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Home > Main Library > Internal Displacement/Forced Migration > Burma: Internal displacement/forced migration of individual ethnic groups > Internal displacement/forced migration of Shan. Palaung and Wa villagers

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Internal displacement/forced migration of Shan. Palaung and Wa villagers

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Shan Human Rights Foundation Monthly Reports
Description/subject: Archive from May 98.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 October 2015

Individual Documents

Title: 10,000 Shans uprooted, 500 houses burned in Burmese regime's latest scorched earth campaign
Date of publication: 13 August 2009
Description/subject: 10,000 Shans uprooted, 500 houses burned in Burmese regime’s latest scorched earth campaign (press release)... Map of villages forcibly relocated... Summary of villages forcibly relocated... Images of the Burmese regime's latest scorched earth campaign
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN), Shan Relief and Development Committee, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organisation, Shan Youth Power, Shan Health Committee
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 November 2010

Title: An Unseen Crisis
Date of publication: 25 February 2014
Description/subject: Summary: "Increased troop deployment, attacks and abuses by the Burma Army in northern Shan State during the past year have caused large-scale new displacement of Palaung villagers, calling into question the Burmese government’s claims to be seeking a peaceful settlement to the ethnic conflict. The number of Burmese government troops in Palaung areas of northern Shan State has doubled from 16 to over 30 battalions during 2013. Attacks and abuses by these troops have caused the fresh displacement of over 3,000 mostly Palaung villagers in the past year, who are now sheltering in four new camps in Namtu, Tangyan and Kutkhai townships. This is a fourfold in crease since late 2012, when PWO documented about 1,000 IDPs sheltering in three camps in Namkham and Manton town- ships. The military build-up is clearly linked to the government’s attempts to secure its large-scale investment projects in the area, including the Shwe oil and gas pipelines, which started sending gas to China in June 2013. Offensives have been ongoing against local ethnic resistance groups, in cluding the Shan State Army North (SSA-N), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Burma Army shelling of villages, burning of homes and property, forced portering, torture and sexual violence have caused new displacement of over 20 villages during the past year. The offensives have continued despite ongoing ceasefire negotiations between the Burmese government and the ethnic armed groups. The TNLA met with the Myanmar Peace Center, led by U Aung Min on July 31, 2013, in Muse, northern Shan State, but the Burma Army launched new attacks against TNLA in Kutkhai and Kyaukmae only eleven days afterwards. There is insufficient humanitarian aid reaching the IDP camps. Aid agencies provided basic assistance to IDPs in Kutkhai an d Tangyan when they first fled, but since then there has been no regular support of rice or other food. The IDPs are forced to find work as daily labourers to feed their families, but there is little work available. Shortages of food have exacerbated health problems in the camps, but there has been almost no medical aid..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO)
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB)
Date of entry/update: 09 December 2014

Title: Charting the Exodus from Shan State: Patterns of Shan refugee flow into northern Chiang Mai province of Thailand 1997-2002
Description/subject: "This report gives quantitative evidence in support of claims that there has been a large influx of Shans arriving into northern Thailand during the past 6 years who are genuine refugees fleeing persecution and not simply migrant workers. This data was based on interviews with 66,868 Shans arriving in Fang District of northern Chiang Mai province between June 1997 and December 2002, The data shows that almost all the new arrivals came from the twelve townships in Central Shan State where the Burmese military regime has carried out a mass forced relocation program since March 1996, and where the regime's troops have been perpetrating systematic human rights abuses against civilian populations. Higher numbers of arrivals came from townships such as Kunhing where a higher incidence of human rights abuses has been reported. Evidence also shows increases in refugee outflows from specific village tracts directly after large-scale massacres were committed by the regime's troops..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation via Shan Herald Agency for news
Format/size: pdf (896K) 14 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.shanland.org/oldversion/view-3471.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 December 2010

