5. Deprivation of Livelihood
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” -Article 25, Paragraph (1), Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Current agricultural and marketing policies, and restrictions on the movement of people, make it very difficult for many of those at risk to merely subsist.” – James Morris, executive director of the UN World Food Program. (Source: “Junta Restrictions Cause Food Shortages Among Rohingyas,” Irrawaddy, 23 September 2005).
5.2 Situation of Farmers in Burma
5.3 Situation of Labor in Burma
5.4 Other Factors Contributing to the Deprivation of Livelihood
5.5 Situation in Arakan State
5.6 Situation in Chin State
5.7 Situation in Karen State
5.8 Situation in Karenni State
5.9 Situation in Mandalay Division
5.10 Situation in Mon State
5.11 Situation in Pegu Division
5.12 Situation in Shan State
5.13 Situation in Tenasserim Division
5.14 Situation in Other Locations in Burma
In 2005, Burma's economy deteriorated sharply and the population of Burma faced increased difficulties in maintaining an adequate standard of living. Since the military coup of 1962, the economy has steadily declined, making it progressively difficult for people in Burma to meet their basic needs. Despite a wealth of natural resources, the country suffers from widespread poverty. Military rule has effectively destroyed a once robust economy through decades of misguided economic policies, rampant corruption, cronyism, and disproportionate spending on the military. Although Burma signed the UN Convention on Corruption on 2 December 2005, which requires States to promote “honesty and responsibility among its public officials,” it has not yet been ratified by the regime. Moreover, Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption has ranked Burma as the fourth most corrupt polity out of 159 countries reviewed.
In addition to a poorly functioning economy, a significant percentage of the population have seen their livelihoods threatened or destroyed as a result of systematic human rights violations perpetuated by the regime against civilians. These violations, which include forced labor, arbitrary taxation and extortion, forced relocation, land confiscation, and looting of money and property, are particularly endemic in ethnic minority areas.
Independent data indicates that the agricultural sector accounts for 56.6 percent of Burma’s GDP, employs 70 percent of the workforce and provides the country with significant export earnings. Despite this, many of Burma's farmers are struggling to maintain their livelihoods and as many as 25 percent of Burma's almost 50 million people continue to live below the poverty line. Weak land rights, state interference in the domestic market, and restrictions on the movement of people and farm produce have severely impacted farmers’ ability to provide for themselves and their families. For instance, throughout 2005, restrictions on travel and trade throughout ethnic border areas severely undermined farmers' ability to access their rice fields and trade their produce. Government restrictions on the transport of rice into and throughout most states and divisions, such as Arakan State, Shan State, Karen State, Irrawaddy Division and Pegu Division, also led to the manipulation of rice prices throughout Burma. Consequently, some ethnic border areas faced severe food shortages. Furthermore, despite the regime's announcement in April 2003 that it would withdraw from the rice market by ending its 40 year rice procurement policy, there were credible reports in 2005 that the forced sale of rice to the army continued.
In 2005, an excessively high inflation rate and a nine-fold increase in the price of fuel sparked fears of possible social unrest throughout the country. Some observers argued that the junta’s economic mismanagement of the country has plunged Burma into a dire economic crisis and in so doing has created a precondition for social unrest and revolt. (Source: “Burma: Violence in the Making,” Mizzima, 16 November 2005). Similar economic conditions existed in 1988 when a sharp increase in the price of basic commodities, such as rice, was widely believed to have, in part, sparked the pro-democracy uprising of that year. In late 2005, there were reports of increased crime in Rangoon as a result of extreme economic hardship. Such reports could be seen as a precursor to a popular uprising against the regime. (Source: “Burmese Authorities Deny Crime Wave,” Irrawaddy, 29 November 2005). At year end, while no reports of social unrest emerged, the economic conditions in Burma remained grave.
In 2005, Burma's crude economic policies together with bomb blasts in Rangoon in May and rumors of a military coup in September plunged the country into the worst period of inflation seen since the 2003 banking crisis. According to The Economist, Burma's 2005/2006 annual average inflation is forecast to be 20 percent. The official exchange rate for the kyat, which is non-convertible, is approximately US$6, however, the black market rate, in which most business and commercial transactions in Burma are conducted, went from less than 900 kyat in January to over 1,300 kyat to the U.S. dollar in October. (Source: “Concern Grows Over Burma's Rapidly Increasing Inflation,” Irrawaddy, 6 October 2005).
Rising inflation reportedly prompted the Ministry of Mining to open an official gold coin shop in Rangoon on 21 September. Long cues of people wishing to invest their money in a more secure form than the local currency have been reported since the shop's opening. The price of a one tical (0.56 ounce) gold coin opened at 300,000 kyat (US$214) but quickly rose 13 percent to 340,000 kyat (US$242) by early October. (Sources: “Gold Coin Prices Soar in Myanmar as Currency Tumbles,” AFP, 4 October 2005; “Cold and Dollar Prices Rise in Burma,” Mizzima, 29 September 2005).
The sharp rise in inflation has caused a significant rise in the cost of basic commodities, such as rice, cooking oil, meat and sugar, throughout the country. Furthermore, on 20 October, the junta officially raised the price of petrol from 180 kyat to 1,500 kyat per gallon. As the junta rationed fuel at 60 gallons per month, those that require more were forced to buy it on the black market, where the price of diesel in October was approximately 3,600 kyat per gallon. (Source: “Rise in Cost of Fuel for Burmese,” Financial Times, 20 October 2005). The rise in fuel prices immediately affected transport costs and consequently there were reports of further increases in basic commodity prices throughout the country in the later period of 2005. Concurrently, bus fares in Rangoon rose by 400 percent and rice by 50 percent (source: “‘What Bomb’ Ask Cowed Locals,” Irrawaddy, 24 October 2005). Market prices reportedly changed daily and medicine increased 30 percent from August to October (source: “Myanmar's People Struggle as Prices Soar,” AFP, 9 October 2005). In southern Burma, a one way bus trip into town rose from between 150 to 200 kyat up to 1,000 kyat in late November. The rise in transport costs severally affected teachers who traveled daily from towns to rural villagers. Teachers, whose monthly salary was approximately 10,000 kyat, reportedly began charging primary school students 150 kyat and middle school students 200 kyat in order to cover their travel costs. (Source: “Oil Price Hike Affects Government Employees,” IMNA, 22 November 2005). The rise in fuel prices also forced the closure of several factories. In Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, four large factories, six factories related to the fishing industry and a number of smaller factories were forced to close down due to the high fuel prices. The closures resulted in approximately 1,600 job losses. (Sources: “Factories in Akyab Close Down as Fuel Price Sky Rockets,” Narinjara News, 28 October 2005; “Fishing Industry in Doldrums,” Narinjara News, 21 December 2005).
Increased economic hardship due to high inflation and increased fuel prices reportedly led to an increase in crime in Rangoon. On 5 November, it was reported that acute financial stress had caused an increase in burglaries in Rangoon. Consequently shop owners, scared by rumors of an increase in burglaries, began to close their shops early. (Source: “Burglary Scare in Rangoon Markets,” SHAN, 5 November 2005). On 1 December, the Myanmar Police Force launched the “Crime Free Week” campaign in downtown Rangoon, Latha Township in an attempt to curtail rising crime in the city. According to a Rangoon police officer, “Crime Free Week is designed to crack down effectively on gambling, robbery and violence.” The initiative involved an increase of police on the streets and a 24-hour a day patrol throughout Latha Township. Police officers were also dispatched to educate people on crime prevention. While no official statistics were available on Rangoon’s crime rate, it was reported that sources inside Burma generally considered crime to be on the increase. (Source: “Rangoon to Combat Rising Crime,” Irrawaddy, 25 November 2005).
Other Factors Affecting the Cost of Living
The junta’s misguided economic policies have also had a profound affect on the price of rice throughout the country. In 2005, the regime imposed a ban on the transport of rice into and throughout ethnic border areas, such as Arakan State, northern Shan State and Karen State. This led to dramatically inflated rice prices in areas suffering from rice shortages. For instance, in July, restrictions on the transportation of rice imposed by military authorities into Kun-Hing Township, Shan State resulted in rice prices rising to 10,000 kyat despite prices in neighboring Keng-Tawng Township remaining as low as 4,950 kyat. According to a report from the area, Keng-Tawng Township had a surplus of rice in July but military authorities banned traders from transporting rice out of the township and threatened punishment if township traders were unable to supply rice to the army when they needed it. (Source: “Rice Shortage Forcing More People to Leave,” SHAN, 11 July 2005). In late 2005, the junta also placed a ban on the transport of rice outside of high rice producing areas, such as Irrawaddy Division, Pegu Division and Arakan State. The ban raised fears that despite an abundant harvest rice prices would remain low. The ban has been attributed to the regime’s attempt to keep rice prices low in order to fill rice purchase quotas for the army. (Sources: “Burma Bans Cross-Region Rice Shipments in Lower Burma,” DVB, 28 December 2005; “Rice Transportation Between Townships in Arakan State Banned,” Narinjara News, 15 November 2005). (For more information see Sections 5.5 Situation in Arakan State and Section 5.7 Situation in Karen State).
Regime policies regarding the ownership of unlicensed vehicles further increased the cost of living in Burma. In 2005, the SPDC demanded that owners of unlicensed vehicles turn them in by 31 March. Those who did not obey the order risked the confiscation of their vehicle’s and a 7-year jail term. The order, however, provided authorities with yet a further opportunity to both raise taxes and extort money from the populace. From the beginning of April 2005, the Ministry of Transport raised vehicle taxes throughout the country. Prior to April, tax on a Chinese truck was 10,000 kyat, a Japanese Hilux was 8,000 kyat and a six-wheel truck was 180,000 kyat. Post April, these taxes were raised to 30,000 kyat, 300,000 kyat and 500,000 kyat, respectively. (Source: “SPDC Doubles Automobile Tax,” IMNA, 13 May 2005). Furthermore, in Mon State, it was reported that Comdr. Thura Myint Aung and Col. Myo Win of the Southeast Command issued illegal vehicle licenses for a bribe of 500,000 kyat to business men whose cars had been confiscated (source: “Army Collects Bribes for Illegal Cars,” Kaowao News, 14 January 2005).
On 17 May 2005, U.S. President George Bush renewed sanctions that were first introduced in July 2003 under the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. The Act, together with an Executive Order signed on the same day, barred all imports from Burma in U.S. markets, froze all assets of high-level SPDC and USDA officials in the U.S., and banned the provision of financial services to Burma. In a notice to the U.S. Congress concerning the renewal of sanctions against Burma, President Bush stated “The actions and policies of the Government of Burma continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” (Source: “Notice of Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Burma,” Office of U.S. Press Secretary, 17 May 2005).
On 25 April 2005, the E.U. confirmed existing sanctions on Burma for another year. The E.U.’s Common Position on Burma, first introduced in 1996, states that sanctions will be imposed on those who “benefit from military misrule and those who actively frustrate the process of national reconciliation, respect for human rights and democracy” (source: “EU Council Common Position 2004,” E.U. Statement, 23 April 2004). The E.U. reiterated its Common Position on Burma in April 2004 and in October 2004 calling on the SPDC to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, cease harassment of the NLD and allow genuine debate in the National Convention. As the regime ignored these demands, on 25 October 2004 the E.U. revised the Common Position and tightened sanctions against the regime. These sanctions included a visa ban on E.U. based companies or organizations providing funding to junta-owned companies in Burma and a systematic E.U. vote against the granting of loans to Burma by international institutions.
Go to Top
5.2 Situation of Farmers in Burma
An estimated 70 percent of Burma’s workforce is employed in the agricultural sector and rice, being the nation’s staple food, is therefore extensively cultivated. The SPDC, which has retained centralized planning and control of food production in the nation, has made various attempts to boost the production of rice and other agricultural products. Yet the methods proscribed have had disastrous results for those engaged in agriculture within Burma.
Right to Own Land
Cultivators in Burma have effectively lost the right to own land. Under domestic law sections 9-12 of the Lands Nationalization and Agricultural Lands Act 1953, the right to transfer, partition or lease land can only occur with permission from the authorities. In the 1963 Tenancy Act, the regime usurped the right of landowners to lease their land and the 1963 Protection of the Right to Cultivation Act stipulated that land would be protected from confiscation, except in the case of “(a) non-payment of dues owing to the State, and (b) disputes arising from inheritance cases or actions taken by the State for security reasons.” The regime was further granted authority to confiscate land through Notification No. 4/78, which was enacted on 18 September 1978. This notification states that failure to sow the allotted land with the earmarked crops to obtain optimum results, or failure to sell the full crop quota to the SPDC at the stipulated price, would result in confiscation of land. Currently village and Township administrators have the power to confiscate land and the cultivators are compelled to follow their dictates with no means to protest. Local farmers are afforded a degree of land use rights but most literature or information explaining these laws is only available in Burmese, making the information inaccessible to the non-Burmese speaking ethnic minorities. This further limits the capacity of ethnic minorities to protest the confiscation of their lands by SPDC officials or the military. (Source: “Reclaiming the Right to Rice,” BBC, October 2003).
Forced Sale of Crops
In April 2003, the SPDC announced that as of 2004 the 40-year-old paddy procurement policy would come to an end. The paddy procurement policy, which was implemented by the Myanmar Agricultural Produce Trade (MAPT), prescribed the forced sale of rice to the SPDC at fixed discounted prices as low as one sixth of the market rate. MAPT also designated paddy land and collected a fixed quota based on land area. This crop quota was essentially a crop tax and was justified by the SPDC as a means of feeding the armed forces, supplying discounted rice to civil servants and exporting rice and other crops to gain foreign currency. At the end of 2003, the junta ceased the supply of subsidized rice to civil servants and provided them with a 5,000 kyat pay increase instead. (Source: “Salary Hike for Burmese Civil Servants,” DVB, 30 December 2003). In February 2005, MAPT dismissed 10,000 employees who had been involved in the paddy procurement program without compensation (source: “Burmese Military Dismisses 10,000 MAPT Employees,” IMNA, 14 February 2005).
In conjunction with the end of the rice procurement policy, the junta also announced a new trading policy, which stipulates “All nationals have the right to trade rice. The price will be according to the prevailing rates, and monopolizing the rice trade will not be allowed for anyone or any organization.” However, guidelines set out by the Myanmar Rice Trading Leading Committee (MRTLC) further stipulated that rice could only be exported when in surplus, a 10 percent tax would apply to rice exports and net export earnings would be divided on a 50-50 basis between the SPDC and the rice exporter. Rice trading associations, including the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), the Myanmar Rice Traders Association and the Myanmar Rice Millers Association, would be responsible for buying rice from farmers and then selling it to the MAPT for distribution to the army at cost. (Source: “Lifting Rice Controls: More Questions Than Answers,” Irrawaddy, 1 May 2003).
Despite the SPDC’s claims that it was moving out of the rice market, there were credible reports that the forced sale of rice at below market value continued throughout 2004 and 2005. For example, in February 2005, the Shan State Triangle Regional Command ordered the Merchants and Farmers Association to buy a quota of 100,000 baskets of rice from farmers in Kaeng-Tung Township at a fixed rate of 3,800 kyat per basket. Farmers were banned from selling or transporting rice prior to the military quota being met. (Sources: “Rice Procurement in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2005; “Restrictions and Economic Situation in Central Shan State,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2005). In May 2005, SPDC IB 61 ordered farmers in Ye Township, Mon State to sell two baskets of paddy per acre of land to the army. The paddy was to be crushed into rice and sold to the army at 110,000 kyat per basket, well below the market price of 200,000 kyat. As of the end of May, no payment to the farmers had been made. (Source: “Rice Extorted for Army Food Supply,” IMNA, 30 May 2005). In December 2005, it was reported that farmers in Irrawaddy and Pegu Divisions were banned from transporting rice as rice traders had yet to purchase the 15,000 baskets of paddy required for army consumption in Toungoo Township (source: “Burma Bans Cross-Region Rice Shipments in Lower Burma,” DVB, 28 December 2005).
Dry Season Paddy Crops
In an attempt to increase paddy production throughout the country, the SPDC has for several years promoted summer, also known as dry season, paddy production. Traditionally, farmers have cultivated a single rice crop per year, sown in the rainy season and reaped in the cool season of October through December. Under the summer paddy program, a further crop is planted, raised and reaped in the hot season. The summer paddy scheme has several elements including the development of irrigation systems such as dams and canals, introduction of high yielding hot-season rice strains, and use of new fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery to cope with the technical complications of the new crop. Summer paddy is especially promoted in the Irrawaddy Delta region, which is rich in both land and water resources.
The cultivation of summer paddy has created new burdens for farmers. In order to build roads, small dams and irrigation ditches, regime-directed forced labor is often used. Thus, farmers are required to work on these development projects and have less time to tend to their crops or engage in other subsistence activities. Furthermore, the chemical fertilizers and the high yielding seeds required to produce a dry season crop are not distributed free to poor farmers, but are sold to them. Farmers who do not buy the necessary materials cannot participate in the program and their land, officially designated for double cropping, is reassigned to a more able household. Consequently, farmers will often go into debt to buy the necessary fertilizers and seeds to participate in the program. However, insufficiency of water, inclement weather and unsuitability of crops to be cultivated can lead to an unsuccessful yield. According to a farmer in Maoobin Township, Irrawaddy Division, “The farmers are unhappy as the government forces them to grow summer paddy without providing anything...there is no profit [in producing summer paddy] even though the farmers work hard. The summer paddy project is not successful as the government does not provide the chemical fertilizers for the summer paddy plantations. The farmers can not afford to buy the chemical fertilizers by themselves.” In some areas, SPDC authorities reportedly confiscated land from farmers who could not repay the loans they had taken out to obtain crop supplies. Farmers who complained about or attempted to refuse to participate in the summer paddy program risked arrest and imprisonment. (Sources: “Maoobin Township TPDC Chairperson Forces Farmers to Grow Summer Paddy,” DVB, 13 December 2005; Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2004, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 28 February 2005; “Burma: Illegal Imprisonment, Denial of Economic Rights, Un-Rule of Law,” AHRC, 15 December 2004).
Go to Top
5.3 Situation of Labor in Burma
A surplus of labor, a dismal economy and lack of protection by the junta continue to dictate substandard conditions for workers in Burma. As the majority of Burma’s workforce is engaged in the agricultural sector and the informal sector, the labor affairs laws that do exist apply to only a small portion of the workforce. Furthermore, these laws are often outdated and ineffectual. Minimum wage laws apply only to junta employees and employees of a few traditional industries. Consequently, the majority of Burma’s workforce is struggling for their livelihood under harsh conditions with inadequate pay and no process to air their grievances.
Workers conditions are regulated by the 1964 Law on Fundamental Workers Rights and the 1951 Factories Act. Under these laws, public sector employees work a five day, 35-hour workweek while those employed in private enterprise work a six day, 44-hour workweek. There are also provisions for the payment of overtime for additional work and a 24-hour rest period per week. Workers are entitled to a 21-day paid holiday per year. In practice, however, very few employees outside the public sector abide by these laws. For instance, staff and workers in supermarkets and factories, which have appeared as a result of the developing market economy, have to work about 10 hours a day in defiance of labor protection laws. Working on Saturday and overtime is also required without appropriate compensation. Instead, employees are sometimes paid a small amount of money or given some food.
The majority of the workforce is not covered by minimum wage provisions and wages are generally insufficient for people to meet their basic living costs. The minimum daily wage for public employees, which is unilaterally set by the junta, is 100 kyat (US$0.10) for an eight hour workday. Despite the various subsidies and allowances that supplement this sum, both low and senior public servants do not earn wages sufficient to provide themselves or their families with a decent standard of living. Consequently, widespread corruption and absenteeism is reported in the public sector. Urban laborers in the private sector earn approximately 800 kyat (US$0.80) per day, while rural agricultural workers earn approximately half that amount. Skilled factory workers in the private sector can earn as much as 4,000 kyat (US$4) per day.
Foreign employers and joint ventures operate in Burma as well as in other countries throughout Southeast Asia. In Burma, however, workers receive salaries from foreign employers that are much lower than other countries’ minimum wages. Private employers generally set wages close to that offered by domestic private sector employers. The junta has also pressed joint ventures not to pay salaries higher than those of ministers and senior SPDC employees. Some joint ventures and foreign firms have circumvented this by awarding supplemental wages and benefits.
There are few viable processes or systems by which worker’s grievances can be aired. The junta does not allow unions and therefore workers are unable to collectively organize and bargain for better working conditions. Workers are also legally prohibited from striking. (For more information see Chapter 11 Freedom of Opinion, Expression and the Press). Major labor disputes were once handled by the Central Arbitration Board, but this Board has been dormant since 1988. While township level labor supervisory committees do exist, in practice, there are no clear mechanisms for the resolution of disputes and workers are often too afraid to complain. Furthermore, there are no step by step appeal programs for negotiations, interventions and plenary discussions. Workers, therefore, suffer considerably.
