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Home > Main Library > Politics and Government > Village and urban resistance to military rule

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Village and urban resistance to military rule
See also NLD etc. and Student Groups

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Albert Einstein Institution
Description/subject: "The Albert Einstein Institution is a nonprofit organization advancing the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world. We are committed to the defense of freedom, democracy, and the reduction of political violence through the use of nonviolent action. Our goals are to understand the dynamics of nonviolent action in conflicts, to explore its policy potential, and to communicate this through print and other media, translations, conferences, consultations, and workshops."... Downloadable books on this site include: There Are Realistic Alternatives by Gene Sharp: "There Are Realistic Alternatives is a short, serious introduction to nonviolent struggle, its applications, and strategic thinking. Based on pragmatic arguments, this piece presents nonviolent struggle as a realistic alternative to war and other violence in acute conflicts. It also contains a glossary of important terms and recommendations for further reading." 54 pp. 2003" Languages available: English, Arabic ....198 Methods of Nonviolent Action" "Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of "nonviolent weapons" at their disposal. Listed are 198 of them, classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention." Languages available: English....On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking About the Fundamentals by Robert Helvey: "On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict delves into the question of how to build a strategy for nonviolent struggle. Covering a variety of topics--such as ways to identify a movement's objectives, preparing a strategic estimate for a nonviolent struggle, and operational planning considerations--this publication contains insights on the similarities between military and nonviolent strategy. It represents a major new contribution to this field of study. Additional topics covered in the book include psychological operations and propaganda, contaminants that may affect the efficiency of a nonviolent movement, and providing consultations and training for members of movements and organizations".... From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp: "From Dictatorship to Democracy is a serious introduction to the use of nonviolent action to topple dictatorships. Originally published in 1993 in Thailand for distribution among Burmese dissidents, this booklet has since been translated into seventeen different languages and spread worldwide.". 88 pp. 2003....The Anti-Coup by Gene Sharp and Bruce Jenkins: As coups are one of the primary ways through which dictatorships are installed, this piece details measures that civilians, civil society, and governments can take to prevent and block coups d'état and executive usurpations. It also contains specific legislative steps and other measures that governments and non-governmental institutions can follow to prepare for anti-coup resistance". 64 pp. 2003....The Role of Power in Nonviolent Struggle by Gene Sharp: "Nonviolent action . . . is capable of wielding great power even against ruthless rulers and military regimes," writes Sharp, "because it attacks the most vulnerable characteristic of all hierarchical institutions and governments: dependence on the governed." Abstracted from Sharp's classic three-volume work, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, this monograph summarizes the core concepts behind the technique of nonviolent struggle." 19 pp. 1990, 1994.Languages available: English, Arabic, Burmese, Russian, Spanish....National Security Through Civilian-based Defense by Gene Sharp" "This publication offers an introduction to civilian-based defense. It also identifies significant research areas and policy studies that are relevant to advancing the field." 93 pp. 1985....Toward Research and Theory Building in the Study of Nonviolent Action by Ronald McCarthy and Christopher Kruegler: "The authors offer their thoughts about developing theory and conducting research in the emerging field of nonviolent action." 35 pp. 1993 .
Language: English and 20 other languages
Source/publisher: Albert Einstein Institution
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 June 2007


Title: Harn Lay's politcal cartoons
Description/subject: High quality, hard-hitting. See also the cartoons on "The Irrawaddy"
Author/creator: Harn Lay
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shanland
Format/size: jpeg
Alternate URLs: http://www.cartoonharnlay.com/
http://www.irrawaddy.org/archive_cartoon.php?sub_id=9
http://www.shanland.org/oldversion/cartoons.htm
Date of entry/update: 15 December 2010


Individual Documents

Title: Thaton Interview: Naw L---, February 2011
Date of publication: 10 January 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted in February 2011 by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Naw L---, a female village head from Bilin Township, Thaton District. Naw L--- described being interrogated and threatened at meetings with local Tatmadaw officers, including at times when she was pregnant. She described the killing of her son-in-law by then-DKBA Brigade #333 soldiers, and the defection of a Tatmadaw soldier to the KNLA, after which Tatmadaw soldiers arbitrarily arrested and tortured villagers and ordered Naw L--- to provide a firearm to replace the one taken by the defecting soldier. She also described how Tatmadaw soldiers forced H--- villagers to banish persons suspected of being KNLA soldiers and burn down their houses. Naw L--- explained that villagers face ongoing demands for forced labour, including forced portering of military rations, messenger and guide duty, for Tatmadaw, Border Guard and KNLA troops, but that she and her villagers employ a multitude of strategies to resist or mitigate abuse, including partial-compliance with forced labour demands; cultivating relationships with different, and oppositional, armed groups; lying about non-state armed groups’ soldiers and their operations; and successfully raising complaints to commanding officers about abuses perpetrated by their inferiors."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (284K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b1.html
Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


