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Home > Main Library > Human Rights > Life, Right to > Right to Life: reports of violations in Burma

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Right to Life: reports of violations in Burma

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Human Rights Watch Burma page
Description/subject: All reports
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/pubweb/Webcat-19.htm#P571_96739
Date of entry/update: 18 November 2010


Title: Karen Human Rights Group Reports
Description/subject: All reports
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: US State Dept. Information on Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Dept. of State
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1077.html
Date of entry/update: 18 November 2010


Individual Documents

Title: Preventing Indiscriminate Attacks and Wilful Killings of Civilians by the Myanmar Military
Date of publication: 24 March 2014
Description/subject: "...This memorandum draws from the findings of our ongoing investigation and addresses the specific military policies and practices that have le d to indiscriminate attacks and wilful ki l lings of civilians in Myanmar. It appears that t hese policies and practices continue to be implemented today. Much of the analysis and many of the recommendations provided in the pages that follow likely apply to contexts not discussed in this memorandum. First, although this document focuses only on indiscriminate attacks and wilful killings of civilians, there are other forms of abuse — such as torture, forced labor, and sexual violence — that deserve similar attention. Second, this memorand um is limited by the scope of our i nvestigation and therefore focuses only on the policies and practices of the Myanmar military. However, non - state armed group s must also take steps to prevent civilian harm , and their actions should be scrutinized as well . Finally, while this memorandum addresses the situation in conflict zones, much of the analysis could apply to the official use of force in other settings and to security sector reform more generally . We encourage further thought and dialogue on these issues, all of which deserve specific consideration in their ow n right . In this spirit, we remain committed to engaging with all those who seek to achieve the share d goal of protecting and promoting human rights during this critical period of Myanmar’s history..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School
Format/size: pdf (498K)
Alternate URLs: http://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2014.03.24-IHRC-Military-Policy-Memorandum-FINAL.web_.pdf
Date of entry/update: 25 March 2014


Title: November 2012 SHRF Monthly Newsletter - Commentary: Situation of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Person [in Shan State]
Date of publication: November 2012
Description/subject: Contents... Map... Situation of extrajudicial killing... A villager returning from his farm beaten to death in Kun-Hing... A villager going to his farm beaten to death in Kun-Hing... Situation of beating and torture... Beating and robbery in Murng-Ton... Beating, robbing, restriction and extortion in Lai-Kha... Beating and stealing in Murng-Kerng... Beating and stealing in Murng-Nai... Situation of other maltreatment of civilian populations... Villagers threatened, robbed of their chickens, in Kae-See... A village shelled, intense forced labour causing people to flee, in Murng-Paeng.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 January 2013


Title: Torture and killing in Thaton District
Date of publication: 26 October 2012
Description/subject: On June 25th 2012 in Pa'an Township, Thaton District, Saw R---, 52, was killed and Saw A---, 67, tortured by Border Guard Battalion #1014 soldiers, after being accused of being spies for the Karen National Union (KNU). This news bulletin includes a description of the incident written by a source close to the family of the deceased man, which was received by KHRG on September 23rd 2012.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (138K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b81.html
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2012


Title: Villager shot and killed in Papun District
Date of publication: 02 October 2012
Description/subject: On June 13th 2012, Saw N---, a 48-year-old former resident of M--- village, Naw Yoh Hta village tract, Lu Thaw Township, Papun District was shot and killed while collecting truffles in Pa Heh village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District. The shooting took place close to where the Tatmadaw soldiers from Infantry Battalion #19 are based at Hpah Hkeh Kyo, leading local villagers and a security leader to believe that it was troops from the camp in question who were the perpetrators of the shooting. Also during the incident, 30,000 baht (US $973.72), which Saw N—had brought along to purchase truffles from others on the trip went missing. This incident is also described by villagers in two other published KHRG reports.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (252K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b78.html
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2012


Title: Papun Interview: Saw E---, June 2012
Date of publication: 05 September 2012
Description/subject: This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during June 2012 in Bu Tho Township, Papun District by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The community member interviewed Saw E---, a 36 year old married father of six, security leader from T--- IDP camp, Bu Tho Township, Papun District who described the incident regarding a shooting of a villager by Tatmadaw soldiers from IB [Infantry Battalion] #19. This incident is also described in one as of yet unpublished KHRG report and in Papun Interview: Saw K---, June 2012, published on July 20th 2012. Saw E--- describes further information on the events after surrounding the killing, from his perspective of someone who had gone to clear the villager's body from the scene. He mentions what the impact has been to villagers' opinion on the prevailing ceasefire and the dire situation regarding villagers' ability to find food to eat and sell, given the dangerous circumstances in which they live. Also mentioned is the situation for Saw N---'s wife and children, he explains how, after the death of her husband, mental health problems which she once suffered from have returned, making her and her children's lives very difficult.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (292K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b73.html
Date of entry/update: 05 November 2012


Title: “The Government Could Have Stopped This” - Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma’s Arakan State
Date of publication: 01 August 2012
Description/subject: Summary: "In June 2012, deadly sectarian violence erupted in western Burma’s Arakan State between ethnic Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims (as well as non-Rohingya Muslims). The violence broke out after reports circulated that on May 28 an Arakan woman was raped and killed in the town of Ramri allegedly by three Muslim men. Details of the crime were circulated locally in an incendiary pamphlet, and on June 3, a large group of Arakan villagers in Toungop stopped a bus and brutally killed 10 Muslims on board. Human Rights Watch confirmed that local police and soldiers stood by and watched the killings without intervening. On June 8, thousands of Rohingya rioted in Maungdaw town after Friday prayers, destroying Arakan property and killing an unknown number of Arakan residents. Sectarian violence then quickly swept through the Arakan State capital, Sittwe, and surrounding areas. Mobs from both communities soon stormed unsuspecting villages and neighborhoods, killing residents and destroying homes, shops, and houses of worship. With little to no government security present to stop the violence, people armed themselves with swords, spears, sticks, iron rods, knives, and other basic weapons, taking the law into their own hands. Vast stretches of property from both communities were razed. The government claimed that 78 people were killed—an undoubtedly conservative figure—while more than 100,000 people were displaced from their homes. The hostilities were fanned by inflammatory anti-Muslim media accounts and local propaganda. During the period after the rape and killing was reported and before the violence broke out, tensions had risen dramatically in Arakan State. However, local residents from each community told Human Rights Watch that the Burmese authorities provided no protection and did not appear to have taken any special measures to preempt the violence. On June 10, fearing the unrest would spread beyond the borders of Arakan State, Burmese President Thein Sein announced a state of emergency, transferring civilian power to the Burmese army in affected areas of the state. At this point, a wave of concerted violence by various state security forces against Rohingya communities began. For example, Rohingya in Narzi quarter—the largest Muslim area in Sittwe, home to 10,000 Muslims—described “THE GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE STOPPED THIS” 2 how Arakan mobs burned down their homes on June 12 while the police and paramilitary Lon Thein forces opened fire on them with live ammunition. In northern Arakan State, the Nasaka border guard force, the army, police, and Lon Thein committed killings, mass arrests, and looting against Rohingya. In the aftermath, local Arakan leaders and members of the Arakan community in Sittwe have called for the forced displacement of the Muslim community from the city, while local Buddhist monks have initiated a campaign of exclusion, calling on the local Buddhist population to neither befriend nor do business with Muslims..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Format/size: pdf (630K-original; 575K-OBL version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/The_Government_Could_Have_Stopped_this-HRW-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 August 2012