According to job appointment rules, the employer has the right to dismiss any worker from employment without giving a month’s advance notice, as outlined in existing labor laws. This grants excessive power for exploitation to the employer and prevents a stable workforce from forming at work sites.
Despite the fact that health and safety regulations exist under the Labor Compensation Act, the junta does not provide the necessary resources to enforce these regulations. Furthermore, workers who can remove themselves from dangerous conditions do not do so out of fear of losing their jobs. In addition, the Labor Compensation Act excludes workers earning over 400 kyat per month. Employers who pay more than this can claim that their workers are not covered by the Compensation Act.
Wages in Burma are generally insufficient for people to meet their basic living costs. According to a public servant in Arakan State, a bag of rice in July cost two to three times her monthly salary (source: “Phenomenal Rice Price Rise in Western Burma Threatens Social Unrest,” Narinjara News, 5 July 2005). In southern Burma, low teacher wages resulted in students having to provide teachers with extra money in order to cover rising transport costs (source: “Oil Price Hike Affects Government Employees,” IMNA, 22 November 2005).
Go to Top
5.4 Other Factors Contributing to the Deprivation of Livelihood
People living throughout Burma are subject to numerous demands for their hard-earned currency and their hard-pressed time. As the junta spends an estimated 50 percent of the national budget on strengthening the armed forces, there is little money allotted for the needs of the general population. Furthermore, thousands of acres of land have been confiscated from civilians, without compensation, for army food production or factories under the “Self Reliance Program,” through which soldiers are forced to procure their own food supplies. The ousted farmers and local villagers are frequently made to act as serfs on their former land, planting and harvesting crops for the army battalions who took the land from them. Despite substantial spending on the military, even the armed forces do not receive adequate provisions. Deserters from the army have sited overwork and low salaries as major causes of desertion. One soldier who deserted to the Indo-Burma border in late 2005 stated that “I joined the army to support my family. I was unable to provide any financial help to my family because of the low salary. I was not even allowed to contact them. What is the point of serving in the army?”
The SPDC has prided itself on undertaking efforts to improve the nation, such as the building of roads, bridges and railroads. Yet, these national infrastructure projects have been carried out at the expense of the people of Burma. The projects, which are often for military benefit, are usually severely under funded, and the local people are often required to not only contribute funds and materials but to also build the projects themselves as forced laborers.
At the township and village administrative levels, there is also a lack of funding. Again local people are made to compensate for these deficiencies in the national budget. Townships and villages are also subject to the 1988 “Self Reliance Program,” requiring them to find their own funding for various public and social services, such as schools. In addition to the economic burden this entails, people in areas of armed conflict are also subject to the additional demands associated with a significant military presence in their regions. Villagers in areas of armed conflict are expected to fully support the army battalions located in their area. They are required to build and maintain the army barracks, supplying the materials themselves, and send laborers to work at these bases. No compensation for this work is provided. Villagers are also forced to give food and any other items that army personnel demand from them.
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
Through several officially sanctioned fees and taxes as well as arbitrary demands for money from corrupt officials and army personnel, the people of Burma are expected to pay for everything from road construction supplies to sport ceremonies. The income of Burma’s people is sapped by these constant fees and most households are forced to pay several thousands of kyat per month in these types of levies. Many villagers are unable to pay and, as a result, are often forced to flee their homes to avoid punishment by the authorities.
Porter and Forced Labor Fees
A common practice, especially in conflict areas, is for the villagers to pay a mandatory “porter fee” to the local army battalion. The funds collected from this fee are supposed to go towards hiring porters for army operations. Yet in most cases, these fees are kept by the battalion officers, who then proceed to demand that the villagers supply porters for the army, even after the fee has been paid. These fees are usually around 500 to 1,000 kyat per household per month. In addition, villagers who are unable to fulfill their forced labor duties are made to pay fines of varying amounts to local authorities.
In several localities across Burma the local people are made to pay monthly fees for township or village level administration costs. These fees, whether or not they are actually used for administrative purposes, vary from place to place.
Festival and Ceremony Fees
Often the SPDC does not provide enough money for regime-sponsored festivals and ceremonies, including religious and sport festivals and even anti-NLD rallies. Where the SPDC falls short, the people are expected to contribute. SPDC officials, including USDA members, commonly send letters or go door to door demanding money for such occasions. In some instances, after the people have given their money, the event never occurs at all.
Taxes for Development Projects
The social, education and health sectors in Burma are seriously neglected by the SPDC and suffer from an acute shortage of junta funding. Local people are often required to pay for the construction of educational and healthcare facilities, as well as for the running of numerous training programs. In addition, although the SPDC has taken credit for the various national infrastructure projects, it is the local people who are most often responsible for the financing of such projects. SPDC funding is often insufficient or swindled by corrupt officials and villagers are ordered to provide the money or supplies necessary for the projects.
Taxes and Fees for Local Army Units
Civilians are regularly required to pay for the needs of local army units. In addition to demands for food and supplies, they must meet demands for other various expenses which arise, such as the need for army walkie-talkies. Villagers commonly cover the cost for the construction of army related buildings, or supply the necessary materials. In addition, villagers in conflict areas are often forced to pay for lost guns when soldiers desert the army, or pay for the upkeep of surrendered rebels.
Travel in Burma involves negotiating passage through numerous checkpoints that are operated by various branches of the regime and SPDC allies, such as the military, police and ceasefire groups. Most exit and entry points to towns have permanent checkpoints. In addition, numerous temporary checkpoints are set up at any given time. These checkpoints inevitably demand payment from those traveling. If cash can not be produced, the authorities demand other items instead. A truck may be required to relinquish farm produce or consumer items it is transporting as a form of payment. (For more information, see Chapter 12 Freedom of Assembly, Association and Movement).
Arbitrary Fees, Fines and Taxes
Army officers posted to remote conflict areas, as well as officials in central Burma, all receive opportunities to extort money from local villagers with impunity. There are several army officers who have become rich as a result of the numerous schemes they come up with to acquire money. People are therefore subjected to numerous “unofficial” levies, fines and taxes. In some cases, people are not even given an explanation as to what their money is going for but are just told to provide a certain amount. Some of these arbitrary levies are associated with discrimination against religious or ethnic minorities, such as in the case of arbitrary taxes that exist only for Muslim Rohingya people in Arakan State.
Despite the fact that Burma ratified Order No. 1/99 in 2000 banning forced labor, the continued practice of forced labor is well-documented. Forced labor is mandatory, unpaid and requires that villagers spend varying amounts of time away from their own livelihoods. In addition to the economic strain that time away from work brings, the people are also required to provide their own food and equipment for the duration of the forced labor duty. The demand of forced labor is often too strenuous for the already over-burdened people of Burma. Most refugees and migrant workers cite forced labor requirements as one of the major reasons for fleeing across the border. (For more information, see Chapter 1 Forced Labor, Portering and Military Conscription)
Weak land rights have provided the SPDC with various opportunities to deprive the people of Burma of their land. In addition to land confiscated for army battalions, the junta often takes over land that is intended for development projects. People are rarely compensated for the confiscated land. In cases where compensation is given, the amount is usually well below market value. The confiscation of land, which is the sole source of livelihood for many people in Burma, is a major infringement upon their right to an adequate livelihood as well as to their property rights.
Destruction of Property
Loss of property is an obvious hindrance to the livelihood of an individual and their family, yet the SPDC continues to engage in activities that result in the uncompensated destruction of property such as homes and fields. In areas of ethnic conflict this practice is carried out under the “four cuts” campaign, in which the army seeks to undermine opposition groups’ access to food, funds, information, and recruits by targeting the local community. Furthermore, under the “scorched earth” campaign, SPDC troops relocate villages in known insurgent areas then burn everything in the area. The burning of villages is a common procedure following relocation or in campaigns to “search and destroy” opposition forces. Property is also destroyed by the army in other areas of Burma if it stands in the way of planned army or national infrastructure projects.
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
The military in Burma, which sees itself as being the “father of the nation,” has long expected the support of the country’s civilians. The various incarnations of the military regime have attempted to instill a mentality in the people that aiding the armed forces is a national and patriotic duty. However, Burma's army personnel have always been underpaid, especially the lower level soldiers and privates, and this has led to their frequent looting of villagers’ property. In the years since the 1998 “Self Reliance Program,” when the SPDC cut rations for the armed forces, this looting and expropriation of food and possessions has been condoned by the junta. Some units even detail officers whose main task is to organize this activity. Army units on patrol who pass through villages simply take what they wish of the villagers’ food and possessions or send letters demanding that the villagers bring it to them. Some officers even send “shopping lists” to the local village heads, requesting such things as soap, oil, chicken, rice and cases of beer. Villagers are even sometimes forced to provide items for military personnel to offer to local Buddhist temples. The armed forces rarely pay for the items they extort.
Restrictions on Trade, Travel and Cultivation
Restrictions on trade, travel and cultivation are frequently imposed by the SPDC, especially in areas of armed conflict, causing further difficulties for individuals attempting to make a livelihood. Many people living in areas under SPDC control are restricted from leaving their villages and must pay for passes from authorities to gain permission to leave. These passes often only allow travel within a short period, sometimes only from dawn to dusk. For villagers attempting to work in fields or towns far away, it is nearly impossible to do what is necessary to make a living and then get back on time. The SPDC has also enforced special travel restrictions where people are banned from leaving their villages altogether. In these cases, villagers are unable to engage in trade with neighboring villages and neglected fields often result in lost harvests. Some travel restrictions are associated with discrimination against religious or ethnic minorities, such as in the case of travel restrictions which exist only for the Muslim Rohingya in Arakan State.
In 2005, travel restrictions imposed by the authorities resulted in severe economic hardship for the people of Burma. The military authority's ban on rice being transported into and throughout some ethnic areas, such as Arakan State, northern Shan State and Karen State, led to severe food shortages and loss of income for traders and farmers in the area. The lack of affordable rice in northern Shan State reportedly led almost 1,000 people to flee into Thailand (source: “Rice Shortage Forcing More People to Leave,” SHAN, 11 July 2005). In northern Arakan State, a shortage of affordable rice in mid-2005 raised fears of both a man-made famine in the area as well as possible social unrest and another refugee exodus into Bangladesh (source: “Phenomenal Rice Prize in Western Burma Threaten Social Unrest,” Narinjara News, 5 July 2005). (For more information, see Chapter 12 Freedom of Assembly, Association, and Movement).
Another factor affecting the ability of people in Burma to make a living is the existence of landmines. Landmines are often laid by the military forces in and around villages after villagers have been forcibly relocated. The deployment of landmines prevents villagers from returning to gather their belongings or tend to their fields. Consequently, landmines both restrict villagers' ability to access their fields and also limit the areas where laborers are able to move.
Go to Top
5.5 Situation in Arakan State
The economic situation in Arakan State deteriorated throughout 2005 due to continued arbitrary taxation, land confiscation and restrictions on trade and travel. While the measures that deprive civilians of an adequate livelihood are imposed on all ethnicities residing in Arakan State, including the majority Rakhine Buddhist population, most of the severest restrictions are directed towards the Muslim Rohingya populace. The abuses suffered by the Rohingya stem, in part, from the fact that they are denied access to citizenship. Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, the Rohingya are deprived of citizenship as they are not included in the list of the 135 “national races” of Burma and most are unable to provide evidence of their ancestors residing in Burma prior to British annexation of the country in 1923. The Rohingya are therefore identified as illegal immigrants in Burma and consequently suffer unparalleled restrictions on movement, excessive taxation, land confiscation and demands for forced labor. These human rights abuses have severely impeded the Rohingya's ability to access an adequate livelihood.
Following the removal of Gen. Khin Nyunt from office on 19 October 2004 and the subsequent purge of NaSaKa, there were initial reports that human rights abuses, including arbitrary taxes, marriage fees, travel authorization fees, extortion and corruption had declined in Arakan State. However, in January 2005, NaSaKa border forces and local authorities now under full control of the military, reasserted control over Arakan State. Throughout 2005 excessive arbitrary taxation and land confiscation impeded peoples’ ability to maintain their livelihoods. Meanwhile SPDC battalions in Arakan State raised substantial funds during 2005 by monopolizing profitable industries and engaging in various corrupt practices, such as demanding arbitrary fines and taxes, as well as through land confiscation programs. Although troops stationed in Arakan State used to make money by leasing back to farmers confiscated land, in September 2005, it was reported that troops in Kyauk Taw Township had been prohibited from engaging in this practice, raising concerns for farmers fearing a loss of income and the potential for forced labor. Forced labor concerns came to a head according to a 12 September report when SPDC troops forced Rohingya villagers to cultivate rice on confiscated paddy land. (Sources: “Burmese Army Turns to rice Growing on Land Confiscated from the People,” Narinjara News, 7 September 2005; “Army Plunders Paddy Seedlings,” SHAN, 12 September 2005).
In November 2005, SPDC authorities officially banned the transport of rice between Arakan townships leading to a significant increase in rice prices and shortages throughout the region. According to a public servant from Buthidaung Township, the cost of a bag of rice in July was between two to three times a public servants’ monthly salary (source: “Phenomenal Rice Prize in Western Burma Threaten Social Unrest,” Narinjara News, 5 July 2005). It was reported in September 2005 that rice prices in the region had reached almost four times that in the Arakan capital of Sittwe (source: “Junta Restrictions Cause Food Shortage Among Rohingyas,” Irrawaddy, 23 September 2005). Rice smuggling into Bangladesh, with the complicity of the SPDC authorities, also contributed to food security problems throughout the region (source: The Arakan Project, 9 November 2005). The situation was further exacerbated by the junta's three-month delay in issuing a permit to the World Food Program (WFP) to transport food aid into the area. A permit was finally granted in September 2005 and WFP provided some relief to the area. However, villagers were required to pay for a travel pass to collect WFP rations (source: The Arakan Project, 9 November 2005). During the late 2005 rice harvest period, a further ban on the transport of rice between townships was issued, effectively preventing farmers from accessing profitable markets outside their township. It was reported that junta intervention in the transportation of rice was designed to keep rice prices low so rice could be purchased cheaply to supply the army. (Source: “Rice Transportation Between Townships in Arakan State Banned,” Narinjara News, 15 November 2005).
The food crisis in northern Arakan State, together with other human rights abuses perpetrated by the NaSaKa, severely undermined both the Rohingya and Rakhine population's ability to access an adequate livelihood. Furthermore, in November 2005, it was reported that daily labor wages had fallen from 1,000 to between 700 and 800 kyat with very little work available in the area. (Sources: The Arakan Project, 9 November 2005; “Phenomenal Rice Prize in Western Burma Threaten Social Unrest,” Narinjara News, 5 July 2005).
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 17 June 2005, it was reported that the military HQs in Rangoon ordered military battalions in Arakan State to collect levies from local businesses sector for an army bank fund in order to fulfill orders to put away a minimum of 10 million kyat in U Pai Ltd bank in less than a year. Consequently, brick kiln owners in Kyauk Taw Township have been ordered to pay 4,000 kyat to the military for every 10,000 bricks sold. In addition, military personnel have imposed 500 kyat levies on traders and travelers throughout Kyauk Taw and Palawa Townships. Since the order was issued, over 3,000 kyat had reportedly been deposited in U Pai Ltd bank by over 50 battalions stationed in Arakan State. (Source: “Army Collects Toll for Bank Savings,” Narinjara News, 17 June 2005).
In September 2005, it was reported that the TPDC chairmen in Arakan State were selling mosquito nets donated by UNICEF and AZG (Médecins sans Frontières– Holland) to local people at 700 kyat a net. Only those friendly with the local authorities were able to obtain a net for free. (Source: “Donated Mosquito Nets from Overseas Sold by the Burmese Authorities in Arakan,” Narinjara News, 15 September 2005).
On 11 September 2005, Mohammed Jamil (age 20) and Mohammed Ismail (age 45) of Dunsey village, Rathedaung Township were forced to pay a 500,000 kyat bribe in order to gain their release from detention. They were arrested and detained for 3 days after overstaying a travel permit by 2 days during a visit to relatives in Nayapara village. In detention, they were severely tortured and Mohammed Ismail's right hand was broken. To raise the money for the bribe, the victims had to sell their land. (Source: “NaSaKa Extorts Kyat 500,000 From Two Rohingyas in Northern Arakan,” Kaladan News, 24 October 2005).
On 14 September 2005, it was reported that SPDC battalion 551 ordered cattle and buffalo owners to pay 3,000 kyat per buffalo and 1,000 kyat per cattle for a 6-month permit allowing them to graze their livestock in the fields. (Source: “Army Collects Money for Animal Grazing Fields,” Kaladan News, 14 September 2005).
On 2 October 2005, soldiers from camp No. 18 of NaSaKa Sector No. 8 fined households with absentee members in Inn Din village, Maungdaw Township between 10,000 and 50,000 kyat depending on the financial means of the household. The VPDC chairman was earlier ordered to provide a list of persons who had been absent from the village within the previous 3 year period. (Source: “Army Starts Collecting Money from Rohingya Villagers,” Kaladan News, 13 November 2005)
On 5 October 2005, under threats of canceling their fishing licenses, SPDC LIB 270 and IB 20 forced fishing boats in the area to transport troops for 16 hours and provide a portion of their catch to the soldiers without providing any remuneration. SPDC LIB 270 replaced IB 20 troops in Manaung, Kyuan Thaya, Nam Tha Kyan and Mayu lighthouses, which serve as part of the security for the Shwe gas project. (Source: “Private Boats Used Free of Cost to Provide Security for Gas Project,” Narinjara News, 10 November 2005).
On 16 November 2005, Zahid Hossain (age 21) and Isak Ahamed of Alay Than Kyaw village, Maungdaw Township were forced to pay a 60,000 kyat bribe in order to gain their release from detention. The 2 were arrested at approximately 12:30 am on 10 November by the NaSaKa camp-in-charge, Aaung Min, 2 NaSaKa personnel and the VPDC secretary, Mohammed Naru under false accusations of traveling to Bangladesh. They were held for 6 days and beaten severely by the NaSaKa. (Source: “Nasaka Authorities Extorted 60,000 Kyat from Two Rohingyas in Arakan Maungdaw,” Kaladan News, 28 November 2005).
On 21 November 2005, teachers and students in Minbya Township were forced to donate 500 kyat per person to the education and health sectors during Prime Minister Soe Win's visit as a show of support for the regime. Businessmen were also forced to make donations. U Maung Maung Tun of the MMT Group Fish and Prawn Trading was forced to donate 600,000 kyat while the following businessmen were required to donate 100,000 kyat each:
1. U Soe Min (Sanchein Co Ltd);
2. U Myint U (PCLE);
3. U Aung Kyaw Thein (KTT Co Ltd);
4. U Thein Naing (Phyo Kyaw);
5. U San Myint (rice miller);
6. U Kyaw Zaw (landlord);
7. U Maung Htun Mra (ship owner);
8. U Maung Tha Nu (taxation officer of Myoma market);
9. U Kyaw Myint (timber trader); and
10. U Maung Tun Mra (goldsmith).
Businessmen who refused to donate money risked having their business licenses revoked. (Source: “Businessmen Forced to Donate to Education and Health Sectors During SPDC PM's Trip to Arakan,” Narinjara News, 10 December 2005).
On 27 November 2005, it was reported that the authorities stationed at a navy checkpoint at Khalean Daung Creek, Taungup Township, which is situated along the Sittwe-Ragoon route, imposed an arbitrary tax of 10 gallons of diesel or a 20,000 kyat fee on each boat passing through the checkpoint. Failure to pay resulted in a protracted wait for routine inspection. The Khalean Daung Creek checkpoint is located on the Akyab – Rangoon route, and every cargo boat and ferry has no alternative but to pass through it, register and be inspected by the authorities. (Source: “Burmese Navy Collect Toll in Taungup,” Narinjara News, 27 November 2005).
On 29 November 2005, it was reported that residents in Sittwe were required to pay an installation fee of 10,000 kyat for water meters and 5 kyat per cubic meter for the use of water. If a household is unable to pay the charge, the water supply will be cut off. According to a resident, “Some people are finding it difficult to arrange regular meals. Having to pay for water will lead to severe financial constraints…This new policy of the municipality is making the lives of struggling people of Akyab [Sittwe] more difficult.” (Source: “Akyab Residence to Pay for Water Meters and Use of Water,” Narinjara News, 29 November 2005).