Title: 'All the information I've given you, I faced it myself': Rural testimony on abuse in eastern Burma since November 2010
Date of publication: 15 December 2011
Description/subject: "...Human rights abuses faced by ethnic communities across rural eastern Burma have continued since November 2010, and are consistent with patterns KHRG has documented since 1992. Drawing from a dataset of 1,270 oral testimonies, sets of images and documentation written and collected over the last year by villagers trained to monitor human rights conditions in their own communities, this report presents information on 17 categories of abuse and quantifies their occurrence across KHRG research areas. By placing recent testimony from villagers in the context of twenty years of abusive practices, this report should make clear that developments since the 2010 elections have neither expanded villagers' options for claiming their human rights, nor addressed the root causes of abuse in rural eastern Burma. External assessments of developments in Burma that ignore local perspectives on continuing human rights abuse thus exclude the input of the most knowledgeable and engaged stakeholders – who also stand to lose the most from inaccurate conclusions drawn without their participation. The testimony presented in the report should thus function as a critique of any attempt to assess changes in Burma that ignores local perspectives, and a call to heed the concerns of rural people who are gauging, on a day-to-day basis, the way past, present and continuing abuse impacts the future for communities in eastern Burma..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: 1.7MB - main report; 1.52MB - Appendix 1; 2.27MB - Appendix 2; 866K - Appendix 3
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1106.pdf - main report
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1106_Appendix_I.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1106_Appendix_II.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1106_Appendix_III.pdf
Date of entry/update: 15 December 2011


Title: Tenasserim Situation Update: Te Naw Th’Ri Township, May to September 2011
Date of publication: 12 December 2011
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in October 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Tenasserim Division between May and October 2011. The villager describes incidents of human rights abuse, including: arbitrary taxation by civilian and military government officials to fund state-organised pyi thu sit local militia groups and schools; conscription of villagers into a pyi thu sit; and the execution of Saw L---, a villager who had been forced to serve as a guide accompanying an active patrol column of LIB #558. The villager who wrote this report believed Saw L--- was killed in retaliation for an attack against that Tatmadaw column by KNLA soldiers, in which one Tatmadaw soldier was killed and several others injured. This report also documents some of the ways in which villagers respond to human rights abuse, specifically through attempts to engage and negotiate with local powerful actors to reduce or avoid demands for arbitrary payments levied against villagers."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (229K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b54.html
Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


Title: Tenasserim Interview: Saw T---, December 2010
Date of publication: 05 October 2011
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted in December 2010 in Te Naw Th’Ri Township, Tenasserim Division by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Saw T---, a 59-year-old village head who, at the time of interview, was in hiding from Tatmadaw troops in an area of Tenasserim Division beyond government control. Excerpts from Saw T---’s interview with KHRG have been published in the previous KHRG field report “Militarization, Development and Displacement: Conditions for villagers in southern Tenasserim Division” however, the full transcript of his testimony is now available below. Saw T--- described witnessing attacks on villagers by Tatmadaw soldiers and cited regular demands for villagers to serve as forced porters for the Tatmadaw and other forms of forced labour as one of the main factors which originally motivated him to go into hiding. Saw T--- explained that villagers in hiding employ a range of strategies to avoid Tatmadaw forces, including coordinating security strategies and sharing information with villagers at other hiding sites, maintaining contact with and seeking protection from non-state armed groups, cultivating crops that are easy to harvest quickly, travelling covertly to villages in mixed-administration areas in order to engage in trade and other livelihoods activities, and crossing vehicle roads during the night."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (158K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b34.html
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2012


Title: “Challenge and Survival: Political Resistance in Authoritarian Burma”
Date of publication: 31 August 2011
Description/subject: Abstract: "Burma‘s dictatorial government maintains its power by coupling political repression and social control methods to cultivate a compliant citizenry. Yet non-violent and violent opposition to military rule continues. Armed resistance groups began fighting for independence and autonomy from the state prior to Burma‘s independence. Large-scale protests occurred in every decade since military takeover in 1962, the most recent were the monks’ protests in September 2007. How do oppositions maintain their ability to challenge an authoritarian state over long periods? Authoritarian conditions necessitate that opposition movements resist by utilizing two imperatives: challenging the regime and ensuring their own survival. Resistance in Burma encompasses the offensive position of the challenge imperative and the defensive position of the survival imperative. Challenge activities confront the authority of the governing regime; the authoritarian government and its entities are the primary audience, although it is beneficial if other segments of society witness the action. Oppositional activities do more than just challenge the state. Oppositions conduct activities that also ensure their survival in the face of repression. Political activities serve to signal in-group solidarity, transfer information to other facets of the political movement and encourage long-term participation. For an opposition to survive repression, member retention is critical and activist family networks help individuals overcome regime-constraints to participation. i x The challenge and survival imperatives demonstrate that protest does not erupt ‘from out of nowhere.’ Over-relying on protest as a proxy measure of the existence of opposition overlooks the wide range of resistance options available to discontented citizens, especially those living under authoritarian rule. Using a protest events dataset and interviews with activists, soldiers and citizens of Burma, this dissertation examines the range of political resistance used in Burma to challenge the dictatorial regime."
Author/creator: Linnea M. Beatty
Language: English
Source/publisher: George Washington University
Format/size: pdf (1.73MB ) 403 pages
Date of entry/update: 17 September 2011


