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The BurmaNet News, April 17, 1997
- Subject: The BurmaNet News, April 17, 1997
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 02:28:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: April 17, 1997
UN COMMISSION: RESOLUTION ON BURMA
BOSTON GLOBE: HOOKED ON HEROIN
KHRG REPORT: #97-02- FAR SOUTH
UN COMMISSION: RESOLUTION ON BURMA
April 11, 1997
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
11 April 1997
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Agenda item 10
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN
ANY PART OF THE WORLD, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO COLONIAL AND OTHER
DEPENDENT COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland,
Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands,
Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of
America: draft resolution
1997/....Situation of human rights in Myanmar
The Commission on Human Rights,
Reaffirming, that Member States have an obligation to promote and
protect human rights and fundamental freedoms as stated in the Charter of
the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the International Covenants on human rights and other applicable
human rights instruments,
Mindful that Myanmar is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of war,
Recalling previous resolutions of the General Assembly and the
Commission on Human Rights on the subject, most recently General Assembly
resolution 51/117 of 12 December 1996 and Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/80 of 23 April 1996,
(a) The report by the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/1997/64);
(b) The report of the Secretary-General on his discussions with the
Government of Myanmar (E/CN.4/1997/129);
(c) The continuing cooperation by the Government of Myanmar with the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the
voluntary repatriation and reintegration of returnees from Bangladesh;
(d) The scheduled visit of a special envoy of the Secretary-General to
Myanmar from 7 to 10 May 1997, in the discharge of the good offices
functions of the Secretary-General, for discussions with the Government and
other political leaders of Myanmar as he may consider appropriate,
in order to assist in the implementation of General Assembly resolution
51/117 and of the present resolution;
2. Expresses its deep concern
(a) At the continuing violations of human rights in Myanmar, as
reported by the Special Rapporteur, including extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions, death in custody, torture, arbitrary and
politically-motivated arrest and detention, absence of due process of law,
including trial of detainees in secrecy without proper legal representation,
severe restrictions on freedoms of opinion, expression, movement, assembly
and association, forced relocation, forced labour by children as well as
adults, including portering for the military, abuse of women and children by
government agents and oppression of ethnic and religious minorities;
(b) At the absence of significant steps towards the establishment of
democratic government after the democratic elections of 1990, while noting
that according to the Special Rapporteur, the absence of respect for the
rights pertaining to democratic governance is at the root of all the major
violations of human rights in Myanmar;
(c) That the Government of Myanmar has not yet agreed to a visit by the
(d) That most of the representatives democratically elected in 1990
have been excluded from participating in the meetings of the National
Convention, that severe restrictions have been imposed on delegates,
including members of the National League for Democracy, who have withdrawn
and subsequently were excluded, at the end of 1995, from the
sessions of the Convention and who were unable to meet or distribute their
literature, and that one of the objectives of the Convention is to maintain
the participation of the armed forces (Tatmadaw) in a leading role in the
future political life of the State, and concludes that the National
Convention does not appear to constitute the necessary steps towards the
restoration of democracy;
(e) At the restrictions placed upon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other
political leaders, at harassment, detention and forced resignations of
elected representatives, at the recent attack against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and other members of the National League for Democracy and other supporters
of democratic groups in Myanmar, including persons peacefully
exercising their right to freedom of expression during the recent student
(f) At the forced relocation and other violations of the rights of
persons belonging to minorities, resulting in a flow of refugees to
neighbouring countries, and at the recent attacks on members of the Karen
ethnic group, resulting in death, destruction and displacement;
(g) At violations of the rights of children in contravention of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular by the lack of
conformity of the existing legal framework with this Convention, by
systematic recruitment of children into forced labour, and by discrimination
against children belonging to ethnic and religious minority groups;
3. Calls upon the Government of Myanmar
(a) To guarantee an end to violations of the right to life and
integrity of the human being, to ensure full respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, opinion, expression,
association and assembly, the right to a fair trial by an independent and
judiciary and the protection of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic
and religious minorities, and to urgently improve conditions of detention;
(b) To take urgent and meaningful measures to ensure the establishment
of democracy in accordance with the will of the people as expressed in the
democratic elections held in 1990 and, to this end, to engage at the
earliest possible date in a substantive political dialogue with the leaders
parties returned at the elections of 1990, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
and with leaders of ethnic groups, as the best means of promoting national
reconciliation and restoration of democracy, and to ensure that political