On 12 December 2005, it was reported that Mrauk-U TPDC Chairman U Tint Naing U had received 600,000 kyat per month in bribes from major lottery ticket sellers and 100,000 kyat per month from each of 9 smaller lottery ticket sellers. In return, the Chairman ignored the illegal operation of the lottery. (Source: “Mrauk-U Township Chief Thrives on Bribe from Illegal Lottery,” Narinjara News, 12 December 2005).
On 14 December 2005, it was reported that villagers were required to provide money for local militia uniforms and badges in order to prepare for an inspection conducted by teams from Western Command led by Brig. Gen. Maung Maung Lwin. A uniform costs 2,000 kyat and badges and hats cost 250 kyat each. (Source: “Costs of Uniforms for Local Militia to be Borne by the Community,” Narinjara News, 14 December 2005).
On 27 December 2005, it was reported that troops from SPDC LIB 34, LIB 55 and IB 20 took boats from civilians in Kyaukphu, Taungup and Man Aung Townships in order to search for 7 navy personnel who had deserted the ranks on 23 December 2005. Fishermen from Thandwe and Gwa Townships were forced to accompany the soldiers on the search. The search also reportedly led to travel and fishing bans in the area. (Source: “Desertion by Navy Men Creates Problems for Local People,” Narinjara News, 27 December 2005).
On 30 December 2005, it was reported that the military ordered every Township in Arakan State to collect funds to construct a city or Township hall. In Ponnar Gyung Township, the chairman of the TPDC ordered each family in the Township to provide 1,000 kyat. Funds were similarly ordered on previous occasions for the construction of a Township hall but the hall was never built. (Source: “Ponnar Gyung TPDC to Collect Money Afresh to Construct Township Hall,” Narinjara News, 30 December 2005).
On 7 May 2005, it was reported that PDC authorities in northwestern Rathidaung Township confiscated several acres of farmland from local farmers to build NaTaLa settlements for relocated Buddhist settlers. The confiscated farmlands were from the following villages:
1. Zaydi Byin village;
2. Athet Namra village;
3. Aut Nanra village;
4. Chuk Byin village;
5. Chin Wra village;
6. Thein Daung village;
7. Kyauk Ran village; and
8. Tha Pree Daw village. (Source: “Authority Loots Local Farms for Modern Villages,” Narinjara News, 7 May 2005).
On 15 May 2005, SPDC IB 20 confiscated 50 acres of cultivated land owned by U Maung Soe Aung. (Source: “Military Junta to Extend 30,000 Acres of Rubber Plantation in Arakan State,” Narinjara News, 10 December 2005).
On 20 August 2005, it was reported that the approximately 60 military battalions stationed in Arakan State were ordered to confiscate at least 10 acres of land each in order to establish rubber plantations. Battalions also confiscated hills and orchards in areas near their army bases. (Source: “Army Confiscates Land for Rubber Plantation in Arakan,” Narinjara News, 20 August 2005).
On 27 September 2005, it was reported that military authorities confiscated gardens, orchards and farms in the Bae Ngar Hill region, Nar Gyan Township, throughout 2005. The village tracts affected included:
1. Aung Phyu Pyin village tract;
2. Kyan Ta Lin village tract;
3. Kran Kroan village tract;
4. Pan Nee Lar village tract;
5. Aung Site village tract; and
6. Kha Mong village tract. (Source: “Land Grabbing by Army Continues Unabated in Arakan State,” Narinjara News, 27 September 2005).
On 4 October 2005, SPDC LIB 564 confiscated 16 acres of paddy fields Mohammed Toyoub (age 30) and 10.2 acres from Eman Hossain (age 45) in Maungbill village, Buthidaung Township without compensation. Mohammed Toyoub was arrested after asking the soldiers to leave a portion of his paddy fields for his livelihood. He was released 11 days later after being forced to sign a document stating that he would never lay claim to the confiscated land. (Source: “Burmese Army Continues to Confiscate Crop Land in Northern Arakan,” Kaladan News, 3 November 2005).
On 24 October 2005, SPDC IB 550 confiscated 31.2 acres of fruit orchards owned by Daw Hla Sein a widow with 3 children of Ra Phyu village, Ponna Gyan Township. The orchards were her only source of income. The military also confiscated 5 acres of land near the main Sittwe-Rangoon road which belonged to another widow, Daw Kra Hla Phyu. (Source: “More and More Land Confiscated in Arakan,” Narinjara News, 6 December 2005).
On 1 November 2005, it was reported that Lt. Col. Min Aung ordered SPDC LIB 20 to confiscate a 50.1 acre rubber plantation worth 10 million kyat belonging to U Maung Soe Aung of Ponna Kyunt Township. No compensation was provided. (Source: “Privately Owned Rubber Plantation Confiscated by Army,” Narinjara News, 1 November 2005).
On 25 November 2005, it was reported that the authorities confiscated 200 acres of land from villagers to establish a NaTaLa model village near Naung Khaung village, Buthidaung Township. (Source: “Junta Constructing “Model” Villages in Arakan,” Narinjara News, 25 November 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 26 August 2005, soldiers stationed near Inn Din village, Maungdaw Township, looted gold, rice, paddy and over 2 million kyat in cash from the house of villager Karim Ullah (age 40) after he fled fearing arbitrary arrest. (Source: “A House Looted by Army for Helping a Starving Poor Woman,” Kaladan News, 15 September 2005).
On 26 September 2005, SPDC LIB 550 stationed in Ponna Gyun seized all 518 bags of rice stored U Maung Khin Kyaw's house in Sapatar after accusing the farmer of intending to smuggle the rice to Bangladesh. (Source: “Burmese Army Plunders 518 Bags of Rice from Farmer in Arakan,” Narinjara News, 28 September 2005).
In November 2005, SPDC LIB 550 confiscated a cow belonging to U Thar San of Atenmyatley village, Ponnagyum Township on the charge that it had strayed onto the Rangoon-Sittwe Highway. The local authorities have instituted the rule that cattle found on the highways are subject to seizure. Twenty nine heads of cattle owned by villagers of Kasukung village, Ann Township, have reportedly been confiscated by the Western Regional Command under this rule. Whenever the troops want to eat beef, they drive the cattle onto the roads and then take it to their base. (Source: “Junta's Troops Confiscate Cattle in Arakan State,” Narinjara News, 12 December 2005).
On 12 December 2005, it was reported that SPDC LIB 379 demanded that a cow owned by U Thar Sein from Shwepyi village, Kyauktaw Township be sent to their regiment within 24 hours on the charge that the cow had entered a rubber plantation monitored by the troops. (Source: “Junta's Troops Confiscate Cattle in Arakan State,” Narinjara News, 12 December 2005).
On 22 December 2005, the military collected items such as rice, vegetables, dried fish and livestock from Rohingya villagers in conjunction with the construction of a 40 ft. wide, 4.5 ft. high and 4 miles long road connecting Maung Gyi Taung and Chaung village. Villagers unable to meet the soldiers’ demands were forced to work for 2 days as opposed to 1. About 48 acres of villagers’ land had also been confiscated by the military for road construction and army establishments. (Source: “Army Resumes Forced Labor for Road Construction in Northern Arakan,” Kaladan News, 22 December 2005).
Go to Top
5.6 Situation in Chin State
Throughout 2005, SPDC military forces continued to loot, destroy and extort money, livestock, and other goods and supplies from the villagers of Chin State. Significantly impacting the livelihood of farmers in Chin State, traditionally used slash and burn methods of cultivation were prohibited in at least two townships in 2005. In the last week of December 2004, U Thein Kyaw, the head of the Township Forestry Department of Paletwa Township imposed a fine on slash and burn cultivation practices with in the township. The village headmen were coerced into signing onto the order. However, as slash and burn cultivation has been a main source of livelihood for many generations of villagers in the area, and no alternative form of livelihood was provided, villagers were left with little choice but to pay bribes to the authorities in order to continue cultivation. Farmers in Paletwa Township collected 2,000 kyat from every household to bribe the authorities into allowing them to use slash and burn cultivation methods. Farmers in Matupi Township were similarly banned from slash and burn cultivation methods by Col. San Aung of SPDC Tactical 2 Command. Villagers in Matupi paid the authorities 200,000 kyat in bribes for permission to circumvent the order. The order however delayed preparation of the fields, thereby threatening the harvest and raising the potential for famine in the region. (Source: “Unjust Order against Chin Farmers,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, January - February 2005).
In 2005 there also continued to be reports of authorities extorting large amounts of money from traders traveling to Mizoram State, India to sell livestock and other goods. Excessive taxes and extortion by the military and police has left traders with a daily income of between 400 and 500 kyat, the equivalent to the cost of one bottle of cooking oil. According to a trader, “Even though cattle trading is not as profitable as before, there is no job at home and we have to continue this business under numerous difficulties hoping to gain a meager profit...We have to report ourselves to a police station in order to buy a cow and we can only buy after obtaining their permission. We have to pay 1,000 kyat tax per head…When we shift cattle to Mizoram, we hire 4-5 workers who are paid 30,000 kyat per person. If we meet soldiers or police on the way to Mizoram, we have to pay 1,000-5,000 kyat per cow.” (Source: “Extortion Intensifies at India-Burma Border Trade Route,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, March - April 2005). Such corrupt practices have severely affected traders' ability to maintain their livelihoods.
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 14 March 2005, it was reported that Lt. Col. San Aung chief of Tactical Command 2 ordered each household of Matupi Township to “donate” 70 tins of gravel for building roads in the town. In order to meet the demand, the approximately 800 households in the town were forced to work around the clock to gather the gravel. Elderly villagers, disabled villagers and widows were not exempt from the order. Lt. Col. San Aung also demanded 4,500 kyat from each household for the construction of a highway between Matupi and Madu. (Source: “Local Army Chief Orders Forced Labor and Illegal Tax from Civillians,” Rhododendron News, 14 March 2005).
On 20 March 2005, a platoon of 12 soldiers from SPDC LIB 268 extorted 400,000 kyat from a trader taking 90 cows to India. (Source: Extortion Intensifies at India-Burma Border Trade Route,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, March - April 2005).
On 5 May 2005, the following villagers were forced to contribute 1 tin of sand per household to construct a Buddhist pagoda at Sabawngte village:
1. Tah Tiang,
2. Thing Hual,
3. Tikhuang Tum,
7. Sing Ai,
9. Thing Cang.
10. Phung Zung,
11. Khaw Lung,
12. Bawm Ba,
13. Tiah Dai,
14. Lung Tan,
15. Zan Mual,
16. Da Te Ti,
17. Hmawng Kawn,
18. Khaw Thlir,
19. Phun Te,
20. Sa Ek,
21. Sial Lam,
22. Cawng Hawih,
23. Khua Mual,
24. Hmun Luah,
25. Cawh Te,
26. Lian Hna Thar,
27. Lian Hna Hlun,
28. Hai Heng,
29. Khuang Lung, and
30. Lung Dar. (Source: “30 Villages Forced to Contribute Sand to Renovate Army Camp,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, 8 July 2005).
On 20 May 2005, it was reported that Col. Tin Hla, commander of Tactical No. 1 from Hakha, ordered SPDC employees to purchase a calendar published by the USDA. The cost of the calendar was dependent upon the rank and salary of the employees. Upper Division Clerks were charged 500 kyat each while Lower Division Clerks were charged 300 kyat each. (Source: “Compulsory: ‘You Must Buy USDA Calendar,’” Rhododendron News, CHRO, May - June 2005).
In the last week of May 2005, Company Comdr. Capt. Myo Nwe of SPDC LIB 289 stationed at Shinletwa village, Paletwa Township ordered the following villages to provide the pieces of bamboo by 5 June 2005:
1. Salaipi village, 1,000 pieces;
2. Ma U village, 1,500 pieces;
3. Saiha village, 1,800 pieces;
4. Pamu village, 2,000 pieces;
5. Da Thwe village, 1,500 pieces;
6. Khung Ywa village, 1,000 pieces;
7. Shwe Letwa village, 1,500 pieces;
8. Mara Hla village, 2,000 pieces; and
9. Pa Thein village, 1,500 pieces.
On 10 June 2005, Capt. Myo Nwe of SPDC LIB 289 sold more than 10,000 pieces of the bamboo collected from the above villages, estimated to be worth 13,000 kyat, to buyers in Sittwe for his own profit. (Sources: “Army Officer Sells off 10,000 Round Bamboos Forcibly Collected from Civilians for Personal Profit,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, July - August 2005; “Military Authorities Sold Villager's Bamboo for Personal Profit,” Khonumthung, 13 July 2005).
From 9 to 16 July 2005, Maj. Tin Moe, patrol column commander of SPDC IB 304, temporarily stationed at Dar Ling village, forced members of the VPDC and 50 villagers of Khuapi village to supply 4,000 10 ft. round bamboo poles to their military post. (Source: “Mass Forced Labor Extracted to Construct New Military Camp,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, 2 August 2005).
Beginning in August 2005, military and TPDC authorities ordered women between the age of 1 and 60 in Rizau Township and Matupi Township to buy Myanmar Women's Affairs Federation (MWAF) application forms and submit them no later than the last week of October. In Rizau Township, each household in 25 villages was ordered to buy 3 copies of the application at 310 kyat each. There are approximately 3,000 households in the Rizau area and authorities were believed to have collected approximately 300,000 kyat from the sale of the MWAF application forms. In Matupi Township, each household was ordered to buy 2 copies of the application at 320 kyat each. A resident of Calthawng stated that “We do not know anything relating to the Federation, who leads it nor the way it works. We let all women, including small girls fill the application forms. The Rizau Township PDC made us buy the application forms.” (Source: “Woman's Membership Forms Submitted to the Authorities,” Khonumthung, 10 November 2005).
On 4 August 2005, Company Comdr. 2nd Lt. Aung Kaw Than of SPDC LIB 289 demanded 5,000 kyat from each of the following Thantlang Township villages for the renovation of his army camp:
1. Tluangram (A) village;
2. Tluangram (B) village;
3. Belhar village;
4. Lulpilung village;
5. Vomkua village;
6. Salen village;
7. Tikir (A) village;
8. Tikir (B) village;
9. Hmun Halh village;
10. Sialam village; and
11. Banawh Tlang village. (Source: “Burmese Troops Extort Money from Villages,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, July - August 2005).
On 18 August 2005, the Capt. of SPDC LIB 266 demanded 100,000 kyat from Pi Mami (age 45), a resident of Tahan village, Sagaing Division, while she was in Sialam village in Chin State on the way to sell clothes in Mizoram State, India. Pi Mami had only 52,000 kyat with her and was forced to borrow money from the teashop owner at high interest. The next day the same captain extorted another 100,000 kyat from Pu Lian Lio and his friends as they were on their way to sell goods in Mizoram State, India. The group had only 19,000 kyat and had to borrow the remaining amount from Humhalh village, 3 miles away. (Source: “Burmese Soldiers Robbed From Cross Border Traders,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, September - October 2005).
On 1 September 2005, it was reported that the Capt. of SPDC LIB 268 demanded 600,000 kyat from 3 cross border traders between Selawn village and Leilet village. The troops threatened to arrest the traders, confiscate their cattle and send them to a hard labor camp if they failed to provide the money. The traders only had 20,000 kyat between them but the captain released them after they were able to borrow another 300,000 kyat from villagers in Leilet village. (Source: “Burmese Troops Robbed 300,000 Kyat From Cattle Traders,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, September - October 2005).
On 16 September 2005, Maj. Myint Aung, the deputy comdr. of SPDC LIB 374, ordered 20 villages in Paletwa Township to provide 1,000 sticks of round bamboo each. Ten villages were unable to provide the demanded quote of bamboo sticks and were fined 3,000 kyat each. These villages were:
1. Mara Hlan;
2. Kho Ywa;
3. Auh Ywa;
4. Shwe Letwa;
5. Shwe Oo Wa;
6. Ma U;
7. Ywa U;
8. Heema Thee;
9. Pai De; and
Maj. Myint Aung sold the bamboo collected from villages at 35 kyat per bamboo stick for his personal profit in Sittwe, Arakan State. (Source: “Chin Villagers Fined for Failure to Provide Forced Labor,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, September - October 2005).
In the first week of October 2005, Cang Va and Zai Rem of the Immigration Department ordered residents of Matupi Township to obtain new ID cards at a charge of 5,000 kyat for replacement cards and 30,000 kyat for new or lost cards. The official rate for issuing an ID card is 6 kyat. Residents in Matupi Township had to sell their cattle and other possessions to cover the cost of a new ID card and many were unable to afford the new card. (Source: “SPDC Authorities Charge Exorbitant Fees for Fresh Identity Cards,” Khonumthung, 11 November 2005).
On 24 December 2005, it was reported that SPDC LIB 269 based in Palatwa Township opened an official toll station on the border of India, Bangladesh and Burma and that they were collecting taxes from travelers. Each traveler was required to pay 1,000 kyat each way while a 3,000 and 2,000 kyat tax was imposed on cows and pigs respectively. The taxes are reportedly being collected to fund army regiments. (Source: “LIB 289 Set Up a Tax Station,” Narinjara News, 24 December 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 19 August 2005, Capt. Thein Hteik Soe, the patrol column comdr. of SPDC LIB 304, demanded deer skins and chickens from 14 villages in Matupi Township. VPDC Chairman U Bisa stated that “We received a written order on 19 August 2005 demanding that our village deliver 2 deer skins within 6 days. Each household in our village has to chip in 1,800 kyat to buy the deer skins for the officer.” (Source: “Army Officer Demands Deer Skins and Chicken from Chin Villagers,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, September - October 2005).
Go to Top
5.7 Situation in Karen State
In January 2004, the KNU and the SPDC declared a verbal ceasefire. While the verbal ceasefire was meant to pave the way for a future formal ceasefire agreement, it failed to address issues such as territory assignment, the movement of troops and an end to the numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by the SPDC military. It has been widely reported by organizations such as the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) that since the verbal ceasefire agreement was established the SPDC has consolidated and expanded its military presence within Karen State. The substantial presence of SPDC forces has resulted in excessive demands on the civilian population including reports of forced labor, land confiscation, restrictions on movement, extortion of money and demands for materials and food throughout Karen State. Such abuses have severely affected villagers' food security and their ability to provide for both themselves and their families.
From July to September 2005, the SPDC imposed several severe and deliberate restrictions on the movement of villagers in Nyaunglebin and Toungoo Districts in an effort to cut off support to the KNU’s second Brigade. Restrictions on movement and trade, a ban on cultivation, and forced relocations hindered the ability of villagers to sustain a viable livelihood and subjected villagers to malnutrition and starvation. Measures imposed included a ban on trucks from transporting rice. In certain areas all forms of transportation were prohibited. The blockade detrimentally impacted 69 villages and almost 10,000 villagers. The regime’s closure of the Toungoo-Bawgali motorway further affected another 46 villages located along the Thautyaykhurt stream in Toungoo District causing severe hardships for about 3,000 Karen villagers living in this area. The SPDC also intensified travel restrictions in Nyaunglebin District, Karen State on 1 October 2005, essentially restricting all forms of travel in the area. Villagers reportedly suffered an estimated loss of 68 million kyat as they were unable to tend to their fields or trade their farm produce. Troops were also ordered to destroy lowland and highland paddy fields and plantations. (Sources: Taungoo Blockade!!!, KIC, September 2005; “KNU Says Junta Carries Out All Cuts Policy to Karen Areas,” BBC Burmese Service, 2 October 2005). (For more information Chapter 12. Freedom of Assembly, Association and Movement).