Title: Self-protection under strain: Targeting of civilians and local responses in northern Karen State
Date of publication: 31 August 2010
Description/subject: "The SPDC Army continues to attack civilians and civilian livelihoods nearly two years after the end of the 2005-2008 SPDC Offensive in northern Karen State. In response, civilians have developed and employed various self-protection strategies that have enabled tens of thousands of villagers to survive with dignity and remain close to their homes despite the humanitarian consequences of SPDC Army practices. These protection strategies, however, have become strained, even insufficient, as humanitarian conditions worsen under sustained pressure from the SPDC Army, prompting some individual villagers and entire communities to re-assess local priorities and concerns, and respond with alternative strategies - including uses of weapons or landmines. While this complicates discussions of legal and humanitarian protections for at-risk civilians, uses of weapons by civilians occur amidst increasing constraints on alternative self-protection measures. External actors wishing to promote human rights in conflict areas of eastern Burma should therefore seek a detailed understanding of local priorities and dynamics of abuse, and use this understanding to inform activities that broaden civilians' range of feasible options for self-protection, including beyond uses of arms..."
Language: English, Burmese, Karen
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2010-04)
Format/size: pdf (1.9MB - full report, English; 986K - Summary, Burmese; 804K - Summary, Karen)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg1004_briefer_Burmese.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg1004_briefer_Karen.pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2010


Title: Southern Papun District: Abuse and the expansion of military control
Date of publication: 30 August 2010
Description/subject: This report presents information on the human rights situation in village tracts along the southern end of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road in southern Dweh Loh and Bu Tho townships. SPDC and DKBA units maintain control over strategic points in lowland areas of this part of southern Papun, including relocation sites and vehicle roads, and support their presence by levying a range of exploitative demands on the local civilian population. SPDC and DKBA forces also continue to conduct offensive military operations in upland areas of southern Papun; for villagers living beyond permanent military control, these activities entail exploitative abuses, movement restrictions and, in some cases, violence including military attacks. Communities in both lowland and upland areas employ a variety of strategies to protect themselves and their livelihoods from SPDC and DKBA abuses and the effects of abuse. Strategies documented in this report include negotiation; paying fines in lieu of compliance with demands; discreet semi- or false compliance, or overt non-compliance or refusal to meet demands; strategic displacement to areas beyond consolidated SPDC or DKBA control; and actively monitoring local security conditions to inform decisions about further self-protection responses. This is the last of four reports detailing the situation in Papun District's southern townships that have been released in August 2010. Incidents described below occurred between September 2009 and April 2010.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2010-F8)
Format/size: pdf (779K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg10f8
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2010


Title: Central Papun District: Village-level decision making and strategic displacement
Date of publication: 27 August 2010
Description/subject: This report details a sequence of events in one village in central Papun District in late 2009. The report illustrates how the community responded to exploitative and violent human rights abuses by SPDC Army units deployed near its village in order to avoid or reduce the harmful impact on livelihoods and physical security. It also provides a detailed example of the way local responses are often developed and employed cooperatively, thus affording protection to entire communities. This report draws extensively on interviews with residents of Pi--- village, Dweh Loh Township, who described their experiences to KHRG field researchers, supplemented by illustrations based on these accounts by a Karen artist. This is the third of four field reports documenting the situation in Papun District's southern townships that will be released in August 2010. The incidents and responses documented below occurred in November 2009.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2010-F7)
Format/size: pdf (692K; 1.9MB- illustrated)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg10f7_illustrations.pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2010


Title: Central Papun District: Abuse and the maintenance of military control
Date of publication: 23 August 2010
Description/subject: This report presents information on the human rights situation in village tracts in central Papun District located near the northern section of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun Road, south of Papun Town in Bu Tho Township. Communities must confront regular threats to their livelihoods and physical security stemming from the strong SPDC and DKBA presence in, and control of the area, as these military units support themselves by extracting significant material and labour resources from the local civilian population. Villagers have reported movement restrictions and various exploitative abuses, including arbitrary taxation, forced portering, forced labour fabricating and delivering materials to military units, forced mine clearance and forced recruitment for military service. Some communities have also reported threats or acts of violent abuse, typically in the context of enforcing forced labour orders or where villagers have been accused of contacting or assisting KNLA forces operating in the area. This is the second of four reports detailing the situation in Papun District's southern townships that will be released in August 2010. Incidents documented in this report occurred between April 2009 and February 2010.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2010-C1)
Format/size: pdf (779K)
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2010


