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Armed conflict in Karen State

  • Armed conflict in Karen State - general articles and reports

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: The Official Website of the Karen National Union (KNU)
    Description/subject: Home | About us | Departments | Peace Process | Statements | Human Rights | Karen Unity | Contact...Departments: Agriculture Department; Alliance Affairs Department; Breeding & Fishery Department; Defense Department; Education & Culture Department; Finance & Revenue Department; Foreign Affairs Department; Forestry Department; Health & Welfare Department; Interior & Religious Department; Organising & Information Department; Justice Department; Mining Department; Transportation & Communication Department.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen National Union (KNU)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 22 September 2013


    Individual Documents

    Title: Karen Army Leader Links Current Fighting To Burma Government’s Mega Development Projects
    Date of publication: 24 October 2014
    Description/subject: General Ner Dah Bo Mya, the head of the Karen National Defence Organisation told Karen News that armed conflict this month in Burma is linked to plans to build hydropower dams on the Salween River. In an exclusive interview General Ner Dah explains to Karen News why he has placed his troops are on high alert. General Ner Dah said that fighting between the government’s militia, the Border guard Force and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) has sent warning signals to the Karen armed groups that the government is planning to reinforce it military in the region. “The current situation that we have in our area right now is that we have to be alert because there are fighting between BGF and the DKBA. We have to be alert because we can see that the Burmese [army] are reinforcing their military in most of their base camps that are also close to our base camps.” General Ner Dah said that his organization is aware that the government intends to clamp down on any opposition to its plans to build ‘development projects’ in Karen State...
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen News
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 30 October 2014


    Title: Listen To Us – Stop Ignoring Our Concerns
    Date of publication: 12 October 2013
    Description/subject: "A number of international governments, organisations and individuals try to squeeze the current situation of the Karen people into a narrow, restrictive and simplistic narrative that is usually framed like this. ‘After more than sixty years of conflict, at last the Karen have peace. There has been a ceasefire for almost two years, the Karen National Union and government of Burma are in dialogue, development projects and aid are coming into Karen State to help the people, and finally refugees can return home.’ If all this is true, why aren’t Karen people celebrating? As a nation, the Karen people have suffered so much. Generation after generation has grown up in fear, facing conflict, displacement and repression. Unknown millions have been forced from their homes, uncounted thousands have been killed, and there has been so much suffering. Surely if there is a real peace, we’d all be happy? Certainly for several communities in conflict zones the ceasefire makes a big difference. People are not being attacked as they were before, their villages destroyed, their lives taken, and the use of forced labour has fallen. However, even in these communities there is great caution. It’s a caution shared by most Karen people across Burma, in neighbouring Thailand, and those further abroad. International observers should be trying to understand exactly why people who have suffered so much from conflict and human rights abuses are not celebrating the current peace and reform process. If they fail to do so, they’ll fail to understand what is happening in Burma, and they will never see the lasting peace they claim they want to see in our country..."
    Author/creator: Zoya Phan
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Karen News"
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 14 October 2013


    Title: Situation Update in Karen State
    Date of publication: 05 April 2013
    Description/subject: In This Report: * Forced Labor in Doo Tha Htoo and Doo Pla Ya districts... * Burma Army makes improvements and additions to roads and camps in Karen State... * Villages in Toungoo district flooded after the construction of the Toe Bo Dam... * Flooding in Kler Lwee Htoo and Doo Pla Ya districts... * Improved relationship with Burma Army in Doo Pla Ya district
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Free Burma Rangers
    Format/size: pdf (199K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.freeburmarangers.org/2013/04/05/situation-update-in-karen-state/
    Date of entry/update: 18 April 2013


    Title: The world's longest ongoing war (video)
    Date of publication: 11 August 2011
    Description/subject: "For more than 60 years, Karen rebels have been fighting a civil war against the government of Myanmar...In February 1949, members of the Karen ethnic minority launched an armed insurrection against Myanmar's central government. In pictures: Sixty years of war. Over 60 years later, the conflict continues, with more than a dozen ethnic rebel groups waging war against the army in their fight for self-rule. Now, the war is entering a new and bloody stage. Myanmar is the only regime still regularly planting anti-personnel mines. But it is not only the army that uses them. Rebel groups also regularly use homemade landmines or mines seized from the military. As the conflict escalates, civilians are trapped in the middle of some of the worst fighting in decades. 101 East travels to Myanmar, home to the world's longest running civil war."
    Language: English, Karen (English sub-titles)
    Source/publisher: Al Jazeera (101 East)
    Format/size: html, Adobe Flash (25 minutes)
    Date of entry/update: 27 December 2011


