News, Personal Accounts, Reports & Analysis on the Human Rights Situation

In Mon Territory and Other Areas of the Southern Part of Burma

 

 

Electronic publication by

THE HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF MONLAND

Email mforum@np.anet.net.th

The Mon Forum

 

ISSUE NO. 8/2002; AUGUST 31, 2002; MONTHLY PUBLICATION

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Text Box: CONTENTS:
News:
(1)	A SPDC’s LIB No. 343 Sergeant shot at villagers
(2)	Basic military training to villagers for involvement in militia force,

Report:
(1)	Gross human rights violations in Kya-inn-seikyi Township, Karen State
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Some Acronyms 
in this issue
SPDC-	State Peace and Development Council,
SLORC- 	State Law and Order Restoration Council,
BA-	Burmese Army,
IB -	Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
LIB-	Light Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),
LID-	Light Infantry Division (of Burmese Army)
KNU-	Karen National Union,
KNLA-	Karen National Liberation Army, 
NMSP-	New Mon State Party,
MNLA-	Mon National Liberation Army

COMMENTARY:

 

Militarization in Mon State and its purposes

Since 2001 until the present day, SPDC and the Burmese Army confiscated many thousands of land belonged to Mon people in southern part of Mon State and deployed many military battalions.  What are their purposes for this militarization?

The SPDC commanders said the purpose is to prevent the external force especially Thailand’s invasion.   However the Mon community did not believe this reason claimed by SPDC and Burmese Army commanders as they have had experience in the past.

They believe that the SPDC’s militarization has two purposes.   The first purpose is that the SPDC is trying to defeat on NMSP whenever it decides to break ceasefire with the regime, that agreed each other in mid-1995.    They normally put the strongholds in places not so far from NMSP/MNLA bases and SPDC plans to easily occupy those bases if the NMSP disagreed with the regime in its future political position.   It is a short term purpose

The second purpose is for long term purpose.   The SPDC plans to apply ‘assimilation’ policy against the Mon ethnic people, who ever practiced the rights to ‘self-determination’ in their glorious past and belonged a high role of civilization in Southeast Asia.

An instance was happening just recently.   A new local SPDC battalion in northern part of Ye Township stopped the teaching of Mon language in a Mon national school, in which the local community has supported education by using Mon language.

After military deployment, the population transfer (of the soldiers, families and relatives) would happen and the army would try to mix blood with local ethnic Mon women and produced a new generation who just speak and use Burmese language.  

The gross human rights violations is committed on a daily basis after military deployment.

 

 

NEWS:

 

A SPDC's LIB No. 343 Sergeant shot at villagers

(Ye Township, Mon State)

On August 15, 2002, a drunk Sergeant and his two soldiers from LIB No. 343, which bases in the northeastern part of Ye Township, shot to two villagers and one villager got serious injuries.

The shooting occurred while two young Mon men from Son-nyit-tha village in northern part of Ye Township were fishing in a farm and the Sergeant shot at them in the evening about 3: 30 p.m.   The young man about 20 years old Mehm Pha Lot was hit by two bullets while his friend was not hit.  

The Sergeant and his two soldiers shot three bullets to them and one bullet hit the young man's neck and another hit his leg.   The remaining bullet did not hit anyone.  The distance of shooting is about 300 meters said by his friend.

"They are drunk.  They just came back from the village and drank some alcohol.   They also had conflict with one car driver as he refused to pay them money for passing the bridge that they are taking security.   Because of that, I think they shot to us", said by his friend.  

After the young man got serious injuries, the villagers brought him to Ye Town hospital and the headmen also informed about the incident to commander of LIB No. 343, No. 5 Military Intelligence Office and Township authorities.   As the authorities and military officers are being afraid of news spreading, they forced the injured young man to treat at home and promised they would provide everyday for treatment.   They also barred the parents of young man to not inform about the incidents to the higher authorities.   They provided 5000 Kyat to his parents for medication cost.  

No. 5 MI officers and LIB No. 343 commanders also promised they would give punishment to Sergeant and two soldiers, who involved in shooting.    According to a village headman, they did not know how the punishment to the Sergeant and his soldiers, but those three soldiers disappeared from their area.

 

Basic military training to villagers for involvement in militia force

(Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division)

In July and August 2002, LIB No. 282 forced the villagers from Aleskan village tract in Yebyu village tract to attend the basic military training for one week with a purpose to use all villagers to serve as members of militia force in their area.  

According to the villagers, LIB No. 282 registered all number of villagers of men between 18 years and 50 years old and the women between 18 years and 40 years old and planned to provide basic arm equipment and military training in early July.   The trainers from LIB No. 282 would provide them 7 days short training for many rounds.  

