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Mon Human Rights Report excerpts

Burmese Relief Center--Japan
DATE:May 2, 1995
Subject: Excerpts from March Mon Human Rights Report

Human Rights Interviews (March, 1995)
Human Rights Foundation of Monland
P.O. Box 11
Ratchburana, Bangkok 10140


Background of Interviews

In October of 1994, the SLORC (the Burma's military regime
State Law and Order Restoration Council) restarted the well
known Ye-Tavoy death railway in southern part of Burma,
which connects the Mon State and Tenasserim Division. 
When the SLORC started the railway construction last dry
season 1993, many local inhabitants were conscripted as
slave labours in this construction and since then many
villagers were displaced in east of Ye-Tavoy motorway by
escaping the conscription of the military.

The villagers who took refuge in jungle of mountainous area
east of Ye-Tavoy motorway could grow rice in last rainy
season and they survived with their families.  But in this dry
season (the dry season in Burma starts from October until
May), because of the conscription of slave labours for railway
construction, many local inhabitants from areas in the route
of railway had to flee to this mountainous areas again where
they have not enough food and face many difficulties.  When
the civilians escaped from their villages, even though some
villagers brought the foods with them, later the SLORC
troops issued many orders to prevent them from keeping rice
in places they stayed.  Starting from November, some
commanders of SLORC Light Infantry Battalion No. 410
issued an official order for the locality. (The order follows). 
Besides this order, many the same orders were issued by local
SLORC troops in Yebyu Township of Tenasserim Division
and Ye township of Mon State.  After those official orders,
the SLORC has legal rights to confiscate the rice of civilians
who are staying outside their villages.

Besides the cases of villagers fleeing to escape from slave-labours of railway
 construction and confiscation of rice from
local inhabitants, other kinds of human rights abuses, like
portering, tax extortion, torture, etc., were committed by the
SLORC soldiers.  After the SLORC started the railway
construction in 1993, many SLORC's military battalion were
deployed in the areas where the railway route passed
through.  Therefore, the SLORC troops have consistently
mistreated those local inhabitants.

To collect the information from the Mon local community, a
group of human rights workers from Human Rights
Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) travelled to the areas
where many internal displaced persons have been hiding and
some plantation areas east of Ye-Tavoy motorway in first
week of March.  The following interviews were from those
victims who were mistreated by SLORC soldiers.

Case 1

Name: Nai Pone Dot
Sex/ Age: Male, 37 years
Nationality/ Religion: Mon, Buddhist
Occupation: Farmer
Native Place: Kyaukadin village, Yebyu Township,
Tenasserim Division

Recently, I was tortured many times by the SLORC troops,
and I would like to tell about the torture last year.  Last year,
in one day of April, the 90 SLORC troops from Local
Infantry Battalion No. 106 which based in Tavoy, led by Lt. 
Maung Latt, arrived to my farm.  They arrested me and asked
the place where the Mon troops took base near my farm.  I
replied I did not know and I had not seen the Mon troops for
more than one week.  Then they beat me several times and
some young soldiers kicked me with their military boots. 
After that they tied and brought me to the village as they
accused me of refusing to tell them the place of Mon troops. 
When they arrived at the village, they asked for 1000 Kyat
and then released me.

I went to my farmland again as I was busy there preparing to
grow rice in rainy season.  One week later, about 40 troops
of Battalion No. 406 came again and arrested me by accusing
me of joining Mon troops and supporting them.  They
accused me that because I needed to contact and support the
Mon troops, I had stayed in farm with a lot of rice and other
materials.  They tied me and beat me several times like
before.  They confiscated all my belongings from my hut
including all my rice and farm animals and then they took me
to the village.  They detained me in a small military outpost
near our village and demanded my wife pay them 10,000
Kyat for my release.  After that my wife tried hard for one
week to collect 10,000 Kyat.  She could do it, gave it to them
and they released me.  When I was detained, they beat and
kicked me several times every day and gave me a very small
amount of food.

Like other villagers, last year and this year, I was
conscripted as slave-labour in the Ye-Tavoy railway
construction.  I worked in the construction four times for
more than one month at a time last year and one time this
year.  We brought all our own food and got no payment at
all.  When I felt sick, my family bought medicine by

After I was terribly tortured in December of this cold season,
I decided to escape from my village.  In the second week of
December, about 100 troops of Light Infantry Battalion No.
408 arrested me again in my home and detained me in their
outpost, by accusing me of being a Mon soldier.  When they
asked me to admit I was a Mon soldier, they beat, hanged me
near the fire and dried me for many days.  Every time I said
I was not a Mon soldier, they beat me and put me close to the
fire.  My wife sold our own farmland and gave the troops 50,
000 Kyat to release me.  After they tortured me for ten days,
I was unable to do any kind of hard work like I could do
before.  I could not sleep on my back.  Even if I try to carry
some less heavy materials, my back and stomach are too
painful to bear.  After I sold my farmland, I decided to
abandon my village and so I fled into jungle like this.