    Title: The Dynamics of Karen National Union Political and Military Development: Reflecting the Shifting Landscape
    Date of publication: 2010
    Description/subject: Abstract: "This thesis investigates the themes and society of displaced Karen identity on the border between Burma and Thailand. The impact of the authoritarian military rule in Burma cannot be underestimated. The government exercises tremendous power to shape the social and economic environment. They determine whether a civil-society is prosperous and functions in an appropriate manner. Governments are also responsible for societal support and protection of all its populace. The population of Burma is essentially isolated from the global society through regime censorship and restrictions. The inter-linking spiral of humanitarian emergencies and continued to escalate, these include refugee, internally displaced people, the spread of preventable diseases and the illicit narcotic production. Recently, the Western governments had solidified their position towards the military junta resulting in a stalemate of diplomatic interaction, with ultimately the people of Burma being the victims of such actions. Current realities in the global sphere present the powerful Western Nations an opportunity for a change in perspective. US policy recommendations include a greater dialogue with the junta and the outcome of the election is seen as crucial to fostering better relation. It is imperative that long-essential reforms are undertaken if Burma if is to achieve lasting peace. The international community must develop coherent and focused policies towards Burma and make conflict resolution a priority. Humanitarian aid and displaced refugee support will play a vital role, and in the 21st Century regional dimensions must be addressed. The challenges of nation-state building must be made in conjunction with political, humanitarian, and economic issues."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: University of Manchester (thesis submitted in 2010)
    Subscribe: Peter James Bjorklund
    Format/size: pdf (374K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2013


  • Armed conflict in Karen State - military activities and their impact on village life, including livelihood, health, education and land tenure security

    Individual Documents

    Title: Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, July to October 2012
    Date of publication: 11 April 2013
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Papun District, during the period between July 2012 to October 2012. It specifically discusses forced labour, torture, the activity of major armed groups in the Bu Tho Township area, including the KNLA, DKBA, Tatmadaw and BGF, as well as villagers' healthcare, education and livelihood problems. The report describes how BGF Battalion #1014, led by Commander Maw Hsee, continues to demand materials and forced labour from villagers in order to build army camps. The report also provides details about a 50-year-old L--- villager, named Maung P---, who was arrested and tortured by the Tatmadaw Military Operation Command Column #2, which is under Battalion #44 and commanded by Hay Tha and Aung Thu Ra, because he asked other villagers to deliver a letter that the Tatmadaw demanded he deliver. The report includes information about the different challenges villagers face in Burma government and non-government controlled areas, as well as the ways villagers access healthcare from the KNU or the Burma government. According to the community member, civilians continue to face problems with their livelihood, which are caused by BGF and DKBA activities, but are improving since the ceasefire; also described are problems faced by villagers caused by natural factors, such as unhealthy crops and flooding. In order to improve crop health, farmers are using traditional remedies, but the community member mentions that those remedies do not address the problems well. Moreover, this report mentions how villagers pursue alternative livelihoods during intervals between farming and to cope with food shortages, including logging and selling wood..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (271K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b18.html
    Date of entry/update: 30 April 2013


    Title: Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Ler Doh Township, November 2012 to January 2013
    Date of publication: 09 April 2013
    Description/subject: This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in January 2013 by a community member describing events occurring in Nyaunglebin District during the period between November 2012 and January 2013. Specifically, it describes the confiscation of more than 2375.14 acres of villagers' land by Tatmadaw Infantry Battalion #60. One villager was required by Light Infantry Battalion #264 soldiers to collect 250,000 kyat per month from the villagers who operate gold ore processing machines. The community member also describes how, despite the January 2012 ceasefire being in effect, the Tatmadaw continues to increase resupply missions in the area, which has created alarm amongst local civilians. As part of a CIDKP pilot project, 173 sacks of rice have been distributed to Muh Theh villagers. The community member reports that there was an increase in medical care in the area, where Tatmadaw medics travelled with armed soldiers to three towns in KNU-controlled areas in Kyauk Kyi Township, while FBR medics travelled with unarmed KNLA soldiers to Tatmadaw-controlled areas. In response to the land confiscation, villagers' reported their complaints by submitting a letter to the Burma government, however, no response had been received as of January.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (462K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b17.html
    Date of entry/update: 30 April 2013