parties and non-governmental organizations can function freely;
(c) To cooperate fully with the relevant mechanisms of the Commission,
in particular the Special Rapporteur, and to ensure his access to Myanmar,
without preconditions, in order to allow him fully to discharge his mandate,
and to cooperate with the Secretary-General or his representatives,
including through access to any person deemed appropriate by the
Secretary-General or the Special Rapporteur;
(d) To ensure the safety of all political leaders, including Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, and to release immediately and unconditionally detained
political leaders and all political prisoners, to ensure their physical
integrity and to permit them to participate in a meaningful process of
(e) To consider becoming a party to the International Covenant of Civil
and Political Rights, the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, as well as to other human rights
(f) And all other parties to the hostilities in Myanmar to respect
fully their obligations under international humanitarian law, including
article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, to halt the
use of weapons against the civilian population, to protect all civilians,
including persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, from
violations of humanitarian law, and to avail themselves of services as may
be offered by impartial humanitarian bodies;
(g) To fulfil its obligations as a State party to the Forced Labour
Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and to the Freedom of Association and Protection
of the Right to Organize Convention 1948 (No. 47) of the International
Labour Organization, and to cooperate more closely with the International
Labour Organization, in particular with the Commission of Inquiry appointed
in accordance with article 3 of the Constitution of
the International Labour Organization;
(h) To create the necessary conditions to remove the causes of
displacement and of refugee flows to neighbouring countries and to create
conditions conducive to their voluntary return and their full reintegration
in safety and dignity, in close cooperation with the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
(i) To fulfil its obligations to end impunity of perpetrators of human
rights violations, including members of the military, and to investigate and
prosecute alleged violations committed by government agents in all
(j) To investigate the circumstances which led to the death in June
1996 of Mr James Leander Nichols while detained by the Government of
Myanmar, and to prosecute any person who could be held responsible;
(a) To extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, as contained in
Commission resolution 1992/58 of 3 March 1992, for a further year, and
requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an interim report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session on human rights in Myanmar and to
report to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session, and to keep a gender
perspective in mind when seeking and analysing information;
(b) To request the Secretary-General to continue to give all necessary
assistance to the Special Rapporteur to enable him to discharge his mandate
(c) To request the Secretary-General to continue his discussions with
the Government of Myanmar and anyone he may consider appropriate in order to
assist in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 51/117 and of
the present resolution;
(d) To continue the examination of the situation of human rights in
Myanmar during its fifty-fourth session under the agenda item entitled
"Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any
part of the world"
Adopted by consensus, 16 April 1997
BOSTON GLOBE: HOOKED ON HEROIN: BURMA'S MILITARY GOVERNMENT HAS BECOME A
NARCO-DICTATORSHIP - AND THE WORLD IS PAYING THE PRICE.
April 6, 1997
By Dennis Bernstein and Leslie Kean
While authorities in most of the world are battling a heroin epidemic that
is claiming a new generation of 13-year-old addicts, authorities in Burma
are quietly supporting the drug trade fueling that
Burma is swiftly becoming a full-fledged narco-dictatorship, with
all aspects of the central government either heavily influenced by or
directly incorporated into the burgeoning drug trade. "Drug traffickers
have become the leading investors in Burma's new market economy and
leading lights in Burma's new political order," says Robert S. Gelbard,
an assistant US secretary of state.
Burma's decision to weave the drug into its permanent economy has
ramifications well beyond its borders. As the flow of heroin out of
Burma increases, the drug is sold more cheaply and, as a result, more
widely in the United States and elsewhere. Growing, too, is the
incidence of AIDS that comes with the habit and its sharing of needles.
The problem, evident on US streets, has reached tragic proportions in
Burma's neighoring countries.
At least 60 percent of the new, pure heroin that finds its way
into the veins and nostrils of thousands of young Americans is coming,
according to State Department officials, compliments of the military
junta that rules Burma. The regime is known as the State Law and Order
Restoration Council, or SLORC, and it rules the country, which is also
known as Myanmar, with an iron fist. Heroin exports from Burma have
more than doubled since the SLORC takeover in 1988, according to the
``Burma is the world's largest producer of opium poppy by far,
particularly since...the SLORC took over the country,'' says Gelbard,
and is ``responsible for the vast majority of heroin on the streets of
the United States.''
Burma's role in supplying drugs to the world has already made
that country the target of a divestment campaign similar to the
anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s. Ten municipalities, one county and the
state of Massachusetts have passed selective purchasing laws against Burma,
saying they will not do business with companies that invest there.
`Drug money is so pervasive in the Burmese economy that it taints
legitimate investment,'' says one State Department official. ``Since 1988,
some 15 percent of foreign investment in Burma and over half of that from
Singapore has been tied to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han.''
