[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Burma Issues Annual Report, 1992; p (r)

Subject: Burma Issues Annual Report, 1992; part 3 of 5

BURMA ISSUES 1992 REPORT: Part 3 of 5

ASEAN and the Rohingyas
     Although ASEAN has failed to exert any official collective
pressure on Slorc to date, the grave problem of the ill-treatment
of Burma's Moslem Rohingyas has been the one issue that has managed 
to generate public criticism from some individual ASEAN nations
with significant Moslem populations of their own. Singapore joined
Malaysia in March 1992 with an unusually critical stance towards
the Slorc, over the treatment of the Muslim Rohingyas, saying that
the problem represented "a potential area of instability for the
region and human suffering." (BP, March 12,1992)  Thailand resisted
joining in the growing criticism for a time, after condemnations
were made by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, declaring, "there
is no need for us to take part in any official declaration to
condemn Burma".(BP, March 13,1992)  However, eventually they caved
in, and by March 21, all six ASEAN nations had come out with public
criticisms of Burma over the Moslem refugees issue, Philippines
joining in last.

The Japanese Role
     Japan, though not a part of ASEAN, is Asia's biggest economic
power, and increasingly influential politically in the region. So
far the Japanese have pursued a generally engaged policy of
dialogue with Burma, especially with regards to the possible
resumption of bilateral aid. Prior to the 1988 crackdown in Burma, 
Japan was Burma's #1 donor of ODA.  From July 12-14, 1992, Japan's
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Koji Kakizawa, visited Rangoon,
and talked with Maj. General Khin Nyunt, and Foreign Minister Ohn
Gyaw, about the aid question. The Japanese termed the visit a more
"meaningful" diplomatic effort than the Western calls for pressure.
At the ASEAN conference in July, Kakizawa made no mention of Burma,
however. Despite Japan's conciliatory moves, it seems unlikely that
aid will be resumed anytime soon, since Japan has now tied human
rights criterion to its foreign aid disbursements.

The US Role
     The US, on the other hand, has periodically played a strong,
vocal role in criticizing ASEAN for its accommodating position
towards Slorc. Secretary of State, James Baker, made a strong
appeal for renewed ASEAN pressure against Burma at the last
ministerial gathering, in opposition to its constructive engagement
policy.  At the ASEAN ministerial conference in Manila in July he
stated that the U.S. "does not see much progress on the human
rights front, and we see zero progress towards democracy", in
Burma.  He asserted that, "collectively, our message to the Burmese
military authorities must be loud and clear: Release all political
prisoners immediately, and begin a genuine dialogue aimed at
rapidly transferring power to a democratically elected government."
Robert Zeollick, U.S Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs,
highlighted further the "terrible flight" of the Rohingyas, as a
sign that it was time to say "enough is enough", to a government
whose brutality was "an offense against the civilized world and a
source of instability.", he declared, in adding to the strong US
     Another strong voice of opposition to constructive engagement
recently emerged from the director of the Institute for Strategic
and International Studies(ISIS) in Thailand, which hosted the First
ASEAN Congress this year in Kuala Lumpur, on the occasion of
ASEAN's 25th anniversary as a regional organization.  He challenged
ASEAN to make itself "relevant" in the region, by pressuring
countries like Burma to halt human rights abuses. "To make ASEAN
relevant, ASEAN must choose to make its stand on many questions
which it has not touched on before - the questions of human rights,
the environment, and democracy", he explained. Singapore's Foreign
Minister Wong, an ASEAN ministerial member, agreed later in an
off-the-record discussion, saying that Thailand should take the
lead in exerting such pressure. "Thailand, being the closest
neighbor, should show the way.", he concurred.(TN, Oct.11,1992) 
Indonesia's former foreign minister, who also attended the 25th
anniversary conference, joined in the chorus calling for Thailand
to take the initiative for change in Burma. He  believes that the
Thai know Burmese thinking best, and are therefore best positioned
for the role.
     Singapore's Foreign Minister Wong also went on to describe a
recent collective ASEAN encounter with Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn
Gyaw at the UN in September, which typified  ASEAN's current
inadequate approach to the Burmese issue.  After Ohn Gyaw had
presented the Slorc line to the ASEAN members, Wong admits, "we
being Asians, just listened to him, and we'll wait to see what
happens next."(BP, Oct.11,1992)  

     The growing international consensus seems to be indicating
that constructive engagement in Burma must go. As the experience of
South Africa vividly demonstrated in the 1980's, economic sanctions
are probably the most powerful instrument outside nations can use
to facilitate progressive change in a context of widespread human
rights violations. The South African government was forced to come
to the negotiating table due to the economic crunch of an
international boycott, and has now started down the long road that
inevitably will achieve the dismantling of the repugnant apartheid
system. ASEAN should learn from this example, and recognize that
constructive engagement with regimes like Slorc represent a failure
of both practical and moral reasoning, and a is collusion with evil
which brings with it long-term and multiple negative consequences
for all involved. Thailand in particular, with its close economic
ties and powerful influence, should begin to take the lead in being
a catalyst for change. In reality, its long-term economic interests
will be best served by fostering peace, stability, and democracy
within its neighbors, rather than propping up an archaic, brutal
system which the tides of history inevitably will bring crashing
down, sooner or later. Hopefully, it will get on the right side of
history before it is deeply harmed by its short-sighted decisions.
As for the EC and the US, while it should continue to bring
pressure to bear on ASEAN, its "witness" would be immensely more
powerful if its own corporations were not heavily invested in Burma
currently, particularly in the lucrative gas and oil industries.
This hypocritical double standard of condemning on the governmental
level, while raking in profits on the corporate one, makes their
moral and political position vulnerable to attack. The old adage of
practicing what one preaches, remains the best policy in the
foreign affairs arena.  By implementing an international boycott
against Burma on all levels, the outside world, headed up by
ASEAN(especially Thailand), and regional powerhouse Japan, could
give the Burmese people a chance for a better future, free from the
miseries of war, deprivation, and brutality.  The ASEAN nations
should heed the advice of the ISIS, and begin to factor human
rights, environment, and democracy into its economic investment
decisions internationally, as well as simultaneously address their
own internal problems, to avoid the pitfall of double standards.  
Perhaps the unifying issue of the plight of Burma's Moslem
Rohingyas can be a springboard from which ASEAN can move on to
collectively addressing the broader problem of Slorc illegitimacy,
injustices, and human rights violations against its own
long-suffering people. 


