News, Personal Accounts, Reports & Analysis of the Human Rights Situation in
(1) High education tax during the school opening days,
(2) Forcible guarding of gas-pipeline between Thanbyuzayat and Ye Towns,
High education tax during the school opening days
Similarly to many other State basic
education schools, all schools in
The school opening day late and the teachers also took more money from them than the previous years, said by student parents.
“Fees for school enrollment, text books, and
fees for sport are not so much. Only over 1000 Kyat.
But the fees for the school repairs and new school buildings are too expensive.
They ask from 7000 to 20000 Kyat. They collected more money for new students,
said by the parents from
When asks an unidentified teachers that why they took more fees from the parents, she said that:
“We did not receive enough budget from the government for school repairs and new building, and therefore we ask more from the parents. We, teachers, asked government supports, but it was too little. So that we have to ask money from parents. As the building materials have been expensive, therefore, we collect more money from parents”, explained by a teacher.
Besides the school fees, the parents also have to pay the fees for computer system at schools in both urban and rural areas. The farmers are also forced to pay for this cost.
Besides the school fees, the parents have to spend a lot of expenses in putting their children in private tuition arranged by school teachers to pass the final exam. One student have to spend about 100, 000 Kyat for tuition fee for all subjects. If he/she needs special tuition teacher, he/she has to pay 10000 Kyat per month for one subject only.
Due to expensive school fees, many children
left from schools even the young schooling age. Some students engage in works
for income and some also moved to
Forcible guarding of gas-pipeline between Thanbyuzayat and Ye Towns
Because of the often explosion of Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline and demolition attack by the rebel army, the local SPDC Township authorities ordered the village civilians between Thanbyuzayat and Ye Towns, in the southern part of Mon State, to guard the pipeline without fail.
This gas pipeline passes through Ye
The order instructed to the villagers in these two Townships to send 5 villagers from each village to perform the duty of guarding the pipeline for 24 hours and then to use all villagers on the rotation basis. If one villager failed to perform the duty, that family must be not allowed to stay in the village, said the authorities.
The adults and children including women have to perform their duties, and if they failed they have to pay fine, said by the local villagers.
“The household which could not go and guard (the pipeline), it needs to hire a substitute to perform the duty. If you could not find the substitute, you have to pay 2000 Kyat fine. If you could not pay fine and failed to perform the duties, the village headmen ordered you must leave the village immediately”, said by the villagers.
“We are in difficult situation even for day to day seeking money and food (for families) even when there is no instruction for guarding to the pipeline. We, the poor families, faced the difficult situation, if we go and guard (the pipeline) we could face food-shortage problem. We could not pay them fine, 2000 Kyat per day because we could earn only 1000 Kyat per day. We also concern to send women and children and we don’t know how to manage”, explained by the villagers for their difficulties.
In late February, when a Mon woman, Miss Ma
(17 years old), was performing the duty, she was raped by a commander from Burmese Army. She substituted for her husband in duty as he was away for fishing.
When the SPDC constructed the pipeline last over 2 years ago, the authorities and army confiscated villagers’ agriculture lands along the pipeline route. The villagers who lost their lands received only a little amount of compensation from the authorities.
by THE HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF MONLAND
Forced Labour in
The SPDC used thousands of civilians in the
construction of 16-miles long road between Kawbein
and Kyonedoe villages in
According to the Forced Labour Convention of
1930 (No. 29),
However, Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), a local ethnic Mon human rights group
that has been monitoring human rights situation in southern
In March and April 2003, the local
Who was responsible?
U Ko Ko Gyi, (a retired Colonel or Brigadier), the Chairman of
the Kawkareik District Peace and Development Council ordered the headmen of the
Kawbein, Kaw-pauk Min-ywa, Kharit, and
Measure of the construction
The distance between Kawbein
and Kyonedoe village is approximately 16 miles. Both
villages are located on the bank of
The nature of works
The authorities defined the route and the space for the embankment. The villagers dug soil pits along both sides of the route to obtain soil for building the embankment. After digging soil pits, the villagers had to carry the soil with their hand-made baskets and filled on the defined space of embankment. The villagers have to provide their own tools to dig and carry the soil. After filling the soil in place, they have to press and pound it to get a strong and fixed embankment.
The villagers had to bring their own food and had to work a whole day, from dawn to dusk without any wages. They were forced to work in the construction every day until their assignments were completed.