Each household which has no paddy farms or fruit plantations needs to provide 2000 Kyat to trainer or battalion for the expenditures during 7 days training.   Farmer households, which have paddy farms or plantations, have to provide 4000 Kyat as special payment to trainers.  

After training, the villagers will be forced to be militiamen or militia-women on a rotation basis although most of them would not like to join in this armed force that needs to support the Burmese Army in the area.   They must be conscripted to work at least 7 days each time and militia leaders would manage the conscription on a rotation basis.   If one household failed to provide when rotation arrived to them, that family must have to pay 4500 Kyat as a fine.  

Aleskan village tract has four villages and it has about 500 households.  The majority of villagers are Mon people.  SPDC or Burmese Army's two military battalions, LIB No. 273 and LIB No. 282 launched the military activities in this area.   The Mon splinter armed group also launched the military activities in the area, those battalions mainly tried to fight against this rebel armed force.

With objectives to prevent the villagers to not cooperate with rebel forces and to protect their control in the area, those two battalions formed the military forces since 2000.  In the beginning of formation of militia force, they also appointed some villagers to be militiamen with salary.   The villagers had to take salary for those militiamen.  

As the battalions ordered those militiamen to fight against the rebel force, later many of them were afraid of being died and resigned for the force.   The headmen also could not organize another men in the village to work as militiamen.   When they failed to organize the men in village to be militiamen, they found a new method.   Therefore, later the two battalions ordered the leaders of militiamen to use all villagers to be militia on a rotation basis. 

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REPORT:

Gross Human Rights Violations

in Kya-inn-seikyi Township, Karen State

I. Background of Kya-inn-seikyi Township

Geographically, Kya Inn Seikyi Township locates in the western part of Karen State and its borders with Mon State.   This township area stretch out to Thailand-Border and Zemi river is the main river for communication from Kya Inn Seikyi town to the border with Thailand.   In this township, there are over 50 villages in which Mon and Karen villagers are staying and normally Mon villages are close to Kya Inn Seikyi town or at the bottom of Zami river, while many Karen villages are east part of Zami river and some are at the top part of the river.  

Since over 50 years, after Burma retained Independent from British Colony, this area has been constantly remained as conflict area because it has been used as main bases for Mon and Karen ethnic armed forces.   Because of civil war, the area is under-developed and the civilians in the area have been constantly suffered from various types of abuses committed by Burmese Army.

In 1995, although a Mon armed political organization, NMSP entered into ceasefire with SLORC, the Karen main armed political organization, KNU (Karen National Union) has still remained as a main group in this area, which has been waging war against SLORC and SPDC until now.   Even in the situation while NMSP is ceasing fighting and KNU is still fighting against SPDC, most Mon and Karen civilian population have been suffered from some abuses and violations from the conscription of forced labour and forced porters for the military purposes.   And, they are also suffered from arbitrary killing, arresting, torturing and rape by the SPDC soldiers because they are under the suspicion of rebel-supporters.

In the first half year of 2002, the Burmese Army (BA) intensified its offensive against KNU/KNLA force in this Township, and it had used many battalions, such as IB No. 34, IB No. 301, IB No. 77 (under the command of LID No. 88), LIB No. 550, LIB No. 354 and LIB No. 538.   Some battalions have their permanent base in Township and some are brought from other parts of Burma (not from Mon State and Karen State).   When many BA troops entered into the area, the Mon population has been greatly suffered and the following accounts are gross human rights violations and abuses committed by Township PDC authorities and mostly the soldiers from those battalions.

 

II. Killing and inhumane treatments by SPDC troops

While the various battalions of Burmese Army, such as LIB 354, IB No. 301, LIB No. 550, IB No. 34 and IB No. 77, launched the military offensives in many rural areas of Kya-inn-seikyi Township, the BA or tatmadaw soldiers always accused the rural Mon and Karen inhabited villagers as KNLA-supporters.   As the NMSP and its military faction, MNLA, do not have the military activities, although the BA soldiers have less suspicion the Mon villagers, but sometimes they are also suspected.   

However, the SPDC's military GHQs in Rangoon regularly sent many new military battalions to this Kya-inn-seikyi Township, to launch the offensives against KNLA troops.   When the commanders and soldiers from new battalions entered into the area, they could not separate which are Mon villages and which are Karen villages.   Thus, they accused both Mon and Karen villagers as KNLA-supporters and they have cruel and inhumanely treated similarly to all villagers. 

During their military offensives in the last dry season, the BA soldiers from the new mililtary battalions also killed some Mon villagers even in a village in NMSP ceasefire area, which was recognized  as ceasefire zone when NMSP entered into ceasefire in mid-1995 with the current military regime.  The new military battalions, which do not know well about the NMSP's ceasefire zone also intruded into the area and also shot to Mon villagers and killed them.