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 10 February 2005, troops of the KPU based at Kaw Ka Reik ordered villagers to supply 100 bamboo poles by 10 February 2005 to be used for a construction project at the military camp in Thet Pa Taw village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 10 February 2005, Officer Saw Ngwe Lah of the KPU at Haung Tha Yaw Special Area demanded the following villages to supply roofing thatch by 25 February 2005:
1. Kyaing Do village, 1,000 pieces of thatch;
2. Mee Taing village, 700 pieces of thatch;
3. Mi Na Ah village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
4. Ler Taw Kyi village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
5. Win Lone village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
6. Pu Yin village, 800 pieces of thatch;
7. Sho Hta village, 800 pieces of thatch;
8. Wet Done village, 500 pieces of thatch;
9. Wet Ta Kon village, 500 pieces of thatch;
10. Naw Ta Ma village, 500 pieces of thatch;
11. Htee Wah Klu village, 500 pieces of thatch;
12. Thet Pa Htaw village, 500 pieces of thatch;
13. Kaw Tha Nnu village, 400 pieces of thatch;
14. Ka Maw Thet village, 600 pieces of thatch;
15. To Kee village, 500 pieces of thatch; and
16. Ta Bo Bo Hta village, 500 pieces of thatch. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 26 February 2005, troops from SPDC IB 789 forced Kaw Sai village, Kaw Ka Reik Township to provide 300 pieces of roofing thatch, worth approximately 9,000 kyat. The thatch was to be sent to Kyaik camp by 28 March 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 March 2005, Sgt. Maj. Ah Kyi of the DKBA battalion 907 demanded 500 pieces of roofing thatch and 20 giant bamboo poles 5 cubits long from Ywa Thit Gon village, Kaw Ka Reik Township by 9 March 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 10 March 2005, Lt. Kyaw Thu Soe of SPDC IB 231, based at Ta Maing Gon camp demanded 5 bamboo poles 5 cubits long valued at 1,500 kyat from Kyaung Sha Gone village, Kaw Ka Reik Township. They were to be sent by the village head by 11 March 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 25 March 2005, troops from SPDC IB 283 forced Mae Ta Leh village to send 150 pieces of roofing thatch, worth about 5,250 kyat to their camp at Taw Wah Law. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 29 March 2005, Maj. Hlaing Tint of SPDC IB 60 from Kwin Ga Lay military camp demanded bamboo poles from the following Taung Kyi villagers:
1. Naw Ma Thet, 8 bamboo poles;
2. Saw Gay Moo, 8 bamboo poles;
3. Naw Ta Bee, 8 bamboo poles;
4. Naw Jury, 8 bamboo poles;
5. Naw Pa Noe, 8 bamboo poles; and
6. Naw Klet, 10 bamboo poles. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 1 April 2005, the chairperson of Kwin Ga Lay village was ordered to send 100 bamboo poles and 50 pieces of roofing thatch worth 2000 kyat to the chairperson of Moo Ka Law Wah village for the repair of SPDC IB 78 camp by 5 April 2005. Moreover, Eh Mwee of the KPU based at Ah Kyaik village demanded from Kwin Ga Lay village 700 pieces of roofing thatch by 5 April 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 6 January 2005, Brigade Second-in-Command Pa Ta Kaw of the DKBA seized demanded 170,000 kyat from each village tract. If the demanded money could not be paid, 1 person from each household had to go and work at the road construction site. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 7 February 2005, SPDC LIB 313 of LID 77 commanded by Win Ko Ko and LIB 391 commanded by Mya Aung demanded 50,000 kyat from each village to pay for an opening ceremony for new offices north of Dta Greh Township. Villagers also had to provide the food for the ceremony. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 26 April 2005, Bo Pah Nwee of the DKBA demanded 30,000 kyat from Tah Moe village tract and 60,000 kyat from Pa Law Nyar Thee village tract by 10 May 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 4 June 2005, Saw Du Kaw of the DKBA demanded 100,000 kyat from Ka Reh Nee, Htee Ber, and Htee Ber Wa village. He stated that the money was for portering fees. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Starting in January 2005, Comdr. U Y’Khaing of LIB 350 Column 1 in Meh Way camp demanded from 7 villages in Meh Way village tract:
1. 900 shingles of thatch;
2. 960 pieces of small bamboo; and
3. 95 large wah klu bamboo.
In order to fulfill these demands, the villagers were forced to find and cut the bamboo, weave the thatch and transport it to Meh Way camp. In addition, the villagers were required to cut and clear the grounds of the camp. As of February, the villagers had yet to complete all of the tasks. (Source: Papun District: Forced Labour, Looting and Road Construction in SPDC-Controlled Areas, KHRG, 20 May 2005).
On 22 January 2005, Battalion Comdr. Aung Khaing of SPDC LIB 350 based at Mae-Waing army camp demanded bamboo and roofing thatch from the following villages:
1. To Kot Sot Khee village, 160 poles of small bamboo, 10 poles of extra large bamboo and 200 pieces of thatches;
2. Toe Meh Khee village, 100 poles of small bamboo and 10 poles of large bamboo;
3. Ler Wah Kho village, 100 poles of large bamboo and 10 poles of extra large bamboo;
4. Mae Kaw Lor village, 100 poles of small bamboo, 5 poles of extra large bamboo and 100 pieces of palm leaf thatch;
5. Upper Mae Waing village, 150 poles of palm leaf thatches; and
6. Mae Waing main village, 150 poles of small bamboo, 15 poles of extra large bamboo and 150 pieces of palm leaf thatch. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 16 October 2005, SPDC IB 2 and IB 8 under TOC 442 extorted food stuffs from Na Ko Khee village tract and demanded that villagers provide thatch, logs and bamboo for the construction of a military camp. The villagers affected by the order were:
1. K' Pi Khee village, 50 log 12 cubit long and 2 inches wide;
2. Pway Taw Row village, 20 logs of iron wood 12 cubit long and 2 inches wide;
3. Twih Thee U village, 120 logs of iron wood 12 cubit long and 2 inches wide;
4. Tee Chaw Mae village, 60 logs of iron wood 12 cubit long and 2 inches wide;
5. Noh La village, 60 logs of iron wood 12 cubit long and 2 inches wide;
6. Bler Per village, 3000 pieces of thatch;
7. Po Leh village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
8. Po Kay village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
9. Htee The Blu Hta village, 800 pieces of thatch;
10. Has Law Teh village, 1000 pieces of thatch;
11. Wah Tho Kla village, 200 pieces of thatch;
12. Baw Tho Hta village, 5000 pieces of thatch;
13. Htee Thae Lay village, 5000 pieces of thatch;
14. Hoe Ma Hei village, 15 logs 2 hand span wide and 14 inches long;
15. Pu Ger villagee, 200 pieces of thatch and 3000 pieces of bamboo;
16. Noh Poe Htee village, 50 logs; and
17. Htaw Mae Hta village, 3000 pieces of thatch. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 8 January 2005, troops from SPDC IB 73 came to the areas of Chan Gyi, Pyin Gan and Zee Byu Gon, Tantabin Township and demanded 400 kyat for each bullock cart hauling household firewood. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 January 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 439 based at Tha Aye Hta camp led by Battalion Second-in-Command Aung Htay Win ordered the following Gar Mu Doe villagers to buy items at Baw Gali village and send them to Tha Aye Hta camp:
1. Saw May Ler,
2. Saw Ler Mu,
3. Saw Eh Paw and
4. Saw Way Htoo. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 26 January 2005, Operation Command 1 Comdr. Khin Soe of SPDC Southern Command HQs, based at Baw Gali commandeered trucks from the following villages to carry military supplies from the HQs based at Toungoo to Baw Gali:
1. Kaw Thay Doe village,
2. Baw Gali village,
3. Klay Soe Khee village,
4. Ler Kho village and
5. Kaw Soe Kho village.
6. He camp. (Source: KIC, 2005)
On 30 January 2005, Strategic Operation Comdr. Khin Soe of SPDC South East Command HQs, forced villagers from Kler La and Kaw Thay Der to use their cars to carry food and other supplies from Pae Lae Wa to Naw Soe and Bu Sha Khee military base camps. The villagers involved in transporting supplies to 2000 Hill Place and Naw Soe village for 3 days were:
1. Naw Ta Ta and Saw Maw Kaw, using car of Naw Ma Ma;
2. Maung Yoe and Saw Nae, using car of Maung Yoe;
3. Saw Maung Kyi and Saw Ku, using car of Saw Maung Kyi; and
4. Saw Lu Pway and Saw Ti, using car of Saw Lu Pway.
The villagers involved in transporting supplies to Bu Sha Kee base camp for 5 days were:
1. Saw Pa Bi and Ba U, using car of Saw See Yo;
2. Saw Say Doh and Gun Low, using car of Saw Say Doh;
3. Ta Na Na and Ka La, using car of Naw Day Le Ya;
4. Ta Tay and Tun Mya, using car of Saw Ta Toh;
5. Maung La Doh and A Shay Kyi, using car of Maung La Doh; and
6. Saw Sae and Paw Law Eh, using car of Naw No Noh. (Source: BI, March 2005).
On 31 January 2005, Comdr. Khin Soe of SPDC Southern Command HQs commandeered a truck from Baw Gali villager Saw Maung Kro to transport army rations to Naw Soe. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 February 2005, Operation Comdr. Khin Soe of the South Command HQs Military Strategic 1 ordered a car from villager, Naw Aa Re of Kaw Thay Der to transport 40 sacks of rice, yellow beans, and soldier kits to the military at Kler La, Baw G’Lee, Naw Soe and Maung Tai Kyi. (Source: BI, 16 February 2005).
On 6 February 2005, Comdr. Tun Lin Tai of SPDC LIB 439 based at Kler La camp demanded 1 car to transport food to Kaw Thay Der camp for the troops of IB 73. (Source: BI, 16 February 2005).
On 16 February 2005, it was reported that Saw Pa Kae in charge of the production of raw materials and under the command of Comdr. Maj. Chit Thu of DKBA Special Force Battalion 999, ordered villagers to collect rocks and stones, some to be used for building. Saw Pa Kae threatened villagers with his gun if they disobeyed his orders. (Source: BI, 16 February 2005).
On 23 February 2005, Bo San Htoo of SPDC IB 60 demanded 60,000 kyat for 3 bullock carts owned by Saw Hgay Doe of Lay Ti village, Tantabin Township. In addition, Bo Hlaing Win Tint of SPDC IB 60 demanded 200 pieces of thatch. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 6 March 2005, Column 2 Comdr. Hlaing Tint of SPDC IB 60 demanded 250 pieces of thatch from villagers in the Taunggyi and Mae Tin Tain areas. He also demanded 1,500 kyat for each cartload of firewood or bamboo. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 March 2005, Camp Comdr. Bo Than Hlaing Oo of SPDC IB 48 based at Ye Tho Gyi village in Tantabin Township ordered 4 women and 2 men of Ye Tho Gyi village to carry army rations to Naw Soe (Aung Daing Gyi). He also demanded 500 bamboo poles, measuring 7 cubits in length, from each village and ordered the villagers to send them to the army camp. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 10 March 2005, Comdr. Win Bo Shine of SPDC IB 60 Column 1 based in Klaw Mee Der camp asked for all bullock carts in Hu Mu Der village to transport food from Pae Lae Wa to Klaw Mee Der base camp. (Source: BI, March 2005).
On 10 March 2005, Sgt. Soe Win of IB 73 extorted 1,000 kyat from each the following Tauggyi villagers in Tantabin Township:
1. Saw Po Kwa Hsi,
2. Saw Aye,
3. Saw Ta Polo and
4. Saw Shwe Wah Htun. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 15 March 2005, Comdr. Zaw Win Aung of SPDC LIB 440 Column 1 forced 13 bullock carts from The Yea Taun village to carry military food supplies to Htee Loh (Mae Tin Tain) military base camp. (Source: BI, March 2005).
On 16 March 2005, Column 2 Comdr. Maj. Hlaing Tint of SPDC IB 60 demanded from Meh Tin Tain village 50 poles of extra large bamboo to construct their new army camp at Meh Tin Tain (Ye Way), Tantabin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 15 April 2005, SPDC IB 73 Battalion Comdr. Than Myint instructed Sgt. Than Kyi to collect money from the following villages for a water festival celebration:
1. Sha Zi Bo village, 8,500 kyat;
2. Taw Gon village, 4,000 kyat;
3. Zi Pyu Gon village, 5,500 kyat; and
4. Yee Shan village, 2,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 23 April 2005, every muzzleloader gun owner was forced to pay 500 kyat to SPDC IB 60 based at Kwin Ka Lay camp. The villagers gave 5,500 kyat for a total of 11 muzzleloaders. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 April 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 264 led by Bo Kyaw Nyein Chan Oo demanded 1 sack of rice from each rice mill, 3,000 kyat from each saw mill, and 5 carts for hauling timber from Taw Kho village, Kyauk Kyi Township. Three days later, Bo Kyaw Nyein Chan Oo demanded 5,000 kyat from each saw mill in Pa Ta La village tract and 2 carts to transport timber. (Source: KIC, 2005).
In May 2005, the SPDC military operations Comdr. in Kler Lah camp ordered villagers in Kaw Thay Der village/relocation site to send 250 bamboo posts, each 12 cubits long, for use in his camp. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 16 May 2005, Bo Myint Win of SPDC IB 75 based at Klaw Mee Doe camp ordered each Klaw Mee Doe household to cut 10 poles of bamboo. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On the evening of 21 May 2005, Officer Zaw Myint of IB 92 forced a villager with a truck to transport him from Klay Soe Kee village to Kler Lah on the same night. (Source: Toungoo District: Civilians Displaced by Dams, Roads and Military Control, KHRG, 19 August 2005).
On 1 June 2005, Bo San Myint of SPDC IB 73 based at Za Yat Gyi ordered 5 carts and 3 viss of chicken from Sha Si Bo village, Tantabin Township. Similarly, Sha Si Bo Outpost Comdr. Bo Aung Kyaw Myint of IB 73 demanded 10,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 June 2005, troops from SPDC IB 39 led by Maj. Aung Kyaw Myint demanded 12 poles of Bamboo from each of the 30 households of Klaw Mee Doe village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 6 July 2005, SPDC LIB 439 led by Comdr. Khin Soe demanded 150,000 kyat from Pa T'Lah village tract to suspend a relocation order. Furthermore, SPDC LIB 439 Company Maj. Myit Thain Aung ordered villagers in area No.2 to obtain monthly permits at 1,000 kyat each per month to sleep in their fields. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 27 August 2005, Toungoo Operations Comdr. Kin Mg Oo of SPDC IB 30 asked a villager to transport oranges and other supplies from Kler La to Toungoo in his/her vehicle. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 7 September 2005, IB 73 led by Comdr. Htun Hlia U demanded 1,000 kyat from each rice mill and tractor owner in Sha Si Bo village. (Source: BI, 2005).
In October 2005, soldiers from the SPDC Southern Military Command forced each household from villages near the Baw Gali – Ye Tho Gyi motor road to buy a pyi of rice at 450 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
In October 2005, SPDC LIB 999 forced each buffalo or bullock cart coming into the Lum Pu area to cut bamboo, timber or firewood to pay 300 kyat per month. (Source: KIC, 2005).
In October 2005, the SPDC army unit based in Za Yat Gyi ordered the village head in Za Yat Gyi Township to collect 200 kyat per household to fund a meeting of 5 military columns to be held in Za Tat Gyi. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 3 November 2005, SPDC IB 48 led by Comdr. Zaw Aung extorted 4.8 kg of chicken and 3.2 kg of fish from Zay Ya Kyi villager Maung Kyi Win. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 10 November 2005, SPDC IB 48 led by Comdr. Lu Kyi demanded 1,000 kyat from 5 Pyi Ka villagers. Furthermore, they ordered the villagers to carry 2 baskets of rice to K'Ser Doh village and to exchange them for bitternut leaves. (Source: BI, 2005).
Destruction of Property
In January 2005, LIB 539 column 1 led by Battalion Comdr. Tun Thein Kyi cut down Tee Tha Blu Hta villagers' betel nut trees and destroyed 1 banana plantation. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 14 January 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 598 led by Bo Saw Min and based at Kay Kaw camp cut down 35 black pepper vines owned by the following Kay Kaw villagers:
1. Saw Nyo Say,
2. Saw Maung Kya and
3. Saw Pa Htaw. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 14 January 2005, SPDC LIB 434 led by Battalion Comdr. Tun Tun Oo began bulldozing a road route alongside Ma Htaw village that ran straight through villagers' rice fields, which were consequently destroyed. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
In April 2005, LIB 434 led by Battalion Comdr. Tun Tun Oo began bulldozing through the rice fields of Ku Seik villagers and destroying irrigation water systems. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 16 October 2005, SPDC IB 2 and IB 8 poisoned the livestock of Na Ko Khee village tract. They also destroyed villagers' rice fields and plantations. Furthermore, villagers were prohibited from leaving their village to tend to their fields, which were consequently destroyed by wild animals. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 3 February 2005, Comdr. Tun Hla U of SPDC IB 73 based at Sha See Bo camp forced the following villages to buy a 12 V battery for him:
1. Yae Sah village,
2. Sha See Bo village,
3. See Pyu Ko village and
4. Taw Ku village. (Source: BI, 16 February 2005).
On 9 February 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 led by Column 2 Comdr. Hlaing Tint burnt 13 baskets of rice being carried by Saw Toe Day of Hu Mu Doe village, Tantabin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 February 2005, troops from SPDC IB 92 led by Battalion Comdr. Win Min Htun burnt the forest between Day Plow Khee and Pi Mu Kho village destroying a large number of cardamom fields owned by Sho Ser villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 14 February 2005, DKBA Special Force Battalion 999 based in Poe Thwee Kyo military camp demanded 1000 leaf flaps from Gaw Koh village. Those who could not provide leaf flaps were asked to pay 50,000 baht. (Source: BI, 16 February 2005).
On 20 February 2005, Capt. Pyo Way Hla of SPDC IB 92 burned cardamom fields belonging to displaced villagers in Toungoo District. From 15 March to 18 April he burned more cardamom fields while burning back the scrub alongside the Kler Lah – Bu Sah Kee vehicle road. (Source: Toungoo District: Civilians Displaced by Dams, Roads, and Military Control, KHRG, 19 August 2005).
On 25 February 2005, troops from Column 1 and 2 of SPDC IB 48 led by Battalion Comdr. Maung Maung Win and Battalion Second-in-Command Thet Naing burnt down villagers' plantations of betel nut, durian, mangosteen, cardamom and vegetables along the motor road between Klay Soe Khee and Baw Gali villages. Thirteen upland paddy fields belonging to the following villagers were destroyed:
1. Saw Ta Hser,
2. Naw Juu Ju,
3. Saw Eh Gay Htoo,
4. Saw Po Wah,
5. Saw Be Gaw,
6. Saw Ta Kler,
7. Saw Dao Maung,
8. Saw Eh Htoo,
9. Saw Ta Doo,
10. Saw Ta Pu Neh,
11. Saw Seh Keh Neh,
12. Saw Ta Ku and
13. Saw Say Boe. (Source: KIC, 2005)
On 22 March 2005, troops from SPDC IB 92 burnt down the forest on both sides of the motor road from Sheh Hta village to Sha Per village, Tantabin Township resulting in the destruction of a large number of villagers' plantations. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 April 2005, combined troops from SPDC column 2 of IB 48 led by Lt. Than Naing and IB 92 led by Column Comdr. Kyaw Sein started fires in several areas of Tantabin Township. The fires destroyed a number of betel nut plantations and cardamom fields. The areas affected included:
1. Si Ket Doe village;
2. Hsaw Wah Doe village;
3. May Daw Ko village;
4. Kaw Thay Doe village; and
5. Ga Mu Doe village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 4 April 2005, troops from SPDC IB 92 started fires in areas of Sho Ser on the Mawchi motor road in Tantabin Township. As a result, the following villagers’ plantations were destroyed:
1. Saw Bo Say, a farm producing 25 viss of cardamom seeds per year;
2. Kyaw Sein Moo, a farm producing 35 viss of cardamom seeds per year;
3. Sa Ka Baw, a farm producing 25 viss of cardamom seeds per year;
4. Saw Kyaw Htoo, a farm producing 30 viss of cardamom seeds per year; and
5. Saw Shi Doh, lost a farm producing 15 viss of cardamom seeds per year.
In addition, the following villagers lost the possessions:
1. Naw Po Po, 6 roofing tin sheets, 2 big pots and 5 chickens;
2. Naw Chree Say, 1 gold necklace, 3 gold rings, 3 pairs of gold earrings, 3 baskets of paddy, 2 baskets of rice, 4 machetes, 20 viss of salt, 15 viss of fish paste, 12 cooking pots and 4 boxes; and
3. Naw Ker Htoo, 1 gold necklace, 2 boxes, 1 pair of earrings, 2 baskets of paddy, one tin of rice and 15 viss of salt. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 14 April 2005, troops from Ba Yint Naung military camp in Than Daung Township burnt the orchards and fields of Ka Weh villagers. A total of 10,000 acres, including plantations of junco bean, cardamom and coffee, were destroyed. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 18 April 2005, troops from SPDC IB 92 based at Wah Soe area, Tantabin Township burnt and destroyed all the cardamom plantations of U Beh villagers. The plantation owners were:
1. Maung Tha Nee, crops producing 15 viss of cardamom seeds per year;
2. Saw Htay Lay Poe, crops producing 15 viss of cardamom seeds per year; and
3. Saw Thweh Htoo, crops producing 15 viss of cardamom seeds per year. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 27 April 2005, troops from SPDC IB 73 led by Bo Maung Maung burnt villager Ma Aye's plantation at Ma Sa village near the motor road in Than Daung Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 May 2005, 2 SPDC troops based at Tha Byay Nyunt purposely destroyed the agricultural lands of Nyaung Ywet and Wah Thoe villages (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 May 2005, LIB 603 accused the Mine Loh village head of being a KNU supporter and burned down his house. A week later they returned and burned down a house worth 1 million kyat. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 2 June 2005, Officer Aung Kyaw Myint of IB 73 demanded from Shan Si Po village over 10,000 kyat and 1 viss of chicken. (Source: KHRG, 19 August 2005).