Title: Burma's Human Rights Blind Spot: A Compendium on Violence Against Rohingyas in June/July 2012
Date of publication: 25 July 2012
Description/subject: Compendium of 30 or so reports... Introduction: "By virtue of its geography (great river valleys, plains, plateaus and mountain chains) and history (migration and settlement along the rivers and in the uplands) Burma is a multicultural crossroads of Southeast and South Asia. Peoples, ways of life and religions from the Indian subcontinent, Himalayas, Indo-China and beyond, have intermingled in a land which became a nation under British colonization and has struggled with ethnic identities ever since. Although the vast majority of inhabitants are Buddhists, with the overwhelmingly Buddhist Burmans the largest ethnic group, nearly all other religions are represented in the population. Tolerance and cosmopolitanism were among Burma's strengths in times of peace. Unfortunately, military rule and the promulgation of ethnic-majority nationalism have been in effect since General Ne Win's takeover in 1962, and even in the post-British democracy of U Nu, establishment of Buddhism as a state religion appeared to sideline Burma's people of other faiths. Ne Win's dictatorship favored the assimilation of Buddhist groups like the Rakhines, Mons and Shans into a Burman nationalism, discouraging those peoples' knowledge of their own languages, civilized history and cultures. Targeting Christians and Muslims, Ne Win's armed forces often burned churches and mosques, torturing and killing pastors and imams. In western Burma's Arakan State (aka Rakhine State), military rule brought decreased rights for the Buddhist Rakhine people and absolute denial of citizenship for the Muslim Rohingya people. The mass exodus of Rohingyas fleeing repression to neighboring Bangladesh took place in 1978 and 1991, resulting in tens of thousands of refugees cordoned off in squalid camps in Bangladesh or permanently stranded overseas (Gulf States, Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Thailand.) As Rohingyas left the northern Arakan region, particularly Buthidaung and Maungdaw, out of fear of extreme repression, Burma's post-1988 junta settled Buddhist Rakhine and Burman villagers in the area -- a scenario guaranteed to make both groups resent each other. Rohingyas who remained were often preyed upon by border security forces and other military personnel, and were severely restricted in rights such as marriage and travel. Military rape and other violent victimization of Rohingyas was well-documented by respected international human rights organizations..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Project Maje
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 25 July 2012


Title: Papun Interview: Saw K---, June 2012
Date of publication: 20 July 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during June 2012 in Bu Tho Township, Papun District by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The community member interviewed Saw K---, a 29 year old married father of two, who described the shooting of his friend Saw N--- by Tatmadaw soldiers from Hpah Hkeh Kyo army camp while out collecting truffles with another eight villagers in Bu Tho Township, Papun District. Saw K--- described how Tatmadaw soldiers were lying in wait and shot Saw N--- multiple times, despite the ongoing ceasefire. Saw K--- mentioned that this was the third expedition he and other villagers had taken to find truffles to sell in the same area, an hour's journey from their home at T--- internally displaced persons camp, thinking that they would be safe due to the ceasefire, however, on this occasion Tatmadaw soldiers opened fire, killing Saw N---. Saw K— also described his opinions on the current political situation in Karen State. This incident is also described in two yet unpublished KHRG reports."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (278K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b68.html
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012


Title: Burning Homes, Sinking Lives - A situation report on violence against stateless Rohingya in Myanmar and their refoulement from Bangladesh
Date of publication: 02 July 2012
Description/subject: "...this report documents the severity of the human rights abuses suffered by Rohingya within Myanmar – including mass violence, killings and attacks, the burning and destruction of property, arbitrary arrests, detention and disappearances, the deprivation of emergency healthcare and humanitarian aid. Such human rights abuses are being carried out with impunity by civilians and agents of the state alike. The organised and widespread nature of this state sponsored violence raises serious questions of crimes against humanity being committed by Myanmar. This report also documents the refoulement of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and related human rights violations, including the push-back of boats carrying Rohingya into dangerous waters and the failure to provide refuge, shelter and humanitarian aid to those fleeing persecution. Historically, the Rohingya have faced acute discrimination and human rights abuse in Myanmar, and Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution to Bangladesh have faced severe hardships including the lack of humanitarian aid, shelter and security. This present crisis is a tragic reminder of the vulnerabilities of stateless people when their countries of habitual residence and the international community fail to protect them. Urgent action is required to end the violence, protect the victims and bring those responsible to justice. Of equal importance is the need for a long-term process of reinstating Myanmar nationality to Rohingya who were arbitrarily deprived of a nationality in 1982, resolving ethnic conflicts and protecting the human rights and freedoms of Rohingya within Myanmar and in other countries. The Equal Rights Trust makes the following urgent and long-term recommendations to the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh and to the UNHCR and international community..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Equal Rights Trust
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-OBL version; 2.26MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.equalrightstrust.org/ertdocumentbank/The%20Equal%20Rights%20Trust%20-%20Burning%20Homes%20Sinking%20Lives.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 July 2012


Title: Incident Report: Killings in Papun District, March 2012
Date of publication: 28 May 2012
Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a community member who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses. It describes an incident involving four villagers at A---, including two home guard members and their relatives, as they were trying to covertly cross a Tatmadaw-controlled road near See Day army camp. Two home guard villagers, Saw M--- and Saw W---, were shot by Tatmadaw soldiers, resulting in the death of Saw M--- and injuring Saw W---. The community member also described a previous incident that took place while home guard villagers were monitoring Tatmadaw troop movements in their area, during which Tatmadaw soldiers reportedly stepped on landmines and were killed during the confrontation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (254K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b49.html
Date of entry/update: 25 June 2012


Title: Incident Report: Papun District, June 2011
Date of publication: 24 May 2012
Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a community member who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses, and is based on information provided by 27-year-old Naw K---, a resident of Ny--- village in Dweh Loh Township. She described an incident that occurred on the evening of June 6th 2011, in which she was arrested by Tatmadaw IB #96 troops when returning to her home and forced to porter along with two other villagers, Saw W--- and Kyaw M--- before later escaping, an incident that was previously reported by KHRG in December 2012 in "Papun Situation Update: Dweh Loh Township, Received in November 2011". Security precautions taken by Tatmadaw troops on resupply operations are also mentioned, with Naw K--- describing how the two other villagers were shot at by IB #96 soldiers as they approached the agricultural area surrounding D--- village prior to their arrest. Naw K--- also highlights other issues associated with forced portering, specifically how requiring villagers to travel through unfamiliar areas contaminated by landmines places villagers at increased risk of landmine injury."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (255K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b44.html
Date of entry/update: 13 June 2012