Evidence now shows that foreign corporations investing in Burma
not only prop up the military junta financially, but they allow for the
expansion of the drug trade by providing convenient conduits for money
According to Geopolitical Drugwatch, an international watchdog
group in Paris, the SLORC's national oil and gas company - Myanmar Oil
and Gas Enterprises, or MOGE - has been the main channel for laundering
the revenues from heroin exported under the control of the Burmese army.
MOGE is in partnership with the US oil company Unocal, Total of France, and
a Thai company in building a controversial $1.2 billion gas pipeline in
Other US companies are dealing directly with the drug traffickers
through a company known as Asia World, which is controlled by the
legendary Han. Under pressure from human rights activists, California's
Wente Vineyards last November canceled its contract with the company.
In December, Northwest Airlines offered bonus miles to travelers
staying at the Trader's Hotel in Rangoon, which is co-owned by Asia
World. Last week,a spokesman for Northwest said that the promotion was
discontinued ``sometime after the first of the year.'' But a representative
answering the hotel's reservation line provided written confirmation that
the policy was still in place.
"That the Burmese economy is based on narco-dollars is quite
obvious," says Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of Burma's Government in
exile. ``It is incredible that a US company would promote a business
owned by known drug dealers.''
How, exactly, does Burma's government encourage the drug trade? Consider
how the government recently moved to reinforce Han's control over drug trade
routes. Last year the government awarded his company the construction rights
to a new 102-mile road from Lashio, a city
located in the heart of Burma's opium poppy fields, into China. Asia World
will be allowed to collect tolls on all vehicles passing along the road. At
the same time, Han was awarded a 25-year contract to own and operate a new
port out of Rangoon. Taken together, the two contracts reinforce Han's
control over the country's drug exports - and his partnership with the
Although it is easy for many Americans to measure the drug trade's damage
in US terms only, the effect of Burma's drug-driven
economy on its neighbors, and on Burma's own civilian population,
Since the military junta took over Burma in 1988, levels of drug addiction
in China have increased more than seven times. The National Institute on
Drug Dependence, based in Beijing, reports that in 1989 there were about
70,000 addicts in China. Six years later, that number had grown to more than
500,000. Zun You, a Chinese social scientist, reports that approximately one
in six males from the Kachin ethnic group, on both sides of the border, are
injecting drug users.
And with that comes AIDS. Indeed, the bulk of China's AIDS cases are
clustered along its border with Burma - specifically in three
districts in Yunnan Province, according to Dr. Chris Breyer of Johns
Meanwhile, another neighboring country, India, is also seeing a
sharp increase in drug use and AIDS along its 1,000 mile border with
Burma. Authorities estimate that $1 billion in drugs is transported to
India every year on National Highway 39, which connects Central Burma
with India. Recent reports indicate that two new drug refineries were
opened along the border between Burma and India in order to increase
the supply of heroin to India.
The northeastern Indian state of Manipur, bordering Burma, had
600 addicts when the SLORC came to power in 1988. As of 1996,
according to specialists in the region, there were an estimated 40,000
addicts in the same location. Like China's Yunnan province, Manipur -
on the border with Burma, has the worst AIDS epidemic in India.
Inside Burma itself, where the poppy explosion is most deeply
felt, the twin epidemics of heroin and AIDS are out of control. And
SLORC government policy only feeds the problem, according to interviews
with Burmese students, AIDS specialists, and Burmese pro-democracy
leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
``The government appears to be more interested in stamping out
political activity than drug addiction,'' Suu Kyi said recently from her
home in Rangoon. ``Very few university students on the campus could
get away with engaging in political activities, but they seem to be able to
get away with taking drugs.''
That view is seconded by an exiled Burmese college student now
studying at the University of Wisconsin. ``Our professors told us that
the regime would rather have you become heroin addicts than speak
against the regime. The heroin explosion is happening with the
knowledge, the endorsement, even active encouragement by the state
Jade mines owned by the government in northern Burma give their work force
the option of being paid in hard drugs rather than cash,
according to Benjamin Min, who once worked in the Ministry of Mines.
In that remote region, off limits to Westerners, 90 percent of
addicts are HIV positive; in the rest of Burma, according to the World
Health Organization, the 500,000-plus addicts suffer an HIV infection
rate of 60 to 70 percent. Yet the government refuses to allocate money
for health services, and downplays the incidence of AIDS.
In a dark, windowless room hidden in the back of a dingy tea shop
in the Burmese city of Mandalay, a recent visitor reported this scene:
A junkie shoots heroin into the arms, thighs, and necks of a string of
clients using a single needle. The shooter stops occasionally only to
wipe the needle with a rag or sharpen it on a stone. Investigators
report that up to 200 addicts will use one needle.