Title: The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma
Date of publication: 22 September 2009
Description/subject: "Since the Burmese army’s brutal military crackdown on Buddhist monks and other peaceful protestors in September 2007, a constant refrain has been, “What happened to the monks?” ...This report attempts to answer that question. It tells the story of many among hundreds of monks who were arrested and beaten, and the more than 250 monks and nuns who remain in prison today, often with decades remaining on their sentences. It tells the story of large numbers of monks who left their monasteries, returning to their villages or seeking refuge in other countries. And it tells the story of monks who remained, many of whom live under constant surveillance...".....TABLE OF CONTENTS: * The Resistance of the Monks * Map of Burma * I. Summary * II. Burma: A Long Tradition of Buddhist Activism * III. The Role of the Sangha in the 1988 Uprising and After the 1990 Election * IV. Aung San Suu Kyi and Buddhism * V. The SPDC and Buddhism * VI. The Reemergence of Buddhist Political Activism in Burma * VII. The September 2007 Crackdown * VIII. Cyclone Nargis and Its Aftermath * IX. International Networks * X. Conclusion * XI. Recommendations * Acknowledgments * Appendix I: Terminology and Abbreviations * Appendix II: Letter to the Penang Sayadaw U Bhaddantapannyavamsa from the Burmese Foreign Ministry, October 27, 2007[195] * Appendix III: Statement by Sasana Moli, the International Burmese Monks Organization, May 2008
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2009


Title: Ongoing accounts of village-level resistance
Date of publication: 31 July 2009
Description/subject: "External accounts of life in rural Burma have long been shaped by narrow stereotypes of helpless victims and intransigent oppressors. However, as KHRG has increasingly documented, such portrayals fail to accurately reflect the dynamics of life under military rule and the (albeit disadvantaged) efforts which regular people employ to resist abuse, renegotiate relations of power and assert control over their lives. As international engagement in Burma increases, a far more nuanced understanding of local-level political processes remains crucial to developing a rights-based approach to aid provision. To that end, the present report provides summaries of three recent incidents in which villagers sought to negotiate a change or reduction in military demands. All three accounts deal with orders issued by DKBA forces in Papun and Thaton districts of Karen State during May and June 2009. In a departure from the usual KHRG reporting-style, these accounts have been supplemented with illustrations based on villagers' descriptions of events provided to KHRG by an independent illustrator..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Field Reports (KHRG #2009-F13)
Format/size: pdf (860 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2009/khrg09f13.html
Date of entry/update: 30 October 2009


Title: Village Agency: Rural rights and resistance in a militarized Karen State
Date of publication: 25 November 2008
Description/subject: "With a disproportionate emphasis on isolated incidents of particularly emotive violent abuses in rural areas and a concurrent neglect of the many ways villagers have sought to resist such abuse, international journalism and advocacy around Burma has often contributed to portrayals of rural villagers as helpless victims passively terrorised by the Burma Army. By marginalising the agency of rural villagers in this way, such portrayals have perpetuated the exclusion of these individuals from the ongoing political processes which affect them. Citing the personal testimonies of over 110 villagers living in Karen State, this report seeks to challenge such portrayals and provide a forum for these individuals to speak for themselves about the context of abuse in which they live and their own efforts to resist this abuse. By highlighting the resistance strategies and political agency of villagers in rural Karen State, this report argues that the voices of these individuals can, and indeed should, be heard and incorporated into the many ongoing political processes that affect them."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (7.2MB), 186 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg0803.pdf
Date of entry/update: 27 November 2008


Title: Networks of Noncompliance: Grassroots resistance and sovereignty in militarised Burma
Date of publication: 10 November 2008
Description/subject: "...This paper examines state repression and state-society conflict in Burma through the lens of rural and urban resistance strategies. It finds very well developed 'networks of noncompliance' through which civilians evade and undermine state control over their lives, and that SPDC's brutal tactics represent not control, but a lack of control. Using concrete examples, the paper argues that outside agencies ignore this state-society struggle over sovereignty at their peril: by ignoring the interplay of intervention with local politics and militarisation, claiming a 'humanitarian neutrality' which is impossible in practice, and portraying civilians as helpless pawns, those who intervene and those who document the situation risk undermining the very civilians they wish to help, while facilitating further state repression. It calls for greater honesty and awareness in interventions, combined with greater outside engagement with villagers in their resistance strategies. Only days after this paper was first presented at the Yale University Agrarian Studies Colloquium, some of its cautions about the naïveté of claiming humanitarian neutrality in Burma's politicised and militarised context were tragically realised, when Cyclone Nargis devastated parts of the country and international aid agencies were forced to confront firsthand the SPDC's raw disdain for its own civilian population. Some gave in and chanelled aid through the Burmese military, much of which never reached the target populations...".....Paper for Agrarian Studies Colloquium, April 25, 2008 by Kevin Malseed, Advisor, Karen Human Rights Group Program Fellow in Agrarian Studies, Yale University
Author/creator: Kevin Malseed
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: pdf (426 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08w3.html
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2009