Title: Dooplaya Interview: Saw L---, June 2011
Date of publication: 01 May 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during June 2011 in T--- village, Kya In Township, Dooplaya District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed 17-year-old T--- villager, Saw N---, who described an incident in which the Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #--- fired mortar rounds towards T--- village, in response to an attack by Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) #107 on their camp near H--- village. Saw N--- and two other T--- villagers were injured by two shells, with one villager, Kyaw M---, later dying as a result of his injuries. Saw N--- highlighted other issues that arose as a consequence of the attack, particularly concerning the cost of healthcare as his relatives had to borrow money to ensure that he received hospital treatment for his injuries. Demands for food from the Tatmadaw were also cited, as well as arbitrary taxation demands levied by armed groups, and taxes on houses and land. Villagers also have to pay the schoolteachers' salaries which comprise 40 baskets of rice paddy shared between the villagers and 4,000 baht (US $133.33) per household each year..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (331K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b39.html
Date of entry/update: 10 May 2012


Title: Toungoo Interview Transcript: Saw B---, December 2011
Date of publication: 19 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during December 2011 in W--- village, Daw Hpa Hkoh Township, Toungoo District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed 50-year-old Saw B---, a church leader in W--- village, who described demands for forced labour by Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #378 in November 2011, including cutting and portering bamboo poles for the rebuilding of LIB #378 military camp near W--- village, and portering food and performing messenger duty. Saw B--- raised concerns regarding food and livelihood security due to the destruction of W--- villagers' cardamom and coffee plantations by rats. He also explained how the Tatmadaw accused villagers of providing assistance to the Karen National Liberation Arm (KNLA) and placed explicit restrictions on the movement of villagers going to work in their cardamom and coffee plantations, which negatively impacts harvests and food security, in addition to restrictions on the transportation of batteries and medicine. Saw B--- also described the death of one villager due to the lack of medical facilities in the village. Other concerns raised include the absence of accessible education beyond grade seven, an insufficient number of teachers, and the omission of the Karen language from the W--- village school curriculum. Saw B--- noted that since the 2010 General Elections in Burma, the Tatmadaw began to increasingly frame demands for forced labour in terms of loh ah pay; a term traditionally referring to voluntary service for community projects. Saw B--- explained that villagers have responded to such concerns by deciding amongst themselves to only send those villagers who are available to go for forced labour, as well as by sharing food and lending money during times of hardship, and teaching the Karen language in church on Sundays."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (133K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b38.html
Date of entry/update: 21 April 2012


Title: Toungoo Situation Update: Received in November 2011
Date of publication: 19 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Toungoo District prior to October 2011. It frames present village conditions within the context and consequences of the 2005 – 2008 Northern Offensive by Tatmadaw forces and details the following human rights abuses: forced relocation of villages; movement restrictions; forced labour by adult and child villagers; arbitrary taxation and demands; beating and torture of villagers, especially of village leaders; and attacks on and killing of villagers. This situation update also documents a number of villagers' concerns related to village leadership systems, livelihood challenges, the provision of education for children and food shortages. Moreover, this report describes ways by which villagers have sought to mitigate aspects of the abuses and concerns noted above, namely villagers bribing soldiers in order to allow them to transport more supplies than permitted to their village and establishing a rotating village governance system."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (124K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b37.html
Date of entry/update: 21 April 2012


Title: Toungoo Situation Update: August to October 2011
Date of publication: 17 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in November 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Toungoo District between August and October 2011. It contains information concerning military activity in the district, specifically demands for forced labour by Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #375. Villagers from D--- and A--- were reportedly forced to clear vegetation surrounding their camp and some A--- villagers were also used to sweep for landmines. Villagers in the A--- area faced demands for bamboo poles and some villagers from P--- were ordered to undertake messenger and portering duties for the Tatmadaw. The situation update provides information on two incidents that occurred on September 21st 2011, in which several villagers from Y--- were shot, and four other Y--- villagers were arrested by Tatmadaw Infantry Battalion (IB) #73 and detained until the Y--- village head paid 300,000 kyat (US $366.75) to secure their release. It also provides details of the arrest of five villagers from D--- village by LIB #375 in August 2011, who remained in detention as of November 2011. It documents the killing of two villagers from E--- village by Military Operations Command (MOC) #9, and the shooting of 54-year-old A--- villager, Saw O---, by LIB #375 for violating movement restrictions. Information was also given concerning a mortar attack on W--- village by LIB #603 and IB #92, which was previously reported in the KHRG News Bulletin "Tatmadaw soldiers shell village, attack church and civilian property in Toungoo District, November 2011", in which shells hit the village church and destroyed five villagers’ houses. Tatmadaw soldiers also shot the statue of Mother Mary in W--- village and damaged pictures on the church walls; stole villagers' belongings, including money and staple foods; and destroyed villagers’ household supplies, livestock, and food."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (132K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b36.html
Date of entry/update: 21 April 2012


Title: Papun Interview Transcript: Naw P---, November 2011
Date of publication: 11 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during November 2011 in B--- village, Bu Tho Township, Papun District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed 30-year-old hill field farmer Naw P---, who described how B--- villagers were forced to porter supplies for the Border Guard and Tatmadaw, and porter ammunition for the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). She also detailed an incident in which all of the B--- villagers were ordered by Border Guard Company Commander Hpu Meh Ka to repair the B--- village vehicle road and clear vegetation and discarded coconut skins from the roadside, and villagers were violently abused by Border Guard soldiers. Naw P--- also provided information pertaining to the killing of three villagers; the former B--- village head was killed by a remote controlled explosive device in approximately April 2011 whilst portering for the Tatmadaw, and a T--- villager named L--- was killed in 2010 by a Border Guard landmine when portering for the DKBA. Also in Papun District, the DKBA was reported to have killed 50-year-old N--- from W--- village. Tatmadaw, Border Guard, and DKBA soldiers were consistently implicated in the theft and looting of villagers' livestock, as well as demands for food. Tatmadaw soldiers were also described as issuing demands for building materials, such as bamboo poles."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (308K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b35.html
Date of entry/update: 12 April 2012


Title: Toungoo Interview: Saw E---, September 2011
Date of publication: 06 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during September 2011 in Daw Pah Koh Township, Toungoo District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed D--- village head, Saw E---, who described being forced to serve as a guide for Tatmadaw soldiers in an area known to contain landmines. He also provided information about an incident in which two L--- villagers, Saw M--- and Saw P---, were killed by landmines on June 15th 2011 whilst being forced to guide a group of Tatmadaw soldiers. Saw E--- raised concerns regarding villagers' livelihoods, which have been undermined as a result of abnormal weather conditions. He also explained that the standard of education at D--- village school has suffered as a result of the schoolteachers' absences. To counter forced labour demands levied by the Tatmadaw, Saw E--- described challenging the soldiers for whom he was forced to guide by demanding to know their battalion number and commander's name. He also reported that he had on an occasion only partially complied with their demands, supplying 10 villagers as opposed to the 20 ordered, and discussed how he successfully negotiated with Tatmadaw soldiers to reduce the number of times that he was forced to meet with them each week."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (167K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b34.html
Date of entry/update: 12 April 2012