Title: Displacement and disease: the Shan exodus and infectious disease implications for Thailand
Date of publication: 14 March 2008
Description/subject: Abstract: "Decades of neglect and abuses by the Burmese government have decimated the health of the peoples of Burma, particularly along her eastern frontiers, overwhelmingly populated by ethnic minorities such as the Shan. Vast areas of traditional Shan homelands have been systematically depopulated by the Burmese military regime as part of its counter-insurgency policy, which also employs widespread abuses of civilians by Burmese soldiers, including rape, torture, and extrajudicial executions. These abuses, coupled with Burmese government economic mismanagement which has further entrenched already pervasive poverty in rural Burma, have spawned a humanitarian catastrophe, forcing hundreds of thousands of ethnic Shan villagers to flee their homes for Thailand. In Thailand, they are denied refugee status and its legal protections, living at constant risk for arrest and deportation. Classified as “economic migrants,” many are forced to work in exploitative conditions, including in the Thai sex industry, and Shan migrants often lack access to basic health services in Thailand. Available health data on Shan migrants in Thailand already indicates that this population bears a disproportionately high burden of infectious diseases, particularly HIV, tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis, and some vaccine-preventable illnesses, undermining progress made by Thailand’s public health system in controlling such entities. The ongoing failure to address the root political causes of migration and poor health in eastern Burma, coupled with the many barriers to accessing health programs in Thailand by undocumented migrants, particularly the Shan, virtually guarantees Thailand’s inability to sustainably control many infectious disease entities, especially along her borders with Burma."
Author/creator: Voravit Suwanvanichkij
Language: English
Source/publisher: Conflict and Health 2008, 2:4
Format/size: pdf (170K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/2/1/4
Date of entry/update: 09 April 2008

Title: Dispossessed
Date of publication: April 1998
Description/subject: A report on forced relocation and extrajudicial killings in Shan State, Burma. Since the publication of "Uprooting the Shan," the report by the SHRF detailing the forced relocation program carried out by the SLORC in Shan State during 1996, the SLORC military regime (recently renamed the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC) has been continuing to uproot more villages throughout 1997 and early 1998. Many of the relocation sites that were the results of 1996 relocations have been forced to move again. Human rights abuses such as mass killings, rape, torture and looting have been committed repeatedly by the SPDC troops against the displaced population. This has prompted the need to publish this updated report, containing more complete lists and maps of the relocated villages, and detailing the many extrajudicial killings committed by the military regime in the areas of relocation. We hope that this report will give a clearer picture to the international community of the devastating effects of the forced relocation program on the population of Central Shan State. KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010