Title: The 'everyday politics' of IDP protection in Karen State
Date of publication: 20 October 2008
Description/subject: "...While international humanitarian access in Burma has opened up over the past decade and a half, the ongoing debate regarding the appropriate relationship between politics and humanitarian assistance remains unresolved. This debate has become especially limiting in regards to protection measures for internally displaced persons (IDPs) which are increasingly seen to fall within the mandate of humanitarian agencies. Conventional IDP protection frameworks are biased towards a top-down model of politically-averse intervention which marginalizes local initiatives to resist abuse and hinders local control over protection efforts. Yet such local resistance strategies remain the most effective IDP protection measures currently employed in Karen State and other parts of rural Burma. Addressing the protection needs and underlying humanitarian concerns of displaced and potentially displaced people is thus inseparable from engagement with the 'everyday politics' of rural villagers. The present article seeks to challenge conventional notions of IDP protection that prioritize a form of State-centric 'neutrality' and marginalize the 'everyday politics' through which local villagers continue to resist abuse and claim their rights. (This working paper was presented on the panel 'Migration within and out of Burma' as part of the 2008 International Burma Studies Conference in DeKalb, Illinois in October 2008.)..." A working paper by Stephen Hull, Karen Human Rights Group, for presentation on the panel ‘Migration within and out of Burma’ as part of the 2008 International Burma Studies Conference DeKalb, Illinois, October 2008
Author/creator: Stephen Hull
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: pdf (84 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08w2.html
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2009


Title: Burmese Humor Survived the Storm
Date of publication: August 2008
Description/subject: "THE Burmese laugh even in the face of adversity. Further proof of their indefatigable sense of humor is to be found in a Rangoon exhibition of cartoons relating to the Cyclone Nargis disaster and the government’s mismanagement of relief efforts. About 400 works by 70 cartoonists are on show at the Lawkanat Gallery in an exhibition titled “Wake from the Storm.” Some of the cartoons were too much for the censors, who ordered six to be removed. Despite the censorship—perhaps because of it—the exhibition is proving a big success, drawing crowds of Burmese yearning for some light relief in their times of adversity." [full text]
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 August 2008


Title: Comedian Zarganar Smiles Through it All
Date of publication: August 2008
Description/subject: "BURMA’s most popular comedian, Zarganar, appeared before a court in Rangoon’s Insein Prison in late July, several weeks after his arrest for giving interviews to foreign media criticizing the military regime’s slow response to the Cyclone Nargis disaster. He was charged with having contacts with illegal organizations and insulting the state..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 August 2008


Title: Supporting IDP resistance strategies
Date of publication: 23 April 2008
Description/subject: "...Whether in hiding or living under military control, displaced villagers of Karen State and other areas of rural Burma have shown themselves to be innovative and courageous in responding to and resisting military abuse. They urgently need increased assistance but it is they who should determine the direction of any such intervention. This article, co-authored by two KHRG staff members, appears in issue number 30 of the journal Forced Migration Review (FMR), issued in April 2008 and is available on both the KHRG and FMR websites..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group Articles & Papers (KHRG #2008-W1)
Format/size: pdf (109 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08w1.html
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2009


Title: Supporting IDP resistance strategies
Date of publication: 22 April 2008
Description/subject: Whether in hiding or living under military control, displaced villagers of Karen State and other areas of rural Burma have shown themselves to be innovative and courageous in responding to and resisting military abuse. They urgently need increased assistance but it is they who should determine the direction of any such intervention.
Author/creator: Poe Shan K Phan and Stephen Hull
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: "Forced Migration Review" No. 30
Format/size: pdf (Burmese, 230K; English, 366K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR30Burmese/18-19.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2008


Title: Attacks, killings and increased militarisation in Nyaunglebin District
Date of publication: 11 January 2008
Description/subject: "With the dry season in northern Karen State well under way, the SPDC continues to intensify its militarisation of the area. In Nyaunglebin District this intensification has come in the form of an increased troop build-up with the regime deploying new military units, establishing new camps and bases and attacking displaced civilian communities in hiding. Maintaining a shoot-on-sight policy SPDC soldiers operating in Nyaunglebin have shot and killed or otherwise severely injured displaced villagers and destroyed rice storage barns and civilian rice supplies across the district. In those areas more firmly under SPDC control, soldiers have ordered villagers to labour building army camps, porter mortar shells and army rations and repair SPDC-controlled vehicle roads in support of the region's growing military presence. This report looks at the human rights situation in Nyaunglebin District from October to December 2007..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Field Report (KHRG #2008-F1)
Format/size: pdf (788 MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08f1.html
Date of entry/update: 07 November 2009


Title: Forced labour, extortion and the state of education in Dooplaya District
Date of publication: 16 October 2007
Description/subject: "As world attention focused last month on the large-scale public demonstrations in Rangoon and other major urban centres around Burma, the magnitude of domestic frustration over the military's systematic impoverishment of the civilian population became evident to the international community. This frustration is keenly felt by the people of Dooplaya District in southern Karen State and found expression last month in local anti-regime gatherings. Amongst other abuses, forced labour and extortion in their many guises have been leading causes in the economic collapse and resultant frustration with militarisation in Dooplaya District. A crucial factor making these abuses even more oppressive in Dooplaya and other areas of Karen State as compared with central Burma is the multiplicity of armed groups which compete with each other and with the region's civilian administration for the spoils of village-level exploitation. Across Dooplaya District the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Army; the regime's district and township-level civilian administration; the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); and the Karen Peace Force (KPF) all continue to fatten themselves off of the toil of village labour. Amongst other detrimental consequences, this persistent predation has undermined opportunities for educational advancement and the application of such education beyond traditional village livelihoods or subservience within the local system of militarisation..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Field Report (KHRG #2007-F8)
Format/size: pdf (586 MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2007/khrg07f8.html
Date of entry/update: 07 November 2009