     The individual story of Naw Ler Eh (name changed) helps to
capture a sense of the broader suffering which thousands of ethnic
minorities inside Burma experience regularly under the Slorc
regime.  Naw Ler Eh is a 28 year old Karenni Baptist woman, married
and with 3 children, ages 3, 6, and 8, from Deemawso Township in
Karenni State. Her struggles over the past year highlight the
painful reality of a villager's life at the receiving end of the
Burmese Army's systematic counter-insurgency strategy in rural
minority areas.
     In late 1991, the Army came to Naw Ler Eh's village looking
for porters. Since many of the village men were hiding in the
jungle, they took her and 25 others, instead. Leaving her children
behind, she had to carry a 30 kg. load through the jungle for a
month. They were given only a handful of rice to eat each day, and
often beaten with rifle butts if they slowed down. She witnessed
the beating deaths of two men and a woman, during the trip. She and
other women porters were raped by the soldiers. Everyone got
malaria, but they had to continue marching with their loads without
a break. After a month she and 3 others tried to escape. 2 of them
were shot, but she managed to get away and return to her village.
     She had only been back with her family for a few months when,
in March 1992, the Slorc troops came again, and ordered the whole
village to be relocated to a new Army site, or they would be shot. 
Bringing only a bag of rice, which she carried on her back while
holding her 3 yr. old in the front, they had to leave all other
possessions behind to be taken or destroyed by the Army. With her
husband and 3 children they walked for two days to reach the Army
concentration camp in Deemawso.
     In the camp they were packed into a 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile area
with 2000 other families, and were never allowed to leave unless
they had a special Army pass. Their only water supply, a nearby
lake, was unfit for drinking, and many children and elderly people
died from dysentery and other diseases, since no medical treatment
was provided. Naw Ler Eh's own 6 year old daughter got dysentery,
but managed to survive. Having only the rice they brought with
them, and not being allowed to plant new crops, many families ran
out of food after a month, and some people began to starve. Her
husband was taken to work for a time on the Aung Ban-Loikaw "death
railway" project. All the workers there were half-starved, many
sick with malaria, and some died from vicious beatings or disease.
     As camp conditions became unbearable, her family and 30 others
decided to escape on the night of June 1, 1992. They walked through
the jungle for 3 weeks, one time meeting a Slorc patrol, which shot
and killed 2 of them. They finally reached a Karenni rebel area,
but since there was little food for them, they continued walking
south through the jungle. They were now internal refugees within
their own country, afraid to go home, cut off from their own food,
shelter, community, and way of life, as well as international aid
and awareness of any kind. Naw Ler Eh and her family live every day
in this context of displacement and insecurity.
     Naw Ler Eh's personal experience gives a ground-level view of
how the Slorc's structural policies are implemented onto
individual's lives.  Her personal encounters with forced labor,
rape, beatings, malnourishment, sickness, forced relocation,
killings, intimidation, concentration camps, and continuing
internal displacement mirror the widespread reality of thousands of
individuals who's stories are expressed in this report as brief
impersonal statistics of human rights abuses in Burma in 1992.
     Although it is artificial to divide up the Slorc's
comprehensive attack on minority people into separate categories,
since in real life different types of abuse are inflicted
simultaneously in an oppressive mix,  the documentation below is
classified into distinct headings, anyway. These headings include
forced relocation, forced labor, internal refugees, political
prisoners, theft, extortion, and violence.  A brief explanation of
the nature of each category follows below. 
     A more expansive definition of "forced relocation" is
succinctly summarized by the recent Amnesty International report on
human rights abuses in Burma, which describes the Slorc's strategic
counter-insurgency policy of "the Four Cuts": "Using a strategy
known as "the Four Cuts", the military attempts to cut links to
intelligence, food, money, and recruits between armed opposition
groups and local civilians. Large areas are declared "free-fire
zones"; ethnic minority communities are forced to move to
"strategic hamlets" under strict curfews and rigid controls; crops
and villages are destroyed; and expulsion orders warn that any
villagers remaining in their homes will be shot on sight.  During
these operations, the Army arbitrarily kills civilians, rapes and
otherwise tortures villagers during interrogation, and arrests
thousands of people, many of whom are subject to ill-treatment in
custody.  Anyone suspected of having contact with insurgents is at
risk of gross abuse; whole villages believed sympathetic to the
opposition, or villages which have simply been visited by
insurgents, are vulnerable to attack by the military.  In some
areas, all the villages have been designated "black" by the
authorities, meaning anyone found there can be shot on
sight."(Amnesty International - "Myanmar - No Law at All - Human
rights violations under military rule", Oct. 16, 1992)
     The same Amnesty report describes forced labor in the
following manner: "Hundreds of thousands of villagers in minority
areas have been forcibly conscripted or seized by the military to
work as porters, carrying arms, ammunition, and other supplies, or
as unpaid laborers building roads and army camps or working on
commercial projects. Porters and laborers are frequently detained
at their workplaces or at army camps, and are severely ill-treated,
even killed. Many have died from exhaustion and neglect, others
have been beaten to death, still others have been extrajudicially
executed for disobeying orders or for trying to escape."(Amnesty
International, "Myanmar", Oct. 16, 1992)
     The internal refugee problem is perhaps the gravest of all
human situations in Burma.  Estimates of anywhere from 1-1.5
million internally displaced refugees, mainly ethnic minorities
hidden deep inside Burma's border jungle areas, highlight a serious
humanitarian crisis. Fleeing in fear from the Slorc's systematic
use of forced labor, forced relocation, violence, and deprivation
in rural areas, these people struggle daily for survival, cut off
from their natural sources of food, shelter, community, and
livelihood, and almost totally isolated from international aid or
awareness. Their struggle is the least-known, but most serious
human rights situation in Burma today. 
     Amnesty International also comments on the issue of political
prisoners, saying that, "unofficial sources claim that more than
3000 people were imprisoned for political reasons in the second
half of 1989 alone.  Since then, hundreds more political prisoners
have been detained in Slorc attempts to silence opposition. Amnesty
International has documented the cases of over 1500 named political
prisoners, most of whom are still being held.  However, this figure
evidently represents only a small portion of the total number of
political prisoners in Burma. Between April and 20 September 1992,
for instance, 427 political prisoners were released by Slorc; only
65 of whom were previously known by Amnesty International."(Amnesty
International, Oct. 16, 1992)  Thousands of common prisoners are
also badly treated by Slorc, and are used on a large scale as army
porters and human minesweepers in frontline offensives, as well as
for forced labor in various development projects. 
     Theft, extortion, and violence are largely self-explanatory. 
The "violence" category includes rapes, beatings, killings,
torture, destruction of villages, mortar shell attacks etc.
     The abuses are also catalogued into different minority groups
headings, especially Karen, Karenni, Shan, Rohingyas, Kachin,
Prisoners, and General. Amnesty International states that they have
"documented a gross and consistent pattern of human rights
violations by the Burmese government security forces against
members of the Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, and Shan ethnic
minorities, as well as Muslim Rohinygas in the Arakan State."
(Amnesty International, Oct. 16, 1992).
     Standard abbreviations used are Prov.= province, TS =
township, Reg.= Regiment, LIB = Light Infantry Battalion, Div.=
Division, HR= Human Rights etc.. All abuses occurred within the
year 1992. Reference footnotes are defined at the end of the