Title: Exiled at Home: Continued Forced Relocations and Displacement in Shan State
Date of publication: 05 April 2000
Description/subject: Continued Forced Relocations and Displacement in Shan State. "This report aims to provide a picture of the current situation in central Shan State, where the military junta ruling Burma has forcibly uprooted and destroyed over 1,400 villages and displaced well over 300,000 people since 1996. This campaign against civilians is still continuing after 4 brutal years, leaving much of the Shan population homeless. In this report, some of the villagers who both lived in relocation sites and hid in the jungle to avoid relocation describe their experiences. Further background and detail on the campaign to uproot the Shan can be found in the previous Karen Human Rights Group reports "Killing the Shan" (KHRG #98-03, 23/5/98) and "Forced Relocation in Central Shan State" (KHRG #96-23, 25/6/96), which are available online at this web site or by request from KHRG, and in the April 1998 report "Dispossessed: Forced Relocation and Extrajudicial Killings in Shan State" by the Shan Human Rights Foundation." ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Regional & Thematic Reports (KHRG #2000-03)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2000/khrg0003.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Forced Displacements and Destroyed Lives around Upper Paunglaung Dam in Shan State, Myanmar
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Introduction: "For nearly four decades, Myanmar (also known as Burma) was ruled by military-led governments that committed grave human rights violations, resulting in international economic sanctions against the country for many years.1 Beginning in 2012, however, after the liberalization of some governmental policies, Western nations lifted these sanctions. In an effort to gain ground on countries like China and India that had maintained economic ties with Myanmar during the time of the sanctions, a number of states–including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and many European countries –increased development aid and allowed their businesses to operate in Myanmar for the first time in decades. This investment has been touted as a way to improve economic conditions for the people of Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, following years of government mismanagement, corruption, and economic sanctions that destroyed the country’s economy.2 While the opening in Myanmar has allowed foreign investment to soar and made new capital available for plantations, logging, special economic zones, deep sea ports, hydroelectric dams, and mining concessions, all of these types of projects have been associated with unlawful land confiscations from individuals and communities with little or no compensation. Economic development projects in Myanmar are causing widespread displacement and are having devastating impacts on those communities living in project locations, including human rights violations and adverse effects on livelihoods, food security, and health. For those subjected to unlawful evictions and land grabs, the consequences are dire, driving many people into poverty. Government policy has encouraged the development of these projects, and weak and unclear land policies, including some new land laws written to support investment and economic growth, have provided the government, military, and businesses with legal cover to confiscate people’s land without a transparent process for determining and awarding compensation. In the following report, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) builds on its previous research on land confiscations in Myanmar by using an epidemiological survey tool to assess the human rights, livelihood, and health impacts on communities displaced by the reservoir created by Paunglaung dam in southern Shan state..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights
Format/size: pdf (513K-reduced version; 630K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/press/press-releases/myanmar-illegally-displaced-families-devas...
Date of entry/update: 08 October 2015

Title: Killing the Shan: The Continuing Campaign of Forced Relocation in Shan State (Information Update)
Date of publication: 23 May 1998
Description/subject: "This report aims to provide a picture of the current situation in central Shan State, where the military junta ruling Burma has forcibly uprooted and destroyed over 1,400 villages and displaced over 300,000 people since 1996. This campaign against civilians is still continuing, and the number of villages destroyed is increasing each month. In this report, some of the villagers who have fled in 1997 and 1998 describe their experiences. Further background and detail on the campaign to uproot the Shan can be found in the previous Karen Human Rights Group report "Forced Relocation in Central Shan State" (KHRG #96-23, 25/6/96), and in the April 1998 report "Dispossessed: Forced Relocation and Extrajudicial Killings in Shan State" by the Shan Human Rights Foundation ..." ..... ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocaton, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Regional & Thematic Reports (KHRG #98-03)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg98/khrg9803.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Myanmar: Atrocities in the Shan State
Date of publication: 15 April 1998
Description/subject: The last two years have seen a profound deterioration in the human rights situation throughout the central Shan State in Myanmar. Hundreds of Shan civilians caught in the midst of counter-insurgency activities have been killed or tortured by the Burmese army. These abuses, occurring in a country which is closed to independent monitors, are largely unknown to the outside world. Denial of access for human rights monitors and journalists means that the full scale of the tragedy can not be accurately calculated. Therefore the information presented below represents only a part of the story.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International (ASA 16/05/98)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/005/1998/en/e71d1ccf-daea-11dd-903e-e1f5d1f8bceb/asa1...
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/005/1998/en/f6c634ab-daea-11dd-903e-e1f5d1f8bceb/asa1... (French)
Date of entry/update: 26 July 2010