    Title: Landmines shatter peace for villagers in eastern Burma
    Date of publication: 08 April 2013
    Description/subject: "To mark International Mine Awareness Day, Karen Human Rights Group published new data collected by community members in eastern Burma that describes the ongoing devastation caused by landmines. Each year the United Nations International Mine Awareness Day draws attention to the global impact of landmines and notes progress towards their eradication. Landmines continue to disrupt the potential for civilians to return to their way of life even after the conflict has subsided. Old landmines pose serious restrictions on villagers' ability to travel safely or resume farming and reconstruction of previously abandoned homes. Fatalities and injuries to people and livestock occur frequently, especially when there is no prior knowledge of the mined areas, making displaced communities particularly vulnerable."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (274K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13_landmine.html
    Date of entry/update: 30 April 2013


    Title: Incident Report: Violent abuse in Papun District, October 2012
    Date of publication: 01 April 2013
    Description/subject: "...The incident occurred on October 15th 2012 in Htee Th'Daw Hta village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District, when Saw P--- allowed his cow to graze on a vehicle road that had been closed by Saw Pah Mee, a Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Commander. Upon encountering Saw P--- in the area under his control, Commander Saw Pah Mee blindfolded, punched, and left Saw P--- tied up overnight, as well as shooting one of his cows. The incident report also mentions the violent abuse of a Muslim villager, Saw L---, by Border Guard Commander #1014 Commander Maw Nee Hseh; details of this incident were described by the same community member in a previously published report: "Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho and Dwe Lo townships, September to December 2012," KHRG, March 2013..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (273K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b15.html
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013


    Title: Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho and Dwe Lo townships, September to December 2012
    Date of publication: 08 March 2013
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in January 2013 by a community member, who describes events occurring in Papun District during December 2012. Specific abuses include arbitrary arrest of a villager by a KNLA officer, Border Guard demands for money, labour, and items, religious discrimination by the Border Guard and a Buddhist monk, violent abuse, looting and movement restrictions through road closures. The community member reports how one KNLA Commander named Saw Hpah Mee arrested and tortured villager Saw M---, as well as shooting one of his cows, while Saw M--- was travelling to trade cows in Bu Tho Township, on the Thailand-Burma border, but was unaware that the road he used was closed. This report also describes how Border Guard Battalion #1014 soldiers arrested a Muslim villager who was selling his cows on the Thai border, and subsequently looted his money, and how Border Guard Battalion #1013 soldiers forced villagers to work for them and restricting them from trading. Also described in the report is a meeting held on September 10th 2012, during which a Buddhist monk informed villagers of four rules that were created to prohibit Buddhists from interacting with Muslims, which were distributed by the Border Guard. Villagers then reported this to the KNLA and the Tatmadaw, who subsequently held a meeting regarding the rules and explained that religious discrimination should not happen. Details on the incident are published in "Incident Report: Religious discrimination and restrictions in Papun District, September 2012," KHRG, March 2013.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (271K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b7.html
    Date of entry/update: 22 March 2013


    Title: Papun Situation Update: Lu Thaw Township, March to November 2012
    Date of publication: 25 February 2013
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Lu Thaw Township, Papun District during the period between July 2012 and November 2012. It describes how the Tatmadaw continues to resupply and repair military infrastructure despite ongoing ceasefire talks with the KNU, as well as make new preparations for gold extraction projects. The Tatmadaw also tried to build relations with civilians by providing free food placed beside vehicle roads, but fears of poisoned food and mistrust prevented the civilians from accepting the food. On March 19th 2012, soldiers from the Tatmadaw LID #66 killed two villagers, 30 year-old Saw K--- and 19 year-old Saw E---, and injured one, 28 year-old Saw N---, when they crossed a road in K'Kyay Hta; the Tatmadaw took the 160,000 kyat that the victims were carrying. The civilians in the internally displaced persons areas still do not dare to show themselves to the Tatmadaw, and continue to monitor troop movement along vehicle roads. The situation update also discusses villagers' concerns regarding the ceasefire, describing how civilians want peace so that they can return to work on their land. Currently, heavy rains in 2011 and crop maladies have caused food security problems for many communities. In response, communities support one another with food transportation and use of traditional medicine cooperatives, which are still developing local involvement and action plans..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (410K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b2.html
    Date of entry/update: 22 March 2013


    Title: Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, June 2012
    Date of publication: 12 October 2012
    Description/subject: This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in June 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Papun District, during June 2012. Specifically discussed are Nay Pyi Daw military operations along Papun-Ka' Ma Moo vehicle road. It includes details on the location and names of the different NPD military camps that are based along the Papun-K'Ma Moh vehicle road.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (252K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b79.html
    Date of entry/update: 08 November 2012