Instruction for construction
Before the water festival or Burmese New
Year (from April 13 to
ท Kaw-bein village tract - 1 mile long
ท Kaw-pauk village tract - 0.5 mile long
ท Min-ywa village tract - 0.5 mile long
ท Kharit village tract - 1.4 mile (or 7400 feet) long
ท Kaw-go village tract - 0.6 mile long
During the Burmese New Year, the construction was stopped and started again after the New Year. Three out of those five villages (please give the name of these three villages) were continuously conscripted to construct the remaining part of the road, i.e., villagers from those 3 village tracts had to construct additional 4 miles.
After the authorities assigned works to village headmen for their villages, the headmen assigned the work to all households in their villages. The village headmen assigned the villagers into small groups and arranged them to work in the construction site in shifts.
According to a villager from Kaw-bein village, a group of villagers from the village were ordered to work in the construction for 3 days per shift. In three working days, each household was ordered to complete 3 feet of (with 15 feet in width and 3 feet in height) embankment.
In the mid-May, because of the heavy rain, the authorities had to cease the construction. Villagers, who were forced to construct the road without any helps of machinery, could not complete the road at the time. Only about 30% of the road was completed.
Number of households that were forced to work
The headmen took responsibility to assign works to households in their respective villages. After the village headman assigned works to the household, the household could decide who in their family had to work in the road construction to complete their work assignments. Some households whose men were available, men were sent to work in the construction. But, men were not available or busy with other family businesses in some households. In those cases, women and children were sent to work in the construction. The following shows villages in each village tract, estimated number of households in each village, and the ethnic nationalities who had been forced to work in the road construction.
These over 7,800 households were conscripted
to work in the road construction. It is obvious that men, women, and children
were forced to work as labourers.
Torture by the authorities
On April 22, 2003, the chairman of Kawkareik District Peace and Development Council, U Ko Ko Gyi, called a meeting with village headmen from various village tracts and instructed them to complete the road as quickly as possible. He wanted to complete the construction before the beginning of the rainy season.
During the meeting, the chairman of Kharit village, Nai Ba Zan, reported to U Ko Ko Gyi that work assignment to his village tract was overload, so that the villagers would not be able to complete the construction on time. The authorities ordered Kha-rit village tract, which has about 870 households, to construct about 1.4 mile (7400 feet). The workload ratio was much higher than that of other villages. Therefore, he complained to the authorities for an unfair work assignment and mismanagement of the authorities. U Ko Ko Gyi was angry at him and slapped him at his face four times in front of other village headmen and told him to continue the construction with respect to the order.
Conclusions and Recommendations
1. Although the SPDC issued Order No. 1/99
and its supplementary for elimination of forced labour
in villages, village tracts and Townships, the authorities and army themselves
have violated the order in various parts of rural areas of
2. In fact, although the SPDC has agreed to the ILO to issue an order that cease the use of forced labour, the SPDC has never enforced it. Its local armies and authorities have still committed human rights violations in ethnic areas.
SPDC’s Political Oppression and Plan to Grip in Power
May 30 “Black Friday” Massacre and Political Deadlock
It has been more clearer that the regime in Burma, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has no political will for democracy transformation in the country after their crackdown and killing many NLD members in Sagaing Division, which is currently known as May 30 “Depayin Incident” or “Black Friday”.
For a long period, the SPDC and the military commanders just made a ‘pretending’ of political talks (not really negotiation or political settlement) with main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), especially with its charismatic leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Normally, the talks always happened after the intensive international pressure to the regime.
The regime also claimed that it has its own
way of ‘democratization’ to guarantee the Burmese Army’s top commanders to be
in the future government cabinet without competing in the general elections.
This SPDC’s idea to maintain in the future political power is directly
contradicting the democratic process. The regime had held the sham ‘’National
Convention’ for several years since 1992 and tried to have input for the
leading role of military leaders in
In 1998, after the NLD and
ethnic political parties called to ‘convene’ the people parliament with their
mandate of 1990 general elections.
This was against the regime’s sham National Convention and therefore, hundreds
of political leaders and their supporters were arrested and put in notorious
jails in various parts of
Because of the consistent pressure from the international community, the regime had to release the political prisoners to ease tensions with many democratic countries around the world. In every release, only the small number of the political prisoners are released but many key leaders are still remaining in the prisons. Some died in jails and many of them suffered from serious diseases because of insufficient health care by the prison authorities.
Recently, the SPDC does not recognize the prisoners who were arrested as political reasons as political prisoners, and treatments to them was not so different from many criminals. In many cases, the political prisoners are cruelly and inhumanely treated by the intelligent officers during their investigation these political prisoners.
The inadequate food, medicines and other assistance are offered in these prisons and the dirty surrounding and environment also make the prisoners in their health to be in worst situation even some of them are in young age.