On 22 June 2005, in Than-daung Township, Bo Soe of SPDC IB 603 burned down the house of village head Saw Khey-gyi of Mine Pun A Tet village and the house of village head Saw Nay Win of Mine Lun A Ler village. (Source: KIC, 7 April 2005).
On 25 June 2005, it was reported that Battalion Comdr. San Myint of SPDC IB 73 ordered villagers from Shar Zee Bo and Yee Shan to each cut and deliver 50 poles of bamboo to their camp at Zayat Gyi village. (Source: KIC, 25 June 2005).
On 23 July 2005, the Southern Command HQs Operation Command 1 Comdr. Khin Maung Oo ordered army columns under his control to destroy all lowland and highland paddy fields found. (Source: KIC, 2005).
In October 2005, soldiers of a military column from SPDC IB 26, based at Ye Da Goon army camp, Tantabin Township, destroyed the hill rice fields of Ye Da Goon villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 4 September 2005, Tin Win of the DKBA ordered the village headman of Phyar Waw village to collect 1 tin of rice from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 March 2005, 200 troops from SPDC battalion 548 led by Comdr. Myo Myit Soe and LIB 22 led by Battalion Comdr. Maj. Khain Tun demanded livestock from the following villages:
1. Htee Klay village;
2. Noh Kay village;
3. Kaw Toe village;
4. T' Sha Klo village; and
5. Kaw Pway Koh village.
The following villagers lost livestock totally an approximate loss of 20,000 kyat:
1. Naw Klaw La, 1 chicken;
2. Saw Nway La, 1 chicken;
3. Pu Ayea, 1 chicken;
4. Thay Bu, 1 chicken;
5. A' Tee, 1 chicken,
6. Tee Oh Tin, 3 chickens; and
7. Tee Loe Maung, 1 chicken and 2 ducks. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 4 July 2005, troops from SPDC LIB102 column 2 led by Comdr. Kyaw Tay looted 5 hens from Pwa Gaw village. Furthermore, the troops of column 2 led by Company Comdr. Zaw Min Tay forced Ha Rea villagers to cook 4 hens. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 10 July 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 1 of LID 44 led by Battalion Comdr. Myat Maung U entered Nya Poe Khee village and looted 7 hens, 26 milk tins of rice, and 816.5 grams of dry Liza meat. The total value of the items was 9,850 kyat. (Source: BI, 2005).
In January 2005, SPDC LIB 539 column 1 led by Battalion Comdr. Tun Thein Kyi looted rice, chickens, ducks, coconuts, sarongs and clothing from Tee Tha Blu Hta villagers (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 4 January 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 539 staged a show for Po Ma Heh villagers. While the villagers were attending the show, the troops stole the livestock from the following villagers:
1. Naw Hkee Lah, 3 ducks;
2. Naw Ma Kyi, 1 duck;
3. Saw Ka Done, 1 chicken; and
4. Saw Po Teh, 1 hen and 10 chickens. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 7 November 2005, SPDC LIB 104 entered K' Neh Khaw village and ate 1 pig belonging to Naw See Lee while she was not at her home. Villagers, who were felt sympathy for Naw See Lee, collected compensation money for her loss. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 7 January 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 led by Column 1 Comdr. Win Bo Shein looted 22 baskets of rice and 20 viss of dried fish from 19 villagers of Shwe Kyaung Gon village and Gwa Aind village in Tantabin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 25 February 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 led by Column 2 Comdr. Hlaing Win Tint looted 2 baskets of rice from Ka Ser Doe village, Tantabin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 25 February 2005, troops from Column 1 and 2 of SPDC IB 48 led by Battalion Comdr. Maung Maung Win and Battalion Second-in-Command Thet Naing looted the following items from 2 loggers from Kaw Thay Doe village:
1. 1 viss of dried fish;
2. 10 duck eggs;
3. 2 viss of potato;
4. 100 cheroots;
5. 1 viss of cooking oil; and
6. 2 sickles. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 13 March 2005, Column 2 Comdr. Hlaing Win Tint of SPDC IB 60 looted 20 viss of chicken and 60 viss of pork from Taung Gyi village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 5 April 2005, Maj. Maung Soe of SPDC IB 73 based at Sha Zi Bo camp, Tantabin Township demanded 3 tin of rice from Sha Zi Bo villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 April 2005 at 5:00 pm, troops from SPDC IB 48 took a fishing net and machete from Ye Tho Gyi villager Saw Pah Mya. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 April 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 led by Column 1 Comdr. Bo Hlaing Tint took 13 buffalo from Ga Zer Doh village. The owners were:
1. Saw Pe Nyunt, 4 buffaloes;
2. Saw Kaw Ler, 5 buffaloes; and
3. Saw Aung San, 4 buffaloes.
The troops also demanded 1,000 kyat, 2 viss of chicken and 3 lemon fruitsas ransom for each buffalo. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 11 May 2005, troops of IB 108 company 4 led by Capt. Thu Ra looted rice, chickens and other valuables after the village headman refused to obey an order to appear before the company commander. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
On 12 May 2005 at 9:30 pm, troops from SPDC LID 66 and LIB 108 based at Paw Mu Khee looted the following items from Haw Poe Loe villagers:
1. Saw Kue Lue, 1 pyi of rice, 500 kyat and 2 packets of groundnuts;
2. From the mother of Sheh Htoo, a sack of rice;
3. From the grandmother of Ku Ku Paw, 1 chicken;
4. Hla Win Maung, 1 chicken; and
5. Acho, 1 sack of rice. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 July 2005, troops from SPDC IB 30 column 2 stole from Mwee Lor villager Ma Teh Moe 4 pyis of rice and a bottle of cooking oil. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 July 2005, an SPDC guerrilla column led by Win Min Nyunt demanded from Hu Mu Doe villagers 5 baskets of rice worth 25,000 kyat and 27 chickens worth 3,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 July 2005, Strategic Operations Command 3 IB 439 led by Comdr. Win Min Nyunt and Zaw Htun Aung looted food items and household goods from 11 Ler Kla Der villagers. (Source: BI, 2005).
On the morning of 9 July 2005, a column of SPDC IB 30 demanded the following items from Ler Kla Doe villagers:
1. Naw Eh Gay Moe, 4 viss of chicken and 1 basket of rice;
2. Naw Htoo Sha, 2½ viss of chicken;
3. Htoo Wah Pee, 2 viss of chicken;
4. Ta Ka Moe, 2½ viss of chicken and a package of rice;
5. Saw Shee Sho, 2½ viss of chicken;
6. Saw Tha Di, 3 baskets of rice;
7. Saw Ta Nya Pa, 2 machetes;
8. Htoo Wah Pa, 1 sack of rice;
9. Saya Ler Htoo, 1 machete;
10. Lah Lah Pee, 1 viss of chicken;
11. Doe Doe Pa, 2 viss of chicken; and
12. Pee Lee Ya, 3 pairs of shoes. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 15 August 2005, SPDC LIB 73 Cpl. Poe Kyaw looted 1 tin of rice from Yain Hser village headman. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 18 September 2005, SPDC IB 4 led by Comdr. Myo Nieng demanded 2 tins of rice from Sha See Bo village. They also took 5 villagers as porters. The villagers were not released at the time of this report, 26 October 2005. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 24 October 2005, troops from SPDC IB 48 led by Second Sgt. Maj. Way Dah looted 5 sacks of rice from Shwe Chaung Gon villager Ko Myo. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 28 October 2005, Bo Saw Aung from SPDC IB 48 based at Kwin Kay Lay looted 5 packages of coffee mix, 2 packages of noodles and half a viss of onion, worth a total of 3,600 kyat. Bo Saw Aung only paid 1,000 kyat for the items. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Restrictions on Trade, Travel and Cultivation
On 9 July 2005, Strategic Operation Command 3 led by Comdr. Thain Tun prohibited the trading, transport, import and export of goods in the area of P'lea Wa village, Klaw Mee Der village and Ler Kla Der village. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 20 July 2005, the SPDC Operation Command 1 Comdr. Khin Maung Oo based at Kler Lar army camp Tantabin Township summoned truck owners from the following villages and banned them from using their trucks for trading:
1. Kler La village,
2. Kaw Thay Doe village,
3. Klay soe Khee village,
4. Kaw Soe Kho village,
5. Wah Tho Kho village,
6. Ler Ko village and
7. Peh Kaw Doe village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 July 2005, SPDC Operation Command 1 Comdr. Khin Maung Oo banned trading and transportation in nearby areas of Pa Let Wa motor road. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 15 August 2005, SPDC Strategic Operations Command 1 Comdr. Khin Maung Oo and Southern Command HQs Brigade Comdr. Ko Ko prohibited Kler La village and Kaw They Der village from transporting rice into the villages. Instead, they sold rice to the villagers at 3,600 kyat per tin for their own profit. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 4 September 2005, IB 48 Comdr. Htun Nie Win, Vice Comdr. Zaw Myo Naing and Capt. Kyaw Thu Ra prohibited Za Ya Kyi villagers from selling food. (Source: BI, 2005).
Go to Top
5.8 Situation in Karenni State
Throughout 2005, SPDC troops as well as the junta supported KNPLF continued to deprive Karenni villagers of their money, possessions, and livelihoods. Demands on villagers caused the already impoverished population increased hardship. (Source: FBR, 2005).
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 6 October 2005, 2 LIB 329 soldiers and a policeman stationed at Bawlake entry checkpoint extorted 25,000 kyat from Saw Bee Ni (age 35) as he was traveling by bus back from Loikaw with some commodities. (Source: KHAHR, 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
Between February and June 2005, Burma Army troops demanded rice, chickens, pork, money, horses and forced labor from IDPs in Shadaw Township. Furthermore, each family has to support the SPDC and KNPLF troops with 16 kg. of rice per month. (Source: FBR, 2005).
On 8 May 2005, SPDC IB 7 under LID 55 led by Maj. Zaw Poe Daw ordered the following villages in Shadaw Township to provide 3 baskets of rice each:
1. Tanaw village;
2. Maleh village;
3. Takhu village;
4. Lyadu; and
5. Lyadukaw village.
The villagers were forced to travel to other villages near the Shan border to obtain the amount of food demanded. Each basket of rice cost the villagers 1,500 kyat. The next day, Maj. Zaw Poe Daw ordered the village chiefs to bring 5 jackfruits each. (Source: Kantrawaddy Times, 2005).
Go to Top
5.9 Situation in Mandalay Division
Towards the end of the year, the regime unexpectedly announced the relocation of the capital from Rangoon to Pyinmana. On 6 November 2005, the junta abruptly began moving Ministries from Rangoon to 400 km. north of the capital in Pyinmana Township. In conjunction with the move, reports began to emerge in late 2005 of land confiscations within the area. Villagers and farmers have been stripped of their land in order to make way for the building of new administrative offices, residential homes and military barracks. Villagers were only paid a small amount of money for the confiscated land. Some farmers were also reportedly forced to move to the suburbs of Pyinmana. (Source: “Burmese Junta Grabs Land From Farmers to Build Offices at Pyinmana,” DVB, 9 November 2005). Without land to farm and engage in business trades, the ability of residents to maintain stable livelihoods has been seriously undermined.
The move to Pyinmana has also resulted in the destruction of people’s property. On 18 November 2005 the authorities ordered the destruction of 100 households along the U Razat and Maung Khin roads in Pyinmana to widen a road leading to the new capital. The U Razat and Maung Khin roads connect the train station and Kyetpyay, where the new capital is being constructed. The authorities also destroyed the living quarters built for railway workers situated on the new Pyinmana – Kyetpyay road. (Source: “100 Homes Dismantled by Burmese Authorities for New Capital,” DVB, 21 November 2005). It was reported on 6 December 2005 that 500 more homeowners lost their homes for road widening projects associated with the Pyinmana move. The junta provided no assistance or compensation to homeowners who lost their homes due to the activities in Pyinmana. Rather, homeowners were threatened with arrest if they refused to leave their homes by set deadlines. (Source: “More Homes Destroyed and Relocated at Burma's New Capital,” DVB, 6 December 2005).
Other land confiscations occurred in Mandalay Division in connection with the construction of the Tada-U International Airport. Since 2004, the local authorities have confiscated nearly 2,000 acres of land from Thabetse and Khandu villagers in Sinkkaing Township. On 19 November 2005 the local authorities confiscated another 400 acres of farmland. In an attempt to give the appearance of legitimacy, affected farmers were forced to sign an agreement accepting compensation of 5,000 kyat per acre for land valued at 500,000 kyat per acre. (Source: “Lands Grabbed from Burmese Farmers in Mandalay Sinkkaing,” DVB, 15 December 2005).
Go to Top
5.10 Situation in Mon State
Human rights abuses such as land confiscation, excessive taxation, forced labor and the destruction of property contributed to the deprivation of livelihood of villagers in Mon State throughout 2005. Since December 2003, the SPDC military has launched major offensives against the Monland Restoration Army (MRA) in both Ye Township and Yebyu Township. In an attempt to overcome MRA resistance, the military has often targeted the civilian population. During the year, the military burned down villages suspected of offering support to resistance soldiers. As the military has increased their presence in Mon State, the regime has also confiscated villagers’ land to build new army camps. Despite hundred of farmers being left landless, the regime provided no compensation for the land. Other farmers in the region were forced to sell their farms at a reduced cost. Furthermore, farmers were charged a fee to harvest the crops and fields on their former lands.
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
In January 2005, it was reported that SPDC IB 62 collected 2,000 kyat per month from villages as a fee for soldiers providing security for the gas pipeline. A total of 5 million kyat per month was collected. Villagers were also employed as forced laborers around the pipeline. The villages forced to pay fees and participate in forced labor were:
1. Wae-kha-dard village;
2. Sakharn village;
3. Chork-pa-line village;
4. Wae-kha-meat village;
5. Wae-toer village;
6. Kalaing-pa-taw village; and
Soldiers providing security along the pipeline often beat villagers in the area. Other villagers were accused of being resistance fighters and were subject to inhumane torture. (Source: “Five Million Kyats per Month Demanded for Gas Pipeling Security Fee,” IMNA, 25 January 2005).
On 12 January 2005, Col. Khin Maung Zi of the Southeast Command No. 4 military training school ordered headmen from the following villages in southern Thanpyuzayat to collect 800 kyat or one basket of paddy per acre of farmland:
1. Wae-kha-dard village;
2. Sakharn village;
3. Chork-pa-line village;
4. Wae-kha-meat village;
5. Wae-toer village;
6. Kalaing-pa-taw village;
7. Ywa thar-aye village;
8. Kayokpi village;
9. Wae-klorn village;
10. Ong-Khae village;
11. Kork-lay village;
12. Proad village;
13. Anin village;
14. Lay-Yin-Kwin village;
15. Waen Choen village; and
16. Waen Chae village. (Source: “Burmese Army Collected Paddy with Free of Charge,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, 2005).