 Case 7

Name: Nai L.....   (former village headman)
Sex/ Age: Male, 55 years
Nationality/ Religion: Mon, Buddhist
Occupation: Farmer
Native Place: Koemile village, Yebyu Township,
Tenasserim village.

At the beginning of January, while I was cutting the
bamboos in forest that east of the village, about 70
troops of Light Infantry Battalion No. 406, led by Lt. 
San Way, came to me and ordered one of his senior
officer to slap me, as soon as they got close to me.  But
I did not want to escape, because as soon as I was
slapped, I did not know the reason and I wanted to know
it very much.  The two soldiers also hit me and when I
was knocked down on the ground, Lt.  San Way came
and slapped me one time again.

Lt.  San Way accused me of being a supporter of Mon
troops, because I did not attend the meeting which was
held in last month and for my permanent stay in my
betel nut plantation.  I admitted sincerely that I did not
know the date of the meeting.  I did not receive any
invitation as I always spent my time in my betel nut
plantation.  I told them many reasons why I did not stay
in village and denied their accusation.  But they did not
accept any of my arguments. Consistently, they accused
me, saying that I was appointed by Mon troops as a
township level leader.  I absolutely denied the
accusation and I explained to them that I was elected by
villagers in front of LIB No. 410 at the time in the
monastery and why the accusation appeared I was
appointed by the Mon troop.  They told me because I
had no chance to manage in the village, I approached to
the Mon troops again.  Anyhow, they did not  want to
accept my complaints and at the end they tied and
brought me to their outpost.

In their outpost of Aleskan, they tortured me and
threatened to imprison me in jail with a crime having
contact with insurgent group.  I admitted to them that
when I was a village headman, if the Mon troops needed
to meet me, I could not refuse.  As the same, if the
Burmese troops wanted to meet me, I could not refuse. 
Recently, I met Mon troops many times outside of the
village, but I did not cooperate with them and did not
consider to make troubles to Burmese troops as I was
village headman in the conflict area, I must relate to
both sides and kept good relationships with both troops. 
I asked them to understand my role.  Anyhow, they did
not accept what I said.  Then, they told me if I did not
want to be imprisoned for the crime of having contact
with Mon troops, they told me to give them 7,000 Kyat
and four sacks of rice for their troops.  And I agreed and
I told my son to sell the rice in the house and to give it
to them quickly.  After my son brought four sacks of
rice and 7, 000 Kyat, they released me.  Therefore, I
decided not to stay in the village and to stay far away
from the Burmese troops.

SLORC's Order Translated from Burmese 
         410th Light Infantry Battalion
         Letter No: 100 / 1 / head-3
         Date:  12th November 1994

TO:  Chairman,
Village Law and Order Restoration Council
_______________   village

SUBJECT:   Issuance of order for the locality

(1)      The villagers living within this area must obey all
         the following order.

a.    They (the villagers) must not run away if and when
they are encountered (anywhere) by the tatmadaw
troops and must remain right at the place being
encountered; otherwise (if they run away), they will be
shot and arrested (by the tatmadaw troops).

b.  Those villagers who are found serving as
informers/messengers for insurgents will be subject to
severest punishment (by the tatmadaw troops).

c.  They (the villagers) must not travel from one village
to another during the night.

d.  They (the villagers) must not keep any extra food at
their farms, other than the amount of one meal for the
farm worker(s) available; if foods more than the allowed
amount is found on their farms, it will all be seized and
destroyed (by the tatmadaw troops).

e.   Only one person is allowed to stay on each farm as
a farm guard during the night; if more than one person
is found staying on a farm (in the night time), they will
be regarded as insurgents and as such will be subject to
legal actions (by the tatmadaw troops).

f.  those villagers who stay on their farms at night must
make and keep up (wood) fire the whole night (at their
farm huts)

(2)  The village headmen must in advance inform each
and every member of their respective village community
of all the details of this order, and at the same time must
ensure that all members of their village community
definitely obey this order.

(3)  This is to inform (the village headmen) that the
tatmadaw will severely and forcefully take actions
against those who fail to obey this order.

Signed:  Commander (pro tem)
         410th Light Infantry Battalion