Title: Bullets and Bulldozers: The SPDC offensive continues in Toungoo District
Date of publication: 19 February 2007
Description/subject: "The first two months of 2007 have done nothing to lessen the intensity of attacks against the villagers of Toungoo District. SPDC forces continue to send in more troops and supplies, build new camps and upgrade older ones using forced village labour, convict porters and heavy machinery brought in for this purpose. Local villagers have been the ones to suffer from the increased military build-up and infrastructure 'development' as such programmes have put the SPDC in a stronger position to enforce their authority over civilians in rural areas and undermine the efforts of local peoples to evade military forces and maintain their livelihoods. Employing the new roadways and camps to shuttle troops and supplies deeper into areas beyond military control, SPDC forces continue to expand their reach in terms of extortion of funds, food and supplies; extraction of forced labour; and restriction of all civilian movement, travel and trade. These abuses have combined to exacerbate poverty, worsen the humanitarian situation and restrict the options of villagers living in these areas..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Field Report (KHRG #2007-F1)
Format/size: pdf (819 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2007/khrg07f1.html
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2009


Title: Speaking Truth to Power: The Methods of Nonviolent Struggle in Burma
Date of publication: December 2005
Description/subject: "This brief publication introduces the general public to the methods of nonviolent struggle being used to oppose, undermine or refuse cooperation with military rule in Burma/Myanmar. Many reports have focused on opposition activities involving a variety of ethnic minority groups, resident within Burma/Myanmar, who have been engaged in an armed struggle against the military regime virtually since the end of colonial rule. In contrast, this publication focuses on the population of central Burma, whose activists are associated with the political parties which won seats in the 1990 elections. These activists have waged a predominantly nonviolent campaign to assume their place in the countries political life to which they were popularly elected, but to which the ruling military junta has prohibited them. The types of actions these political activists undertake, and why they believe it makes a difference are not well known, both due to the lack of a common political vocabulary for journalists to report on nonviolent struggle, and due to the lack of access most journalists have to the country. We reveal in this report the story hidden behind the human rights reports- the nonviolent struggle against military rule in Burma/Myanmar."
Author/creator: Aurelié Andrieux,
Language: English
Source/publisher: Nonviolence International SE Asia
Format/size: pdf (1.93MB)
Alternate URLs: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/images/stories/Speaking_Truth_to_Power.pdf
Date of entry/update: 13 January 2006


Title: Sovereignty, Survival and Resistance: Contending Perspectives on Karen Internal Displacement in Burma
Date of publication: 01 March 2005
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper examines the nature and dynamics of Karen internal displacement in Burma through perspectives expressed by villagers themselves, and then contrasts their view of the situation with that projected by international labels and definitions. Initially, it contrasts the prevalent way of viewing internal displacement, which it argues is built upon state sovereignty, and a ‘popular sovereignty’ perspective which attempts to understand displacement by beginning from the viewpoint of local people rather than internationally-accepted definitions. It then looks at Karen internal displacement using the latter perspective and finds it to be an ongoing and sociocultural process rather than a spatial displacement from ‘home’. Though occurring in a context of armed conflict, it is not caused by armed conflict but by state efforts to consolidate territorial sovereignty over civilians who are used to local-level sovereignty and ‘non-state’ identities. Villagers therefore respond with survival strategies which in themselves constitute resistance to state authority. International perspectives, however, ignore this when they apply misleading assumptions and oversimplifications like ‘conflict-induced displacement’ and overdetermine people’s identities with labels like ‘IDP’ which depict people as helpless bystanders to their own context. Such labels ignore people’s capacities to respond to their own situation and the resistance aspect in their responses, and lead to top-down relief-based solutions which favour the repressive state and weaken the position of displaced people themselves. The importance of which epistemology is chosen to understand internal displacement situations is illustrated by the contrast between covert local-level aid to Karen village survival strategies, which is unabashedly political and empowers people in their resistance to state control, versus UNHCR’s agreement with Burma’s military junta to prepare the ground for refugee repatriation, which claims ‘humanitarian neutrality’ but strengthens the state, ignores local perspectives and poses a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of the internally displaced. The paper concludes that most interventions in internal displacement situations fail to improve conditions for the displaced because they apply internationally-developed labels to people and situations which ignore local perspectives and dynamics, and calls for a new look at ‘internal’ displacement which is much more politically engaged and gives much greater weight to local visions."
Author/creator: Kevin Heppner
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG Working Paper #2005-W1)
Format/size: pdf (727K) 52 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/papers/wp2005w1.htm
Date of entry/update: 19 June 2005


