands in one part of their farm lands and then moved to another part.   When they moved, they have to carry their equipment along with them and brought their cattle to cross the pipeline.   If the pipeline was under water or underground, it would be easier for them to carry.   But it is on the ground, it makes them to heavy to carry these equipment and difficult to bring their cattle across the pipeline.  

According to a Mon farmer from Mudon Township, he explains:

"Because of the gas pipeline route, my farm was divided in two parts.   I have about 6 acres of land and about 4 acres are in the west of pipeline and the remaining are in the eastern part.   It makes me many difficulties in ploughing the lands before we could plant paddy plants.   As we formed the lands in many small spaces (to be available for ploughing with cattle and men made equipment) and we often have to carry our equipment when we moved from one space to another.  These equipment are heavy."

In some places, for the security of the pipeline, the authorities and army also ordered the local villagers to make bamboo-fence along the pipeline route in both sides to prevent the rebels' attack against it.   In this case, besides the pipeline, two rows of long bamboo also divide the farmers' paddy-farms, and they faced worth situation not only to carry their equipment from one part to another, but also they found that the water flow could not move and some of their lands do not get enough water for ploughing the lands and to plant small paddy plants.   In some farms, because of the prevention by the fences, water flow into some farms and there are over amount of water and it also killed the plants grown by the farmers.  

To prevent the flood into their farms due to fences, some farmers also organized each other and built the water canal to take out over amount of water from their farms. 

As an instance,

"A group of farmers from Galaing-padaw village of Thanbyuzayat Township decided to build a water canal near gas pipeline on May 18, to prevent water flood that flow into their farms.   The pipeline also passed through near their farms, and the construction workers put the pipeline just above the ground and ordered the villagers to fence along the pipeline.   As the fence barred along the pipeline, there was flood in some farms last year and some wastes also moved into their farms and so the soil was ruin and their crop production was also reduced.   This year, before the rainy season, the farmers who were effected for the same reason organized each other and planned to build a water canal without the support from the authorities.   The farmers shared their own money and hired some labourers and dug the canal.  

"According to a farmer, he said that the soil in farms and paddy plants were destroyed by flood and wastes, which flow together with water.   Many other farmers' paddy plants were also destroyed and so they came together for a decision to dig a water canal to bring the over amount water away from their farms.  

"The group of farmers also involved in digging earth for canal and they also hired some more labourers to dig together with them.   One farmer said that each farmer had to spend about 40, 000 Kyat to hire labourers, to rent trucks to carry earth and for foods.   He also adde, if they did not build that canal, they could not produce the paddy crops and their families could not survival."  

Last year, although the farmers, whose lands are along the gas pipeline, could not produce crops well because flood and wastes, however, they have to sell full quota of paddy amounts to the regime at low price.   Most farmers had to buy paddy from markets and then sold to the regime's paddy-buying centers.   If they failed to sell the full amount of paddy, they would be punished again.  

After gas pipeline sabotage, the local authorities and army commanders from many battalions collected more tax from the civilians by showing the reason that they would expense more for the security of gas pipeline.   They also complained that they would also increase the number of their militia troops in the area and the villagers needed to provide salaries to those new militiamen.  

In Mudon Township and Thanbyuzayat Township, with the order by the authorities and army, the village authorities needed to increase the number of labourers in their villages and collected fund from the villagers again.   They also needed to pay 8000 - 12000 Kyat per month salary to one militiaman and the village authorities have to take responsibility to collect this fund.  

In some village, when some villagers refused for paying the salary of the militiamen and complained that this activity was against the SPDC's Order No. 1/99, that described to stop use of forced labour, and refused to pay, the army from the near battalions and commands also involved in forcing the villagers to get payment.   As an example, when the villagers from Kwan-hlar village refused to pay for the salary of new militiamen in their villages, they were also ordered by army from IB No. 32 to pay it as quick as possible.  