Another scene, reported by a visitor to the Thai-Burma border,
captures the consequences of such practices. ``There are regular
funerals now, two or three a day, for AIDS victims, where the bodies
are cremated. This is many more than a year ago. You can hear firecrackers
during the funerals and see clouds of black smoke rising
up from the villages. This is because they burn rubber tires with the
bodies. They believe that it kills the virus and keeps it from
Narcotics officials estimate that this year's opium poppy harvest
from Burma is expected to increase by 10 percent over last year's. And
the more heroin exported out of Burma, the more that is likely to reach
US streets, schools and neighborhoods. Government figures show that the
volume of heroin imported into the US, and likewise heroin consumption,
has doubled since the mid 1980's.
Taking heroin is now too often considered chic; the drug is purer
than it used to be, it's easy to get, and a hit can be cheaper than a
six pack of beer.
An August 1996 report by the National Narcotics Intelligence
Consumers Committee - a panel made up of representatives of the 12
federal agencies fighting the drug war - describes New York City as
``the largest heroin importation and distribution center in the United
States.'' It says that roughly half of the yearly heroin seizures made
in the States occur in the New York City metropolitan area.
Jane's Intelligence Review reports that the amount of Burmese
heroin sold in New York City has tripled since 1989. According to a
DEA supervisor in New York, more women have become heroin users in
But the problem is not just New York's. Chicago is suffering its
own deluge of heroin, and in San Francisco, law enforcement officials
are only half-joking when they say that in some areas it is as easy to
buy heroin as cigarettes. In that city, heroin deaths more than doubled
from 1991 to 1994.
In Boston, Asian heroin is driven up from New York. A Drug
Enforcement Administration official in Boston says the agency is
redoubling its efforts against heroin, which is blamed for a recent rash of
overdose deaths. George Festa, special agent in charge of the DEA New
England Field Division, and New England's highest ranking DEA official, says
that 13 and 14-year-olds are selling heroin on the streets of Boston. Most,
he said, have no idea of the drug's Burmese origins, or the danger it poses.
``I don't think young people realize that they're dealing with
poison,'' Festa says, ``I don't think they realize, going back to Burma, how
this stuff is manufactured, the chemicals that are used under unsanitary
conditions . . . Many times what you're putting in your nose or into your
veins was smuggled into the country in somebody's internal cavities.''
Dennis Bernstein is an associate editor of Pacific News Service and
co-host of Flashpoints, a daily investigative radio report that airs in
the San Francisco area. Leslie Kean is co-author of "Burma's Revolution
of the Spirit" and director of the Burma Project USA.
This article was written with support from the Fund for Investigative
KHRG REPORT: #97-02- FAR SOUTH
March 10, 1997
ATTACKS ON KAREN VILLAGES: FAR SOUTH
An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
March 10, 1997 / KHRG #97-02
This report concerns an area in southern Tenasserim Division, about 180 km.
(110 mi.) north of Burma's southernmost point which lies at
Kawthaung (Victoria Point). Apart from the Andaman Sea coastline, the
area inland is hilly, forested, and not so heavily populated as most parts
of the country. The people are Burmans, Muslims, Mons, Karens and
Thais - the Thais are not Tai Yai (Shan), they are of the same ethnicity as
the Thais of southern Thailand. In this area the Karen are a minority,
having only a handful of villages, but they are often singled out for heavier
burdens of forced labour and other forms of persecution. Part of the
reason for this is the existence of Karen National Union (KNU) and Karen
National Liberation Army (KNLA 12th Battalion) in the area,
headquartered at Kaw Thay Lu adjacent to the Thai border.
In October 1996, SLORC ordered all the Karen villages in the area to
move to SLORC-controlled relocation sites around the Burman village of
Le Nya, where they were to be used as forced labour rebuilding the Boke
Pyin-Le Nya motor road. Then in mid-November 1996 troops from
SLORC Light Infantry Battalion #358 went through the area and burned
completely the Karen villages of Nan Ka Prao, Waw Pa Doh, Ler Pa Doh
and Kyet Der. In December or January they also burned part of Meh Naw
Roh village. All of these villages had been ordered to move. The Karen
villages of Ze Daeng and Kaw Bawt were also ordered to move. In every
case, SLORC told the villagers they would kill on sight anyone caught in
the area after that, and some villagers have been executed as a result. By
23 November, Light Infantry Battalion #358 troops were already
beginning to set up a base on the burned remains of Nan Ka Prao village.
Part of the Battalion then began attacking the Mon Army to the north.