On 1 January 2005, SPDC troops from LIB 73 led by Sgt. Soe Win demanded 400 kyat from each bullock cart owner collecting firewood in the Chan Kyi Pyi Ka and See Pyu Ko area. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 14 January 2005, Eh Htoo of the DKBA based at Law Pu camp, Pa-an Township demanded 2,000 pieces of thatch from the following villages to be sent to Law Pu camp:
1. Ha Ta Rai village;
2. Kru See village;
3. Pwa Gaw village;
4. Noh Aw Lar village;
5. Noh Law Plaw village;
6. Pwo village;
7. Ta Thoo Khee village;
8. Kyaw Kay Khee village;
9. Noh Ka Day village; and
10. Htee Pa Doe Khee village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 18 January 2005, Saya Tin Htun of SPDC IB 96 under the control of Company 3 Comdr. Aung Myo demanded 500 poles of bamboo from Htee Nu village, Kyaik Toe Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 19 January 2005, Bo Lweh of the DKBA demanded 1 basket of rice from the following villages in Pa-an Township for the construction of a pagoda:
1. Htee Meh Baw village;
2. Kwee Ta Kaw village;
3. Ler Keh Khaw village;
4. Noh Ta Ray village;
5. Htee Po Neh village;
6. Baw Ta Pru village;
7. Meh Yeh village;
8. Thay Ler Baw village;
9. Kaw Ta Gyi village; and
10. Noh Ka Wah village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 19 January 2005, Saw Than Htun of the DKBA demanded from Ee Heh village, Pa-an Township 50 poles of Pyin Ka Doe wood with a girth of 18 inches for posts to be used in building a house. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 January 2005, Pa Kleh of the DKBA demanded thatch from the following villages in Ka Di Pu village tract by 25 January 2005:
1. Kyet Chay Khat village, 4,000 pieces;
2. Ta Raw Meh village, 3,000 pieces;
3. Wah Paw Gon village, 2,000 pieces;
4. Bi Lin Gyo village, 1,000 pieces;
5. Pat Tee Son village, 2,000 pieces; and
6. Tha Waw Po village, 1,200 pieces. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 28 January 2005, Column 2 Comdr. Khaing Nywe of SPDC LIB 378 demanded 1,500 kyat from each household in Pa Ya Raw village, Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 1 February 2005, Thaw Mana of the DKBA demanded 1,000 pieces of roofing thatch and 30,000 kyat from villagers in Kyu San village, Pa-an Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 February 2005, Poo Lee of the DKBA demanded thatch from villages in Bilin Township. Villages that were unable to provide the thatch were required to pay 50,000 kyat. The following villages required to provide thatch include:
1. Ler Ka Ter village, 1,000 pieces;
2. Ler Po village, 800 pieces;
3. Ta Eu Ni village, 1,000 pieces;
4. Noe Ka Neh village, 1,000 pieces;
5. Ta Eu Khee village, 1,000 pieces;
6. Yo Kla east and west village, 1,000 pieces;
7. Htee Pa Doe Hta east and west village, 1,000 pieces;
8. Kyo Waing village, 1,000 pieces;
9. Pa Ya Raw village, 1,000 pieces; and
10. Thoo Ka Bee village, 1,000 pieces. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 5 February 2005, Kyin Kyin of the DKBA demanded 20 timber poles measuring 27 inches by 15 cubits in length for house posts from Ler Ka Ter villagers in Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 7 February 2005, Brig. Maung Kyi of the DKBA No. 333 demanded 2,000 pieces of thatch from both Khaw Po Pleh village and Htee Si Baw village in Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 February 2005, SPDC LIB 60 column 2 led by Column Comdr. Hlai Win Tin, fined Ler Kla Der villager Saw Htoo Gay and Kea Der village head Saw Pae La 150,000 kyat under accusations of having contact with the KNU. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 February 2005, Comdr. Than Naing Win of LID 44 demanded bamboo and thatch from the following villages in Bilin Township:
1. 1. Kaw Po Pleh village, 63 poles of giant bamboo measuring 15 cubits in length;
2. 2. Mya Lay village, 700 pieces of thatch;
3. 3. Shwe Ok village, 700 pieces of thatch; and
4. 4. Kwin Ka Lay village, 700 pieces of thatch. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 11 February 2005, Comdr. Than Naing Win of LID 44 demanded 4,000 poles of small bamboo and 40,000 pieces of palm leaf thatch from the following villages in Bilin Township:
1. Htee Pa Doe Hta village;
2. Yo Kla village;
3. Htee Hsi Baw village;
4. Khaw Po Pleh village;
5. Ma Kloo Htaw village;
6. Kyo Waing village;
7. Noe Ka Neh village;
8. Ta Eu Ni village;
9. Ta Eu Khee village;
10. Nya Po Khee village;
11. Ler Ka Ter village;
12. Thoo Ka Bee village;
13. Pa Ya Raw village;
14. La Kay village;
15. Ta Paw village;
16. Ler Klaw village;
17. Shwe Ok village;
18. Mya Llay village;
19. Kaw Heh village;
20. Mae Naw Theh Khee village;
21. Per Wah Hta village;
22. Pet Let Noe village;
23. Noe Weeh village;
24. Htaw Po Hta village;
25. Khaw Htee Khee village;
26. Khaw Htee Hta village; and
27. Paw Gi Khee village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 February 2005, Pah Kleh of the DKBA ordered the village head of Ta Roi Khee village, Pa-an Township to send 3,000 pieces of thatch to Kho Tha Ray. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 February 2005, Bo Than Htun Oo of SPDC IB 8 demanded 500 pieces of thatch from Kyet Chay Khat village, Pa-an Township by 23 February 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 March 2005, Operation Command 3 Comdr. Khin Maung Than of SPDC LID 44 demanded Ta Maw Taw village to send 1,000 pieces of thatch and Lah Khee village to send 31/2 tons of sawn timber, 2 viss of bamboo roofing twine, and 300 pieces of thatch to the Pa Nwe Kla army camp in Thaton Township by 15 March 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 4 March 2005, Capt. Min Than Zaw under Tactical Command SPDC LID 44 demanded from Ka Doe village, Thaton Township 1,500 pieces of thatch to be sent to Pa Nwe Kla army camp by 15 March 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 5 March 2005, Battalion Comdr. Maj. Nay Win and Company Comdr. Tun Kyi of SPDC LIB 3 demanded saw timber from villagers of Plaw Po village, Thaton Township by 6 March 2005. The villagers were unable to obtain the saw timber and had to purchase it for 15,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 14 March 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 102 led by Column 1 Comdr. Maj. Aung Naing Win demanded 200 kyat per bullock cart from several bullock carts hired for hauling roofing thatch after setting up a temporary camp at the monastery of Ta Rweh Khee village, Thaton Township. These troops also looted 2 ducks from villager Naw Moe Thu and 1 duck from villager Ma Than Tin. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 16 March 2005, Bo Win Naing of SPDC LIB 102 demanded 11 tons of timber, including 13 pieces of 6" x 3" planks from the following villages in Thaton Township to construct a bridge between Pa Nwe Kla village and Lay Kay village by 20 March 2005:
1. A Tet Naung Ka Dok village;
2. Auk Naung Ka Dok village;
3. Ta Rweh Wah village;
4. Ta Rweh Khee village;
5. Ta Maw Daw village; and
6. Pah Baw village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 20 March 2005, Column Comdr. Khin Maung San and Sgt. Saw Kaw Htoo of SPDC LIB 207 under LID 44 demanded 5,000 kyat and 500 kyat from Kaw Po Kha villagers in Bilin Township Maung Htun Kyaing and Saw Pa Tay, respectively. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 7 April 2005, Comdr. Kyi Soe of SPDC LIB 102 demanded 40,000 kyat from the organizers of the Ta Maw Taw village festival in Thaton Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 10 April 2005, the Comdr. of Tactical Command 2 of LID 44 demanded 15 poles of bamboo and 30 pieces of roofing thatch from each household in all the villages in Maw Ka Lay village tract, Thaton Township by 12 April 2005. The next day, the Commander also demanded 1 villager from each household to participate in a forced labor project building a military camp. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 April 2005, Comdr. Maung Maung Than of Tactical Command 2 demanded 3,000 kyat from each household in Naw Ka Toe Day village, Bilin Township to construct a bridge between Mae Pu and Maw Klo Say. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 4 June 2005, Maj. Kyin Soe of SPDC LIB 3 demanded split bamboo from the following villages in Ka Pu Win village tract, Bilin Township to fence the military camp by 6 June 2005:
1. Bi Lin Kyow village, 1,000 pieces;
2. Par Ti gon village, 1,000 pieces;
3. War Kaw Gon village, 1,000 pieces;
4. Ta Raw Meh village, 1,000 pieces;
5. Ywa thit village, 1,000 pieces;
6. Ywa Thit Aut village, 1,000 pieces; and
7. Ka Pu Dee village, 1,000 pieces. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 30 June 2005, Capt. Maung Maung Aung of SPDC LIB 3 demanded 8 ft. logs from 5 villages in Ter Mord Dot village tract, Bilin Township for Noe Toe Day village. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 30 June 2005, troops from the DKBA 999 led by Comdr. Poe Law Eh demanded 1,000 kyat from charcoal producing villagers in Kyaik Toe Township. Furthermore, villagers who left their village to tend their farms were required to purchase a permit at 500 kyat. In total, the troops collected 3,500 kyat. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 19 July 2005, Saw Bo Lweh of the DKBA accused Kaw Heh villager Tee Kyoo Na of hosting outsiders and demanded from him 5,000 kyat in Pa-an Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 20 July 2005, Saw Pa Lu of the DKBA and Tha Toe of SPDC IB 72 Column 2 Comdr. accused Khaw Po Pleh villager Saw Kyaw Chit of engaging in the black market cattle trade and demanded 8,000 kyat from him as a fine. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 1 August 2005, TPDC Chairman Thain Aye demanded a total of 635,000 kyat from the following villagers:
1. Ko Ta Kyi, 20,000 kyat;
2. Noh T' Ray, 12,000 kyat;
3. Ler Geh Gaw, 12,000 kyat; and
4. Htee Mae Baw, 12,000 kyat. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 2 August 2005, the local authority extorted 25,000 kyat from Tou Kort village, Pa-an Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 14 August 2005, Company Comdr. Aung San Lin of SPDC IB 102 demanded 140 timber poles from Ka La Ko village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 16 August 2005, SPDC LIB 9 ordered Mi Jaung Aing village and Ma Yan Gon village to provide 200 bags of gravel each for building a bridge between Tee Nya Por village and Ma Yan Gon village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 26 August 2005, Battalion Comdr. Aung Min Thu of SPDC LIB 102 demanded the bamboo poles from the following villages:
1. Pa Nweh Kla village, 100 bamboo poles;
2. Kat Daw Nee village, 200 bamboo poles;
3. No Plu Plu village, 200 bamboo poles; and
4. No Toe Day village, 150 bamboo poles. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 28 August 2005, SPDC IB 96 second in command Than Naing demanded 500 poles of bamboo from Paw Baw village, Htee Noe Pu village and Noe Ler Khee village in Kyaik Toe Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 October 2005, SPDC Gen. Maung Bo, proprietor Ko Zaw, manager Myo Shwe and agricultural assistant officer Aung Win Sein demanded 9,000 mature rubber plants from the following plantation owners in Thaton Township:
1. U Maung Ti, 1,000 plants;
2. U Ker Poe, 1,000 plants;
3. U Htun Aung, 500 plants;
4. U Poe Noe, 1,000 plants;
5. U Maung Htun, 1,000 plants;
6. U Aye Paw, 1,000 plats;
7. U Than Maung, 1,500 plants;
8. U Tar Aye, 1,000 plants; and
9. U Maung Nay, 1,000 plants.
Those who had to give immature rubber plants were:
1. U Maung Ti, 500 plants;
2. U Kay Paw, 1,000 plants;
3. U Maung Shwe, 500 plants;
4. U Shwe, 500 plants;
5. U Hla Kyi, 500 plants;
6. Maung Lwin Yoe, 1,000 plants;
7. Tha Ti, 1,000 plants; and
8. Ta Poe, 500 plants. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 20 May 2005, SPDC IB 61 Capt. Moe Aung Khaing and the village tract headman forced farmers to sell 2,500 baskets of paddy at a reduced price of 110,000 kyat per basket while the current market value was 200,000 kyat per basket. Regardless, to date, the farmers have not received any payment for the rice. Baskets of husked paddy were also ordered to be sent to the village headman's home. Farmers were also required to cover the costs of transporting the rice if they did not make the delivery on time. The following village tracts were affected:
1. Plaing-thein village tract,
2. Hnin-sone, Krock-kree village tract,
3. Kaw-krait village tract,
4. Aindin village tract,
5. Paw-htaw village tract and
6. Duya village tract. (Source: “Rice Extorted for Army's Food Supply,” IMNA, 30 May 2005).
In January 2005, the Second-in-Command of SPDC LIB 273 Maj. Moe San Winn, demanded 200,000 kyat from Ohn Pin Gwin village and Paungdaw village to allow the villagers to hold a traditional Buddhist festival. (Source: “Human Rights Violations Effects to Civilians in Yebyu Township,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, September 2005).
On 8 January 2005, it was reported that the SPDC military officials ordered every household in Yebyu Township to buy 3 posters at 700 kyat announcing the offer of a 10 million kyat reward for information leading to the capture of the Mon guerrilla leader Nai Bin and 1 million kyat reward for information about other leaders, namely, Nai Hloin, Nai Chan Dein and Nai Sook Gloing. (Source: “Wanted Rebel Poster on Sale,” Kaowao News, January 2005).
On March 10 2005, VPDC authorities demanded security taxes from villagers. Wealthier families were ordered to pay 4,500 to 5,000 kyat while poorer families were ordered to pay 1,500 kyat. The villages forced to pay security tax were:
1. Mayan village;
2. Chauk-sae-miles village;
3. Kwe-ta-lin village;
4. Ya-pu village;
5. Ya-pu-ywa-thit village;
6. Law-thaing village;
7. Kyauk-ka-din village; and
8. Aleskan village.
Despite making the payment for security, the villagers were ordered to stand guard. Those that were unable to perform the sentry duty were forced to pay a 1,500 kyat fine. (Source: “Human Rights Violations Effects to Civilians in Yebyu Township,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, September 2005).
Between December 2004 and January 2005, Second Command No. 4 Military Training Center confiscated approximately 712 acres of land from 79 farmers for the construction of a water reservoir and to support new battalions coming to the area. The water reservoir is to produce electricity for the training center and to distribute water to military plantations in the area. (Source: “Land Confiscation and Other Abuses on the Serious Violation of Economic Rights,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, June 2005).
Between March and April 2005, SPDC LIB 586 confiscated 649 acres of land estimated to be worth US$307,000 in Duya village tract to support a new battalion and families relocating to the area. Farmers were required to pay a 2,500 kyat tax per acre of land per month to continue to farm their confiscated land. (Source: “Land Confiscation and Other Abuses on the Serious Violation of Economic Rights,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, June 2005).
In April 2005 local authorities confiscated 600 plantations and private gardens for the building of a new army camp. Farmers were charged 2,500 kyat per acre to harvest their crops. (Source: “Farmland Seized: BA's Destructive Land Use Policy,” Kaowao News, 21 April 2005).
In May 2005, it was reported that SPDC LIB 343 and LIB 587 forced 14 farmers in Ayu-taung village and Kun-duu village to sell their rubber and fruit plantations at a reduced price of 1,000 kyat for land worth approximately 1 million kyat. (Source: “Land Confiscation and Other Abuses on the Serious Violation of Economic Rights,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, June 2005).
On 4 July 2005, it was further reported that farmers were coerced into selling their farmlands at 100 kyat per acre to SPDC LIB 583. The money earned from the sale did not even cover the cost of transportation for farmers to travel to Ye to sign the sale agreement. (Source: “Burmese Army Forces Farmers to Sell Land for 100 Kyat per Acre,” IMNA, 4 July 2005).
Destruction of Property
On 4 July 2005, the Tarana village market was destroyed by a suspicious fire. Two days earlier, Ma Hla Htay, a local business woman contracted to purchase the land and was seen taking measurements of the land. Two days after the fire, 80 shop owners were forced to sign an agreement not to report losses greater than 60,000 kyat to the Southeast Command despite an estimated collective loss of 200 million kyat. Individual losses allowed to be reported were limited to 2,000 and 3,000 kyat each. The authorities also fabricated a list of losses. Additionally, shop owners lacked the resources to re-create the market and were prohibited from establishing temporary shops. (Source: “Torched Community Market Sold to Businesswoman by Authorities,” IMNA, 9 August 2005).
On 9 February 2005, SPDC IB 92 column 1, led by Column Comdr. Hlai Win Tin, met Hu Mu Der villager Saw Htoo Day while he was carrying 14 baskets of rice and other materials in his bullock cart. The soldiers destroyed all the goods in Saw Htoo Day's bullock cart. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 25 May 2005, local authorities ordered all the villagers of Kyaik Toe Township to destroy their paddy field huts. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Ye and Yebyu Township
On 27 January 2005, it was reported that Tactical Command 3 troops burnt down approximately 100 houses in Wae-kwao Paukpingwin, Magyi and Dani-kyar villages, southern Ye Township and northern Yebyu Township after accusing the houseowners of supporting resistance fighters. The troops took the wood and poles from the destroyed houses and left the villagers to clear the remaining debris. (Source: “Burma Army Burns Down Three Mon Villages,” IMNA, 27 January 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 1 January 2005, SPDC IB 60 column 1, led by Column Comdr. Win Bo Shine, looted 22 baskets of rice and 20 kilos of dry fish from 19 traders from Shay Kyaung Ko and Swa Ain village. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 11 January 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 378 led by Column 2 Comdr. Khaing Ngwe looted 8 chickens from the following Ler Po villagers, Bilin Township:
1. Ma Waing,
2. Ma Ywa,
3. Naw Sheh,
4. Ma Khin Aye Moe and
5. Swa Kho Moe. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 February 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 540 led by Camp Comdr. Aung Naing Oo stole a pig worth 12,000 kyat from villager Naw Hsi Po of Yo Kla village, Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 27 February 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 103 led by Bo Aung Naing Win stole a chicken from villager Naw Pawkhin of Ta Rweh Khee village, Pa-an Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 March 2005, troops from column 5 of SPDC LIB 102 led by Bo Aung Naing Win forcibly took 15 Ta Rweh Khee villagers and 6 bullock carts to carry supplies. Moreover, these troops looted a chicken and a goat from villagers for meat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 5 April 2005, SPDC LIB 11 Column 1 Second-in-Command Min Chit Oo looted 3 chickens, 1 shirt and 2 pairs of pants from Ta Oo Kee villagers in Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 12 April 2005, Comdr. Zaw Naing Oo of SPDC LIB 3 went into Lay Poe village and looted 3 chickens and 1 coat-hanger from the following villagers:
1. Pee Khan Kay,
2. Naw Nay Paw,
3. Mu Lae Poe and
4. Naw Nay Paw. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 April 2005, Column Comdr. Kyi Soe of SPDC LIB 102 and Htun Mying from the DKBA looted 1 goat and 1 chicken from Naw Kat Toe villagers, Thaton Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 28 June 2005, SPDC LIB 8 led by Capt. Myain Maung Oo demanded 2 tins of rice and 5 carriers from the head of Klaw Ta village and looted items from the following villagers:
1. Naw Kyi Poe, 1 hen;
2. Saw Maw Soe, 4 hens;
3. Naw Htoo Moe, 4 hens;
4. Naw Bu, 1 dog;
5. Naw Bee Hser, 1bag of sugar;
6. Naw Dah Tue, 3 bowls of rice;
7. Kyaw Bee, 8 milk tins of rice;
8. Saw Bee Koe,16 milk tins of rice;
9. Naw Bee, 8 milk tins of rice;
10. Naw Maa Thea, 8 milk tins of rice;
11. Pa Khea Nay, 8 milk tins of rice;
12. Naw Myai, 24 milk tins of rice;
13. Naw Ma Pya, 8 milk tins of rice;
14. Saw Maw Wah, 8 milk tins of rice;
15. Naw Ma Paw Moe, 8 milk tins of rice;
16. Paw Lay Moe, 8 milk tins of rice;
17. Naw Ma Mae, 8 milk tins of rice;
18. Naw K' Knyaw, 8 milk tins of rice;
19. Maw Hsar, 6 hens;
20. Paw La Moe, 8 milk tins of rice;
21. Saw Poe Eh, 8 milk tins of rice;
22. Naw Pue, 40 milk tins of rice;
23. Naw Ka Moe, 32 milk tins of rice;
24. Naw Tha Oo, 5 hens;
25. Saw Kwe, 2 hens;
26. Naw Khit, 4 hens;
27. Naw Mu, 4 hens;
28. Naw Ma Mya,16 milk tins of rice;
29. Naw ta Lah, 8 milk tins of rice;
30. Naw k' Ter, 8 milk tins of rice;
31. Maw Soe Moe, 24 milk tins of rice;
32. Naw Seh,16 milk tins of rice; and
33. Naw Mii Sue, 8 milk tins of rice. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 13 July 2005, troops from SPDC IB 8, under SPDC LID 44 extorted items from the following Klaw Hta villagers in Bilin Township:
1. Pa Haw Moe, 4 pyi of rice;
2. Ma Pu, 1 pyi of rice;
3. Day Kyu Moe, 2 pyi of rice and 1 duck;
4. Naw mee Pa, 2 trousers;
5. Ma Theh Moe, 1 blouse;
6. Naw Baw, 1 duck;
7. Ma Paw Moe, 1 pyi of rice and 1 bag;
8. Pa Keh Moe, 1 viss of ridged gourd;
9. Mi Chaw, 1 pyi of rice;
10. Pee Chaw Moe, 1 pyi of rice;
11. Eh Say Moe, 1 pyi of rice;
12. Naw Kyi, 1 pyi of rice;
13. Kaw La Moe, 1 pyi of rice;
14. Pee Naw Moe, 1 viss of ridged gourd;
15. Paw Lah Moe, 3 pyi of rice and 2 pyi of dog fruit;
16. Htoo Ka Paw Moe, 2 pyi of rice;
17. Pee Lay Moe, 1 pyi of rice;
18. Pee Bu Moe, 1 pyi of rice;
19. Eh Wah Pa, 7 chickens and 4 pyi of rice;
20. Saya Po Eh, 1 pyi of rice;
21. Naw Ler, 2 nylon ropes;
22. Naw Kha, 1 pyi of rice;
23. Naw Tha Eu, 4 milk tins of rice;
24. Ma Yu Moe, ½ pyi of rice;
25. Mu Naw, 3 pyi of rice and 2 coconuts; and
26. Tha Mee Lay Moe, 1 chicken. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 July 2005, SPDC LIB 8 led by Battalion Comdr. Myit Maung U looted items from the following Ta U Khee villagers following a clash with KNU troops:
1. Naw Win Shway, 1 hen and 1 longyi;
2. Naw Ro, 1 hen and 1 umbrella;
3. Naw A Moe, 1 hen;
4. Naw Ma Nyae, 2 Anjinomoto packets and 1 torch light;
5. Ta Po Mu, 2 hens;
6. Naw Bway, 1 ring, 1 torch light, 2 knives and 68,000 kyat;
7. Naw U Thu, 1 hen;
8. Pa Leh, 1 hen;
9. Pa Geh Moo, 2 hens;
10. Naw Hei Moe, 1 big tin of rice and 1 blanket;
11. Pa Thu Mae, 1 duck;
12. Naw Paw Moe, 2 hens; and
13. Kyaw Htoo Moe, 8 hens. (Source: BI, 2005).
On 20 July 2005, Saw Pa Lu of the DKBA and Tha Toe of SPDC IB 72 Column 2 Comdr. extorted items from the following Hkaw Po Pleh villagers:
1. Maung Than Aung, shop items including 10 packets of cheroots and 10 sets of size AA batteries;
2. Saw Kyaw Promoe, shop items including 1 packet of cheroots, 1 new blanket and 10 packets of sugar; and
3. Saw Pa Thoo, 1 chicken. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 August 2005, the DKBA troops killed Saw Shwe Gyo’s pig worth 30,000 kyat from Tee Kyaw Kee village, Pa-an Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 8 August 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 2 led by Column 2 Comdr. Nyan Soe and Company Comdr. Naing Aung Kyi told the village head of Haw Ti Khee, Bilin Township to buy 5 pyi of rice at the rate of 200 kyat. In addition, they took 10 condensed milk tins full of rice from villager Naw Aye Myint. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 13 August 2005, DKBA troops extorted from Pwa Gor villager Naw Thein Yee a basket of rice and killed a pig worth 25,000 kyat for meat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 August 2005, a group of SPDC troops led by Column 2 Comdr. Nyan Myo Tun of SPDC LIB 2 beat a female schoolteacher and looted the following items from her house:
1. 1 cassette tape deck,
2. 1 pair of sun glasses,
3. 1 big casket of herbal face powder and
4. 1 pair of slippers.