Title: Farewell to the “Liberated Area”
Date of publication: February 2005
Description/subject: Democracy activists take the safe option... "“It’s as if brains have been infected by malaria.” Kyaw Thura invoked a common Burmese expression to vent his frustration over the increasing numbers of dissident exiles who are turning their backs on comrades in the so-called “Liberated Area” and seeking new lives elsewhere..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2005


Title: DVB: Burma Needs More Radio
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "...In July, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) observed the 10th anniversary of its founding in Oslo, Norway. For many, the gathering was cause for joyous celebration, but there was also an undertone of concern as the radio station confronts some tough decisions concerning its future. Burma�s journalists and media groups in exile attended the two-day conference and participated in healthy debates on the current state of Burmese media. The most pressing issues on the table, however, concerned the future role of the DVB: whether or not it should become a truly independent radio station..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "Class of '88" Ready to Graduate?
Date of publication: August 2000
Description/subject: If nothing else, the recent controversial re-opening of universities in Burma has given thousands of young people a chance to truthfully call themselves "students", a self-description that many retained even during the long years of academic drought. But outside of the country, another generation of Burmese "students" may finally be preparing to leave the label behind.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Perspective: Ending the End Game
Date of publication: April 2000
Description/subject: Both sides in the struggle for power in Burma have relied too heavily on confrontation, writes Min Zin. This has produced a deadlock which, after more than a decade, has steadily eroded Burma's capacity to resolve a growing mountain of problems. It is time to formulate strategies that will bring steady progress, rather than trying to force a quick end to the conflict.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 4-5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Real Freedom
Date of publication: February 2000
Description/subject: Ye Min Aung learns about the real meaning of freedom from his friend and fellow activist, James Mawdsley, who is currently serving a 17-year prison sentence in Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Taking the Lead: the Need for a Peace Movement in Burma
Date of publication: February 2000
Description/subject: Min Zin considers whether the recent initiatives of two highly respected monks is a signal that a peace movement may be emerging in Burma.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The End of Toleration
Date of publication: February 2000
Description/subject: Dissidents are clinging to their commitment to non-violence, but they may be losing their grip, writes Win Htein
Author/creator: Win Htein
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Bloody Day at Ratchburi Hospital
Date of publication: January 2000
Description/subject: Hospital raid raises unanswered questions writes the Irrawaddy Editorial members... "The dramatic seizure of a hospital near the Thai-Burmese border has raised a number of questions about Thailand’s evolving policies towards its neighbor to the west..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Trial by Exile
Date of publication: January 2000
Description/subject: . . . the greatest threat to the unity of Burmese struggling against institutionalized violence in their homeland is the use of violence to achieve this end. The small minority who resort to such tactics do incalculable damage to their cause, as even those who understand and sympathize with their motives are obliged to reject their methods if they clearly grasp the significance of what the people of Burma are trying to achieve...
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Johnny Comes Lately
Date of publication: October 1999
Description/subject: It was an amazing event: A group of armed student activists stormed the Burmese embassy in Bangkok on the first of October, turning their backs on eleven years of passive resistance and non-violent struggle. Aung Zaw, who at the scene to cover the hostage drama, examines the reasons behind this apparent about-face.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Prospects and Challenges of the 9-9-99 Campaign
Date of publication: August 1999
Description/subject: Student activist Min Zin examines the 9-9-99 campaign and considers its probability of success.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 7, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2009


Title: Working Underground to Plant the Seeds of Civil Society
Date of publication: June 1999
Description/subject: A student activist with eight years of experience working underground in Burma reflects on the limitations and possibilities of "UG" activism. He points to a need to re-think strategies if long-term goals are to be achieved. Democracy will only succeed if there is a strong civil society in Burma; and now is the time to sow the seeds, Min Zin writes.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Spiritual Revolution
Date of publication: February 1999
Description/subject: The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." - Albert Einstein. While attending an international conference last year, I met a few people who said to me: "You guys don't have the ability to stand up to the military regime. You guys are always on the defensive." To that, I replied, "No, I don't think so." Because, though the SPDC is still in power, I know of a number of events taking place in Burma right now which are believed to make the regime particularly vulnerable and the democracy movement stronger.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: A Man Who Would Conquer Kings
Date of publication: April 1998
Description/subject: Recently, the Democratic Party for a New Society [DPNS] in exile launched a poster campaign calling for the release of a prominent student leader: Min Ko Naing. Min Ko Naing is the nom de guerre of Burma's most prominent student leader. It means "conqueror of kings".
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Forced Labour Briefing Notes
Date of publication: 10 February 1998
Description/subject: "...hese notes list some of the main types of forced labour currently experienced by villagers in most of the main rural Karen areas of Burma, including Karen State, Tenasserim Division, parts of Mon State and Pegu Division, and the Irrawaddy Delta. This list does not include all the types of forced labour, it only tries to give an idea of the main types. For further details on labour conditions and the implementation of this forced labour please see KHRG’s written submission to the ILO Commission of Inquiry dated August 1997. Details and supporting evidence of the situation in each of the areas listed below is available in existing and upcoming KHRG reports. Presently the SPDC is rapidly expanding the concentration of its armed forces in most Karen areas, and the burden of forced labour on all villagers is increasing even more quickly; each Battalion is demanding more and more forced labour of villagers, and the number of these Battalions is also increasing. Several major military offensives have been conducted over the past year, particularly in Dooplaya and Tenasserim, and an offensive is expected soon in Papun District of Karen State. The SPDC has greatly extended its control in Karen areas in the past year, and is continuing on a program to gain complete control over all Karen areas. Forced labour is used both to gain control (as porters, camp labour, etc.) and once control is established (as camp labour, forced labour on roads and other "development", growing cash crops for the military, etc.)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 November 2009