Title: Toungoo Interview Transcript: Saw L---, December 2011
Date of publication: 04 April 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during December 2011 in Day Loh Muh village tract, Daw Pa Ko Township, Toungoo District by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Saw L---, who described the destruction of Y--- villagers' cardamom and coffee fields in 2006 for the construction of a Tatmadaw camp. He also noted the forced portering of building materials and food rations, the forced construction of a food storage building, and demands for bamboo poles in the period between 2006 and 2007. Saw L--- described how in 2010 and 2011, villagers from Y--- and surrounding villages were forced by Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #306 to clear vegetation from the road between Lay Loh Day village and the military camp. Saw L--- also talked about the torture of A--- village heads for failing to comply with orders for food from LIB #306. He also detailed an incident in which a villager, Saw P--- from B--- village, was killed by Tatmadaw soldiers. Other concerns noted include food shortages, exacerbated by the rising price of food; the cost of medical treatment; and the prohibition on the transportation of medicine. The absence of accessible education beyond grade four, and the omission of the Karen language from the Y--- village school curriculum were also raised."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (381K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b33.html
Date of entry/update: 12 April 2012


Title: Incident Report: Dooplaya District, August 2011
Date of publication: 29 March 2012
Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a villager who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses, and is based on information provided by Saw D---, a resident of B--- village, Kawkareik Township. Saw D--- described an incident that occurred on August 16th 2011, in which soldiers from LIB #--- violently abused his father, Saw Y---, and another villager when they were travelling between B--- and H--- villages on suspicion of Saw Y--- being a KNLA soldier. Saw Y--- was arrested by Tatmadaw LIB #--- and later killed.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (217K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b30.html
Date of entry/update: 12 April 2012


Title: Incident Report: Forced labour and killing in Toungoo District, July 2011
Date of publication: 09 March 2012
Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses, in Toungoo District. It describes an incident that occurred on July 13th 2011 between the villages of H--- and K--- in Than Daung Township, locally referred to as Daw Hpa Khoh Township, during which two villagers were killed when the soldiers for whom they were forced to guide from LIB # [censored for security] and # [censored for security] were attacked by the KNLA. The villager reported that following this event, the Tatmadaw soldiers proceeded to loot H--- villagers' houses. The families of the villagers who were killed are facing livelihood difficulties as a result, and have not received any compensation from the Tatmadaw. However, they have received support from members of the local church and from the KNU."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (163K,), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b24.html
Date of entry/update: 13 March 2012


Title: Toungoo Interview: Saw T---, September 2011
Date of publication: 28 February 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during September 2011 in Than Daung Township by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Saw T---, a 46 year old betelnut and cardamom plantation farmer who described movement and trade restrictions during 2011, specifically the closure of a vehicle road, that disrupted the transport of staple food supplies, as previously reported by KHRG in "Toungoo Situation Update: May to July 2011". Saw T--- described past instances of the theft and looting of food supplies and the burning of cardamom plantations and noted that the sale price of villagers' agricultural outputs has fallen, while the cost of basic commodities has risen. He also described previous incidents in which a villager portering for Tatmadaw soldiers was shot whilst attempting to escape, and one villager was killed and another seriously injured by landmines, providing insight into the way past experience with violence continues to circumscribe villagers' options for responding to abuse. Saw T---nonetheless described how villagers hide food to prevent theft, and covertly trade in food staples and other commodities to evade movement and trade restrictions. Saw T--- also noted that villagers have introduced a monthly rota system in order to share village head duties."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (388K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b19.html
Date of entry/update: 29 February 2012


Title: Villager executed in Papun District
Date of publication: 18 November 2011
Description/subject: "The following information was submitted to KHRG in September 2011 by a villager trained to document human rights abuses. It concerns an incident that occurred on September 7th 2011 in which the village head of L--- village in Dweh Loh Township was summarily executed by an unidentified Sergeant from Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #218, under Light Infantry Division (LID) #11. According to three L--- villagers who witnessed the execution, LIB #218 Deputy Battalion Commander Moe Zaw Oo was also present when the Sergeant under his command executed the L--- village head."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (279K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b39.html
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2012


Title: Tenasserim Interview: Saw P---, Received in May 2011
Date of publication: 01 October 2011
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during May 2011 in Te Naw Th’Ri Township, Tenasserim Division by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Saw P---, the 36-year-old head of a village in which Tatmadaw soldiers maintain a continuous presence. Saw P--- described the disappearance of a male villager who has not been seen since February 2010 when he was arrested by Tatmadaw soldiers as he was returning from his hill plantation, on suspicion of supplying food assistance to Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) troops. Saw P--- also described human rights abuses and livelihoods difficulties faced regularly by villagers, including: forced labour, specifically road construction and maintenance; taxation and demands for food and money; theft of livestock; and movement restrictions, specifically the imposition of road tolls for motorbikes and the prohibition against travel to villagers’ agricultural workplaces, resulting in the destruction of crops by animals. Saw P--- also expressed concerns about disruption of children’s education caused by the periodic commandeering of the village school and its use as a barracks by Tatmadaw soldiers. He explained how villagers respond to abuses and livelihoods challenges by avoiding Tatmadaw soldiers, harvesting communally, sharing food supplies and inquiring at the local jail to investigate the disappearance of a fellow villager."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (243K) html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b33.html
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2012


Title: Nyaunglebin Interview: Saw S---, May 2011
Date of publication: 30 July 2011
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in May 2011 with a villager from Ler Doh Township, Nyaunglebin District. The researcher interviewed Saw S---, a 17 year-old student who compared his experiences living in a Tatmadaw-controlled relocation site, and in his own village in a mixed-administration area under effective Tatmadaw control. Saw S--- described the following abuses: killing of villagers; forced relocation; movement restrictions; taxation and demands; theft and looting; and forced labour including portering, sentry duty, camp maintenance and road construction. Saw S--- also discussed the impact of forced labour and movement restrictions on livelihoods; access to, and cost of, health care; and constraints on children's access to education, including the prohibition on Karen-language education. In order to address these issues, Saw S--- explained that villagers attempt to bribe military officers with money to avoid relocation, and with food and alcohol to lessen forced labour demands; conceal from Tatmadaw commanders that villagers sometimes leave the village to work without valid permission documents; and go into hiding to protect their physical security when conflict occurs near the village."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (744K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b19.html
Date of entry/update: 18 February 2012


Title: From Prison to Front Line: Analysis of convict porter testimony 2009 – 2011
Date of publication: 13 July 2011
Description/subject: "...Over the last two decades, KHRG has documented the abuse of convicts taken by the thousands from prisons across Burma and forced to serve as porters for frontline units of Burma’s state army, the Tatmadaw. In the last two years alone, Tatmadaw units have used at least 1,700 convict porters during two distinct, ongoing combat operations in Karen State and eastern Bago Division; this report presents full transcripts and analysis of interviews with 59 who escaped. In interviews with KHRG, every convict porter described being forced to carry unmanageable loads over hazardous terrain with minimal rest, food and water. Most told of being used deliberately as human shields during combat; forced to walk before troops in landmine-contaminated areas; and being refused medical attention when wounded or ill. Many saw porters executed when they were unable to continue marching or when desperation drove them to attempt escape. Abuses consistently described by porters violate Burma's domestic and international legal obligations. If such abusive practices are to be halted, existing legal provisions must be enforced by measures that ensure accountability for the individuals that violate them. This report is intended to augment "Dead Men Walking: Convict Porters on the Front Lines in Eastern Burma", a joint report released by KHRG and Human Rights Watch in July 2011..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (3.2MB - OBL version; 5.43MB - original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1102.pdf
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2011