    Title: Papun Situation Update: Northern Lu Thaw Township, March to June 2012
    Date of publication: 05 September 2012
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in June 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Papun District, during the period between March and June 2012. Specifically described is the location of Tatmadaw operations in the twelve village tracts inside the Northern Lu Thaw Township, and the living conditions of the villagers from those village tracts. This report details military activities, such as sending rations and repairing bridges, and it also includes concerns the villagers have related to the military's activities and the permanence of the 2012 ceasefire. Other detailed information about the livelihood, healthcare, education, and the responsive strategies of the villagers, is also provided."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (268K); html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b75.html
    Date of entry/update: 05 November 2012


    Title: Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, received April 2012
    Date of publication: 10 June 2012
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in April 2012 by a community member trained by KHRG describing events occurring in Bu Tho Township, Papun District, prior to April 2012. It contains updated information concerning an increase in Tatmadaw and Border Guard military activity since the January 2012 ceasefire agreement with the KNU, including more frequent transportation of rations, building materials and weapons, and an increase in troop deployment. It describes how Tatmadaw LIB #341, #434, #340, and #642 have established permanent bases by the Papun vehicle road, and how troops reportedly remain stationed at numerous bases along the Thailand-Burma border. Land confiscation for infrastructure projects and the construction of military bases and plantations is highlighted as a significant issue, and continued natural resource extraction also serves to limit the amount of cultivatable land available. State-led development projects at the village level are also cited as contributing to land confiscation as a result of demands for land from government officials involved. Information is also provided on the construction of a new village in Meh Pree Township by a monk in command of approximately 20-30 soldiers. Villagers continue to face demands for food and goods, such as thatch shingles, and demands for forced labour. Significantly, demands for money, or for villagers to serve as soldiers and guides or to perform sentry duty, has reportedly ceased, and there has been a reduction in travel restrictions since January 2012. Some limited landmine clearance is reported to have occurred after villagers discussed the problem with a Tatmadaw officer. Other villagers have adapted to the reduction of suitable farmland by trading livestock and transporting food to sell. Villagers also refused to comply with demands for land in exchange for electricity, and confronted officials over the issue."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (566K)
    Date of entry/update: 13 July 2012


    Title: Sustained Tatmadaw resupply operations in Thaton, Nyaunglebin and Papun during ceasefire
    Date of publication: 31 May 2012
    Description/subject: "During the first three months after the January 2012 ceasefire between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burma government, villagers in Thaton, Nyaunglebin and Papun districts have raised concerns about Tatmadaw activity related to resupply operations, troop reinforcements and the transport of heavy artillery. LID #44 soldiers were deployed for road security purposes during military resupply operations at the end of January along the Bilin riverbank in Thaton District, while further north in Nyaunglebin District, LIB #702 transported rations, mortars and troop reinforcements, while Tatmadaw soldiers burned the vehicle road near three army camps. In Papun District, the vehicle road was repaired in early February before Tatmadaw soldiers transported supplies and troop reinforcements to camps in the area around Wa Klee Koo. The restricted scope of Tatmadaw operations since the ceasefire negotiations in January has allowed some villagers in Papun District to return to previously abandoned agricultural land. Villagers nonetheless complained of movement restrictions during military resupply operations, and expressed concerns that, because Tatmadaw troops have been reinforced and are now well-supplied, they will be in an advantageous position if the current ceasefire is broken."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (578K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b51.html
    Date of entry/update: 25 June 2012


    Title: Incident report: Four villagers forced to guide Tatmadaw troops in Thaton District
    Date of publication: 19 January 2012
    Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a villager trained by KHRG to document human rights abuses, and details an incident that occurred in May 2011 during which Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB #216 arrested four villagers in Bilin Township, including two village headwomen, and forced them to accompany troops on active patrol. The two village headwomen told the villager who wrote this report that the Tatmadaw soldiers did not provide them with water nor allow them to return to their own village at night, forcing them to sleep in a monastery with the soldiers. One of the women said that the Tatmadaw soldiers told her that they were afraid they were going to be shot at by KNLA soldiers at the time she was forced to accompany them. The following morning, the four villagers successfully negotiated with the Tatmadaw commanding officers to secure their release and received 8,000 kyat (US $ 10.39) split unevenly between the four of them as compensation."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf (269K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b5.html
    Date of entry/update: 23 January 2012


    Title: Dooplaya Situation Update: August 2011 to September 2011 [News Bulletin]
    Date of publication: 09 December 2011
    Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in September 2011 by a villager describing events and military activities occurring in Kawkareik Township, Dooplaya District, during the period between August and September 2011. The villager describes the shelling of civilian areas by DKBA troops resulting in the destruction of a villager’s house, and villagers’ fears of violence by DKBA forces following the defection of a DKBA soldier to Tatmadaw Border Guard troops and his transport through the area around their community. The report also details demands for payment issued by KNU/KNLA Peace Council soldiers; discusses the death of a KNU/KNLA Peace Council officer by natural causes; and raises villagers’ concerns about the flooding of bean and corn plantations along the Moei River at the beginning of September which resulted in destruction of farmers’ seeds and crops."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf (203K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b53.html
    Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