Some of the villagers moved to the relocation site as ordered and have
subsequently been used as forced labour on the motor road. SLORC has
provided them with nothing. Most of the villagers fled into the forests
near their villages and are still there living in hiding. Several hundred
fled to Karen-controlled territory near Kaw Thay Lu, where they were
given help by the KNU. However, in February 1997 SLORC launched an
offensive against KNLA 12th Battalion, and at the time these interviews
were conducted 3 full SLORC Battalions (#262 and #342 based in
Kawthaung and #432 from Boke Pyin) were poised to attack 12th
Battalion headquarters at Kaw Thay Lu. Several hundred refugees fled
across the border into Thai territory, but the Thai Army stopped them and
pushed all the men and boys over age 10 back to Kaw Thay Lu telling
them to fight along with the soldiers. Only 4 men (generally old men) per
village were allowed to stay with the women and children, who were
forced to stay just 1 km. from Kaw Thay Lu in a narrow, dark and
malaria-infested gully, building tiny shelters in the middle of a streambed.
The Thai soldiers then set up their positions behind the refugees, more
with the idea of blocking the refugees from going further than protecting
their border. This has proven to be the normal Thai strategy at refugee
sites; should the SLORC Army cross the border, it also allows the Thai
soldiers time to flee while the refugees are being killed. As of 18 February
there were 282 refugees in the gully, all but a few of them women and
children. The Thai authorities had promised them that should there be
fighting in Kaw Thay Lu itself they would be allowed to move to a site a
few kilometres further inside Thailand. At the time of printing of this
report, the situation has not changed and Kaw Thay Lu is still awaiting an
The names of those interviewed in this report have been changed and
some details omitted to protect them; false names are enclosed in quotes.
TOPIC SUMMARY: Forced relocations (Interviews #1-6), burning of
villages (#1-6), killings of villagers (#1), forced labour (#1-4),
child forced labour (#1), extortion (#1,3), situation at relocation site
(#4), male refugees forced back by Thai authorities (#2), refugee fears
(#2,4,5), Nan Ka Prao village (#1-4), Ler Pa Doh village (#5), Meh Naw Ro
village (#6), treatment of Burman and Thai villages in the area (#1-3).
NAME: "Saw Hsah Muh Lah" SEX: M AGE: 54 Karen Christian hill farmer
FAMILY: Married, 6 children aged 17-31
ADDRESS: Nan Ka Prao village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
["Saw Hsah Muh Lah" was a village elder in Nan Ka Prao village, and was one
of the few men allowed to cross the border by the Thai authorities.]
Q: When you were in Nan Ka Prao village did the Burmese ever order you
A: Yes, they made problems about building the road from Le Nya to Boke
Pyin. So we couldn't stay there, and we had to come up here. The road
has all been built before, we build it, then when it's finished the rains
come and ruin it, then we have to build it again. So we have to go - if you
can't go you have to pay money, and if you can't pay money then you have to
go. If we can't go we have to hire someone, sometimes it is 2 or 3 thousand
[Kyats], sometimes 1 or 2 thousand. We had to go one time every month, one
person from every house. There are over 40 houses in Nan Ka Prao village.
If the adults can't go then the children have to go, children around 12 and
13 years old. And old men over 50 or 60 years old often have to go on
behalf of the young men. Each time it is for about 14 or 15 days. The
Burmese don't give anything, they [the labourers] have to take care of
themselves and survive on their own food. Some of them get sick, and then
we have to substitute another person for them.
Q: Did they order Nan Ka Prao village to move?
A: Yes, we already had to move over 2 months ago. The Burmese came
to the village and ordered all the villagers to move to Le Nya, which is in
their area. It is about 3 or 4 hours' walk away [from Nan Ka Prao]. So
some of the villagers moved there because they were afraid, but some of the
villagers didn't go there or come here, they just fled and stayed somewhere
else. As for us, we fled up here. The Burmese killed 2 of the villagers who
didn't go to the relocation place, and they said they would kill all the
villagers who disobeyed them and fled somewhere else if they saw them.
Q: Where did they kill the 2 villagers?
A: They killed the 2 villagers in the forest near Nan Ka Prao village. It
was about a month ago. One was Kyi Lin, he was over 30 years old, he had a
wife and 4 children. He was a Nan Ka Prao villager. The Burmese saw him
when he was harvesting rice at his farm. They didn't ask him anything, they
just saw him and shot him dead. Because they said they would kill any
villagers they saw who disobeyed and didn't go to Le Nya.
Q: What about the other villager who was killed?
A: That happened the first time the Burmese came, over 2 months ago.