From other villagers the group also looted pots, pans, plates, a chicken and 6,000 kyat in cash. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 24 August 2005, Column 1 Comdr. Tun Min of SPDC LIB 2 looted the following items from the Da U Kee shop of Naw Pee Keh in Bilin Township:
1. 1 pair of slippers,
2. 1 large packet of mono-sodium-glutamate,
3. 1 large packet of ground coffee,
4. 12 packets of Quaker Oats and
5. 2 tubes of toothpaste. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 September 2005, DKBA soldiers led by Moe Joe and Pa Ker Ler looted items from the following villagers in Bilin Township:
1. Saw K'la Na, 1,500,000 kyat;
2. Saw Kyaw Hmway, 1 watch; and
3. Naw Paw Boo, village head of Haw Poe Pler village, 1 cow. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 7 October 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 2 under LID 44 led by Bo Myo Kyaw Oo held 2 buffalo belonging to a villager for a ransom of 50,000 kyat each. Furthermore, they looted 1 pig, worth about 150,000 kyat, from a Ler Ka Deh villager in Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 1 November 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 2 led by Column 2 Comdr. Nyan Zaw Oo looted a hen from Naw Lu of Ler Ka Doe village, Bilin Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 2 November 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 2 led by Column 2 Comdr. Nyan Zaw Oo looted a rooster from Saw Min Aung of Ler Kae Doe village, Bilin Township and 10 chickens from other villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Restrictions on Trade, Travel and Cultivation
On 1 January 2005, the DKBA ordered villagers in the Mae Plae Toe area, Thaton Township not to cultivate farmlands or cut teak wood on the opposite side of the Mae Plae River. Those who did so would be fined 500 baht. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Go to Top
5.11 Situation in Pegu Division
Throughout 2005, SPDC military forces continued to permeate the Nyaunglebin District hills area. SPDC forces persisted in burning villagers houses, fields, storage barns and crops. In addition, soldiers planted landmines, levied unfair taxes for military projects and looted villagers’ possessions. In the plains areas which are largely under SPDC control, villagers faced restrictions on their movements, demands for forced labor and confiscation of their land by SPDC troops. All of these factors lent to increased hardships for villagers as they attempted to maintain their livelihoods. (Source: KHRG, 2005).
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 29 March 2005, Sgt. Thaung Kyi of SPDC LIB 599 based at Kyun Bin Seik camp beat Way Swe villager Saw Ner Tha (age 30), and demanded 500,000 kyat from him after accusing him of being a cattle smuggler. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 13 April 2005, Second Battalion Comdr. Aung Soe Naing of SPDC LIB 599 demanded 600,000 kyat from local buffalo and cattle traders. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 27 May 2005, troops from the DKBA led by Eh Gaw Htoo and a column from SPDC LID 33 based at Maw Lay Kyauk Pyar military camp demanded 150 baskets of rice and 450,000 kyat from Ta Kaw Bwa village, Way Swet village and Noe Nya Lar by 28 May 2005. (Source: KIC, 2005).
From 18 June to 11 July 2005, it was reported that Sgt. Kyaw Shwe demanded the following 4 villages to pay porter fees of 5000 kyat each:
2. Myet Yen,
3. Thei Char Sein and
4. Haw Ko Gaw. (Source: FBR, 2005).
On 13 September 2005, Company Comdr. Myint Thein Aung of SPDC LIB 439 demanded 20,000 kyat from the following villages in Kyauk Kyi Township:
1. Weh Lar Daw village;
2 No Gor village;
3. Pat Ta Lar village; and
4. Thu Ka Bee village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 October 2005, Bo Kyaw Zaw Lay of SPDC LIB 599 demanded 10 viss of chicken from Ta Kort Pwa villagers in Mone Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 October 2005, Kyoon Pin Seik Camp Comdr. Sgt. Than Htun demanded 20,000 kyat from villagers in Ta Kort Paw village tract. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 October 2005, Sgt. Yeh Min demanded 5,000 kyat from Way Sweh villagers. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 29 November 2005 at 5:00 pm, deputy battalion Comdr. of SPDC LIB 599 ordered his soldiers to burn down Ter Kweh Lay Ko village. The 15 houses burned down and the values of possessions lost were as follows:
1. Naw Pwe Paw Htoo, 248,000 kyat;
2. Naw Khin La, 300,000 kyat;
3. Saw Kweh Say, 400,000 kyat;
4. Saw Mg Nyot, 500,000 kyat;
5. Saw Paw Hae, 390,000 kyat;
6. Saw Wei Say, 274,000 kyat;
7. Saw Keh Mg Puu, 350,000 kyat;
8. Saw Ta Ku lu, 420,000 kyat;
9. Saw Hae Kgay, 460,000 kyat;
10. Sei Khin Mg, 550,000 kyat;
11. Saw Chit Khin, 290,000 kyat;
12. Saw Klo Lay Htoo, 350,000 kyat;
13. Saw Taw Lay, 310,000 kyat; and
14. Saw Ma La Ka, 430,000 kyat. (Source: “FBR Update: Burma Army Activities in Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State,” FBR, 17 December 2005).
On 1 December 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 under the command of Cpl. Po Zaw Wa, together with a militia unit entered Kyae Ja village, Ler Doh Township and demanded 1,200 kyat from each of the 40 families in the village. (Source: “Burma Army Commence Attacks in Southern Karen State,” FBR, 16 December 2005).
On 1 December 2005, Comdr. Ya Naung of LIB 599 Column 1 demanded food from Ka Moo Lo villagers worth 7,400 kyat. On 2 December the same troops demanded cigars, chicken and milk worth 11,100 kyat from Yu Lo villagers. On 3 December 2005, troops from Tha Pyi Nyut camp demanded 2 viss of beetle nuts and 21,400 kyat from Yu Lo villagers for a football match. (Source: FBR, 17 December 2005).
On 2 December 2005, troops from SPDC IB 60 led by Khin Maung Myint demanded money from Pay Htu village, Ler Doh Township villagers. The troops demanded 40,000 kyat from Saw Kyaw Kyaw, 50,000 kyat from Saw Mae Der, and 15,000 kyat from Saw Kya Htoo. (Source: “Burma Army Commence Attacks in Southern Karen State,” FBR, 16 December 2005).
On 15 October 2005, soldiers under the control of Bo Myo Min Nyunt of SPDC IB 32 based at Htee Ta Bler army camp destroyed 20 betel nut plants of Htee Ta Bler villager Saw Par Ler and 1 betel plant of Saw Wah Kyar. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 26 October 2005, a group of 20 soldiers from SPDC IB 48 burnt down the houses of Ka Mu Lo villagers Saw Tar Muku and Saw Mawta. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 5 March 2005, U San Daw, a DKBA monk based at Kyauk Pya camp, demanded from Ta Kot Bwa village tract 7 baskets of rice and 100,000 kyat by 8 March. From Ko Ni village tract he demanded 7 baskets of rice and 75,000 kyat. The rice and money was used for a ceremony that involved putting an ornamental umbrella on a pagoda. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 22 March 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 599 and a column from LIB 590 demanded 224 bullock carts from the foothill areas and forced villagers to transport military rations to Kaw Lar Wah Lu hill military camp. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 9 April 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 264 demanded the following items from the villages in Kyauk Kyi Township:
1. She Po Doe village, 8 pyi (1 tin) of rice from each rice mill;
2. Hta Pawt village, 1 pig; and
3. Taw Kho village, 1½ tin of rice. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 27 May 2005, Sgt. Maj. Maung Nyut demanded sacks of rice worth a total of 800,000 kyat from the following villages in Kyaw Bya and Maw Lay districts:
1. Ter Poh village, 40 sacks of rice;
2. Poe Thaung Sue village, 30 sacks of rice;
3. Lu Eh village, 40 sacks of rice; and
4. Khu Ler Taw village, 10 sacks of rice. (Source: FBR, 2005).
On 1 December 2005, a column from SPDC LIB 599 led by Comdr. Ya Naung demanded 7,400 kyat worth of food from Ka Moo Lo villagers. The next day LIB 599 demanded cigars, chicken and milk from Yu Lo village. (Source: “FBR Update: Burma Army Activities in Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State,” FBR, 17 December 2005).
On 3 December 2005, Tha Pyi Nyut military camp demanded 2 viss of beetle nut and 21,400 kyat in cash from Yu Lo villagers to fund a football match at Tha Pyi Nyut. (Source: “FBR Update: Burma Army Activities in Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State,” FBR, 17 December 2005).
Go to Top
5.12 Situation in Shan State
In 2005, residents of Shan State faced ongoing challenges in maintaining their livelihood as both local officials and military personnel continued to extort money, make demands of arbitrary taxes and impose unfair fines. In an attempt to extort money and restrict the freedom of movement of Shan villagers, the SPDC increased the number and amount of fees at checkpoints along major travel routes. In Taunggyi, Kaeng-Tung and Ta-Khi-Laek Townships, the SPDC doubled the fees at the entrance and exit of Loi-Lem town and Nam-Zarng town, the eastern exit of Taunggyi and Ho-pong town, the checkpoint at Kun-Hing town and checkpoints manned by the people’s militia at Sakuni and Kho Lam villages in Nam-Zarng Township. All vehicles were required to furnish 200 kyat as well as other arbitrary fees at each checkpoint. In addition, a 1,000 kyat fee was established at both ends of the Ta Kaw Bridge. Further checkpoints also charging 200 kyat were established between Ta Kaw Bridge, Murng-Paeng and Kaeng-Tung as well as at Tong Ta, Paang Kiu, Paang Maak Mon, and Ho Kaeng Phawng. In addition, 200 kyat tolls were also required at checkpoints established at Ta Zeo and Murng-Phyak at the eastern exit of Kaeng-Tung. Personnel from customs, drug eradication, immigration, military and police departments collaborate in operating the checkpoint in Murng-Phyak, however, each department requires a 200 kyat fee. Such extensive tolls effectively inhibit the ability of villagers to travel freely within Shan State. (Source: “Extortion Along the Way Between Tawng-Gi, Kaeng-Tung and Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005). These restraints limit villagers’ access to remote sources of income, including external markets and fields.
In March and April 2005, SPDC authorities further impeded movement by confiscating cars and trucks, which SPDC authorities claimed were illegal, in several border townships including Murng-Sart, Murng-Ton, and Ta-Khi-Laek. The confiscated vehicle owners were charged with importing and operating the vehicles without a license. In addition, vehicle owners were subject to a 20,000 kyat fine for each vehicle confiscated and failure to pay presented a 5 year prison sentence. In addition, various SPDC authorities required small vehicle owners to pay taxes under threats of vehicle confiscation. (Source: “Confiscation of Vehicles and Extortion in Murng-Ton, Murng-Sart and Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, July 2005).
In 2005, there were reports of the forced sale of rice to the military in areas of Shan State. For instance, in February, it was reported that Gen. Khin Zaw of the Golden Triangle Special Regional Command ordered the Merchants and Farmers Association to buy a quota of 100,000 baskets of rice from farmers in Kaeng-Tung Township at a rate of 3,800 kyat per basket. Prior to reaching the quota, farmers were prohibited from selling rice to other purchasers or from transporting rice to other areas. Farmers were also reportedly required to seek authorization prior to taking rice for personal use. Those violating the order face confiscation of rice stocks as well as imprisonment from five to seven years. It was further reported that farmers in four other townships in the state were banned from selling rice and bran except to the military. Farmers were ordered to sell rice and bran to the military unit closest to them only. (Sources: “Rice Procurement in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2005; “Restrictions and Economic Situation in Central Shan State,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2005). The forced sale of rice to the military has for decades impinged on farmers’ ability to earn a living and denied food to the very people who grow it.
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
From April 2005 to the date of this report, 18 July 2005, Area Comdr. Col. Khin Maung Myint and Lt. Col. Thant Zin, commander of SPDC IB 33, forced villagers to procure hundreds of logs and bamboo as well as thousands of pieces of woven thatch to construct a new garrison in Mongkao. Villagers were told that they would receive 1,000 kyat per day of labor and petrol for their tractors. However, this promise was not honored and the villagers went unpaid. (Source: SHAN, 18 July 2005).
In February 2005, the SPDC Comdr. of the Special Triangle Region ordered from Mandalay a new headdress for a Buddha statue in Kaeng-Tung town and required villagers in Kaeng-Tung, Murng-Sart and Ta-Khi-Laek Townships to contribute money for its costs and a ceremony. Although the headdress only cost 1,500,000 kyat, the authorities collected 20,500,000 kyat by 17 February 2005. Nonetheless, after the ceremony, the Commander continued to extort money from villagers until the sum reached 100 million kyat. (Source: “Situation of Extortion in Kaeng-Tung, Murng-Sart and Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2005).
In March 2005, SPDC authorities demanded every household to contribute 500 kyat by 10 March 2005 to fund the Water Festival celebration. (Source: “Situation of Extortion in Kaeng-Tung, Murng-Sart and Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2005).
On 1 July 2005, police extorted 2,000 kyat from a couple in Kung Kyawng village for failing to report an over-night guest before 6:00 pm. Pa Naang In Kham (age 67), the guest, had come from Murng Phong village tract, Ta-Khi-Laek Township to visit her daughter and son-in-law. (Source: “An Elderly Woman Intimidated, Money Extorted, in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2005).
On 31 July 2005, the local authorities threatened to confiscate land in 2 villages unless new houses were built at a cost of 2 million kyat. At the time of the order, there were approximately 300 small bamboo houses with thatch-roofing in both towns and many plots were empty as their owners had yet to raise enough money to build houses on the land. The land is now valued at 500,000 to 600,000 kyat per plot but owners are not allowed to sell the land. They were required to inform the authorities as to whether or not they would comply with the orders by January 2006 and building was to be completed by the end of April 2006. Villagers without the financial means to construct the houses faced their land being confiscated and redistributed to military personnel. (Source: “People Forced to Build Expensive New Houses or Risk Confiscation in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
In August 2005, police officers from Special Unit No. 2 extorted 7,000 kyat from Lung Zaai Saam (age 55) after questioning the veracity of his ID card and threatening to arrest him. (Source: “Intimidation and Extortion in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
On 10 August 2005, local authorities ordered community leaders in all 5 town quarters to collect money from residents to pay a 10 million kyat debt owed to the SPDC for the building of a TV relay station, which was completed 2-3 years earlier. Those who possessed a TV set were required to pay 3,798 kyat while those that did not were required to pay 702 kyat. Residents are also required to pay a 600 kyat TV tax per annum. (Source: “Mass Extortion For Mass Media in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
In January 2005, SPDC troops in Kun-Hing Township forced local villagers to cut 300 trees and transport them to their military camp to be used as electric lamp posts. Those who could not provide trees were forced to pay 10,000 kyat for each lamppost, to hire SPDC troops to do the job. The trees cut needed to be from 7 and half to 9 yards long, at least 9 inches in circumference and straight. Although most villagers could cut the trees themselves, many did not have the means to transport them. Therefore they collected money amongst themselves to pay SPDC troops to transport the trees to the military camp. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
In June 2005, SPDC LIB 524 accused Wan Lao villagers of supporting Shan resistance fighters and demanded 200,000 kyat. (Source: “Forced Labor and Extortion in Kun-Hing,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2005).
Lai-Kha Township and Kae-See Townships
In June 2005, SPDC troops extorted the following money and property from villages in Kae-See Township and Lai-Kha Township:
1. Nawng Leng village, 100 pieces of large bamboo, 100 pieces of small bamboo, 200 sheets of thatch-roofing, 6,000 kyat, 5 bottles of cooking oil and 10 chickens;
2. Paa Kaang village, 250 pieces of large bamboo, 250 pieces of small bamboo, and 600 sheets of thatch-roofing;
3. Hu Hai village, 5,000 kyat, 400 sheets of thatch-roofing, and 1 musket worth about 30,000 kyat;
4. Kawng Hung village, 7,500 kyat and 100 pyi of husked rice;
5. Kiu Tawng village, 100 sheets of thatch-roofing and 50 pyi of husked rice;
6. Khaai Pung village, 50 pieces of bamboo, 100 sheets of thatch-roofing, 2 bottles of cooking oil and 2 viss of chickens;
7. Nawng Wo village, 60 sheets of thatch-roofing, 2 bottles of cooking oil and 3 viss of chicken;
8. Nam Naw village, 300 sheets of thatch-roofing;
9. Wan Kung Yur village, 500 sheets of thatch-roofing; and
10. Zalaai Loi village, 500 sheets of thatch-roofing, 1 bottle of cooking oil and 1 musket. (Source: “Forced Labor and Extortion in Kae-See and Lai-Kha,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2005).
Since January 2005, the local authorities have demanded tractor owners who transport wood from the forest to the town to pay taxes ranging from 500 kyat to 1,500 kyat depending on the size of their tractor. Officials have gone to the houses of tractor owners who fail to furnish the fee at the checkpoint in order to collect the tax. (Source: “Tractors Carrying Firewood Forced to Pay Tax in Murng-Ton,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
On 7 January 2005, a patrol of 50 to 60 SPDC IB 43 troops led by Comdr. Than Lwin threatened to destroy small opium farms owned by Lahu, Akha and Lisaw families unless the farm owners paid 4,000 to 10,000 kyat for each opium plot. The troops collected the following amount of money from the farms:
1. 28 farms paid 4,000 kyat each, total 112,000 kyat;
2. 16 farms paid 6,000 kyat each, total 96,000 kyat;
3. 10 farms paid 8,000 kyat each, total 80,000 kyat; and
4. 6 farms paid 10,000 kyat each, total 60,000 kyat. (Source: “Opium Growers Tricked into Paying Protection Money in Murng-Paeng,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
Since the beginning of 2005, PDC authorities have forced villagers to pay a monthly 100 kyat tax per house for a water reservoir built and financed by the villagers themselves. Local authorities also collected an annual 600 kyat tax on private water facilities, such as latrines and wells. Furthermore, villagers were also required to pay an annual 600 kyat fee for street lamps and an annual 600 kyat tax for street maintenance. (Source: “Villagers Forced to Pay Tax for Their Own Water in Murng-Phyak,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
On 2 July 2005, 2 immigration officials extorted 1,000 kyat from Naang Seng Thuay (female, age 25) at a checkpoint as she traveled from Kaeng-Tung town to Ta-Khi-Laek to take her sick child to hospital in Mae Sai, Thailand. At the checkpoint, Naang Seng Thuag presented her ID card, a permission letter from the Kaeng-Tung local authorities and a referral issued by the Kaeng-Tung hospital for her child. (Source: “Intimidation and Extortion in Murng-Phyak,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
On 24 August 2005, the authorities manning a checkpoint in Murng-Phyak Township extorted 3,000 kyat from Zaai Maad and his wife, Naang Myint Khin, after accusing Zaai Maad of not looking like the photo in his ID card. Zaai Maad and Naang Myint Khin were traveling from Kaeng-Tung town to Ta-Khi-Laek to seek medical treatment for Naan Myint Khin in Mae Sai, Thailand. (Source: “Intimidation and Extortion in Murng-Phyak,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
In January 2005, SPDC troops in Murng-Su Township forced local villagers to cut 338 trees and transport them to their military camp to be used as electric lamp posts. Those who could not provide trees were forced to pay 10,000 kyat for each lamppost, to hire SPDC troops to do the job. The trees cut needed to be from 7 and half to 9 yards long, at least 9 inches in circumference and straight. Although most villagers could cut the trees themselves, many did not have the means to transport them. Therefore they collected money amongst themselves to pay SPDC troops to transport the trees to the military camp. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
On 1 April 2005, SPDC IB 277 ordered village leaders in Naa Kawng Mu village to provide 150,000 kyat to cover the cost of mules and horses to carry army rations to their base on Loi Paa Khee hill. Fearing having to supply forced porters if the necessary amount was not raised, the village headmen collected 1,000 to 3,000 kyat from every villager depending on their financial status. (Source: “Forced Labor in the Form of Extortion in Murng-Ton,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
On 29 July 2005, troops from SPDC LIB 332 established a temporary checkpoint outside Murng-Pan town on the main road leading to Murng-Ton Township and extorted money from civilian vehicles passing through it. At one point, the troops stopped 8 passenger vehicles from central Shan State carrying a total of 67 passengers, including 17 children. The drivers of the 8 cars were accused of trafficking people to Thailand and ordered to pay 15,000 kyat for each passenger. The drivers explained that they were only hired drivers and were only given 40,000 kyat for fuel and food costs. The troops became angry and demanded that the drivers pay 35,000 kyat for each car and return the passengers to where they had come from. The drivers had no choice but to comply with the order. According to a driver, the authorities often take advantage of the order banning human trafficking to extort money from innocent travelers. (Source: “Restrictions on Movement and Extortion in Murng-Pan,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2005).
In July 2005, it was reported that in Phaa Khe village and Hawng Lin village, Phaa Khe village tract SPDC IB 224 troops collected annual vehicle taxes after already collecting the tax 8 to 9 months earlier. Vehicles of those who could not pay the taxes immediately were taken away by the authorities. The taxes were 2,000 kyat for each motorcycle and 4,000 kyat for each mini-tractor. (Source: “Confiscation of Vehicles and Extortion in Murng-Ton, Murng-Sart and Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, July 2005).
On 8 and 9 July 2005, the militia group from Ngon-sai village led by Htun Mya Lay, Nan-San Police Department Officer Win Naing and Secretary Ye Naing along with 14 policemen organized by SPDC authorities, tortured and extorted money from 10 villagers after accusing them of dealing in drugs. Those extorted from include 4 Man-wai villagers, 5 Nam-kyein villagers and one other villager. No drugs were found in any of the villagers' homes. However, one of the Nam-kyein villagers was taken away and not released until his brother paid 5,000 kyat and 2 chickens to the combined unit. The unit also confiscated 27,000 kyat and a watch worth 30,000 kyat from another villager. (Source: PYNG, 2005).