Title: Pipeline Nightmare (English and Burmese)
Date of publication: 07 November 2012
Description/subject: "Shwe Pipeline Brings Land Confiscation, Militarization and Human Rights Violations to the Ta’ang People. The Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) released a report today called “Pipeline Nightmare” that illustrates how the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, which will transport oil and gas across Burma to China, has resulted in the confiscation of people’s lands, forced labor, and increased military presence along the pipeline, affecting thousands of people. Moreover, the report documents cases in 6 target cities and 51 villages of human rights violations committed by the Burmese Army, police and people’s militia, who take responsibility for security of the pipeline. The government has deployed additional soldiers and extended 26 military camps in order to increase pressure on the ethnic armed groups and to provide security for the pipeline project and its Chinese workers. Along the pipeline, there is fighting on a daily basis between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army, Shan State Army – North and Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Namtu, Mantong and Namkham, where there are over one thousand Ta’ang (Palaung) refugees. “Even though the international community believes that the government has implemented political reforms, it doesn’t mean those reforms have reached ethnic areas, especially not where there is increased militarization along the Shwe Pipeline, increased fighting between the Burmese Army and ethnic armed groups, and negative consequences for the people living in these areas,” said Mai Amm Ngeal, a member of TSYO. The China National Petroleum Corporation and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise have signed agreements for the Shwe Pipeline, however the companies have not conducted any Environmental Impact Assessments or Social Impact Assessments. While the people living along the pipeline bear the brunt of the effects, the government will earn an estimated USD$29 billion over the next 30 years. “The government and companies involved must be held accountable for the project and its effects on the local people, such as increasing military presence and Chinese workers along the pipeline, both of which cause insecurity for the local communities and especially women. The project has no benefit for the public, so it must be postponed,” said Lway Phoo Reang, Joint Secretary (1) of TSYO. TSYO urges the government to postpone the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, to withdraw the military from Shan State, reach a ceasefire with all ethnic armed groups in the state, and address the root causes of the armed conflict by engaging in political dialogue."
Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO)
Format/size: pdf (English, 2MB-OBL version; 6.77-original; 1.45-Burmese-OBL version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/Pipeline%20Nightmare%20report%20in%20English%20version%20(Final).pdf (original)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/Pipeline_Nightmare-bu-op--red.pdf (full report in Burmese)
http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/Immediate%20Release%207%20N... (Summary in Burmese)
http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/For%20Immediate%20Release%2... (Summary in Thai)
http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/2012-11%20Shwe%20Pipeline%2... (Summary in Chinese)
Date of entry/update: 07 November 2012

Title: Roots and Resilience - Tasang dam threatens war-torn Shan communities
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: 'The report “Roots and Resilience” by the Shan Sapawa Environment Organization focuses on the ecologically unique area of Keng Kham, a community of 15,000 that was forcibly relocated over ten years ago; the majority have fled to Thailand. Today the estimated 3,000 that remain are managing to maintain their livelihoods and culture despite the constant threats of the Burma Army and the impending Tasang dam. Indigenous Shan cultural practices, river-fed farms, sacred cave temples and pristine waterfalls are depicted in photos from this isolated war-zone, together with updated information about the dam project, which has been shrouded in secrecy. The 7,110 MW Tasang Dam is the biggest of five dams planned on the Salween River; the majority of the power from the dam will be sold to Thailand. Project investors include the Thai MDX Company and China’s Gezhouba Group Company. Thailand’s support for the controversial dam was recently reiterated when the project was included in its national Power Development Plan. Military tension has escalated in recent months in Shan State as the Burmese regime has been putting pressure on the United Wa State Army to transform into a “Border Guard Force.” Abuses linked to anti-insurgency campaigns are also on the rise.'
Language: English, Thai
Source/publisher: Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
Format/size: pdf (4.68MB - English; 6.58MB - Thai)
Alternate URLs: http://salweenwatch.org/images/PDF/rootsandresiliencethai.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 October 2009