Over 100 soldiers came from Battalion #358. They gathered all the male
villagers and took them along with them. There was a young man among
the villagers and the Burmese accused him of being a Kaw Thoo Lei
[Karen army] soldier and then tortured him. Later on they realised he was
not a Kaw Thoo Lei soldier, but they killed him anyway. They killed him
along the way. Even his parents didn't know, and no one dared to search
for his body. His name was Saw Peter, he was a Nan Ka Prao villager
about 22 years old.
Q: How many households moved to Le Nya [as ordered]?
A: I would guess that maybe over 40 households moved there [from other
villages as well as Nan Ka Prao]. I don't know how they stay there.
Maybe they have to build the road. As for us, we didn't go there, instead
we came to the Karen area among Karen people. Many people are staying
in the jungle. But we would starve if we stayed a long time in the jungle,
that's why we came up here. And up here is Karen revolution area, so I
thought we'd have some hope of getting [or growing] some food.
Q: I heard that the Burmese burned your village.
A: Yes. They burned all the houses, they ate all our livestock and they cut
down all the coconut trees and betelnut trees. None of the villagers were
there, everyone had run.
Q: Why did they burn the village?
A: They say we help Kaw Thoo Lei [KNU/KNLA], and Kaw Thoo Lei is
their enemy. They had ordered everyone to move, so they said if people
didn't move they were going to destroy everything and everything we had.
When we came here, I could only bring 2 or 3 pieces of clothing. We came
as a group of 2 or 3 families, 14 or 15 people altogether. It took us 4
nights along the way because of the children. There were no Burmese along
Q: How many Karen villages are in Nan Ka Prao area?
A: There are 4 villages - Nan Ka Prao, Ler Pa Doh, Waw Pa Doh, and
Kyet Der. All of them were burned by the Burmese, they did the same to
all the villages.
Q: What about the Thai and Burman villages? Do the Burmese make
problems for them?
A: Yes, they make problems in every village. They order them to move to
Le Nya - the Burman villages which are far from their [Army] place. Some of
them have moved, some of them have fled.
Q: When you got here how did you get food?
A: When we first arrived we got rice from the Karen revolution, because
we were staying with them. Then when they didn't have any more food for
us the gawlewah [westerners] helped us with food. Now we've been in
Thailand for 5 or 6 days, because we don't dare stay in Kaw Thay Lu
anymore. The Burmese are coming there to attack and destroy, so we fled
here. There are about 70 households here now. Altogether over 200
people [actually 282]. There are people from Nan Ka Prao, Waw Pa Doh
and Ler Pa Doh, and from Kaw Thay Lu village. As for the people from
Ze Daeng, they couldn't come up here even if they wanted to, because the
Burmese are making many problems for them and blocking them.
Q: If the Burmese reach Kaw Thay Lu can you still stay here?
A: No, we wouldn't dare stay here [only 1 km. away]. We'd have to flee
again to another place.
NAME: "Naw Lah Lah Htoo" SEX: F AGE: 30 Karen Animist hill farmer
FAMILY: Married, 5 children aged 8 months to 11 years
ADDRESS: Nan Ka Prao village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
Q: How many houses are there in Nan Ka Prao village?
A: There are about 40 or 50 houses in Nan Ka Prao village.
Q: I heard that the Burmese ordered the village to move.
A: Yes. We got here over 2 months ago because the Burmese expelled us.
They came up to Nan Ka Prao village, ordered the villagers to move and
made problems. They burned all the houses. Some of the villagers came
up here and some of them went down to the Burmese area. We just came
here quietly, so the Burmese didn't know it. The people who went down
where they ordered are staying in Kyaw Mote. As for me, I would not move
here. I fled when all the other villagers were running into the jungle. We
were in the bush for about 3 weeks. Then I went and stayed at Boke Pyin for
about a week, then I went back to my village again and it had already been
burned by the Burmese. Then I couldn't do anything, so I
came to stay here in Kaw Thay Lu. I couldn't bring along any sleeping-
mats, I just brought along some rice and one blanket. Then we couldn't
stay in Kaw Thay Lu because the [Karen] leaders were worried that there
would be troubles for us when the Burmese came. That's why we came
here [1 km. into Thai territory]. I came here with all my children. My
husband is still staying on the mountaintop [the Thai authorities would not
let him cross the border, even though he is just a villager and has never
been a soldier].
Q: How many Karen villages are in Nan Ka Prao area?
A: There are many Karen villages, like Nan Ka Prao, Waw Pa Doh, Ler
Pa Doh, Kyet Der, ... Waw Pa Doh has 12 houses, Ler Pa Doh has 30
houses. All these villages had to move. Now there are still some villagers
living there, but they've run and are staying in the forest [around their
villages]. They were ordered to move to Le Nya and Ma Kaw, which are
among the Burmese and the Mon. The Burmese said they will kill all the
villagers who are living in the jungle, they said that these are bad people.