On 1 February 2005, SPDC military authorities increased the yearly tax of villagers in Nam-Zarng relocation sites from 200 to 500 kyat per household to support local troops SPDC IB 65 and IB 247. (Source: “Displaced People Forced to Increase Yearly Tribute to the Military, in Nam-Zarng,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
Namkhan Township and Muse District
Between 21 and 31 May 2005, SPDC police and immigration officials imposed border taxes and fines at the Namkhan-Muse border in response to the May Rangoon bombings. Vehicles carrying goods across the border were also taxed. (Source: “Bombing in May Trouble the Border,” PYNG, 2005).
On 5 November 2005, 2 SPDC soldiers forced shopkeepers around Namkhum and Dongkan villages to purchase the 2006 calendars featuring the Lashio Pagoda at 2,000 kyat each. Shopkeepers who refused to buy the calendar were ordered to close their shop. Sixteen village headman were provided with 200 calendars each by the district officer which they were required to sell while some villages were provided with only 25 calendars each. Similarly, 19 villages around the Mao-Shweli River were required to purchase the calendars. The headman of Kawngmom village, Panghsai Township, Muse District was ordered to sell 60 copies of the calendar to villagers. However, there were only 50 houses in the village, village funds were utilized to purchase the remaining 10 calendars. (Source: “Local Burmese Military Rulers Force People to Buy Calendar,” SHAN, 30 November 2005).
On 30 November 2005 it was reported that 4 soldiers delivered an order from the district office requiring the village headman in Zaylarn village to sell pictures of the Mahamyatmuni statue at 500 kyat each to the villagers. The soldiers however told the headman to sell the pictures at 1,000 kyat each. (Source: “Local Burmese Military Rulers Force People to Buy Calendar,” SHAN, 30 November 2005).
On 17 April 2005, Col. Khin Maung Myint and Lt. Col. Thant Zin of SPDC IB 33 confiscated about 2,500 acres of land in Mongkao for a new military camp resulting in the loss of villager’s bamboo and khilek (cassia simea) groves, corn and peanut plots and paddy fields. Meanwhile villagers were forced to construct the camp without compensation leaving them unable to tend to their fields. (Source: “More Garrisons for More Abuses,” SHAN, 18 July 2005).
Military Monopoly on Trade and Agriculture
From the beginning of 2005 to the time of this report in April 2005, SPDC troops banned all traders, including those of Chinese and Indian descent, from buying and selling consumer goods at low prices in the Kaeng-Tung area. Local villagers were also banned from cutting wood for domestic use to ensure they did not interfere with the SPDC’s logging businesses. As a result, the villagers were forced to buy daily necessities at high prices. (Source: “Restrictions and Economic Situation in Central Shan State,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2005).
In February 2005, SPDC authorities in Ta-Khi-Laek Township banned photocopy businesses to prevent “destructive elements” from making copies of leaflets containing material opposing the military authorities. However, members of the SPDC then opened their own photocopy shops and increased the price of photocopying five-fold. (Source: “Means of Livelihood Taken Away in Ta-Khi-Laek,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2005).
Between March and May 2005, the military restricted villagers in the Kaeng Tung area of Murng-Nai Township from gathering particular vegetables that are the main source of income for almost half the population of the area. The plants grow along the Nam Taeng River where the SPDC have been building a hydroelectric plant. (Source: “Restrictions and Economic Situation in Central Shan State,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 10 May 2005, SPDC authorities forced residents to use their vehicles to transport persons to a mass forced rally held at the High School in Murng Nwang village tract. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 29 April 2005, 7 SPDC troops from No. 11 Military Training Center based in Murng Lang village tract, killed and took away 4 pigs, worth at least 100,000 kyat belonging to the villagers of Wan Zerng village. The villagers reported the incident to the SPDC authorities at the Training Center as well as at the local township office. However, no action was taken. (Source: “Stealing of Livestock and Property in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 1 May 2005, 4 SPDC troops from No. 11 Military Training Center based in Murng Lang village tract killed and took 2 pigs, worth approximately 60,000 kyat, belonging to a villager of Wan Ten village. The incident was reported to the Training Center, but no action was taken. (Source: “Stealing of Livestock and Property in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 3 May 2005, 4 to 5 SPDC soldiers shot and killed a small buffalo belonging to a villager of Wan Ten. The soldiers fled with the meat from the animal. (Source: ‘Stealing of Livestock and Property in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 9 May 2005 at approximately 4:00 pm, troops from No. 11 Military Training Center looted valuables from a Wan Nok villager's home while villagers were at a Buddhist religious ceremony in a nearby village. The following valuables were stolen:
1. 1 set of gold earrings worth 30,000 kyat;
2. 10 ancient silver coins worth 30,000 kyat; and
3. 20,000 kyat. (Source: “Stealing of Livestock and Property in Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 27 January 2005, a patrol of SPDC IB 224 troops shot and killed a buffalo belonging to a Nam Tawng villager. The troops then distributed the meat amongst themselves. (Source: “Villagers’ Cattle Shot for Meat in Lai-Kha,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF May 2005).
On 20 March 2005, SPDC LIB 515 led by Comdr. Naing Lwin looted 680,000 kyat and 2 baht weight of gold from Maak Laang villager, Lung Nyaa (age 67), in Phuay Hai village tract after tying him up and asking about Shan resistance fighters. (Source: “An Elderly Villager Robbed of his Money and Valuables in Lai-Kha,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2005).
On April 2005, 10 SPDC IB 99 troops led by Comdr. Han Htun along with members of his family stole tomatoes from Khat Ti Ya’s farm. When Khat Ti Ya tried to impede them, he was forced to leave his farm at gun point. Most of his crop was stolen. Consequently, he was unable to cover his farming costs. (Source: “Villagers Robbed of their Farm Produce in Larng-Khur,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, October 2005).
In April 2005, troops from No.3 Regional Training Center broke into the house of Nam Tun Tai villager Naang Ku (age 47) in Nawng Hee village tract and stole 100,000 kyat and gold ornaments. Naang Ku reported the incident to the troop commander who assured that her possessions would be returned provided that his soldiers were found to be the real culprits. However no action was taken. (Source: “Burglary in Murng-Nai,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, October 2005).
On 8 May 2005, SPDC authorities forced residents to use their vehicles to transport persons to a mass forced rally held at a sports ground. Two persons from each house in the township were forced to attend the rally or face a fine of 10,000 kyat and 4 viss of pork. The SPDC organized the forced rallies in response to the declaration of independence by the newly formed Interim Shan Government. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
Murng Sart Township
On 19 May 2005, 3 SPDC LIB 527 troops guarding the Murng-Sart – Murng-Ton main road looted the following items from the houses of Ja Ngee (age 25) and Ja Ur (age 27) in Ja Ae Kyaw village:
1. 30,000 kyat of money,
2. 1 ancient silver belt,
3. 30 ancient silver coins and
4. 1/2 viss of raw opium. (Source: “Villagers' Money and Valuables Stolen in Murng-Sart,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, October 2005).
On 24 April 2005, a patrol of troops from SPDC IB133 shot and ate 2 pigs weighing approximately 50 viss and worth approximately 2,000 kyat per viss in the market. The 2 pigs belonged to Lahu villagers of Aa Tu Lung village, Murng Kaang village tract. (Source: “Stealing of Livestock in Murng-Tin,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2005).
On 24 May 2005, approximately 20 troops from SPDC IB 133 based in Murng-Sart Township accused Pa Sae villagers, Ja-Pur and Na-Khaa, of hiding an AK-47 rifle in their house. In their search for the rifle, which was never found, the troops looted the following items from the couple’s house:
1. 3,000 kyat;
2. 3 men’s long-sleeve shirts;
3. 3 women’s sarongs; and
4. pieces of women’s upper clothing. (Source: “Villagers’ Money and Clothing Stolen in Murng-Ton,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, October 2005).
Nam San Township
In December 2005, SPDC LIB 144 led by No. 1 Strategic Comdr. Col. San Shwe Thar along with SPDC LIB 130 and LIB 324 led by No. 2 Strategic Comdr. Lt. Col. Hla Myo looted villagers’ property, livestock and food. A village head from Nam-San Township reported that he was required to supply a minimum of 100 chickens, alcohol and vegetables to the SPDC troops each week. The troops threatened to burn down the village if the head failed to meet their demands. (Source: “SPDC Troops Ill-Treatment on Palaung People during Their Operation,” PYNG, 25 December 2005).
On 1 July 2005, Comdr. Myo Myint Aung of SPDC IB 66 ordered 2 civilian mini-tractor owners in Nam-Zarng Township to go to Kun-Hing Township to bring back military rations. The tractor owners were not reimbursed for their travel expenses. On the same day, Comdr. Myo Myint Aung ordered each village in the village tract to provide 1 large sack of husked rice to supplement the battalion's rations. (Source: “Forced Labor and Extortion in Nam-Zarng,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2005).
In early January 2005, Ta-Khi-Laek SPDC authorities ordered owners of cars without a license to forfeit their cars to the police by 31 February or face 7 years imprisonment. By the end of February, 500-600 cars were handed in. Ta-Khi-Laek authorities then ordered car owners to take their former cars to Kaeng-Tung Township at the owners expense. (Source: “Owners of Confiscated Cars in Ta-Khi-Laek Forced to Pay the Costs of Taking the Cars to Kaeng-Tung,” SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2005).
Go to Top
5.13 Situation in Tenasserim Division
Official and Unofficial Levies and Taxes
On 2 January 2005 at 12:00 pm, 9 soldiers from SPDC LIB 410 led by Sgt. Han Thu demanded 10,000 kyat from the Zim Ba village head. The troops bought and drank liquor with the money and beat up villagers after accusing them of being agents of the KNLA. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 3 January 2005, Battalion Comdr. Lt. Col. Win Hlaing of SPDC LIB 560 demanded from villages in the Htee Moe Pwa area of Ler Mu Lah Township 10,000 kyat per month for the transportation of food supplies. The affected villages were:
1. Pu Ret Ku village,
2. Ta Rwa Hta village,
3. Pa Htoo Klo village,
4. Day Plaw village,
5. Ler Pa Doe village and
6. Ta Baw Klo village. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 4 January 2005, approximately 7 soldiers from SPDC IB 285 led by Saya Nyunt Sein demanded 50,000 kyat from Ye Sha village, 20,000 kyat from Kay Ni village, and 50,000 kyat from San Di Win village in Ler Mu Lah Township under the claim that the money would be used to bribe superiors into not relocating the villages. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 30 January 2005, the Comdr. of the Maung Meh village militia unit, Pa Sein, demanded money from the following villages as compensation for the death of his son-in-law, Sgt. Nyo Hlaing who was killed in a conflict with resistance fighters:
1. Za Di Win village, 30,000 kyat;
2. Ye Shan village, 30,000 kyat;
3. Tha Ya Gon village, 30,000 kyat;
4. Pa Na Mi village, 30,000 kyat; and
5. Kay Ni village, 30,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 19 July 2005, SPDC LIB 406 troops demanded taxes in the amount of 100,000 kyat from each elephant owner, 30,000 kyat from each saw mill owner, and 60,000 kyat from each logging worker in the Ler Pa Doh area of Ler My Lar Township. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Following the destruction of the SPDC food storage unit near Ler Pa Doh village by KNLA Battalion 11 troops on 20 July 2005, the local SPDC Comdr. Col. Soe Thet, blamed villagers for failing to send information in time and demanded compensation from the following villages:
1. Beh Na Dee village, 500,000 kyat;
2. Day Wa Ta village, 300,000 kyat;
3. Kaw Maw Praw village, 200,000 kyat;
4. Thay Paw Na village, 400,000 kyat; and
5. Hsa Peh village, 450,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 13 December 2005, it was reported that TPDC authorities collected money from residents for the construction of a 4 mile long bridge from Kawthaung city to Ploktok village. Each family was required to pay 1,000 baht; each Karaoke bar was required to pay 3,000 baht; and businessmen were required to pay between 5,000 and 10,000 baht. The authorities also collected 1,500,000 kyat from gold shops and 2 gallons of petrol from each gas station. (Source: “Kawthaung Township Authorities Extorted Money from Civilians,” DVB, 13 December 2005).
Destruction of Property
On 10 June 2005 at 1:45 pm, Maj. Myo Oo of SPDC LIB 358 column 2 fired on a boat of villagers traveling in the Lay Nyar River in the Na Ka Plaw area killing villager Naw May May (age 56). The troops destroyed the boat and took away the boat engine. They also looted 200,000 kyat, 8 pyi of rice and other items from the boat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 12 June 2005, the Column 1 Comdr. of SPDC LIB 358 looted Bo So villagers' possessions. They also burnt down Saw Poe Cho's house and 320 tin of paddy, betel nut and banana and coconut plantations. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 1 January 2005 at 2:00 pm, 2 companies from SPDC LIB 560 led by Column 1 Comdr. Lt. Col. Win Hlaing accused Ler Pa Doe villager Saw Maung Aye of being an agent of the KNLA Battalion 11. After Saw Maung Aye fled, troops surrounded and fired on his father’s house resulting in the death of his father, Tee Hla Aye. The troops then looted Tee Hla Aye's household possessions, worth 300,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 30 January 2005, combined troops from SPDC No. 2 Military Training Center and SPDC IB 285 looted the items from the following Za Di Win villagers:
1. Saw Wa Kah, 1 locally made fire arm, 1 machete, 1 pot, 1 chicken and burnt 28 baskets of paddy;
2. Naw Yu Lee, 3 ducks and a backpack;
3. Pati Chit Hlaing, 2 ducks and 1 chicken;
4. Pati Maung Kyaw, 1 machete;
5. Naw Mu Aw Htay, 1,200 kyat,
6. Pati Pa Cho, 4 chickens, 1 machete and other items;
7. Pati Ka Nwe, 2 ducks and 1 chicken;
8. Pati Reeba, 1 duck;
9. Pati Saw Jack, 2 chickens, 1 sarong, 1 shirt, 1 pot and 4 chicken eggs;
10. Saw Bi Bi Shee, 4 chickens;
11. Pati Lah Seh, 1 mat, 1 machete and 1 chicken;
12. Pati Keh Klo, 1 camera;
13. Pati Paw Kha, 1 chicken;
14. Pati Gyi Ma, 1 chicken;
15. Pati Bwa Di, 1 chicken;
16. Pati Pyaw, 1 chicken;
17. Pati Ser Di, 1 chicken;
18. Saw Lah Bweh, 1 pot;
19. Saw Meh Di, 2 ducks;
20. Saya Pah, 2 ducks;
21. Aye Lwin, 1 duck and 1 machete;
22. Pati Byew, 1 duck ; and
23. Mu Gar Wah, 1 pot and 1 machete. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 21 April 2005 at 8:00 am, SPDC troops in the Ler Pa Doh area of Ler Mu Lar Township commandeered 10 boats from Ler Pa Doe villagers to transport food supplies to the local Military Command No.8 HQs. (Source: KIC, 2005).
On 17 September 2005 at 6:00 pm, 10 soldiers from SPDC IB 17 looted rice and other food items from Tha Moe villager Saw Klo Poe's (age 48) rubber plantation. The next day, the troops looted 10 sacks of rice, 1 pot and food items from Tha Moe villager Saw Klo Poe. (Source: KIC, 2005).
Go to Top
5.14 Situation in Other Locations in Burma
Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies
On 18 March 2005, 4 policemen extorted 100,000 kyat from a trader who was transporting 30 cows to sell in Mizoram State, India. The same policemen also extorted 80,000 kyat from another cattle trader from Daidin village, Gangaw Township, Magwe Division who had 11 cows. (Source: “Extortion Intensifies at India-Burma Border Trade Route,” Rhododendron News, CHRO, March - April 2005).
In September 2005, local authorities in Kalay city, Sagaing Division charged residents 300,000 kyat each to apply for a home telephone line. After paying the charge, the local authorities announced in October that the number of applications exceeded the availability of lines. The process was relegated to a lottery that was determined by applicants’ relationship to the authorities or bribes of 500,000 kyat. By December 2005, however, only those applicants related to the authorities received the telephone line while those who had paid the 500,000 kyat bribe had still not received the telephone line. (Source: “Civilians from Kalay City Are Miserable Due to Extortion by the Authorities,” DVB, 8 December 2005).
In September 2005, the SPDC raised factory and utility taxes in both Rangoon and Mandalay. Annual factory taxes were increased from 4,000 to 10,000 kyat forcing some factories to halt production. The tax on water and electricity also increased by 3 percent. (Source: “Tax and Utility Rates on the Rise in Burma,” Irrawaddy, 7 September 2005).
On 8 November 2005, it was reported that TPDC Chairman Saw Peter Twe and VPDC authorities jointly confiscated 80 acres of paddy fields from farmers in Kyapalat village, Hinthada Township, Irrawaddy Division. The paddy fields were then sold to businessmen who intend to build an industrial zone in the area. (Source: “Burmese Authorities Grab Land from Farmers,” DVB, 8 November 2005).
Destruction of Property
On 13 December 2005, it was reported that approximately 1,000 acres of ready to harvest paddy fields were seriously damaged or destroyed after monsoon flooding in Thone Gwa Township, Rangoon Division was exacerbated when authorities opened canal flood gates without warning farmers. To salvage some of the harvests, farmers reaped crops from small boats. Authorities did not provide any relief to the farmers. (Source: “Late Monsoon Downpours Destroyed Crops in Rangoon Thone Gwa Towship,” DVB, 13 December 2005).
Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
On 7 December 2005, it was reported that officials had taken donations from charity groups that were intended to assist the victims of the 28 November fire in Hlaing Township, Rangoon Division that affected 1,557 households including 2 Buddhist monasteries housing 101 monks. Charity groups raised donations to support the fire victims and prepared food packages containing gold and precious stones, which is considered a more stable form of currency in Burma. The SPDC officials stole the valuable items out of the packages as well as donated water. (Sources: “Charities and Celebrities Raised Fund for Rangoon Hlaing Fire Victims,” DVB, 7 December 2005; “Rangoon Fire Victims Ripped Off by Authorities,” Mizzima, 8 December 2005).
On 12 December 2005, it was reported that SPDC IB 70, 90 and 555 required cattle farmers in Kawmoo Township, Rangoon Division to register their cattle with the VPDC to prevent illegal cattle trading across the border to Thailand. Military authorities then fined farmers if the number of cattle decreased and confiscated cattle exceed the registered number. To recover the confiscated cattle, farmers were forced to pay between 6,000 and 7,000 kyat. (Source: “SPDC Military Confiscate Villagers’ Cattle in Kawmoo Township,” DVB, 12 December 2005).
Go to Top
Interview # 1
Source: Free Burma Rangers
Interview Date: June – July 2005
Residence: Nyaunglebin District
He was asked about his experiences and he said that in his village the SPDC soldiers often came and ate villagers’ animals and took other things belonging to villagers.
He said that he faced many problems because the SPDC troops burned down several houses in the village. He also said that while he and his family fled to the jungle, his wife and one of his sons died as a result of wasp bites. He reported that his village continues to live in fear because the military camp is only a one hour walk from his village. (Source: “IDPs Face Food Shortages as Farming Yields Fail on Western Karen State, Burma,” FBR, 10 October 2005).
Interview # 2
Source: Human Rights Foundation of Monland
Interview Date: Mid-2005
Age: 43 and 38 years
Residence: Ye Township
Sex: Male and female
My name is Nai K-- and since two months ago, my fruit plantations, about 3 acres of land, were seized by the local Burmese army which was based near my village. This is the reason that I left my native village. I really feel hurt, whenever I think about my land. It is full of betel-nut trees and other fruit trees like lemon and durain. There are approximately 3,000 betel nut trees alone and every year they can produce at least 60,000 betel nuts.
I can still remember the day they (the battalion commander) came and measured my land. When they came to my hut on my farm, they did not wear any uniforms. When they saw me, they asked me if I am the owner of the land and I said yes. And then they said that they are the soldiers from the battalion nearby and the reason they came to meet me was to let me know that the land was no longer owned by me and it only belongs to the government. To this day, I have not received any compensation from them.
Since that time, I have felt disappointed and hopeless at the same time. Finally, I discussed with my wife and decided to leave the village in order to find a new job for us to survive. (Source: “Land Confiscation and Other Abuses on the Serious Violation of Economics Rights,” The Mon Forum, HURFOM, June 2005).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Go to Top
|Table of Contents|