Title: Comrades Appeal to Ne Win
Date of publication: February 1998
Description/subject: "War veterans who had put their lives on the line for Burma’s independence are beginning to realise that now is time for change. And they want their comrade-in-arms to jointly work for national reconciliation. Recently, Bohmu Aung, Thakin Chit, Thakin Shwe and other veteran politicians called for the junta to start meaningful political dialogue with the opposition, including the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Sun Kyi..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "Without Unity We Would be Destroyed" [Interview]
Date of publication: August 1997
Description/subject: Ma In Kyin Naing, first became a student activist when she was a 9th standard student. She joined the 1988 uprising and was a member of the Basic State High School Students' Union. She later became an active member of the Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS).
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 4-5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Waging War Against the Tyrants [Role of the Students]
Date of publication: June 1997
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 3
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: 'Fighting Peacock' on the Streets Again
Date of publication: January 1997
Description/subject: Last month John Jackson visited Burma, where he saw Burma's powerful students challenge the military rulers for freedom and democracy. Though the junta shut down schools in order not to spread the protests to other cities the students' determination, says John Jackson, won't be crushed easily.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Student Activism Resurfaces
Date of publication: January 1997
Description/subject: "It has been five years since a large-scale demonstration was held in Burma, but the demonstrators have used the intervening time to organize and shape their convictions. The December protests were marked by a high degree of discipline and organization. Underground student activists collaborated to stage the protests in Rangoon..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Human Rights in Karen Areas of Burma
Date of publication: 08 April 1996
Description/subject: Briefing Notes by Kevin Heppner, Karen Human Rights Group April 8, 1996 "...Right now the opposition Karen National Union (KNU) is trying to conduct ceasefire negotiations with the SLORC (State Law & Order Restoration Council) military junta ruling Burma. Though the SLORC claims to be making every effort to bring peace to the country, they are still refusing to even discuss any political or human rights issues, and as a result the talks are making no progress. Many observers feel that the SLORC is not yet interested in a ceasefire, but wants to launch major attacks against the KNU first in order to weaken the KNU so it can be forced to accept what amount to surrender terms. Regardless of the negotiations, SLORC continues to worsen the human rights situation for villagers throughout Karen areas. In some areas, such as Taungoo and Nyaunglebin, systematic abuse of the civilian population is being used partly with the intention of driving the KNU towards a ceasefire deal on very bad terms. However, in most areas the abuses are increasing as a direct result of SLORC moving in and exerting stronger control in areas where KNU forces have been weakened or eliminated. Even in areas close to central Burma which SLORC has always strongly controlled, the human rights situation is worsening because more Army Battalions are being sent in to strengthen control over the civilian population, and because SLORC’s use of forced labour is increasing nationwide. The sections below give summaries of the human rights situation prevailing in some example Karen regions, starting from the northern tip of Karen State and moving southward several hundred kilometres to Tenasserim Division..."
Author/creator: Kevin Heppner
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 November 2009


Title: Notes on Landmine Use: SLORC and KNLA
Date of publication: 03 March 1996
Description/subject: "...The technical mine information below was obtained from KNLA sources and was current as of early 1994, though it is apparently still current. The notes regarding effect on civilians are mainly from KHRG observations. Abbreviations: SLORC = State Law & Order Restoration Council, the junta ruling Burma; KNLA = Karen National Liberation Army, the Karen resistance force; DKBA = Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army, a Karen faction allied with SLORC..." "...The most common landmine used is the American M-76, of which the Burmese now manufacture their own copies. Almost all of these found used to be American-made, but now more are the Burmese copies. They are the "classic" landmine design, made of heavy-duty metal, cylindrical, about 2" diameter and 4-5" high, with a screw-in top the diameter of a pencil which extends a couple of inches above the body of the mine - this screw-in top is surmounted by a plunger the size of a pencil eraser which is what sets off the mine. The safety pin goes through the plunger, and can be used to rig a tripwire. However, most common use is to bury the mine with only the plunger above ground, generally hidden by leaf litter. The body of the mine is Army green, stencilled with yellow lettering: for example "LTM-76 A.P. MINE / DI-LOT 48/84" (copied off a recovered SLORC mine). "A.P." means Anti-Personnel. This mine is designed to kill or maim people. The person who steps on it is almost certainly killed, and anyone in a 5-metre radius is wounded..." These informal notes were prepared in response for specific requests for information on landmine use. They are not intended to present a complete picture of landmine use.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 November 2009