The case was:

"On May 12, 2002, when the BA troops from IB No. 77 led by Maj. Myint Lwin went into Taung-bauk village, a Mon village in Kya-inn-seikyi Township, the soldiers opened fire on a group of Mon villagers and killed two villagers.  

"On that day, when about 100 soldiers went into village, the soldiers opened fire while a group of villagers were building a house.   Due to the shooting, two Mon villagers, Nai Lao (31 years old) and Nai Lone (30 years old) died and a Mon girl, Mi Than Aye (17 years old) and another two men Nai Kun Oo (52 years old) and Nai Tun Tin seriously injured.   One villager died on the spot after shooting and the remaining villager died in Kya-inn-seikyi Town hospital after he was brought for treatment."

The IB No. 77 was a new military battalion, which was brought from other areas (not from Mon and Karen States) and did not know much about NMSP-SPDC ceasefire very well, according to a senior military commander of BA in Rangoon when he talked to Burmese section of BBC radio interview.  He also admitted that they committed rampant shooting as they thought the gathering of the villagers was the group of KNLA soldiers.  

NMSP complained and filed for the shooting of innocent people.   On May 17, the senior officers of BA including the military intelligence officers and commanders from IB No. 31 inquired about the crimes and asked many villagers for proof.    The village leaders and monks from the community explained that there was no KNLA or Karen soldiers in their village and all villagers were pure Mon people.   Although they complained that the shooting against the civilians was wrong-doing, but they were not replied how the senior officers gave punishment against their men.  

The killing against the Mon villagers was only small number if compared with Karen villagers, because the Burmese Army has not often come to Mon villages.   During the last dry season from February to June 2002, the BA's commanders and soldiers killed many innocent Karen villagers.

In another case:

"After one week arrest by Burmese Army’s LIB No. 548 and a Karen surrender group, Haungthayaw Peace Organization (HPO), killed 7 villagers from Koe-du-kwe village, Kya-inn-seikyi Township, on May 4.  

"LIB No. 548 troops by cooperating with Karen surrender group led by Maj. Ah Nyunt and Maj. Taw Taw went into Koe-du-kwe, a village on Zami river on April 28 and first the soldiers arrested one man, who they believed a KNLA soldier.   They interrogated him with torture and then killed him by shooting, said a local villager who fled from that area.  

“Then, the Burmese and Karen surrender soldiers arrested some men and women, who they knew those were the relatives of the KNLA soldiers.   They arrested about 10 villagers, including one 50 years old woman and 7 and 9 years old children.   As the Karen surrender soldiers knew these villagers well, so that they could arrest the villagers whose their family members are in KNLA, explained by a villager who escaped from that area. 

“The villagers were brought from the village to Pha-ya-nyote-to village, in where LIB No. 548 bases, for one week.   Although the village headmen tried to get them back by bribing the commanders, no one was released.   After 7 days, they heard a news that they killed 7 villagers, as the old woman could escape and explained to them.   One commander who involved in the killing of those villagers sympathized the old woman and released her.  

"They also released two children before they killed other villagers, after they received 200, 000 Kyat ransom from the relatives of these children."

This battalion also involved in torture against the Karen villagers who they suspected as KNLA-supporters.

As an instance,

"When LIB No. 548 troops and Karen surrender soldiers moved to their bases in Pya-ya-nyote-to village, they also went into “Kun-tit-tar”, a Karen village and arrested two men who were suspected as rebels on April 30.   During the interrogation, the soldiers beat their legs and hands until they were broken and useless, said by a villager."

Karen surrender group, “Haungthayaw Peace Organization (HPO)” is led by former KNLA battalion commander Col. Tamu Hae, who surrendered to the Burmese Army in 1997 dry season offensive, operated by SLORC against KNU/KNLA.   Before the surrender, the soldiers from this armed group had launched the military activities in this area and they are more familiar with the area than the Burmese Army.   They also knew who are the KNU/KNLA families and the supporters.   Therefore, the Karen villagers in eastern part of Township and along Zami river have been constantly suffered from this type of killing and inhumane treatment.

Sometimes, when the BA commanders ordered the villagers to relocate from their villages, which were suspected as rebel base, if the villagers delayed to relocate, they were punished or killed for their refusal. 

As an instance,

"In late May, when IB No. 77 arrived to Htee-pa-nae village, which is situating on Zami riverbank, and accused that village was used as a base by KNLA soldiers.   They ordered all villagers to leave from their villages within three days, and added that if they found someone after deadline he/she must be killed. 

"On June 1, when the troops returned to that village, they found one family who were still remaining in village.   The heads of family are Saw Htee Paw and Naw Nong Plae and they have 8 children and 2 relatives in their homes.  Then the soldiers arrested and interrogated them why they did not move from the village.   According to other villagers who knew them explained that they delayed in the village as they need to tried to collect foods along with them."