HR Abuses against the Karen
     The Karen are probably Burma's largest ethnic minority. The
Karen National Union(KNU) is without doubt the strongest insurgent
force fighting the Slorc, and their armed struggle for
self-determination has been going on for 43 years, one of the
longest running civil wars in the world.  Last year, the Slorc
offensive against the Karen was one of the biggest ever, and the
coming dry-season will reveal another all-out attempt by Slorc to
destroy the Karen resistance. Slorc's oppression of the Karen is
especially intense, widespread, and long-lasting, as their capacity
to resist has proven uniquely durable.  
- forced labor - Karen villagers in Bilin TS are used as human
minesweepers. An 8-10 mile stretch of road between Kyat Thaungse
and Kyo Waing is swept for mines by women and children from local
villages each time the Army transports want to pass through(approx.
1x/week). First the women walk through sweeping with brooms,
followed by elderly men who are forced to drag heavy logs over the
road with their bullock carts. Women, children, and the elderly are
recruited since the men have deserted the villages, because they
will be shot on sight by the Army, as rebel guerrillas. Village
women have also been used at least 4 times (April 21,1992 being one
documented incident) as human shields for army patrols who suspect
a possible rebel ambush.(OFA/11A/042)
- violence - A 12 yr.old boy from Pyinma Bin Seit village, Bilin
TS, was shot and killed by an Army patrol. His 6 yr.old brother was
captured also. His fate is unknown. The Army has been known to
execute captured children or teenagers, to keep them from "growing
up to be rebels".(OFA/11A/042)
- forced relocation - In Kyauk Kyi TS, after any fighting has
occurred nearby a village, the Army will arrive in 2-3 days to
forcibly relocate the villagers to a new Army location.  Villagers
must carry all their own food, which is then taken from them and
rationed out, one meal a day. The army also consumes a good portion
of villager food. Villagers attempting to return to their homes
will be shot on sight as "rebel sympathizers".(OFA/11A/042)
- forced labor - In Hlaing Bwe TS, local Army officers demand a
quota of porters from each village. If the village headmen does not
deliver enough of the strongest villagers, the town is attacked and
burned to the ground. Recruited villagers often must do the most
dangerous jobs of running messages, and clearing jungle around the
Army camps.(OFA/11A/042)
- extortion - Also in Hlaing Bwe area, women and girls are
kidnapped by soldiers, and a ransom of 5000 kyats is demanded for
their return. The demand goes up 1000 kyats each day. If no payment
is made the women are taken away as army porters.(OFA/11A/042)
- theft and violence - Food is routinely stolen from villagers by
the Army in Hlaing Bwe TS. Carts, cars, and trucks are also seized
for Slorc use. In one case,  a villager's truck had been stolen by
the Army, and was later destroyed by a rebel land mine. The Army
returned to the village (Pa Kyaw), and demanded 700,000 kyats as
compensation for their "loss".  This divided out to several hundred
kyats per village family. 2 villagers were randomly executed to
enforce their demand.(OFA/11A/042)
- forced relocation - In late 1991 and early 1992, about 40,000
civilians from 17 villages in Thayetchsung TS, Mergui-Tavoy
District, Tennansserin Div., were forcibly relocated by the Army
into camps along the Ye-Tavoy highway.(Info.Ser., KNU report)
- internal refugees - 552 displaced persons, who escaped the Army's
relocation campaign in the Mergui-Tavoy area, are now living in
Kaserdoh TS, a KNU liberated zone, and are struggling to live on
insufficient supplies from the KNU.(Info.Ser., KNU report)
- forced labor and violence - Reports from villagers who escaped
from the Army camp in Thayetchsung TS, describe conditions of
forced labor. The people must work 5 days a week for the Army,
leaving only 2 days for them to make their own living, and support
their families. They are forced to build roads, barracks, and serve
as porters. 4 people of Eh Eh village were murdered by the
Army.(Info.Ser., KNU report)
- forced relocation and refugees - In Feb.1992 3 Karen villages in
Lerdohsoe TS were relocated along the Ye-Tavoy highway. This
campaign resulted in many refugees fleeing across the border to
Thailand, with over 1000 ending up in 5 border camps. Others remain
internally displaced and in need of food and medicine.(Info Ser.,
KNU report) 
- violence - 9 Karen villages in Bogale TS, in the Delta region,
were destroyed by helicopter and gunship fire, and at least 60
wounded civilians executed in the mop-up operation that
followed.(Amnesty International, Oct. 16, 1992)
- forced relocation - The villagers of Shaw Pya, in Bilin TS, were
forcibly relocated to the army town of Lao Kheu, last rainy season.
They had to scrounge for their own food, and build their own huts,
in the already overcrowded town. The army denied the farmers access
outside of the town, by planting land mines in the surrounding
forest, and thus forced the villagers to forage for sparse, needed
firewood within the village itself. They also weren't allowed to
plant rice crops, and many families were running out of food and
starving. With no medicine or clean water provided, over 50
children and old people have died of diseases. 2 villagers were
beaten to death with bamboo sticks when they attempted to return to
Shaw Pya without Army passes. One suspected KNU sympathizer from
Shaw Pya who had fled, had his wife and 3 yr. old child thrown into
jail as a punishment. Their fate is unknown.(0FA/11A/042)
- forced labor - Relocated villagers from Shaw Pya living in Lao
Kheu were forced to dig trenches, portage, work cane fields, and
build fences for the local Slorc unit, in Bilin TS. (0FA/11A/042)
- internal refugees - The KNU reports that around 6000 Karen
internal refugees from Mudraw Prov. are in desperate need of food,
clothing, and medicine. The Slorc offensive against Manerplaw has
ravaged their fields, destroyed generations-old betel nut, coconut,
and fruit plantations, and burned down their homes and rice
barns.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992) 
 - internal refugees - Villages in Pa'an Prov. have also been
looted and destroyed by the onslaught of the Slorc's Manerplaw
offensive. Thousands, including women and children, have been used
as army porters. Uncooperative villages have been shelled by mortar
fire. 20% of the locals have fled to Thailand, but approximately
8000 remain in a desperate condition of displacement inside
Burma.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992)
- internal refugees - A similar devastated situation as in Pa'an
and Mudraw exists in Thaton Prov., where approx.1600 displaced
villagers struggle for survival.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992)
- internal refugees - Some 30 families (140 people) fled the Army
camp at Aye Chan Thaya, in Nyaunglebia Prov., to KNU areas, where
they remain as refugees.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992)
- forced relocation and internal refugees - Villages in Taungoo
Prov. have been relocated, with the Army threatening to shoot any
person found still at the villages within 15-20 days of their
declaration. The concentration camps these villagers end up in jam
5 families into a single-family house, with no food or firewood
provided, and only the little food they brought with them to eat,
which the Army rations out daily. After a month of these conditions
many fled to the jungle, and around 1850 are now displaced and
unable to return home from fear.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992) 
- forced relocation - On May 27, 1992 everyone in the villages of
Thatay Gone, Nga Lauk, Lun Bu, Pren Sein, Sein Peh Par, Twah Ni
Gone, Ye Leh, Ta Maw Ma, Po Thaung Po, Tur Paw, and Myet Yeh of the
Nyaunglebia Province were forced to relocate, most of them to a
buffalo grazing field settlement, named Aye Chan Thaya ("Peaceful
Town") by the Army.(KNU Urgent Appeal, June 3, 1992)
- forced labor and extortion - In Wah Pu village of Pa'an Prov.
villagers must provide forced labor and food to the local Army
camps. Wah Pu is required to daily provide 2 messengers, 2 porters,
and 24 kg. of meat, or the equivalent in cash. Per month this
extortion would cost the village 18,000 kyats, or 280 kyats per
villager(most Karen villagers have no more than 100 kyats on hand,
plus their food supply). Their choice is either to be slaves for
the Army, and kill their own livestock, or bankrupt themselves in