    Title: Villagers flee to avoid fighting and portering: Conflict continues to impact civilians in Dooplaya District
    Date of publication: 04 December 2010
    Description/subject: "Civilians in Dooplaya District continue to be impacted by conflict between the Tatmadaw and armed Karen groups, who have increased fighting in the area since November 7th 2010. The situation around Palu village remains highly unstable; in order to avoid conflict and conflict-related abuse, civilians are moving frequently between their homes and fields, more secure locations outside the village and along the Moei River, and both official and unofficial locations in Thailand's Phop Phra District. Residents of the community have told KHRG that they believe male villagers face a serious threat of being forcibly recruited as porters to support re-supply operations of Tatmadaw units deployed in the area, and that men in Palu are actively avoiding encountering Tatmadaw troops."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (494K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg10b16.html
    Date of entry/update: 19 February 2012


    Title: Karen rebels go on offensive in Myanmar
    Date of publication: 16 November 2010
    Description/subject: While Myanmar's generals held their stage-managed elections, an ethnic rebel group forcibly seized control of two border towns and highlighted immediately the polls' ineffectiveness at achieving national reconciliation. Government forces on Tuesday forced the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) out of Myawaddy and Pyathounzu towns, but the attacks already had significant repercussions for the transition from military to civilian rule.
    Author/creator: Brian McCartan
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asia Times Online
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 15 November 2010


  • Armed conflict in Karen State - negotiations and ceasefire talks

    Individual Documents

    Title: Steps towards peace: Local participation in the Karen ceasefire process
    Date of publication: 07 November 2012
    Description/subject: "This commentary considers Karen villagers' perspectives on impacts of the ceasefire between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Government of the Union of Myanmar. In light of their concerns, this commentary makes workable recommendations about what the most effective next steps could be for negotiating parties and for stakeholders in the ceasefire process. Building on KHRG's previous analysis in Safeguarding human rights in a post-ceasefire in eastern Burma, published in January 2012, this commentary brings to light new evidence of villagers' perspectives. Documentation received since the ceasefire reveals some positive changes, but also raises concerns about ongoing human rights abuses in the post-conflict environment, as a result of ingrained abusive practices and a lack of accountability, particularly in areas where there has been an increase in business, development, natural resource extraction, accompanied by a continued military presence. KHRG believes that the perpetration of abuses is exacerbated, and villagers' options to respond effectively limited, both by the lack of opportunities for genuine local input and a dearth of information-sharing concerning new developments. Analysis for this commentary was prepared based on a collaborative workshop held between all staff members at KHRG's administrative office, as well as field documentation and oral testimony received since January 2012 from villagers in all KHRG research areas, which incorporate all or parts of Kayin and Mon States, and Bago and Tanintharyi Regions..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (66K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12c3.html
    Date of entry/update: 07 November 2012


    Title: The Karen National Union Negotiations 1949-2012
    Date of publication: June 2012
    Description/subject: "Since the beginning of hostilities officially declared on the 31st January 1949, the Karen National Union has consistently attempted to find an accommodation with the successive governments of Burma. While initial discussions centred on the recognition of a free Karen state of ‘Kawthoolei’ and the need to retain arms. Later talks, primarily those that began in 2004, sought merely to protect the Karen populace from further abuses at the hands of the Burmese army, the tatmadaw, and preserve some form of role for the organisation. This paper examines the various peace processes that have taken place since the outbreak of conflict and provides insight regarding the many KNU peace talks that have been held since 1949."
    Author/creator: Paul Keenan
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies (Working Paper No. 2)
    Format/size: pdf (1MB-OBL version; 3.2MB - original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmaethnicstudies.net/pdf/BCES-WP-2.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 20 June 2012


  • Armed conflict in Karen State - the human rights situation

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Free Burma Rangers
    Description/subject: "... The Free Burma Rangers is an organization dedicated to freedom for the people of Burma. "De Oppresso Liber" is the motto of the Free Burma Rangers and we are dedicated in faith to the establishment of liberty, justice, equal rights and peace for all the people of Burma. The Free Burma Rangers support the restoration of democracy, ethnic rights and the implementation of the International Declaration of Human Rights in Burma. We stand with those who desire a nation where God's gifts of life, liberty, justice, pursuit of happiness and peace are ensured for all... MISSION: The mission of the Free Burma Rangers is to bring help, hope and love to the oppressed people of Burma. Its mission is also to help strengthen civil society, inspire and develop leadership that serves the people and act as a voice for the oppressed... ACTIONS: The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), conduct relief, advocacy, leadership development and unity missions among the people of Burma... Relief: ..."...FBR has issued some of the best documented reports on internal displacement/forced migration
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Free Burma Rangers
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 21 May 2004