Title: Dead Men Walking: Convict Porters on the Front Lines in Eastern Burma
Date of publication: 12 July 2011
Description/subject: "...For decades the Burmese army has forced civilians to risk life and limb serving as porters in barbaric conditions during military operations against rebel armed groups. Among those taken to do this often deadly work, for indefinite periods and without compensation, are common criminals serving time in Burma’s prisons and labor camps. Escaped convict porters described to us how the authorities selected them in a seemingly random fashion from prison and transferred them to army units fighting on the front lines. They are forced to carry huge loads of supplies and munitions in mountainous terrain, and given inadequate food and no medical care. Often they are used as “human shields,” put in front of columns of troops facing ambush or sent first down mined roads or trails, the latter practice known as "atrocity demining.” The wounded are left to die; those who try to escape are frequently executed. Burma’s military government promised that the November 2010 elections, the country’s first elections in more than 20 years, would bring about human rights improvements. But soon after election day the Burmese army, the Tatmadaw, launched military operations that have been accompanied by a new round of abuses. In January 2011, the Tatmadaw, in collusion with the Corrections Department and the Burmese police, gathered an estimated 700 prisoners from approximately 12 prisons and labor camps throughout Burma to serve as porters for an ongoing offensive in southern Karen State, in the east of the country. The same month, another 500 prisoners were taken for use as porters during another separate military operation in northern Karen State and eastern Pegu Region, augmenting 500 porters used in the same area in an earlier stage of the operation in the preceding year. The men were a mix of serious and petty offenders, but their crimes or willingness to serve were not taken into consideration: only their ability to carry heavy loads of ammunition, food, and supplies for more than 17 Tatmadaw battalions engaged in operations against ethnic Karen armed groups. Karen civilians living in the combat zone, who would normally be forced to porter for the military under similarly horrendous conditions, had already fled by the thousands to the Thai border. The prisoners selected as porters described witnessing or enduring summary executions, torture and beatings, being used as “human shields” to trip landmines or shield soldiers from fire, and being denied medical attention and adequate food and shelter. One convict porter, Ko Kyaw Htun (all prisoner names used in this report are pseudonyms), told how Burmese soldiers forced him to walk ahead when they suspected landmines were on the trails: “They followed behind us. In their minds, if the mine explodes, the mine will hit us first.” Another porter, Tun Mok, described how soldiers recaptured him after trying to escape, and how they kicked and punched him, and then rolled a thick bamboo pole painfully up and down his shins. This report, based on Human Rights Watch and Karen Human Rights Group interviews with 58 convict porters who escaped to Thailand between 2010 and 2011, details the abuses. The porters we spoke with ranged in age from 20 to 57 years, and included serious offenders such as murderers and drug dealers, as well as individuals convicted of brawling and fraud— even illegal lottery sellers. Their sentences ranged from just one year to more than 20 years’ imprisonment, and they were taken from different facilities, including labor camps, maximum security prisons, such as Insein prison in Rangoon, and local prisons for less serious offenders. The accounts shared by porters about the abuses they experienced in 2011 are horrific, but sadly not unusual. The use of convict porters is not an isolated, local, or rogue practice employed by some units or commanders, but has been credibly documented since as early as 1992. This report focuses on recent use of convict porters in Karen State, but the use of convict porters has also been reported in the past in Mon, Karenni, and Shan States. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has raised the issue of convict porters with the Burmese government since 1998, yet the problem persists, particularly during major offensive military operations. Burma’s forcible recruitment and mistreatment of convicts as uncompensated porters in conflict areas are grave violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Abuses include murder, torture, and the use of porters as human shields. Those responsible for ordering or participating in such mistreatment should be prosecuted for war crimes. Authorities in Burma have previously admitted the practice occurs, but have claimed that prisoners are not exposed to hostilities. The information gathered for this report, consistent with the evidence gathered over the past two decades, demonstrates that this simply is not true. The practice is ongoing, systematic, and is facilitated by several branches of government, suggesting decision-making at the highest levels of the Burmese military and political establishment. Officials and commanders who knew or should have known of such abuses but took no measures to stop it or punish those responsible should be held accountable as a matter of command responsibility. The use of convict porters on the front line is only one facet of the brutal counterinsurgency practices Burmese officials have used against ethnic minority populations since independence in 1948. These include deliberate attacks on civilian villages and towns, large-scale forced relocation, torture, extrajudicial executions, rape and other sexual violence against women and girls, and the use of child soldiers. Rebel armed groups have also been involved in abuses such as indiscriminate use of landmines, using civilians as forced labor, and recruitment of child soldiers. These abuses have led to growing calls for the establishment of a United Nations commission of inquiry into longstanding allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Burma. As the experiences contained in this report make clear, serious abuses that amount to war crimes are being committed with the involvement or knowledge of high-level civilian and military officials. Officers and soldiers commit atrocities with impunity. Credible and impartial investigations are needed into serious abuses committed by all parties to Burma’s internal armed conflicts. The international community’s failure to exert more effective pressure on the Burmese military to end the use of convict porters on the battlefield will condemn more men to take their place..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch (HRW), Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0711_OnlineVersion.pdf
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2011


Title: Villager shot and killed by Tatmadaw in southern Dooplaya
Date of publication: 05 April 2011
Description/subject: Download report as PDF[Adobe Acrobat PDF 627 kb] This bulletin details the killing of Pah Te--- by Tatmadaw troops in southern Dooplaya District. Pah Te--- was shot and killed by troops from LIB #407 as he and his wife returned to their field hut on the night of February 24th 2011. The soldiers fired on Pah Te--- and his wife without hailing or warning them, and do not appear to have made an effort to verify that the villagers were legitimate military targets before directing an attack at them. Information in this bulletin is based upon interviews with local community members, as well as photographs of Pah Te---'s body. Because Pah Te---'s body was photographed seven days after he was killed, readers should be advised that images in this bulletin are graphic.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (627K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b3.html
Date of entry/update: 26 February 2012


Title: Extrajudicial execution of two civilians in Pa'an District Download report as PDF[Adobe Acrobat PDF 166 kb] On November 29th 2010 Saw T---, a 27-year-old man from Lu Pleh Township, Pa'an District was arrested, tortured and executed by soldiers f
Date of publication: 15 February 2011
Description/subject: "On November 29th 2010 Saw T---, a 27-year-old man from Lu Pleh Township, Pa'an District was arrested, tortured and executed by soldiers from Tatmadaw Border Guard Force Battalion #1015, following accusations that he had made contact with and provided information to the KNU. In a separate incident that occurred on November 19th 2010 Saw M---, a 75-year-old man, was executed at point blank range by soldiers from a different unit of the same Border Guard Force Battalion #1015, after being asked to step outside his house in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District. This news bulletin is based on information KHRG received from sources close to the families of Saw T--- and Saw M--- on February 1st 2011 and in mid-December 2010, respectively."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (166K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b2.html
Date of entry/update: 26 February 2012