They say all the people who stay in the jungle or come to Thailand are bad
people, that we all help Kaw Thoo Lei [KNU/KNLA], and that only the
people who go to their [relocation] place are good.
Q: Are there Thai and Burman villages there too?
A: There are also Thai and Burmese villages there. The Burmese make
difficulties for them too. All the villagers [Karen and others] who stay
around Le Nya or go down to the places among the Burmese have to build
the road and carry heavy things [as porters]. They're building a road to
Boke Pyin, and one to Le Nya Kee and Nan Ka Prao. The Burmese said
they'll build a camp in Nan Ka Prao.
Q: Are Burman and Thai villagers also fleeing?
A: Yes. Only a few of the Thai villagers are still staying there now.
Some of them are moving to Thailand.
Q: Why hasn't your husband come here?
A: He hasn't come because the Thais won't allow the men to come, so all
the men have to stay in Kaw Thay Lu. The Thais only allowed 4 men to
come and stay here among us. I don't know why the Thais said that. My
husband is not a soldier, he is just a villager. I don't know how long I'll
have to stay here, but I've been here a week now.
Q: If the Burmese attack Kaw Thay Lu do you dare stay here?
A: No, I wouldn't dare stay here.
Q: What is your situation here?
A: We just got rice and salt while we were fleeing [from the KNU].
Yesterday we were given some sardines and noodles too. My children are
healthy but I am not well, I feel bad and have pain in my back.
NAME: "Naw Htoo Paw" SEX: F AGE: 21 Karen Christian hill farmer
FAMILY: Single, 7 brothers and sisters, lives with her parents
ADDRESS: Nan Ka Prao village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
I'm a hill rice farmer, but our farm has been left behind because we had to
flee. The Burmese ordered us out starting in 1996, they ordered us to
move to Le Nya. Some people moved there but as for us, we didn't want to
stay among the Burmese, so we came to the Karen revolution area. Before
we stayed on the hill, but the Karen leaders told us we better come here
[into Thailand] because the military situation was getting worse.
Q: Before they ordered you to move did you have to do any work for the
A: Yes, people had to work building the road and carrying heavy things,
and some people had to pay money when they couldn't go there. The road
goes from Boke Pyin to Le Nya, among the Burmese. In our village we
just collected money and sent it to the Burmese.
There are over 40 houses in Nan Ka Prao village. Our village has been
burned by the Burmese 2 times. They have already burned 3 of my houses.
The first time was about 20 years ago, and the second time was in
[November] 1996 when we were there. It was after they ordered us to
move out. They burned many houses - all they left was the church. At that
time, I was hiding in the jungle. We were in the jungle, trying to build a
small shelter like this one [she was being interviewed in a tiny 4-foot by 5-
foot shelter in the forest with a plastic sheet for the roof]. Later some
Karen soldiers and villagers who had gone and seen it told us. The
Burmese burned every house except the church.
Q: How did you get food in the jungle?
A: Before, we had hidden some rice, salt and fishpaste in the jungle, so
that when things like this happen we could get it. Also, when these things
happen we carry a little rice along with us, so we can survive for a short
time. Then we fled out to here.
Q: Are there any other Karen villages in Nan Ka Prao area?
A: Yes, there are 3 others - there are Nan Ka Prao, and Kyet Der, Waw Pa
Doh and Ler Pa Doh - 4 villages altogether, close to each other. They all
have to move, and the Burmese burned all of them. Some of the people
went to the Burmese [relocation place] and half of us came to the
revolution area. Only a few households from Nan Ka Prao went to the
Burmese place. Some others are just staying along the way there but not
going all the way to the Burmese area. Those people are building small
shelters and farming in the jungle. It is only really old men and old women
who can't walk, can't do things or can't see who are going to the Burmese
place. From other villages a few are here, a few are hiding in the forest
and a few went to the Burmese place.
We were staying in the jungle for 1 or 2 months, and the Burmese attacked
the Karen once when we were there. We just kept moving around in the
jungle and staying along the upper reaches of streams. If the Burmese saw
us during that time it wouldn't be easy - they would surely kill us. Then we
came here. We spent 4 nights on the way to get here. We couldn't bring
anything except 2 sets of clothing, all our other things were taken by the
Burmese. As for the food we brought, it was all finished on the way
coming here. Then when we got here they [the KNU] gave us some rice and
salt. At first they gave us 10 plates, 5 blankets and 1 pot because there
are 10 people in our family. We arrived in Kaw Thay Lu in November,
after we had fled.