    Title: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Description/subject: The largest body of high-quality reports on the civil war in Burma, especially focussed on the civilian victims.
    Language: English, Karen
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/reports/karenlanguage/index.php
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: The human rights situation in Karen State
    Description/subject: Link to the section on Discrimination Against the Karen in the OBL Human Rights section
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Date of entry/update: 20 June 2012


    Individual Documents

    Title: Bitter Wounds and Lost Dreams: Human Rights Under Assault in Karen State, Burma
    Date of publication: 27 August 2012
    Description/subject: Findings: "Out of all 665 households surveyed, 30% reported a human rights violation. Forced labor was the most common human rights violation reported; 25% of households reported experiencing some form of forced labor in the past year, including being porters for the military, growing crops, and sweeping for landmines. Physical attacks were less common; about 1.3% of households reported kidnapping, torture, or sexual assault. Human rights violations were significantly worse in the area surveyed in Tavoy, Tenasserim Division, which is completely controlled by the Burmese government and is also the site of the Dawei port and economic development project. Our research shows that more people who lived in Tavoy experienced human rights violations than people who lived elsewhere in our sampling area. Specifically, the odds of having a family member forced to be a porter were 4.4 times higher than for families living elsewhere. The same odds for having to do other forms of forced labor, including building roads and bridges, were 7.9 times higher; for being blocked from accessing land, 6.2 times higher; and for restricted movement, 7.4 times higher for families in Tavoy than for families living elsewhere. The research indicates a correlation between development projects and human rights violations, especially those relating to land and displacement. PHR’s research indicated that 17.4% of households in Karen State reported moderate or severe household hunger, according to the FANTA-2 Household Hunger Scale, a measure of food insecurity. We found that 3.7% of children under 5 were moderately or severely malnourished, and 9.8% were mildly malnourished, as determined by measurements of middle-upper arm circumference. PHR conducted the survey immediately following the rice harvest in Karen State, and the results may therefore reflect the lowest malnutrition rates of the year.....Conclusion: PHR’s survey of human rights violations and humanitarian indicators in Karen State shows that human rights violations persist in Karen State, despite recent reforms on the part of President Thein Sein. Of particular concern is the prevalence of human rights violations even in areas where there is no active armed conflict, as well as the correlation between economic development projects and human rights violations. Our research found that human rights violations were up to 10 times higher around an economic development project than in other areas surveyed. Systemic reforms that establish accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations, full political participation by Karen people and other ethnic minorities, and access to essential services are necessary to support a successful transition to a fully functioning democracy..."
    Author/creator: Bill Davis ,MA, MPH; Andrea Gittleman, JD, PHR; Richard Sollom, MA, MPH, PHR; Adam Richards, MD, MPH; Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH; Forword by Óscar Arias Sánchez
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
    Format/size: pdf (749K)
    Date of entry/update: 28 August 2012


  • Armed conflict in Karen State - the humanitarian situation

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Free Burma Rangers
    Description/subject: "... The Free Burma Rangers is an organization dedicated to freedom for the people of Burma. "De Oppresso Liber" is the motto of the Free Burma Rangers and we are dedicated in faith to the establishment of liberty, justice, equal rights and peace for all the people of Burma. The Free Burma Rangers support the restoration of democracy, ethnic rights and the implementation of the International Declaration of Human Rights in Burma. We stand with those who desire a nation where God's gifts of life, liberty, justice, pursuit of happiness and peace are ensured for all... MISSION: The mission of the Free Burma Rangers is to bring help, hope and love to the oppressed people of Burma. Its mission is also to help strengthen civil society, inspire and develop leadership that serves the people and act as a voice for the oppressed... ACTIONS: The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), conduct relief, advocacy, leadership development and unity missions among the people of Burma... Relief: ..."...FBR has issued some of the best documented reports on internal displacement/forced migration
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Free Burma Rangers
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 21 May 2004


    Title: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Description/subject: The largest body of high-quality reports on the civil war in Burma, especially focussed on the civilian victims.
    Language: English, Karen
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/reports/karenlanguage/index.php
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Armed groups operating in Karen State (military activities and impact on villagers)