Sometimes, the killing of villagers also happened in the forests or jungles or in the plantations where the displaced Karen villagers were hiding.   When those villagers knew about the activities of BA troops, they always went into the nearest forests and hide there.  If they were arrested in forests or in hiding place, they must be tortured or killed.  No information of such killing could be easily collected.

 

III. Sexual violation against women: rape case in a Karen village

On June 7, when the troops of IB No. 34 went into a Karen village in Kya-inn-seikyi Township, the second commander raped a married Karen woman at night about 10 o'clock.  

About 60 troops (a company) of IB No. 34 went into this Karen village, Phar-pya, during their military operation against KNLA troops in the area and the second commander of troop company, Captain Aung Myint raped a 27 years old Karen woman, Naw Win Yee.  

The troops arrived into the village in the evening time and the commander took a rest in her house with his some soldiers while Naw Win Yee's husband, Saw Khin Aye, was still in the house.   The livelihood of Saw Khin Aye is fisherman and he always leave to find fishes in a stream near the village at night time.

About 8 o'clock, when the dark came and after taking dinner, her husband left to the stream to find fishes as his daily work.   However he never suspect to the Burmese soldiers that they would rape his wife as she had small baby. 

At night time about 10 o'clock, the commander who slept in outer space of the house and went into inner room, where Naw Win Yee was sleeping with her one-year-old baby.   He grabbed and closed her mouth and threatened she must be killed if she shout.   Then the commander raped the woman while his soldiers were taking security in house's compound.  

After rape, he left from her room.  But the woman fled to the neighbouring houses without taking her baby because he was too afraid and could not manage herself.   While she was in her neighbouring house, her baby cried loudly.  But she did not dare to return her house and take the baby.   Then a group of elder women went to her house and took her baby and gave her to feed milk.  

On the next day, the villagers also went to village chairman and told him about the incident happened in the night.  Although the villagers urged him to tell about the case to army commander of the troop company, but he was also afraid of mistreatment of Burmese commanders and did not inform to the commander and kept quiet.  

The sexual violations against the ethnic women in the rural area by the members of Burmese Army have often occurred while they operated the military activities against the rebel armed forces.  As the women in the ethnic rural areas are always suspected as rebel-supporters, they always suffered from rape.   Or, the rape against women in rural area is also becoming as normal habit of those members of Burmese Army and whenever they have chance, they tried to rape women.  

 

 

IV. Constant demand for food supplies from the civilians

Many military battalions, which have operated various parts of Kya-inn-seikyi township or take base in some villages do not receive sufficient food supplies from the military commands concerned. As the regime, SPDC has many numbers of troops under the Burmese Army, it could not provide for all of these battalions.   Although it has used nearly 50% of the total government expenses for defense budget, it still could not cover for all expenditures of the Burmese Army.  

Therefore, since 1996-1997, the regime has enforced a policy of "self-reliance" program in various military battalions and reduced the food logistics for all battalions.   Then the military office in Rangoon ordered the battalion commanders concerned to seek their own income and to find their own foods.

Because of this order, the BA's military battalions in Kya-inn-seikyi Township also forced the civilians in rural villages to provide with regular foods or money instead of foods.   On the other hand, although those soldiers some food ration, such as rice and bean, sometimes they sell them for their own income.   Then they ask food from the civilians again.

The demand of food supplies from the civilians have been various in the recent time.   Some military battalions also base in a village and requested foods, such as rice, meat and vegetables from many villages nearby.

In most cases, the military battalions, which launch the military offensives against the rebel group or operate the military patrol in a specific area always demanded food supplies from the villages they arrived.   Or, sometimes, they also loot food from the civilians by taking their rice, livestock and vegetables without permission.  

Some battalions, which are taking permanent bases in some villages in the rural area always constantly requested food supplies, especially meats and fishes from the civilians in villages nearby.   

As instances,

"In Taung-dee village, the Burmese Army's LIB No. 354 and LIB No. 538 are taking bases in there.   Various ranks of army commanders from these military battalions have increasingly also requested food supplies from the villages nearby to sent them especially different meats and fishes.  

"In January and February 2002, a low rank commander of LIB No. 538, Cap. Thein Tun took responsibility to find supplementary foods by demanding from the villages in the surrounding area.   The commander requested foods from 7 villages on a rotation basis. The villages that needed to send foods are from Khawon, Taung-dee, Wae-zot, Mee-pran, Win-yaw, Hlaing-ka-noy and Hla-kada villages.   Normally, depending on the order came from the commander, the village headmen had to send chicken or pork or fishes.   To be sufficient for many soldiers in the base, they had to send many kilograms of meat or fishes, at least about 20 kilograms weight of meats or fishes for them, said by one of village headmen."