Title: Extrajudicial execution of two civilians in Pa'an District Download report as PDF[Adobe Acrobat PDF 166 kb] On November 29th 2010 Saw T---, a 27-year-old man from Lu Pleh Township, Pa'an District was arrested, tortured and executed by soldiers f
Date of publication: 15 February 2011
Description/subject: "On November 29th 2010 Saw T---, a 27-year-old man from Lu Pleh Township, Pa'an District was arrested, tortured and executed by soldiers from Tatmadaw Border Guard Force Battalion #1015, following accusations that he had made contact with and provided information to the KNU. In a separate incident that occurred on November 19th 2010 Saw M---, a 75-year-old man, was executed at point blank range by soldiers from a different unit of the same Border Guard Force Battalion #1015, after being asked to step outside his house in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District. This news bulletin is based on information KHRG received from sources close to the families of Saw T--- and Saw M--- on February 1st 2011 and in mid-December 2010, respectively."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (166K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b2.html
Date of entry/update: 26 February 2012


Title: Mother of newborn shot and killed in Papun District
Date of publication: 26 January 2011
Description/subject: "On October 13th 2010, a 24-year-old woman was shot and killed less than 45 minutes after she had given birth, when Tatmadaw troops opened fire on her house during an attack on her village in Dweh Loh Township. This news bulletin is based on an interview conducted with the woman's husband, who has been staying with his newborn son and another one of his sons at a refuge site outside Papun district since December 10th 2010."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (285K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b1.html
Date of entry/update: 26 February 2012


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 3: Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Date of publication: 23 November 2009
Description/subject: "...Reports published throughout 2008 by various local, national and international organizations have collectively shown that extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions and killings continued to take place throughout the year and that those responsible include the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military junta, several of its allied ceasefire groups and agents, as well as armed opposition groups. The vast majority of those cases which were documented throughout 2008 were reported to have occurred within the rural, and mostly ethnic, areas of eastern and western Burma...As in previous years, the SPDC, its agents and allied ceasefire armies frequently carried out extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary killings as a means to intimidate and terrorize an already fearful population by making examples of those who dare to stand against them. Not only are such practices conducted in direct violation of international law, but also Burma’s own domestic laws...Throughout 2008, the SPDC largely worked to consolidate its control over areas secured during previous offensives, with SPDC army units throughout the country, but especially in many of the rural ethnic areas, being primarily engaged in expanding their influence and control over the civilian villagers that live in these areas..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
Format/size: pdf (1.04MB)
Date of entry/update: 05 December 2009


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: Human minesweeping and forced relocation as SPDC and DKBA step up joint operations in Pa'an District (English and Karen)
Date of publication: 20 October 2008
Description/subject: "Since the end of September 2008, SPDC and DKBA troops have begun preparing for what KHRG researchers expect to be a renewed offensive against KNU/KNLA-controlled areas in Pa'an District. These activities match a similar increase in joint SPDC-DKBA operations in Dooplaya District further south where these groups have conducted attacks against villagers and KNU/KNLA targets over the past couple of weeks. The SPDC and DKBA soldiers operating in Pa'an District have forced villagers to carry supplies, food and weapons for their combined armies and also to walk in front of their columns as human minesweepers. This report includes the case of two villagers killed by landmines during October while doing such forced labour, as well as the DKBA's forced relocation of villages in T'Moh village tract of Dta Greh township, demands for forced labourers from the relocated communities and the subsequent flight of relocated villagers to KNLA-controlled camps in Pa'an District as a means to escape this abuse; all of which took place in October 2008."
Language: English, Karen
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (English, 534K; Karen, 446K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/reports/karenlanguage/khrg08b11_karen_language.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08b11.html
Date of entry/update: 13 March 2012


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007: Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Date of publication: September 2008
Description/subject: "... The extra-judicial killing of unarmed civilians continued to occur under the ruse of counter-insurgency campaigns against many of Burma’s varied ethnic minorities, against individuals accused of a crime, and with near-unanimous international condemnation, against unarmed and peaceful protesters. The manner in which violence was employed throughout these different settings strongly suggests not a mere lapse of judgement, but rather a deliberate and calculated strategy to cow and subjugate the population..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB (HRDU)
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 11 December 2008


Title: Eight Seconds of Silence
Date of publication: 23 May 2006
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "After the 1988 people’s uprising in Burma, thousands of people were arrested and imprisoned. Nearly all have faced torture or ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities. Such torture and ill-treatment has resulted in death for many. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has documented the cases of 127 democracy activists who died after enduring torture or illtreatment in custody. Due to the political situation in Burma, all cases of death in custody are not known. Further, many details of the known cases cannot be collected. Information in this report concerning the political background and the circumstances of death for each democracy activist was taken from their families, the former political prisoners who met the deceased in prison, publications of political parties, human rights organizations and even the SPDC, and documents from the prison and medical staff of the prisons. Over the course of a year, all relevant information was gathered and verified. Of the at least 127 deaths, 90 have died in prison, 8 in the interrogation centers, 4 in the labor camps, and 10 shortly after being released from prison. 15 activists have disappeared from the prisons, and their whereabouts remain unknown to date. Since early 2005 alone, 9 democracy activists have died behind bars. The increased number of deaths in the past year is reflective of the rise in torture and ill-treatment. It is also indicative of the State Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC) policy. The SPDC is attempting to systematically silence political dissent in Burma. Torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners is one means by which they implement their policy. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) 18 This report looks at Burma’s interrogation centers, prisons and labor camps to explain the cause of death for those who have passed away while detained by the military regime. Torture and ill-treatment are endemic in these locations. The general prison conditions and prison healthcare system are aggravated and cause a level of suffering equivalent to torture in the majority of political prisoners’ cases. The disappearance of political prisoners has occurred in fifteen documented cases, though there are likely several undocumented cases. A section of the report details the known cases of disappearance, and explains the regime’s frequent withholding of information on a political prisoners’ location in order to terrorize their families. After release from prison, several political prisoners face physical and mental illnesses for which they are unable to receive treatment. The lack of treatment is due to varying factors, but primary among them is the lack of money and general knowledge about the health concerns of political prisoners. Several political prisoners have died from the inability to treat a basic illness. Further, the mental health care system in Burma is virtually non-existent, leaving former political prisoners with no means of relieving their mental suffering. Some political prisoners have committed suicide as a result. This report looks at the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those political prisoners who died shortly after release. When political prisoners die, their families face many problems. The families of deceased political prisoners have often been informed of their loved ones death only after the authorities have cremated the body, so that any evidence of torture or ill treatment is destroyed. Additionally, the authorities are known to have pressured doctors into falsifying the results of their autopsy. Though most do not, if a family attempts to challenge the authorities’ explanation for their loved ones death, they have no independent witnesses to verify their claims one way or the other. Eight Seconds of Silence: The Death of Democracy Activists Behind Bars 19 The families of political prisoners have on some occasions been offered bribes to remain silent as to the cause of their loved ones death. Most reject the bribe, and a few have defiantly spoken about the real cause of their loved one’s death. Further, families of deceased political prisoners often must bury their loved ones according to the direction of the authorities. Intelligence personnel often infiltrate funerals, noting which people attend so that they can later be detained and interrogated. The aftermath of political prisoners’ deaths is explained in this report. Finally, this report provides detailed information on the political background and death of nearly all documented cases of death in custody. These brief biographies are meant to demonstrate the brutality of the authorities and the innocence of the victims. Though in a number of the cases of death in custody, the authorities responsible for the individuals’ death are known, no action has ever been taken to hold them accountable. 127 democracy activists have been killed with complete impunity. Currently, there are at least 1,156 political prisoners in Burma. Several are in poor and rapidly deteriorating health, and many are at risk for torture. If they are not released immediately, they will face the same fate as those who have died in custody..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 May 2006