    • Border Guard Forces (BGF) in Karen State

      Websites/Multiple Documents

      Title: Link to Border Guard Forces (all states)
      Description/subject: Further reports on BGF activities in Karen State can be found here
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
      Format/size: html, pdf
      Date of entry/update: 27 July 2013


      Individual Documents

      Title: BGF and KNLA grenades injure villagers and their children in Papun District
      Date of publication: 05 July 2013
      Description/subject: BGF and KNLA grenades injure villagers and their children in Papun District Download report as PDF [Adobe Acrobat PDF88 kb] This news bulletin is based on information submitted to KHRG in May 2013 by a community member describing grenade-related injuries suffered by villagers, including children, in Bu Tho Township, Papun District. In January 2013, a 23-year-old woman and her one-year-old son were injured when Tatmadaw Border Guard Force #1014 Company Sergeant Saw Day Day shot them with an inoperable grenade while intoxicated and in their home. In May 2013, grenade shrapnel injured a father and his two-month-old son when fighting broke out between Tatmadaw BGF #1014 forces and Karen National Liberation Army soldiers. All four injured villagers received treatment at Hkaw Taw Hpoh Hospital.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (88K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b42.html
      Date of entry/update: 10 August 2013


      Title: Hpa-an Photo Set: BGF production and sale of yaba in T'Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships
      Date of publication: 04 July 2013
      Description/subject: "This photo set includes three still photographs selected from images taken by a KHRG community member; one was taken in April 2013 and two were taken in June 2012. The photographs were taken in T'Nay Hsah Township, Hpa-an District and depict a tablet form of methamphetamine for sale, which is known locally as yaba, meaning 'crazy medicine' in Thai. The yaba pictured below was manufactured and sold by the Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1016's commander, Mya Khaing, who is based in T'Nay Hsah Township. According to the community member who took these photos, the sale of the drug is pervasive throughout T'Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships and has seriously harmed many teenage villagers' lives and put some families in debt as a result.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (150K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b40.html
      Date of entry/update: 10 August 2013


      Title: Dooplaya Situation Update: Kyone Doh Township, July to November 2012
      Date of publication: 11 June 2013
      Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in December 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Dooplaya District, between July and November 2012. The report describes problems relating to land confiscation and contains updated information regarding the sale of forest reserve for rubber plantations involving the BGF, with individuals who profited from the sale listed. Villagers in the area rely heavily upon the forest reserve for their livelihoods and are faced with a shortage of land for their animals to graze upon; further, villagers cows have been killed if they have continued to let them graze in the area. The community member explains that although fighting has ceased since the ceasefire agreement, otherwise the situation is the same; taxation demands and loss of livelihoods has resulted in villagers being forced to take odd jobs for daily wages, while some have left for foreign countries in search of work. Villagers have some access to healthcare and education supported by the Government, the KNU and local organizations..."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (62K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b33.html
      Date of entry/update: 27 July 2013


      Title: BGF Battalion #1014 forced labour and forced recruitment, April to May 2012
      Date of publication: 31 May 2013
      Description/subject: This report is based on information submitted by a community member in June 2012 describing events occurring in April and May 2012.[1] The information described the activities of BGF Battalion #1014, which operates along the border of Thaton and Papun districts. According to the community member, the group that is based out of Hpa-an Township, in Thaton District, has committed different abuses against the villagers who are in Hpa-an Township. Between April and May 2012, the Battalion forced local villagers from Meh K'Na Hkee village tract to clear plantation land for two companies, from whom the Battalion officers received money. In Kyon Mon Thweh village tract, villagers were required to serve as soldiers in a local militia.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (42K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b29.html
      Date of entry/update: 22 June 2013


      Title: Incident Report: Forced recruitment in Thaton District #2, May 2012
      Date of publication: 31 May 2013
      Description/subject: The following incident report was written by a community member who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses. The community member who wrote this report described an incident that occurred on May 29th 2012 in Kyoh Moh Thweh village tract, Hpa-an Township, Thaton District, where a group of BGF Battalion #1014 soldiers forcibly recruited villagers for a people’s militia. This report also includes information about the consequent problems the villagers endured related to this forced recruitment, such as having to pay money in lieu, or fleeing the area in order to avoid recruitment. In response to previous forced recruitment efforts, the community member reported that several villagers fled the area in order to avoid the forced service. This report has been summarized along with three other Incident Reports received from this area in: “Border Guard #1014 forced labour and forced recruitment, April to May 2012,” KHRG, May 2013.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (119K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b27.html, html
      Date of entry/update: 22 June 2013