"Similarly to LIB No. 538, a commander from LIB No. 354, Cap. Kyaw Lin also constantly requested from the villages nearby.   On March 23, 2002, that commander ordered the village headmen from Nga-pyaw-taw village, to send them with some chicken meat from their villages.   Like this village, the army commander also requested food from the other villages by ordering to their village headmen.   Again on January 26, this commander also asked 15 kilograms of pork from Taung-dee village, in which they take base.

"According to a village headman, the commanders asked at least 10 kilograms of pork or beef or fishes from the villagers and so that the village headmen had to send the foods to reach to their bases."

Besides the BA's battalions that base in some villages make constant demand for food stuff from the villagers near their bases, whenever those battalions or other battalions launch the military patrol in a specific area or massive military offensives against the rebel soldiers, the commanders concerned also requested food from the civilians.   When these troops launched military activities, they did not pack the sum amount of food supplies along with them and so that when they reached into a village, they also asked foods from the village headmen concerned.  

If the fighting happened near a village, the army commander also forced the village headmen to give them food soon after fighting.   The headmen have to take responsibility to collect food supplies and provide to those commanders.

As an instance,

"LIB No. 301 troops are launching the military activities near Chaung-wa village, and whenever the fighting happened near their village, the village had to provide food, especially rice and meats to the Burmese soldiers.   On August 20, a fighting also took place near that village and after fighting, military commander of LIB No. 301 came into village and ordered the headmen to provide them with 50 kilograms of pork for foods to their all soldiers.   Then the headmen urgently to find to get a pig for them.  

"According to a woman from that village, she said during three months (until the last fighting) there were about five rounds of fighting happened near their village and whenever fighting happened, they forced the villagers to provide them.   She added that including the last time, the villagers spent about 300, 000 Kyat totally for buying meats (pork or beefs) for the soldiers."

LIB No. 301, LID No. 88 and IB No. 77's troops have launched their military offensives in various parts of Township and whenever they arrived or based in one village, they forced the villagers from that village to provide the required foods.   Normally, as soon as they arrived into villages, the soldiers asked the main food for them, rice.   As long as they deployed in the villages, they would constant to ask other foods especially meat and vegetables from the civilians and travelers.  

As an instance,

"In June, 2002, LIB No. 310 troops also took base in Ye-le village which is on Zami river bank and asked food from both villagers and boat ferry drivers who traveled along river.   The commanders asked from each boat driver to provide them with 15 kilogram of meat, pork or fish, whenever they passed their check-point.  If not, they need to pay instead of meat.   The boat ferry drivers are very disappointed as they had to provide tax to those troops every time they travel and they got less and less profit due to more and more food tax from them."

If the village headmen or boat drivers are unable to provide them with foods they must be punished for their failure.  In most punishment, those headmen or boat drivers would be beaten as a cruel torture.  

 

V. Looting of civilians' belongings

In any BA's military offensives or military operations, the looting of villagers' food and other valuable properties is the common abuse.   As the BA's soldiers do not have enough food during their military patrol or offensives and no logistic system to supply the necessary food, they almost loot food from the civilians when they faced food-shortage problem.   Later the looting of the civilians' foods including livestock, vegetables and rice became as a practice of the BA's soldiers.   They in general accused the rural villages as rebel army's bases and suspected the villagers are supporting the rebel soldiers with necessary food supplies.   Because of this accusation, the BA's troops intensified their looting activities.

Why the looting of the civilians' properties besides food happen in the rural area?  This abuse is also relating to the low and insufficient salary of the soldiers.   These salaries do not provide their families to have sufficient food and needs in their households and the ordinary soldiers always try to have opportunity to have money for their families.  For most commanders, although they have opportunity to have extra income but for the ordinary soldiers they have no chance to do so.   Thus, when they arrived to a village, they always looted the civilians' valuable belongings or properties.  

Sometimes, the commanders of the battalions themselves in looting or confiscating the civilians' belongings in the rural areas for their own incomes or for fund to their battalions.

As an instance,

"On April 6, when the troops of LIB No. 354 led by Lt. Col. Kyaw Soe went into Win-yaw-seikyi village, the commander tried to confiscate the villagers' wooden lumbers in the village.   Although most villagers who involved in lumber trade also paid tax to Township Forestry Department and received permission to make lumbers, but the army still confiscated their lumber.

"When the soldiers arrived into Win-yaw-seikyi village, they found Nai Myat's lumbers on the riverbank and accused he involved in illegal logging.   Although he proved his permit documents for making lumbers, the commander did not believe and told him to pay them tax similarly to forestry authorities.   And so he had to pay them with 35, 000 Kyat as tax.   