trying to pay the monthly fee.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- forced labor and extortion - In Loh Baw village of Pa'an Prov.
villagers must produce 5 messengers, 8 porters, and 48 kg. of meat
a day for the Army, or pay monthly the equivalent of 51,000 kyats,
or 255 kyats per family.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- violence - Karen villages which do not cooperate with the Army
demands for labor, food, or money have been shelled with mortar
fire. In 1992 Slorc has shelled the villages of No Ti Leh, Kaw
Klaw, Ler Pu, Kaw Nyan, and Lo Saw Leh in Pa'an Prov. alone,
usually 6 or 7 shells each. This "punishment" usually achieves the
desired result, and the villages quickly pay up or provide their
labor.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992) 
- extortion and forced labor - Each village tract in Doo Yaw TS
must pay the salary of 40 Slorc militiamen, around 60,000 kyats,
plus 10,200 kyats more to avoid the forced labor requirement of 3
porters, and 1 messenger per village. 1000-1500 kyats worth of meat
per month, and 500 shingles of roof leaf and bamboo materials for
construction are also required "donations" to the Army. Those who
can't pay become temporary Army slaves. Besides having to provide
all building materials for Army barracks free, villagers must also
perform all the construction work without pay. Villagers often have
little time or resources left to meet their own family's needs, and
end up fleeing to the jungle and the insecure life of displacement.
(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- forced labor - In Dta Greh TS, 5 women are taken by the Army from
each village as porters, for a total of 100 for the area(most
village men flee from the even worse treatment they'll receive at
the Army's hands). Each woman, even pregnant ones, must carry at
least a 16 kg. load for 10 days to Slorc frontline bases at Maw Po
Kay and Meh La. Rapes, beatings, and deaths from malaria are not
uncommon.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- theft - On June 19, 1992 Capt. Khin Maung Tint of the 338th
Battalion seized 15,000 kyats worth of food from Dta Greh village.
(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- forced relocation - The 22nd Div. began a forced relocation in
March, 1992 of 22 villages containing 1520 families, to 2 separate
army camps at Dta Greh and Hlaing Bwe.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
- forced relocation - 11 villages of Neh Bu TS were ordered to
relocate to the Kawareik-Myawaddy Rd., 18 miles from their
homes.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
 - forced relocation and theft - Capt. Kyee Myint of the 24th
Regiment ordered 3 villages of Thaton TS to be torn down, and moved
to a former rubber plantation and palm yard. The rubber and palm
trees were cleared off and no payment given to the owners (approx.
annual loss of 20,000 kyat in latex, and 50,000 kyat worth of palm
roofing) Each relocated family had to pay 500 kyat for a small
space on which to build a hut.(KNU report,Sep.11, 1992)           
 -  forced relocation - On July 16, 1992, Na Ga Na Kee village was
relocated several miles away to Pa Ghaw by the 88th Light Infantry,
Battalion 318.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
 - forced relocation - On Aug. 8, 1992, the 96th Regiment of Maj.
Zaw Win relocated Mi Kyaw Aye village, which is near a forest, to
Mi Yan Gon, an open field next to the Moulmein-Rangoon Highway.
There is no land available to plant crops there, and they have only
the food they brought along to survive on.(KNU report,Sep.11, 1992)
 - forced relocation and extortion - In Nyaunglebin Prov. 22
villages of 1565+ families, and 8325+ people, have been relocated
in April and May, 1992 by the 57th and 60th Regiments. Many
villages paid extortion fees again and again to prevent their
imminent relocation, but eventually all their wealth was depleted
and they had to move anyway. 3 villages had paid 30,000 kyats to
the Army to postpone their removal, to no avail. The villagers must
store their rice at the Slorc camp, which is several miles from
their own campsite, and travel there every few days to receive
their meager rations. Since they are given only a short notice to
move, most must leave their possessions and animals behind, to be
taken by Slorc or destroyed. Any villager returning to their true
home will be shot.(KNU report, April-May, 1992)
 - forced relocation and extortion - In Taungoo Prov., 8 villages
with 630+ families were relocated to 2 new Army sites in the last
week of April, 1992. Their rice is stored 5 miles from their camp,
and is often difficult to reach in rainy season. 6 other villages
in the area have managed to pay enough extortion fees to the Army
camp commander at Kler Lar to prevent their uprooting thus far. The
Kaw Thay Der village paid 20,000 kyats in the last of 3 payments to
the Army.(KNU report, Sep. 11, 1992)
 - forced labor and extortion - When Slorc troops came to Meh Way
village in April in search of army porters, and found all the young
men and women had fled, they kidnapped 8 old men, and 5 old women,
demanding 15,000 kyats for their return.(KNU report, Sep.11, 1992)
 - violence and extortion - On May 8, 1992, Battalion 264 and LIB
351 came into Po Lo No village of Nyaunglebin Prov., and kidnapped
4 village elders, and 4 others, who were badly beaten and held for
a ransom of 58,000 kyats.(KNU report, Sep. 17, 1992)
 - forced labor and extortion - On Sep. 3, 1992, 7 people from Ta
Kaw Pwa village, Nyaunglebin Prov., were taken as army porters.
Some had paid the 4000 kyats fee for release from service, but were
forced to go anyway. (KNU report, Sep. 17, 1992)
 - violence - On Aug.10, 1992, troops from LIB 349 severely beat up
and buried alive, the elderly U Maung Saw. He managed to dig
himself out 2 days later.(KNU report, Sep. 17,1992)
 - extortion - An owner of a sawmill was forced to "contribute" 2
tons of teak wood for free to Regs. 73 and 79. Fees to escape army
porter service rose from 1000 to 6000 and even 10,000 kyats in some
areas.(KNU report, Sep. 23, 1992)
 - forced labor - Troops from the 36th Reg. posted at Kyone Pyaw TS
Irrawaddy Div., have seized 20 villagers in the past months, none
of whom have ever been seen again.(KNU report, Aug.13,'92) 
 - theft - Serg. Aye Ko of the 36th Reg. in Kyone Pyaw TS,
Irrawaddy Div., seized all the fishing nets and traps of the
villagers, and banned all fishing there. The nets were later resold
for 400 kyats a piece.(KNU report, Aug. 13, 1992)
 - forced conscription - Every village in the Kyone Pyaw region
must provide at least one person every month to the Army to replace
troops killed a battle, and for use in the Army's "Human Wave"
assaults at the front.(KNU report, Aug. 13, 1992)
 - forced labor and extortion - For a 3 month period(March-May
1992) in the Kyone Pyaw area, one person from each household was
required to work at digging over 1000 fishponds. No pay or food was
given, and 4500 kyats was also extorted from those who could afford
to pay.(KNU report, Aug. 13, 1992)
 - extortion - Farmers from the Kyone Pyaw region of the Irrawaddy
Div. are required to sell 60 tins of rice to the army at well below
market price (from an average harvest of 80 tins). They often must
sell their livestock and possessions to make up the loss. Other
rice is taken outright as a "pagoda tax", even from Christians.
(KNU report, Aug. 13, 1992)
 - extortion - Slorc Regs. 10, 317, and 14, while building a
military convoy road to "Sleeping Dog Mountain", destroyed many
farmer's fields in the process, and took rice from villagers for
rations, promising to pay back later. After a KNLA ambush destroyed
30 of their trucks, the Army returned to the local villages and
demanded they pay 500,000 kyat in compensation for each truck. As
this was impossible, the Army instead canceled the debts they owned
the villagers for rice etc..(KNU report, Sep.11, 1992) 
 - forced labor - According to the KNU over 700 civilian porters,
under command of the Army, died during the fighting of March, 1992.
(The Nation, Apr. 4, 1992)
 - violence - 7 Karen women were killed, after being raped and
beaten by soldiers of the 59th LIB, at Wah Kee village, and all the
homes there were burned down, also. Three other Karen women of
Tee-per-kee village(Naw Loh, 40; Naw Gai, 28; and Naw Gay, 12) were
gang-raped by soldiers of the 108th LIB. (The Nation,Apr.4 1992)
 - forced labor - The NCGUB claims that 1000 porters have been
taken to serve 2000 Slorc troops opposite Mae Hong Son province
along the Thai border in Aug. '92, as they gear up for the new
dry-season offensive.(0FA/11A/079)