Title: The Depayin Massacre, Burma
Date of publication: 08 January 2004
Description/subject: Special edition of "Article 2" Vol. 02 - No. 06 December 2003 published by the Asian Legal Resource Centre... "On 25 June 2003 the Burma Lawyers’ Council and the National Council of the Union of Burma set up the Ad Hoc Commission on the Depayin Massacre (Burma)..." Contents: Explanatory statement of the Ad Hoc Commission on the Depayin Massacre - Ad Hoc Commission on the Depayin Massacre (Burma); Affidavits of eyewitnesses to the Depayin Massacre; The Depayin Massacre: A crime against humanity and its effect on national reconciliation - U Aung Htoo, General Secretary, Burma Lawyers’ Council; An opinion on the Depayin Massacre as a crime against humanity - Professor Michael Davis, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong & C Raj Kumar, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, City University of Hong Kong; The prospects of a truth commission for Burma, from lessons learned in Chile and Argentina - Flynn Coleman, Intern, Asian Human Rights Commission; Attack on democracy party in Burma demands an uncompromising international response - Asian Human Rights Commission.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Ad Hoc Commission on the Depayin Massacre (Burma) via Asian Legal Resource Centre
Format/size: pdf (260K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.article2.org/mainfile.php/0206/
Date of entry/update: 12 March 2004


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03 (Extra-judicial Killing, Summary or Arbitrary Executions)
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: "During 2002, there continued to be reports of arbitrary and summary executions, rape, torture and physical assualt committed against civilians by SPDC troops and their allies. The military, members of the SPDC endorsed people’s militias ("pyi thu sit"), and other SPDC officials including Military Intelligence (MI) and Police were the perpetrators of these crimes. These acts of violence were largely committed against ethnic minority members living in armed conflict areas. According to Human Rights Watch, "Life in conflict affected areas, where the Burmese army sought to deny ethnic minority insurgents all sources of support, remained particularly grim" (source: World Report 2003, Human Rights Watch, 2003). Extra judicial killings were largely committed against people suspected of being members or sympathizers of armed ethnic opposition groups and villagers enduring forced labor and portering duties. Summary killings also took place in the course of capturing villagers for the purpose of forced labor and portering. Women are commonly killed by soldiers after being raped for fear of leaving evidence of their crimes. Troops regularly commit these crimes with impunity and, in many cases, complaints made by the victim or victim’s families are met with indifference, reprisals or threats of reprisals..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 November 2003


Title: Unspeakable Crimes
Date of publication: September 2003
Description/subject: "Burma’s rulers need to be brought to account before they commit more political crimes and human rights abuses..." Two months after the May 30 ambush on political activists and leaders of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), the human rights group Amnesty International called on Burma’s military regime to bring the culprits to justice and permit an independent and impartial investigation. Amnesty said, "The events of 30 May show all too clearly the need for accountability and an end to impunity in Myanmar [Burma]." Other human rights organizations and several foreign governments also called Burma to answer. Burma’s military regime, however, remains mute, ignoring pressure from abroad while claiming they arrested pro-democracy supporters, including NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Vice Chairman Tin Oo, for the sake of stability in the country..."
Author/creator: Thar Nyunt Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003


Title: Preliminary Report of the Ad hoc Commission on Depayin Massacre
Date of publication: 04 July 2003
Description/subject: "The National Council of the Union of Burma and the Burma Lawyers' Council have formed a commission on June 25, 2003 to jointly deal with the alleged assassination attempt against the leaders of the National League for Democracy, including Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, with the following programmes: The Title of the Commission - The commission will be entitled as the Ad hoc Commission on Depayin Massacre (Burma). Aim - (1) To find out the truth on the Depayin Massacre; (2) To facilitate the struggle of people, based on legal affairs, both inside Burma and in the international community, in connection with the Depayin Massacre; Programme Objectives - (1) To exert efforts to lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the event that it has jurisdiction over the Depayin Massacre case; (2) To lodge a complaint or complaints with other courts in the international community including the International Criminal Tribunal to be possibly established by the United Nations Security Council if the first objective is not possible; (3) To cooperate with the people inside Burma and the international community for the emergence of an official independent investigation commission in order to find out the truth on Depayin Massacre... Contents: ... Formation of Ad hoc Commission on Depayin Massacrr; Explanatory Statement of the Ad hoc Commission; Brief Background of Depayin Massacre; Depayin Massacre; Affidavits of the Eyewitnesses; SPDC’s Press Conference; Victims of Depayin Massacre (Pictures); Appendix I - Interview with Zaw Zaw Aung 50; Appendix II - Statement of Ko Aung Aung from Democratic Party for a New Society; Appendix III - The list of the vitims of Depayin Massacre.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Ad hoc Commission on Depayin Massacre
Format/size: pdf (1.2MB) 58 pages
Date of entry/update: 17 July 2003


Title: In Balmy Burma, The Plot Sickens
Date of publication: June 2003
Description/subject: By The Irrawaddy "The regime in Rangoon has proven the naysayers right once again. The May 30 clash in Upper Burma, and the crackdown that followed, should remind the junta’s apologists and other optimists hoping for a happy ending to the country’s political drama that national reconciliation in Burma is a long, long way away. The events on Black Friday demonstrate clearly it’s time for the international community to take action against Burma. Failing to act ignores the suffering of the Burmese people and acknowledges the junta’s ultimate victory—a triumph scored by attrition rather than a knockout blow. The script is familiar. Suu Kyi is detained by the regime. Advocates for democracy in Burma call for her release. The generals hold firm, defying international condemnation, then give in a little. Suu Kyi is finally freed and the world applauds. International opinion is successfully manipulated. Asean, Japan and some nations in the West express appreciation for the concession and begin speaking of the junta’s democratic will. Rangoon’s victory is rewarded with more trade and more aid. Meanwhile, the opposition remains stonewalled..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2001-2002: Extra-judicial Killing, Summary or Arbitrary Execution
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "During 2001, there continued to be reports of arbitrary and summery executions, rape, torture and physical assualt committed against civilians by SPDC troops and their allies The military officers and rank and file soldiers of the SPDC army battalions, leaders and members of the SPDC endorsed peoples militias (pyi thu sit), and other SPDC officials including MI, and Police were the perpetrators of these crimes. These acts of violence were largely committed against ethnic minority members living in armed conflict areas. Executions were largely committed against people suspected of being members or sympathizers of armed ethnic opposition groups and villagers enduring forced labor and portering duties. Summary killings also took place in the course of capturing villagers for the purpose of forced labor and portering. Women are commonly killed by soldiers after being raped for fear of leaving evidence of their crimes. Troops regularly commit these crimes with impunity, and in many cases complaints made by the victim or victims families are met with indifference, reprisals or threats of reprisals..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: Extra-judicial Killing, Summary or Arbitrary Execution
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "...The summary or arbitrary execution of individuals in SPDC controlled Burma continues to be one of the most gruesome and obvious evidences of the gross violations of human rights violations committed in the country. In 2000 there continued to be numerous reports of summery or arbitrary execution of civilians, especially in the border areas of armed conflict. The military officers and rank and file soldiers of the SPDC army battalions, leaders and members of the SPDC endorsed peoples militias ("pyi thu sit"), and other SPDC officials including MI, Police and USDA officials were the perpetrators of these crimes. This clearly shows SPDCs complete disregard for the human rights and humanitarian law treaties it has signed..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: Main page of the Yearbook: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/yearbooks/Main.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Karen Human Rights Group Commentary #99-C1
Date of publication: 25 May 1999
Description/subject: "...The rainy season appears to be beginning early this year, and as the rains begin many people look back and evaluate the past dry season. Though the period since October/November 1998 has not featured a major military offensive, the situation for rural villagers in eastern Burma has continued to deteriorate and there have been some extremely worrying new developments. In general, the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) regime has continued to use increased militarisation, forced relocations and tighter controls on villagers as a means of consolidating its control over remote regions, and as a result more and more villagers are becoming internally displaced each month while life becomes even more desperate for those who are already displaced and hiding in the forests. This dry season the SPDC has also added a new weapon to its arsenal which is now terrorising villagers and driving many of them to flight: the ‘Sa Thon Lon Guerrilla Retaliation’ execution squads..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Commentaries (KHRG #99-C1)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 November 2009