Date of publication: January 2004
Description/subject: "The plight of Burma's internally displaced persons has largely been overlooked by the international community and the Burmese government itself. Villagers in the country's war zones nevertheless have suffered for decades the adverse effects of conflict. For some, displacement has become a way of life and a multi-generational phenomenon. Displacement wherever it occurs profoundly changes the persons forced to move. People lose belongings, jobs, and loved ones. The case of the internally displaced in southern Shan State is no different. In this report, the Humanitarian Affairs Research Project documents the impact displacement has had on civilians in southern Shan State and the living conditions in the various places to which they fled. The report builds successfully on the work of other local research groups and adds updated information and perspective to the study of Burma's internally displaced. It will be a valuable addition to policy makers, academics, and anyone concerned about the fate of the people of Shan State. One lesson clearly emerging from the report is that the IDPs in southern Shan State clearly are in need of protection and assistance. More needs to be done and it needs to be done now. The Burmese government as well as other domestic and international actors should consider carefully the ways in which this important goal can be accomplished. This report offers some recommendations that can help to set the actors on the right path..."....This document contains a Shan version of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Since this is an image file of almost 2MB, OBL has produced the whole document, with GP; the Guiding Principles as a separate document; and the English text without GP.
Language: English and Shan
Source/publisher: Humanitarian Affairs Research Project, Asian Research Center for Migration, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Format/size: pdf (2.9K), 1MB (English text) 1.9MB (Guiding Principles in Shan)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Gauntlet-minusGP-ocr.pdf (minus Guiding Principles)
http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Gauntlet-GP_in_Shan.pdf (Guiding Principles in Shan)
Date of entry/update: 03 September 2005

Title: The Burden of War - Women bear burden of displacement
Date of publication: 03 November 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Worsening conflict and abuses by Burmese government troops in northern Shan State have displaced over 2,000 Palaung villagers from fifteen villages in three townships since March 2011. About 1,000, mainly women and children, remain in three IDP settlements in Mantong and Namkham townships, facing serious shortages of food and medicine; most of the rest have dispersed to find work in China. Burmese troops have been launching offensives to crush the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), to secure control of strategic trading and investment areas on the Chinese border, particularly the route of China’s trans-Burma oil and gas pipelines. In rural Palaung areas, patrols from sixteen Burma Army battalions and local militia have been forcibly conscripting villagers as soldiers and porters, looting livestock and property, and torturing and killing villagers suspected of supporting the resistance. This has caused entire villages to become abandoned. Interviews conducted by PWO in September 2012 show that the burden of displacement is falling largely on women, as most men have fled or migrated to work elsewhere. The ratio of women to men of working age in the IDP camps is 4:1. Women, including pregnant mothers, had to walk for up to a week through the jungle to reach the camps, carrying their children and possessions, and avoiding Burmese army patrols and landmines. Elderly people were left behind. Little aid has reached the IDP settlements, particular the largest camp housing over 500 in a remote mountainous area north of Manton, where shortages of water, food and medicines are causing widespread disease. Mothers are struggling to feed their families on loans of rice from local villagers, and have taken their daughters out of school. Some women have left children with relatives and gone to find work in China. PWO is calling urgently for aid to these IDPs, and for political pressure on Burma’s government to end its military offensives and abuses, pull back troops from conflict areas, and begin meaningful political dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.7MB-OBL version; 7.29MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://eng.palaungwomen.com/Report/The%20Burden%20of%20War.pdf'>http://eng.palaungwomen.com/Report/The%20Burden%20of%20War.pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2012

Title: Unsettling Moves: The Wa forced resettlement program in Eastern Shan State
Date of publication: April 2002
Description/subject: "Beginning 1999 up to March this year (2002), hundreds of thousands of Wa people, who had impressed British travelers as 'exceedingly well-behaved, industrious, and estimable race', were forcibly moved to border areas adjacent Thailand. The report is about them, why and how they were uprooted, what happened to the native people where the Wa were forced to resettle and what the reader can do to help both categories of victims..." Important, timely and well-produced document, complete with maps and photos.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Lahu National Development Organization
Format/size: html, pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.shanland.org/oldversion/wa-1.htm
http://www.burmainfo.org/lahu/unsettlingmoves-J.pdf (PDF, Japanese, 1.1MB)
http://www.burmainfo.org/lahu/unsettlingmoves-J.html (HTML, Japanese, 200KB)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003