"And the troops went along the river and found wooden lumbers along the riverbank and could not find the owners of those materials.   As most owners of lumber were afraid of being arrested or tortured they did not appear up to admit of their owns.   Therefore, the commander confiscated all these wooden lumbers.  

"On the same day April 6, the troops also moved to another village, War-hmyin-gon village and confiscated about 3 tons of wooden lumbers.  On the next day of April 7, LIB No. 354 soldiers conscripted 10 oxen-carts from Mee-pran village and carried all lumbers that they confiscated in village and along the riverbank to their battalion headquarters in Taung-dee village."

In some cases, whenever the fighting happened in one place, the looting of civilians' belongings was also made by BA's soldiers.  After fighting, while the villagers were in hiding, the soldiers also went into the villages nearby and looted all belongings.   Normally, the commanders do not bar these looting activities and likely they permit them to do so.  

As an instance,

"On August 26, 2002, after the fighting happened between KNLA troops and LIB No. 301 troops in an area near Chaung-wa village for 20 minutes, the BA's soldiers rushed into village and looted various types of villagers' belongings, including the household materials, kitchen things and other valuable properties.   They climbed every house and took what they found.

"According to the villagers, that was not the first time the soldiers rushed into their village and looted their belongings.   During 3 months period from June to August, there were 5 rounds of fighting and after each time of fighting while the villagers were scar and in hiding, the soldiers went into their village and looted their belongings.   Although that Chaung-wa village is only 3 miles far from Kya-inn-seikyi Town, the looting regularly occurred."

Similarly to many other battalions, the new arrival of battalion, IB No. 77 also in large involved in looting of the civilians' belongings.  

As an instance,

"On 6 May, BA's IB No. 77 troops arrived close to Ye-le village and shot their guns to the air.  As many villagers thought there was fighting near the village and most of them went to hiding place.  Then the soldiers went into the villages and looted the villagers' belongings and properties what they found.  

"After looting, the troops went along the riverbank near the village and climbed all float rafted houses which were on the water.  The houses were built for passengers who traveled along river by boats to take foods and to sleep at night.  When the soldiers arrived to these float houses, they arrested all house owners and looted the things, especially rice, livestock, fishes, vegetables, and also took some other valuable materials, such as vedio CD players, video displays that were used for the entertainment to travelers.   Some soldiers also robbed gold wares from women."

After looting, IB No. 77 brought all those things to Phaya-note-to village, where they have temporary base.   They could possible sold those things such as gold wares and other and use video display and players for their own entertainment in their base.  

After looting of the civilians' belongings in the rural area, most soldiers tried to sell to have income to pay to their families.  Or, if they found valuables such as silver wares or gold wares, they brought them and gave their wives.  Sometimes, some soldiers also carried back kitchen used materials, such as pots, spoons and others for their wives.   And so it becomes a business for BA's soldiers when they leave to frontline.   

 

VI. Conscription of forced labour

Like many parts of Mon State and Karen State, the SPDC authorities and members of Burmese Army have still conscripted the civilians to contribute their unpaid labour in various different projects and military deployment.  Similarly in Kya-inn-seikyi Township of Karen State, different battalions and SPDC authorities also used the civilians since the beginning of 2002, and they have used them in their self-help activities such as in paddy cultivation and creating tree plantation, clearing the bushes and grasses near their battalions and working in their battalion base.  

In this Township, there have been many battalions have taken base and launched military activities, the civilians have been suffered more if compared with other areas, where there is less military operations conducted by BA.  

Since SPDC and Burmese Army have instructed its local military battalions to create self-help activities, many BA battalions in Kya-inn-seikyi Township confiscated lands in the recent years and create the paddy farms and, crop and rubber plantations.  

As an instance,

"In early of 2002, LID No. 88 troops led by Col. Aung Myint confiscated some land near Kyaik-don village and created different farms to grow paddy, corn and sugar cane and have regularly forced the villagers from various villages to contribute their labour in the cultivation.  

"On June 6, 2002, the commanders ordered 20 villagers from Taung-wine village for three days in their paddy cultivation.   After 3 days, they also forced another 20 villagers from Mae-khaw-khee village for another 3 days.   The army division commanders have used about 6 villages in the surrounding area, including Kyaik-don village to contribute unpaid labour.

"According to a villager, who was forced for 3 days in the use of forced labour, the villagers (from Taung-wine) have to walk nearly for four hours from their village to reach to army farms.  During their works for army in 3 days, they did not receive any food and other assistance from them.  They have to carry all of their food from their homes.

"The villagers have been forced by this military division to clear lands and cut trees in other plantations area since the beginning of 2002 and whenever they are forced they were instructed at least three days.  In June, as the army division started growing the paddy plants, they forced the villagers again."