Title: Myanmar 1988 to 1998 Happy 10th Anniversary? Death in Custody
Date of publication: 28 May 1998
Description/subject: In the ten years since the violent suppression of the pro-democracy movement in 1988, Amnesty International is aware of at least 30 political prisoners who have died in custody in Myanmar, thought the true number is believed to be much higher. Information collected during the last 10 years shows that torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners is common, conditions in prisons are poor and insanitary, prisoners are provided an inadequate diet and commonly denied the medical care they need, and some prisoners are made to work under harsh conditions in labour camps. Given this combination of abuses the risk of not surviving imprisonment in Myanmar, particularly for the elderly, is great. Deaths in custody in Myanmar generally fall into two categories. Some prisoners die because they have been tortured and suffer fatal injuries. Other prisoners die from illness -- sometimes induced or worsened by ill-treatment or the conditions under which they are held -- for which they do not receive proper medical care; often prisoners who are ill are not sent to hospital until it is too late. The 10 deaths described below are examples of what can and still does happen to political prisoners in Myanmar.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International (ASA 16/16/98)
Format/size: html, pdf (25.25 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/016/1998/en/3bd19545-daa6-11dd-80bc-797022e51902/asa160161998en.html
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA16/016/1998/en
Date of entry/update: 18 November 2010


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


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 1994: 02 - Extra-judicial,Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Date of publication: September 1995
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html (89K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Karen Human Rights Group Commentary #95-C2
Date of publication: 09 May 1995
Description/subject: "...SLORC is now directly involved in planning, preparing, coordinating and executing acts of international terrorism. Its role in the attacks on refugee camps in Thailand cannot be denied, despite all its claims that the attacks are only the work of the DKBA ('Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army'). Eyewitnesses have seen SLORC soldiers participating in almost every attack, while letters and orders from SLORC officers have referred to their 'control' over the DKBA. Furthermore, the latest wave of attacks, which employed several hundred men operating on different parts of the border with mortar support from a SLORC-controlled area on the Burma side of the border, simply could not have been planned and coordinated without direct SLORC involvement. If the refugees return, SLORC stands to gain alot of international legitimacy while simultaneously obtaining alot of free labourers for its military 'development' projects. Initially the DKBA tried to use agressive persuasion and threats. Then when that didn't work quickly enough, DKBA and SLORC began attacking the refugee camps, kidnapping or killing camp leaders and religious leaders, shooting refugees and threatening everyone with further attacks (see "SLORC's Northern Karen Offensive", KHRG #95-10, 29/3/95). Since February, these attacks have been happening several times a week and at almost every camp. By April, camp security forces had formed and were beginning to thwart many of the attacks. Some refugees were returning to Burma, but only a small minority. Then on April 25, SLORC and the DKBA launched the apparent 'Third Phase' of the strategy by hitting Mae Ra Ma Luang (which hadn't been attacked before) and Kamaw Lay Ko camps on the same day, then hitting Baw Noh camp on April 28 (see "New Attacks on Karen Refugee Camps", KHRG #95-16, 5/5/95). These attacks were completely different: they attacked brazenly with at least 50 or 100 heavily armed troops, in broad daylight in 2 out of 3 cases, and they showed no hesitation to attack Thai forces even without being provoked. At Baw Noh, they even had Burmese 81 mm. mortar support fired from the Burma side of the border. Furthermore, the attacks were no longer targetted at specific camp leaders or just a few houses, but aimed to destroy the camps wholesale by burning them down. 170 houses were burned in Mae Ra Ma Luang, 300 in Kamaw Lay Ko and over 700 in Baw Noh. During the attacks, DKBA troops made it clear to refugees that they also had orders to capture or kill foreign aid workers in the camps if possible..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #95-C2)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The SLORC’s "Leave or Die" Ultimatum to Karenni Villagers
Date of publication: 12 June 1992
Description/subject: "The report includes the direct translations of stamped and signed orders posted by the SLORC in villages throughout western Karenni State in late March of this year. The large areas affected are in the "brown" or "black" areas (those not firmly under SLORC control, where the KNPP opposition is active). Pruso Town, where the villagers were ordered to move to, is in the "white" area (under SLORC control). The villagers affected say they were to move to a SLORC- guarded camp around Pruso Town, where they felt they would be treated as slaves and taken as porters whenever required. They say none obeyed this condition. Some fled to safer Karenni- controlled villages, and some went to towns but avoided the SLORC. Some decided to stay in the area, hiding in the forest and taking their chances. Many fled southward on foot to become refugees in Karen State rather than obey. It is this group, currently numbering over 1, 200, who provided the copies of the orders to the Karen National Union..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Orders Reports
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 November 2009


Title: MYANMAR (BURMA): CALL FOR DISSEMINATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ON THE USE OF FORCE
Date of publication: July 1989
Description/subject: "Since March 1989, there have been renewed peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar as students and members of legally-registered political parties have gathered to commemorate anniversaries of alleged unlawful killings in 1988 or other occasions considered politically significant. Amnesty International is concerned that as these demonstrations continue, renewed civil unrest could be accompanied by unlawful killings by security forces. The Myanmar Government is not known to have taken steps, such as the revision of regulations, to limit the use of deadly force in law enforcement since thousands of demonstrators were reported deliberately killed in 1988. In contrast, military spokesmen have recently declared that the norms of the "battlefield" will govern the actions of troops in the event of further public emergencies. It is urging that the Myanmar Government should make known to all security forces who may have to deal with any demonstrations or civil unrest that international standards apply to the use of force, and that it should ensure compliance with such standards..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International (ASA 16-05-89)
Format/size: pdf (55K)
Date of entry/update: 20 August 2005