When the SPDC released the prisoners and
meeting with NLD leaders, they had one aim whether to ease the international
pressure or to get the international assistance. Therefore, many talks between
SPDC and NLD leaders did not really move to the political transition or
After her release in May 2002, NLD have more activities to re-open their offices in various townships, to re-operate their political works. However, the SPDC authorities did not like the political activities of NLD much. NLD still did not have freedom for their all activities, but they have to ask permission from the government authorities to set the party signboard, to re-open the offices and all travels.
When the activities of the NLD have gradually grown and getting momentum and get more supports from the civilians in various parts of Burma, especially in the middle part of Burma, SPDC has great concern. Their concern is there is more support to NLD by the people, there will be earlier that they may have to abandon their political power. By the way, the SPDC leaders have to stop the activities of NLD and therefore, May 30 ‘Black Friday’ killing and crackdown against NLD members was designated by SPDC.
This was one clear evidence that how the
SPDC real will to grip in power as long as possible. There are various types of
political oppression and cruel treatments against the political in southern
The situation of Moulmein prison in Mon State
In the western of part of
Many other of them from the opposition armed
groups such as All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF); Karen National
Union (KNU) and People Patriotic Party (PPP); and on-ground political parties
such as from Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF); National League for
Democracy (NLD). Many other political prisoners are not from the background of
political parties, but they are activists for democracy in
The native places of the political prisoners
are also varied. They are from various townships of
In Burma, whenever someone has activity against the government or is talking about the democratic change, it means he/she is threatening National Security and therefore he must be put on trail with charge of 1950 Emergency Provision Act’s Article 5 (J), which is also known as 5 (J) Act in Burma. The imprisonment term would be at least 7 years. Besides this law, the regime also has many other oppressive laws such as 1962 Printer and Publisher Registration Act, and Unlawful Association Act.
The politicians and the democratic activists are detained at least by one of the Act. Depending on the case the imprisonment time also varied. For the 1950 Emergency Provision Act, someone could be imprisoned from 5-7 years, while the SPDC can imprison someone at least 3 years with Printer and Publisher Registration Act. With ‘Unlawful Association Act’, someone could be imprisoned from to 10 years imprisonment. Some politicians and activists are imprisoned with the combined Acts. They were detained about 20 years imprisonment term.
Among about 91 political prisoners in
Most the political prisoners were arrested
by the Military Intelligence Battalion No. 5 bases in every Township of Mon
Accordingly to the rules set by Moulmein prison, the family members have opportunity the prisoners in every two weeks but they have pay an expensive bribe to the prison authorities and prisoner helper. The prisoner helpers are the persons who wish to get jobs in the compound of the prison to make money from the prisoners.
Without bribes (money or foods or other household used materials), the members of family members are not allowed to meet with their fathers, brothers, sisters. However they could not get much time for the meeting, only about 15 minutes to half an hour. For many families of those political prisoners, they are already poor because mostly the main person in their families are in prison and normally the family businesses are collapsed. Or, the MI Unit concerned also restricted their family businesses in many ways.
Many prisoners, including some political
prisoners, are forced to work in the constructions and other works for the
government departments. The authorities set the labour camps in various parts
The situation of Mon political prisoners
(1) Nai Ngwe Thein, is Vice-Chairman of Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) and Advisor to Committee for Representing the People Parliament (CRPP). He is also close to NLD leaders including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He is also a veteran revolutionary during 1948-1958 in Mon People Front (MPF). He is now about 80 years old.
(2) Dr. Min Soe Lin, elected MP from Ye
Township Constituency (Northern) in 1990 elections; and the General Secretary
of Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF); and he is about 40 years old. His main
occupation was medical doctor and operated a community clinic in
(3) Dr. Min Kyi Win, elected MP from Mudon Township Constituency (Southern) in 1990 elections;
and Joint-Secretary of Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF); and he is about 45
years. His main occupation was medical doctor and operated a community clinic
in his native village, Nyaung-gone in
All three of them are arrested in August 1998 with accusation that they were interfering in stable situation of ceasefire between the New Mon State Party and the regime and supporting the CRPP plan to convene the People’s Parliament.
In 1998, there has been a political tension between CRPP and the regime. CRPP is normally against the regime’s sham National Convention and planned to convent the people’s parliament. The democratic force rejected the role of Burmese Army in the future politics and so that many hundreds of politicians and activists were arrested at that time.
MNDF were just writing to NMSP leaders and analyzed the political situation and ceasefire deal with the regime and advice to anticipate in creating the better life of the Mon people. However, to imprison those MNDF leaders with 1950’s Emergency Provision Act Section 5 (J), the MI found the letter to NMSP and put on trial with accusation they were trying to break the ceasefire. Although NMSP leaders appealed to the regime that MNDF was not trying to break ceasefire, but they did not listen to NMSP leaders. Then, they just imprisoned three leaders with 7 years imprisonment term with hard labour for each.