 HR Abuses against the Karenni (Kayah)

     The Karenni, or Kayah, or "Red Karen", are close cousins of
the Karen, and like them have their own State within Burma. There
are two small Karenni rebel groups fighting Rangoon.
 - forced relocation - On May 21, 1992 Slorc ordered 76 villages in
the Pruso, Deemawso, and Loikaw TS of Karenni State to relocate.
Over 20,000 people were affected, but thousands fled to Karen and
Karenni rebel areas, or to relatives in the cities. Around 7000
villagers were interned at Deemawso camp, and another 7000 at
Pruso. Many had to walk 35 miles to reach the campsite, bringing
only a supply of rice, and leaving all else behind. Deprived of
medicine, over 50 elderly and children died from dysentery in the
first month alone, as a result of the camp's unclean water supply. 
Others have died from starvation, since they only had one month of
rice supply, and cannot plant new crops.(Karenni Rep., Aug.10,1992) 
 - forced labor - Each month 1000 new people from the Deemawso and
Pruso concentration camps are taken to work on the Loikow-Aung Ban
railway project. Some railway workers were beaten to death, or died
from diseases, and all were malnourished. This project has received
money from the UNDP, under its "Border Areas Development" program,
whose projects mainly serve to provide Slorc with better access to
jungle insurgents via new roads etc.. Hundreds of others in these
two camps have been taken to the front as army porters.(Karenni
Report, Aug.10, 1992)    
 - internal refugees - as conditions in these camps become
unbearable, many escape into the jungle to hide. The KNPLF and the
KNPP (both Karenni rebel groups) are struggling to support 1500+
refugees a piece, and at least a 1000 more are hiding in the
isolated jungle.(Karenni Report, Aug.10, 1992) 
 - forced labor - Maung Thu, 35, one of 8 escaped Karenni army
porters, claimed that, of 200 porters being used to support 80
Slorc troops, only about 100 survived. The rest were beaten to
death, or starved, or died from disease.(Bangkok Post, Oct.13,1992) 
- violence - Several Karenni army porters were accused of being
rebel sympathizers, made to strip, and hung from trees. They were
tortured and stabbed by soldiers, who left them hanging in the sun
all day, and without shelter all night.(OFA/12FA/013)