This LID No. 88 has not only forced the villagers from Kya-inn-seikyi Township, but they also forced many villagers from 'Kawkareik Township', the closest Township, to contribute labour in their farms and plantations.  They forced the villagers from Lamba, Kaw-saing and Paing-kalar-done villages to contribute their labour for many days in clearing the grasses and small trees to have new space of crop trees plantations.  According to a villager from Kyaik-don village, he said the soldiers forced at least 100 villagers each day for over one month.  

Similarly to the base of LID No. 88, commanders from the other military battalions also involved in the conscription of forced labour, in their farms or plantations because all battalions that permanently base in the area created farms or plantations.  During the army battalions were planning to grow trees in the plantations and grow paddy, the commanders concerned not only forced the villagers to contribute their unpaid labour, they but also forced the villagers to provided them with some fruit trees to grow in the plantations.

As an instance,

"On January 3, 2002, Sergeant Thein Tun from LIB No. 354, which base in Taung-dee village, also ordered the headmen of Mee-pran village to provide them 50 coconut plants to grow in the battalion occupied lands."

Besides the army has used forced labour, the regime authorities in Township also forced the civilians in their State program.  

As an instance,

"In June, when Township's forestry department authorities planned to grow trees along the main motor road, they also forced the villagers from the different villages to contribute their unpaid labour.  They forced many villagers for four days to complete their tree growing program.   After they grew trees, the authorities also forced them to fence these trees to prevent from destroying or eating by animals. 

"Besides they forced the villagers to grow trees, they also forced them to buy 15 Kyat per tree.   Every house in villages near Kya-inn-seikyi Town was forced to grow at least about 20 trees and they were forced to buy and then to grow them in the designated place by the authorities."

From June until August, after a lot of rain fall and massive grasses grew up, the authorities and commanders of military battalions, have to clear grasses in their plantations and they almost forced the villagers for clearing.  

 

VII. Conscription of civilians in Porter Service

The Burmese Army has sent many light and regular infantry battalions in Kya-inn-seikyi Township to uproot the military activity of the KNU/KNLA force that launched the operation of administration and military activities in the area.   Those BA military battalions' troops various parts of this township and tried to control the whole area to halt the rebels' activities.

The commands in Southeast Military Command bases in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State and LIB No. 88 bases in Kyaik-don appointed the tactical commanders and they have to take responsibility to order various military battalions how to launch the military offensives and patrol in which areas.  

Some battalions have duties to launch a military patrol only in a specific area and their troops went around many villagers nearby to their base and just to prevent the rebel soldiers from entering into villages situated in that area.   In this case, those military battalions always ordered the village headmen to provide regular porters for them.  When they arrived into villages, they would request those porters.  

As an instance,

"During March 2002, when the troops of LIB No. 354, which base in Taung-dee village, launched a military patrol around 10 Mon and Karen villages situated in Tagun-daing and Taung-dee village tracts, they always asked at least 10 porters whenever they arrived into a village.  The village headmen had to manage to be ready for the requested number of porters.   They were forced to carry food supplies and ammunitions for some day until they arrived to another village.  When they arrived there and received the substitute 10 porters, then the soldiers released the former porters.  Thus, those 10 porters had to walk with soldiers at least one day with a heavy load in their backs.

"In January 2002, as this battalion had less purpose for the military offensives, they have requested less porters.   On January 23, when the troops of LIB No. 354 led by Lt. Col. Kyaw Soe went into Mee-pran village, they asked 5 porters and brought them two days to carry ammunitions.  When they arrived to another village, the received substitute porters and then released those 5 villagers.   Thus, the BA troops conscripted five villagers from every village during January and later when they have to launch more rounds of military patrol, they requested more porters."

The demand for the required number and days they used them are not constant.   When the troops have more supplies and ammunitions, they had to conscript more porters and took them more days.   Sometimes, as the requested number of porters changed, the village headmen in the villages faced difficulties in getting more porters.   And, sometimes, those headmen could also face punishment by the soldiers.   When the troops moved along the way, when they found the men in plantations or on the road, they also arrested them and used them as porters for many days.

As an instance,

"On February 28, when LIB No. 354's troops led by Lt. Col. Kyaw Soe, operated patrol in area close to their base, they also arrested two Karen men who were in their highland paddy plantation and they were from Nong-khu village and bring them as porters.

"On March 2, when the troops arrived Law-shan village, a Karen village, they requested the headmen to provide them with 6 porters and they promised would release them within 5 days.   However, as the military operation did not receive new porters, they took those villagers for over two weeks."

LIB No. 354 used porters from about 11 villages in the surrounding area of their base  and they are, Taung-dee, Kha-won, Maying-gone, Phar-pya, Tagun-daing, Naung-plain, Maw-lon-daing, Pyaw-thar-ya, Win-taung, Nong-khol, and Law-shan villages.  