Although two young Mon political prisoners, Dr. Min Soe Lin and Min Kyi Win, do not have much difficulties in detention, but for an old leader Nai Ngwe Thein, he has suffered from sickness and other diseases. In the unhealthy sorrounding and insufficient foods in the prison cells, almost of the prisoners suffer from at lease one type of disease or sickness.
Among three Mon political prisoners, Nai Ngwe Thein, because of his old age, his health situation has been gradually worst. However, he was not allowed for the better treatment. If the regime has the humanitarian consideration, he should be released him. In early April, Nai Ngwe Thein seriously suffered from stroke and after shortly treatment in the hospital, they have put into prison again.
The incident was:
Most well known political prisoners (or dangerous politicians to the regimes) are always put in small cell of the dark room by the prison authorities. This is one type of punishment even during detention. An old aged Nai Tun Thein was also put in the small cell in the dark room. He was allowed only one hour to be outside of his cell. He can take show and walk in the surrounding of the prison, in the afternoon for one hour from to , and then he has to return his cell. Normally, the cells are cool, as the prison was make with bricks and no system of warming. He could not move in his small rooms for years, therefore, the old man can suffer stroke easily.
Additionally, he has also suffered from other health problems such as toothaches and urinary problem. Although he suffered from these types of problem, but prison authorities did not provide him with sufficient treatments.
After he was brought to the hospital, he received two weeks treatment and then he was brought back to the prison again. During he was in the hospital, only some members from his party were permitted to visit him briefly. They could not meet him privately but in the presence of prison guards and intelligence officers.
After two weeks treatment in the hospital, he was sent back to his small cell again. Even though he could not move, he was detained in there and the other prisoners need to help him when he move, take shower and eating.
Before Nai Ngwe Thein suffered from stroke, he also had toothaches and urinary tract problems. Although the prison doctor suggested to bring him and treat in the outside hospital, but the suggestion was turned down by the prison authorities.
The health condition of other Mon political prisoners is also not good. In early of this year, the General Secretary of MNDF, Dr. Min Soe Lin, also suffered from tuberculosis and an information came out that he was not provided with sufficient medicines by prison doctor. Although the prison doctor treated him regularly and provided medicines, he felt his health condition was not improve as he is also a medical doctor. He also ordered better medicines from his wife but she could not bring the medicines anytime. Because the prison authorities allowed only twice a month to allow the family members to meet him.
He felt his health condition has been worst and worst since last year and tried to get the medicines. Although he asked permission to have treatment, but he was not permitted. The worst prison condition also made his health condition to be serious. Most prisoners did not receive mosquito nets, good beds and pure water for them.
Another the political prisoner, MNDF MP, Dr. Min Kyi Win has suffered from gastric problems. However, he also could not receive the regular and available foods in the prison. He is also a medical doctor and he also could not get the medicines that he liked.
In 2002, although the
regime released about 300 political prisoners from various parts of
The role of USDA in the oppression
Union Solidarity and Development Association
(USDA) is an organization which is formed and operated under the instruction of
the regime, SPDC. SPDC always find the oppositions to against the democratic
force in various part of
After the current military regime, SLORC/SPDC, ruled the country, it has formed this organizations as their main supporters. The regime has given great favour to the members of USDA. Thus, more and more opportunists have joined to USDA and the members have increased. Later, the USDA members also forced the young men and women in the villages, towns and cities to join the organization. They also provided training and taught the politics that the Burmese Army must have role in future politics.
Political Dialogue in
After May 30 ‘Depayin Massacre’ that the SPDC designated crackdown to the members of National League for Democracy (NLD), the main opposition in Burma, it clearly showed to the world that the military regime in Burma plans to stay in power as long as possible.
Although the international community has endeavored to have political dialogue for peaceful transitions to Democracy, by creating environment for the political talks between SPDC and NLD leaders, however, at the end, the regime has rejected this development.
On the other hand, we can conclude that the SPDC does not want any political reform and they wish to keep their power as long as possible. After May 30 incident, the SPDC thought there would be demonstration for democracy or for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Therefore, the SPDC authorities have forced thousands of civilians and government servants to attend basic military training schools from two weeks to one month. Then then the regime formed Anti-strike groups in various towns and villages.
Although the international community has demanded the regime to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but SPDC leaders constantly ignore. Her release will not come soon and the SPDC, itself does not promise they would release her.
The people in