HR Abuses against the Shan
     The Shan, ethnically close to the Thai people to the south,
have been one of the historically dominant groups in Burma, along
with the Burmans and the Mon. The Shan State is probably most known
for producing the world's largest supply of opium and heroin,
though this is not the cause of conflict, since the Slorc closely
cooperates with the groups involved in the lucrative drug trade. 
 - violence - The following men were tortured, or shot, to death
from the village of Nar Naung, in the Shan State, in Jan. 1992:
Saing Sai, 33;Saing Shwe, 22;Pu Sarn Shwe, 40;Loong Sarm, 30;Pui
Loi Kaw, 40. Earlier, 15 women from this same village were
kidnapped and raped by the Army.(OFA/11A/017)
 - forced relocation - 70 households from the Wan Loi village,
Northern Shan State, were ordered by the 33rd LIB to relocate.
These 300+ people were forced to abandon their farms and crops. 1
man, Seng Noung, 25, was beaten and thrown into the river, from
which he died.(OFA/11A/017)
 - forced relocation and theft - Slorc units from the 68th and
240th Brigades, led by Capt.Tin Win, burned 5 houses in Harng Parng
village, 27 more in Ho Kyain, and seized 31,800 kyats worth of
belongings from the villages of the Mong Haint Circle, during a
systematic relocation of the whole area.(OFA/11A/017)
 - forced labor - 7 men and 8 women from Wan Kong village, Shan
State, were forced to be army porters.(OFA/11A/017)
 - extortion - After a rebel attack near certain villages, the Army
returned, and demanded 210,000 kyats from Vieng Ngin, Wan Nam Long,
Wan Nowk, and Wan Kun Pann villages.(Shan St. Rep.,Apr.16, 1992)
 - forced labor - Forced labor was coerced from Moung Hypat
village(for LIB 221), Moung Hkatt(LIB 227), Tar Lay(LIB 316), and
Moung Yonng(3rd Chin Rifles). Villagers labored from dawn to dusk
for no pay, and with no rations. Some have been killed or
permanently disabled by torture if they complained.(OFA/11A/024)
 - forced relocation - Villagers from Nowng Noon, and Keng Tung,
had all their land taken, their homes destroyed, and were forced to
move elsewhere, leaving all possessions behind.(OFA/11A/024)
 - forced labor - In Moung Pyin town, villagers were forced to cut
down teak forest to generate money for the Army, and clear land for
army barracks. No pay or rations were given, and those who didn't
work paid 50 kyats, and food packets. Housing material was also
taken for free, and complaints led to torture.(OFA/11A/024)
 - forced labor and theft - Nar Too and Wan Lao villages had 1000,
and 1200 acres confiscated, respectively, and earnings from their
labor go only to the local battalion.(OFA/11A/024)