Besides LIB No. 354 troops conscripted porters from various villages, many other BA battalions also conscripted villagers in their porter service to carry ammunitions and food supply.   The battalions, which have duties to launch offensives, have not demanded porters from some villages before hand, but went into villages and forced the headmen to provide them the required porters immediately. 

As instance,

"On January 9, 2002, LIB No. 538's troops led by Lt. Col. Zaw Tun arrived into Khawon village and requested 18 porters from that village and took them for 5 days.   The village headman did not have any preparation to provide porters for this battalion and when they suddenly arrived into their village, many men fled from villages to avoid from the arrest.   Then the village chairman tried to find them in hiding place and he took them into village and provide them to the commander.  If he failed to provide, the army would punish him."

Similarly to the above two military battalions, another two battalions IB No. 62 and IB No. 31, that based in the southwestern part of Township area in Anan-gwin village also conscripted the villagers from that village.   The village is in the border of Mon State and Karen State and it had about 500 households.  

As instances,

"During May, June and July 2002, a military battalion, IB No. 62 which was taking base in Anan-gwin village for 3 months and another battalion IB No. 31 which came later, had constantly conscripted the villagers for porters.  

"For IB No. 62 whenever it launches the military offensives or not, the commanders always used the villagers.   According to a villager, IB No. 62 troops requested about 20 porters every day.   The village is divided into 4 sections and each section needed to provide 5 porters every day.   When the battalion did not operate military patrol in the area, they used the villagers to work in their battalion for cooking, carrying water, finding firewood and others.   When they had purposes for the military patrol in the local area, they brought those 20 porters along with them for more than one day. 

"Besides constant request for porters, IB No. 62 also asked monthly porter fee from the village and said they needed to feed the porters who were conscripted on a daily basis.   Porter fee for each household was 1, 200 Kyat per month.

"Additionally, when the troops of BA's IB No. 31 arrived to this village in May, the headmen also had to provide them more porters for new battalion.  This battalion has responsibility to launch offensives along a motor road, Three Pagoda Pass - Thanbyuzayat motor road, and the soldiers took the porters for several days until their operations completed.   Whenever that battalion launched the military offensives, the commanders ordered the village headmen to provide them 10 porters from the village and they took many other porters from the villages they entered into.   And, they also had to provide them foods when they left for operations. 

"As both military battalion asked for porters, the village headmen and section leaders are hardly to manage in providing porters without failure.   Therefore, one man from each household had to work in battalion base or as a porter twice a month."

IB No. 77 under the commander of LID No. 88 also involved in using porters during their offensives from April to June in rural area of Kya-inn-seikyi Township.   Although this new battalion was brought far from the area, as the commanders already practiced of using porters, they still conscripted many porters from rural villages.  

As an instance,

" 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, they could not get the vilagers because many men and other villagers fled from villages.   So, they used the same porters and arrested some more women were in village for another weeks in porter service.

"One woman porter said that the soldiers 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, said by that woman porters."

Using the villagers to carry ammunitions and food supplies is also one type of requisition of forced.   Although SPDC halted the use of forced in its Order 1/99 and the supplementary order in October in 2002, most battalions of Burmese Army has not respected the orders.  

 

VIII. Conclusion

Most part of Kya-inn-seik Township, except the town, is 'black area' or 'free fire zone' recognized by SPDC and its Burmese Army troops.  Hence, the Mon, Karen, and Lao-shan ethnic civilians in the rural area of this Township are constantly accused as rebel -supporters by the regime soldiers and commanders.   Like many parts of conflict area of Burma border area with Thailand, the ethnic civilians are inhumanely treated by SPDC or Burmese soldiers.  

A result of badly treatment or committing gross human rights violations, there is a population displacement in the Township.   Many civilians are not dear to stay in their villages and most of them go to hiding places especially in jungle or forests to escape from the violations by Burmese soldiers.  

 

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Information about the Human Rights Foundation of Monland

&

Invitation for feedback from readers

 

Dear Readers,

Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) was founded in 1995, by a group of young Mon people.   The main objectives of HURFOM are:

- To monitor human rights situations in Mon territory and other areas southern part of Burma,

- To protect and promote internationally recognized human rights in Burma,

In order to implement these objectives, HURFOM has produced “The Mon Forum” newsletters monthly and sometimes it has been delayed because we wait to confirm some information.  We apologize for the delay.

However, we also invite your feedbacks on the information we described in each newsletter and if you know anyone who would like to receive the newsletter, please send name and address to our address or e-mail as below:

HURFOM, P. O. Box 11, Ratchburana P. O.

Bangkok 10140, THAILAND

E-mail: mforum@np.anet.net.th

With regards,

Director

Human Rights Foundation of Monland