Movement restriction against the local paddy, rubber and fruit cultivated farmers also crated an enormous impact for the crop production in the area.    According to an order in southern part of Ye Township, the farmers are not allowed in both daytime and night-time to go and travel to their plantations or farms.   If they go at day time, they must be beaten and if they go at night-time, they must be killed.   The order is in a continual existence until now, the farmers have to totally abandon their permanent works that supporting them earning income for their livelihood.   Many farmers lost many millions Kyat from selling paddy, rubber, lime, orange, durian and other fruits.  

But in other area, the authorities and army ordered to not walk along or cross the pipeline at night-time from 6 o'clock in the evening until 6 o'clock in the morning.   And, they also do not allow any farmers who stay close to pipeline to sleep at night in their farm huts.   This order crates time limitation for the local farmers.  

In traditions in Burma, the farmers always go to their farms for work in early morning because they have to walk half an hour or an hour from their houses in villages to farms.   Similarly, they need to spend the same hour in return to their homes.   Thus, most of them tried to get up early morning and go their farms.  Now, as they have time limitations, they delayed in their working and could do less works in comparing with the previous time.  This makes also reduction of crop production from their farms.  

Now, the farmers have to hire more labourers to work in their farmers to complete planting of paddy crops or reaping the grains in time.   The labour cost is also high to pay rare labourers as many young people from Mon areas migrated into Thailand to seek good work and income.    They have to expend more money for the production of their own crops because time limitation or impacts from the security of gas pipeline.  

 

Conclusion

Before Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline was built, Mon State authorities also claimed they would supply gas energy for the uses of the civilians especially for electricity.   In the end of 2000, when SPDC started building gas pipeline in Mon areas, many Mon people thought the regime would provide them with electricity.  But later, the civilians knew the gas energy was just for use to supply Myaingkalay cement factory.  

Besides they are not benefited from this energy, they are conversely again suffered from this new construction of gas pipeline.   Firstly they lost their lands and later received little amount of compensated money, which could not cover to buy new space of land or to set up another business.   Furthermore, the civilians along the pipeline have been constantly suffered from contribution of unpaid labour and paid tax for security cost.  

On the other hand, more oppression against the civilians have taken place in many rural areas including movement restriction, arrest of suspected reble-supporters, inhumane torture, rape and killing, and other abuses in order to protect the pipeline from the attack of rebel soldiers.  To take the inner and outer security of the pipeline, the Burmese Army and SPDC have deployed more troops in Mon areas.  However, the more troops in any area, the civilians in the area concerned suffer more to feed these soldiers, pay for their expenses and providing civilians.  

Before the construction of this pipeline, the civilians in Mon areas never thought they would face such negative impacts to their daily livelihood.   

 

****************************************************************************

Commentary

 

No Surprise for SPDC's Sexual Violations against Women

In July, when we heard a news about killing and rape in a Mon village in Thanbyuzayat Township, the middle part of Mon State, most Mon leaders from the community and political organizations felt shock and unhappy.   Because that Mon village is totally under the control of SPDC and Burmese Army.  

Additionally, another sexual violations also happened in Ye Town and near a Mon village which is only 10 miles from Ye Town (see in News and News in Brief, Page 1 and Page 4 of this issue).   These places are also in absolute control of SPDC, in where they operate administration, set up police station, appoint judges and have courts, and polite and educated civilians are living.  

These three incidents also showed that SPDC and the commanders of Burmese Army do not have discipline to control their gunmen to not rape women not only in the free fire zones but also even in their control area.   These three cases happened within only two months period.   

More terribly, even though the civilians have heard these cruel and unacceptable violations which are against laws, customs and traditions, the army commanders concerned never seriously took actions and punish their gunmen fairly or in court.  

Therefore, there is no surprise when Shan human rights and women groups reported many hundred cases of sexual violations in Shan State, where SPDC recognized as conflict or free-fire zone, where they have no control, no law enforcement, no judges and courts.  


****************************************************************