HR Abuses Against the Kachin
     The Kachin also have their own State in the mountainous north
of Burma, and the Kachin Independence Organization(KIO) is a
significant resistance force in the allied minority front against
the Slorc.
 - violence - On Jan. 7, 1992, Kareng La Tawng, 34, was beaten to
death by Ser.Maj. Maung Pu, of the 29th Reg.. In Nov.1991, the same
officer had murdered another Kachin villager.(OFA/11A/055)
 - violence - On Feb. 2, 1992, a platoon of the 15th Reg. entered
Mohnyin village and burnt down 25 Kachin homes. Myin Ting, 37, was
shot to death at that time.(OFA/11A/055)
 - forced relocation - In March, 1992, the village of Shwe Gu was
burned and the villagers forced to move to the Army-controlled town
of Bhamo.(OFA/11A/055)
 - forced relocation and violence - Between Jan. and Feb. 9th,
1992, 21 Kachin villages in the KIO 4th Brigade area of Northern
Shan State were burnt to the ground, and villagers were driven
closer to a local Slorc-controlled highway. The Army burnt down
their rice barns, destroyed their fields, killed their domestic
animals, and looted or destroyed all their household
 - forced relocation - Between Feb.15 and Mar.20, 1992 16 more
Kachin villages were rounded up and moved to 3 seperate Slorc camps
at Nam Hku, Mung Hkawng Pa, and Ja Chyai Pa.(OFA/12FA/019)
 - violence - On March 15, 1992, Maj. Ong Win of Reg.312 entered
Bang Nang village, and stripped and severly beat many villagers,
including women, children, and elderly.(OFA/12FA/019)
 - violence - Slorc Regs. 47 & 38 burnt down the villages of Mau
Dau, Bum Ring, Mru Yin Sung, and Nhkong Gat Pa, of the Bhamo
District, Kachin State, on the 5th, 6th, and 9th of
 - violence - On Apr.5, 1992, Army Regs.38 & 309 entered Prang
Hu-Dung village in Bhamo district, and bombarded the local Catholic
church with Bazooka rockets. 8 children and 1 nun were killed and
many wounded.(OFA/12FA/019)