      Title: Incident Report: Forced recruitment in Thaton District #1, May 2012
      Date of publication: 29 May 2013
      Description/subject: The following incident report was written by a community member who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses. The community member who wrote this report described that on May 29th 2012, villagers were ordered to be recruited for a one-year service by Moe Nyo, a fomer DKBA leader now serving as a company commander in the BGF Battalion #1014, in order to form a new people's militia group. The cost to avoid service was 50,000 kyat per month, which the villagers reported having difficulties with raising. Some villagers who refused to serve, but lacked the money to opt-out and responded to the order by fleeing their village. This report has been summarized along with three other Incident Reports received from this area in: "BGF Battalion #1014 forced labour and forced recruitment, April to May 2012," KHRG, May 2013.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (91K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b26.html
      Date of entry/update: 22 June 2013


      Title: Incident Report: Land confiscation and forced labour in Thaton District, April 2012
      Date of publication: 27 May 2013
      Description/subject: The following incident report was written by a community member who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses, which describes an incident that occurred on April 25th 2012, when BGF soldiers forced villagers from T--- village, Meh K'Na Hkee village tract, Hpa-an Township, Thaton District, to clear plantations owned by Thein Lay Myaing and Shwe Than Lwin companies, which were located on land confiscated from the villagers. The report identifies the perpetrators as Thein Lay Myaing and Shwe Than Lwin companies, KSDDP and a company affiliated with BGF Battalion #1014, commanded by Tin Win and based out of Law Pu village in Hpa-an Township. This report has been summarized along with three other Incident Reports received from this area in: "BGF Battalion #1014 forced labour and forced recruitment, April to May 2012," KHRG, May 2013.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (125K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b24.html
      Date of entry/update: 18 June 2013


      Title: Hpa-an Situation Update: T'Nay Hsah Township, November to December 2012
      Date of publication: 29 March 2013
      Description/subject: This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in December 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Hpa-an District, between November and December 2012. The report details the concerns of villagers in T'Nay Hsah Township, who have faced significant declines in their paddy harvest due to bug infestation. The community member also raises villagers' concerns regarding the cutting down of teak-like trees by developers, for the establishment of rubber plantations. The report describes how this activity seriously threatens villagers' livelihoods, and takes place via the cooperation of companies and wealthy individuals with the Burma government. The report goes on to detail demands placed upon villagers by the Border Guard Force (BGF) to contribute money to pay soldiers' salaries. Though the community member reports that these demands are not as forcibly implemented as in the past; villagers still face threats if they do not comply. Many villagers in the area, however, have chosen not to pay the money requested of them by the BGF.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (129K), html
      Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013


      Title: Incident Report: Forced Labour in Papun District #2, February 2012
      Date of publication: 29 March 2013
      Description/subject: "The following incident report was submitted to KHRG in May 2012 by a community member describing an incident that began on February 22nd 2012 in Dwe Lo Township, Papun District, where Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1014 soldiers forced between 70 or 80 villagers to construct their army camp without providing any wage, the necessary building materials for construction or medical care for villagers who became sick while labouring. According to the community member who wrote this report, forced labour demands continue, but are described by villagers as having decreased to a level with which the demands do not significantly infringe upon their normal routine and less precautions are taken..."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (161K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b13.html
      Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013


      Title: Border Guard #1014 demands for labour and goods in Papun District, May 2012
      Date of publication: 25 March 2013
      Description/subject: "This report is based on information submitted to KHRG in May 2012 by a community member[1] describing events occurring in Papun District, in May 2012, involving soldiers from Border Guard Battalion #1014, which is based out of K'Ter Tee and Hpaw Htee Hku villages. Commander Nyunt Thein and his Battalion Commander Maung Chit from the Battalion #1014 were identified, by name, as the ones who committed the abuses. Villagers were forced to build a camp for the Battalion #1014, which was also reported to have looted items from the villagers and forced them to do the camp's work, all of which is uncompensated..."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (254K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b9.html
      Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013


    • Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)

      Individual Documents

      Title: Incident Report: Violent abuse in Papun District, October 2012
      Date of publication: 01 April 2013
      Description/subject: "...The incident occurred on October 15th 2012 in Htee Th'Daw Hta village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District, when Saw P--- allowed his cow to graze on a vehicle road that had been closed by Saw Pah Mee, a Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Commander. Upon encountering Saw P--- in the area under his control, Commander Saw Pah Mee blindfolded, punched, and left Saw P--- tied up overnight, as well as shooting one of his cows. The incident report also mentions the violent abuse of a Muslim villager, Saw L---, by Border Guard Commander #1014 Commander Maw Nee Hseh; details of this incident were described by the same community member in a previously published report: "Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho and Dwe Lo townships, September to December 2012," KHRG, March 2013..."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (273K), html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b15.html
      Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013