Q: How many households from Nan Ka Prao village have arrived here?
A: There are 22 households here from Nan Ka Prao village. In the jungle
there are more people than there are here. They would come if the
situation was better, but for now they just have to hide in the jungle in the
upper reaches of the streams.
Q: Do the Burmese make problems for the Thai and Burman villages too?
A: Yes, they also have to work. As for the Thai villagers, many of them
have fled to their motherland.
NAME: "Naw Wah Mo" SEX: F AGE: 50 Karen Christian hill farmer
FAMILY: Married, 4 children
ADDRESS: Nan Ka Prao village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
When they came I was in the village, but we didn't dare face them so we
fled into the jungle. Later I saw the places they'd burned. There were no
more houses, nothing was left. All the houses were burned except for the
Q: What about the Nan Ka Prao villagers who went to the relocation place,
how are they staying?
A: Some of them have made rafts and are living on the water [in shelters
built on bamboo rafts in the river] and others are living on the sand bank
[the sandy riverbank]. I wasn't there, but that was told to me by someone
who saw it. I heard that the people who moved there are now building the
motor road. The Burmese ordered all of the people to move there, but we
didn't go. I don't know why the Burmese do things like this.
I've been staying in Kaw Thay Lu for 2 months now. Now we have come
here [across the border to Thailand] because we are afraid of the
Burmese. I don't think we can go back to Nan Ka Prao. If the situation
was good we could go, but not if it is bad. We're really afraid right now.
NAME: "Saw Bleh" SEX: M AGE: 46 Karen Animist hill farmer
FAMILY: Married, 4 children aged 1-19, wife is about 7 months pregnant
ADDRESS: Ler Pa Doh village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
Q: What problems did the Burmese make in your village?
A: The Burmese came to the village and ordered us to move out, but we
didn't and we fled. It was about 3 months ago. They said that they would
kill us if they caught us after that. There are about 30 houses in Ler Pa
Doh village and 20 houses in Waw Pa Doh village. Waw Pa Doh is right
across the river from Nan Ka Prao. Ler Pa Doh is 30 minutes' walk from
Nan Ka Prao.
Q: Were you there when the Burmese ordered the village to move?
A: Yes, I was there in my village. They came to the village and they
burned all the houses. I was hiding in the bushes. I saw them burning the
paddy in my rice barn, the paddy which I grew on my own hill farm. There
were a lot of them. It was over 2 months ago, then they came again. They
came and burned the houses 3 times, because the first and second times not
all the houses were burned completely. After the third time all the houses
were burnt. All 30 houses.
Q: What area did you flee to?
A: We just went and hid in areas upstream. Altogether 3 households from
Ler Pa Doh arrived here. More households went to the Burmese place than
came here. It took 3 days to come here. All our children came on foot
with us. This one is 5 years old, and this one is 4.
Q: Why did you come into Thailand?
A: We dare not stay there [just across the border at Kaw Thay Lu]
because the Burmese will attack, so we had to flee into Thailand. If the
Burmese arrive there we won't dare stay here either, we'll have to move to
Q: Could you go back and stay in your village again?
A: We can't stay back in our village if the Burmese are there. If the Karen
leaders tell us the Burmese are not there anymore then maybe we could go
and stay there.
NAME: "Naw Lah Ghay" SEX: F AGE: 28 Karen Christian hill farmer
FAMILY: Married, 1 child aged 19 months
ADDRESS: Meh Naw Roh village INTERVIEWED: 18/2/97
I married a [Karen] soldier, and I stayed in Meh Naw Roh. Meh Naw Roh is a
Karen village. It is a big village with about 100 houses. I stayed in the
village, but my husband was living among the soldiers. Then we couldn't
stay in the village because the Burmese ordered us out, so I came to my
husband [in Kaw Thay Lu]. Meh Naw Ro is about a week from here on
foot, one day's walk from Nan Ka Prao. Now there are no more villagers in
the village because the Burmese wouldn't let them stay. The Burmese said
they would kill any villagers they saw. It was about a month ago. Some of
the villagers went down to the place we were ordered to move at Le Nya, some
fled upstream into the jungle, and some came to the Karen revolution area.
The Burmese came to the village, but there were also Karen soldiers staying
at the village. There was fighting. All the villagers ran away, and the
soldiers stayed in the village. Then after that the Burmese burned 7 of the
biggest houses in the village.
My husband is a soldier so I was afraid [that SLORC would arrest her],
and I fled the village and came up here. I came along with our child. We
only brought a few things.