 HR Abuses against the Rohingyas in Arakan State
     The Rohingyas are a large Moslem minority group within Burma's
Arakan State along the border with India and Bangladesh.  Over the
last two years over 300,000 of them have fled into Bangladesh to
escape Slorc persecution.  A helpful summary of the HR situation
among the Rohingyas was outlined in an Amnesty International report
on them in May, 1992, stating that, "the Burmese Army has been
going into Buthindaung and Maungdaw townships in the
Arakan(Rakhine) State, and occupying and closing mosques, seizing
farmer's livestock and crops, using villagers for forced labor,
evicting villages from their homes, extorting money from villagers,
raping women, and torturing and executing both men and women, young
and old, and beating porters who have collapsed from exhaustion,
and leaving them to die.(OFA/11A/085)
 - forced labor - Reports tell of 300 Rohingyas used as army
porters. 50 of this group died, at least 20 of them were kicked and
beaten to death when they collapsed under their loads.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence and forced labor - The Army kidnapped and raped 30
women from 1 village, after all the men had fled to avoid forced
labor. The men returned, were exchanged for the women, beaten up,
and then taken to be porters. 3 men died on the trip.(OFA/11A/085)
 - forced labor and violence - Eyewitness reports of at least 70
porter deaths, from torture, beatings, disease, etc.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence - On Feb.10, 1992, 55 Rohingyas refugees were killed
when the Army open fired on them while they were crossing a river
at the border. 20 were shot to death, and 35 drowned.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence - A village headman in Buthindaung TS was tortured and
then murdered in Jan.92 when he could not produce enough porters
for the Army.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence - A teacher in Maungdaw TS, who had helped collect
crops and money from villagers for the Army, had his throat slit in
front of his wife, when he refused to continue.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence - A former govt. official witnessed the shooting of a
farmer by the Army. He had been trying to convince the farmer to
give up his cows to the soldiers.(OFA/11A/085)
 - violence - On Feb.11, 1992, 50 men from Laudong village were
executed by an army firing squad. On Feb.30, 1992, 15 other fleeing
refugees were executed without reason.(0FA/11A/085)
 - violence - On Feb. 8, 1992, 200 Rohingya refugees were massacred
as they tried to cross into Bangladesh at Apuakwa Mt.(OFA/11A/079)
 - violence - On Jun.23, 1992, a secretary of the NLD, Mohamed
Ilyas, was beaten to death for refusing to participate in a govt.
delegation to Bangladesh designed to convince Rohingya refugees
there that it was safe to return to Burma. Fazal Ahmed, a Moslem MP
from the area, was also imprisoned(fate unknown).(OFA/11A/079)
 - violence - Approx. 200 Moslems were killed, and 150 wounded,
when the Army opened fire on crowds at a mosque in Sikderparn,
Maungdaw, Arakan State.(The Nation, April 9, 1992)
 - violence - Villagers were beaten when they tried to talk with a
special UN envoy to Arakan State.(Bangkok Post, April 2, 1992)
 - violence and forced labor - Refugees estimate that Slorc troops
have killed 4000 Rohingyas, raped 2000 woman, arrested 6000 youth
for "anti-government" activity, and placed 17,000 in forced labor
camps, all in the first 3 months of 1992.(The Nation, Mar.16, 1992)
 - violence - Reports claim 200 have been killed and 3000 homes
burned in the first week of March, 1992.(The Nation,Mar.16,1992)
 - violence - The Burmese navy fired on a boat carrying 400 Moslem
refugees. At least 17 were killed and 183 missing.(TN,Mar.16,1992)
HR Abuses against Prisoners
     This includes both political and criminal prisoners.
 - forced labor - Escaped porters claim that up to 7000 common
prisoners are being used as army porters and human minesweepers
(2000 in the assault on Manerplaw). At least 300 have been killed
by land mines so far.(The Nation, March 29, 1992)
 - forced labor - The ABSDF has documented 19 escaped army porters,
who were used in the anti-Karen offensive. These Burman and Mon
youth were arrested by the Army at movie theaters, or off the
street, and then sent to serve on the frontline.(OFA/11A/027)
 - forced labor - Around 350 inmates of Mandalay prison are being
kept shackled inside barbed-wire fences, in the jungles of Wet-shu
village, Tamu TS, Sagaing Prov., and are forced to clear areas for
a plantation project.(OFA/11A/079)
 - political prisoners - Amnesty International estimated in Jan.92,
that there are 1500-2000 political prisoners being held in Burma.
A pro-Aung San Su Kyi demonstration at Rangoon Univ. in Dec.91 led
to the arrest of 1000 students, Dec.10-11.(0FA/11A/079)
 - violence - There are around 500 pol. prisoners at Mandalay
Prison. New arrivals are kept in "dark cells" indefinitely. These
cells are 1.3 mt.sq., with no room to stand up, and prisoners must
defecate on the floor where they live and sleep. Occasionally, they
are taken to other cells to be tortured. After sentencing they are
moved to "normal" cells with 4 other prisoners each. Frequent
punishments often involve a return to the "dark cell".(OFA/11A/O79)
 - violence - Torture techniques for pol. prisoners include being
hung upside down from a spinning ceiling fan, the degrading
"motorcycle game", electric shock, water treatment, sleep
deprivation, starvation, beatings, rape, and inhuman living
 - political prisoners - On Oct.15 1992, 9 political prisoners were
given 10 yr.jail terms for producing anti-government leaflets. 5
were students.(0FA/11A/037)

Burma Issues
PO Box 1076, Silom Post Office
Bangkok 10504 Thailand

phone: 662 234 6674

Burma Issues (formerly Burma Rights Movement for Action,          
B.U.R.M.A.) is a Bangkok-based non-governmental organization that
monitors events in Burma with a focus on human rights, ethnic
minorities and the ongoing civil war