Flood, Insect Attacks, and The Hardest Time for Farmers in Lower Burma

October 19, 2011


Rice is the staple food of Burma and an essential part of Mon agriculture. It is what feeds the majority of people in Lower Burma and is one of Mon State’s primary exports. But this year rice is in short supply due to a treacherous trinity of problems that have attacked Mon farmers from all sides.

First, unusually heavy and continuous rains since late May have inundated fields and by the end of August, many fields are still flooded. Some farmers, such as Nai Both in Sein Taung Ward, Ka-mar-wet village, estimate they have lost over half of their rice crop to flooding. In past years, farmers could re-cultivate their paddies after a flood. But as this year’s flooding has persisted unusually long, some farmers say there is neither time nor enough resources to re-cultivate. Making matters worse, a state-owned dam, the Win Pa-noon dam, is at full capacity. Needing repairs and on the verge of collapse, officials have opened the sluice gates, releasing water into farmers’ fields. Farmers say the dam is the biggest obstacle in reducing the water levels.Download report as PDF [2.8MB] Read more

Biting the hand that feeds: Armed extortion in Karen State

September 6, 2011


From late June to mid-July 2011, HURFOM field reporters gathered human rights violation cases through conducting interviews with native residents of the villages under the administration of Kyon-doo Township, Kawkareik Township, and Kyarinnseikkyi Township. These villages include those that are located in western and southern Kawkareik Township, and some in the southern part of Kyarinnseikkyi Township, Karen State. Of native residents interviewed, 95% of them reported that they are being arbitrarily taxed by multiple armed groups. They experience immense hardship from trying to make a living while supporting all these groups, and they fear the prospect of having to maintain this arrangement long-term. The remaining 5 % of those interviewed reported that they are continuously being threatened, unfairly oppressed, and used as porters and human shields.Download report as PDF [168KB] Read more

Burma’s Navy Attacks Civilians’ Livelihood

August 14, 2011

An Account on Land Confiscation and Human Rights Violations on Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division


Fact finding conducted in this report took place after significant political developments in Burma. On the 31st of January, the newly-instated parliament convened for the first time in the country since the Burmese regime officially dissolved the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The transfer of State power from the old government to the new was finalized on the Read more

“They will burn the village until it turns to ash”: Gross human rights violations committed by LIB Nos. 562 and 563 in Kawkareik Township, Karen State

June 13, 2011

On the morning of January 13, 2011, the Burmese Army’s Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) No. 562 and 563 entered Dauk Phalan village in Kawkareik Township, Karen State. Unbeknownst to the LIB troops, Karen National Union[1](KNU)’s Brigade 6, battalion No.18, was present in the village. Coming upon each other, both sides opened fire. During the fighting, sections of the LIB battalions scavenged the village for residents they believed to be linked with the KNU. LIB troops then conducted arbitrary arrests of accused rebel supporters, inflicted physical punishment upon villagers, forcibly took villagers to work as porters, and destroyed the properties and livelihoods of villagers in order to insure armed ethnic groups were unable to survive in those areas. Download report as PDF [217KB] Read more

A Year Later, Villagers Still Displaced Unable to Return Home in Ye and Yebyu Township

May 23, 2011


In April 2010, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) refused the Burmese government’s request for the NMSP to transform into part of the Border Guard Force (BGF), in which it would essentially provide security for the Burmese government. Tensions between both sides rose because of the NMSP’s rejection and the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC – the former Burmese military government) began a recruitment project in local villages, forcing villagers to serve as militiamen and committing a variety of human rights abuses.  During that period, HURFOM conducted interviews with local residents who fled their homes to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sites, and documented the commission of crimes against humanity and assorted human rights abuses, on those IDPs, who lived in Ye Township, Mon State, and Ye Pyu Township, Tenasserim Division. Download report as PDF [270KB] Read more

“To Whom Do We Report?”: Land Seizure by MOGE for the Expansion and Straightening of the Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay Gas Pipeline

April 18, 2011

For the past four months, the government owned company, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, has administrated extensive repairs and expansions to the gas pipeline from Kanbauk, Yebyu Township, in Tennaserrim Division to Myaing Kalay, Karen State. Repairs include the substitution of old parts of the pipeline, the straightening of the curved pipeline, as well as digging new roads for bulldozers and cranes to carry equipment to the pipeline areas.  When expanding the pipeline, and paving new roads for the bulldozers, MOGE has cut through cultivator’s land and plantations, splitting up their plots and destroying their crops and livelihoods. Local landowners have expressed frustration and upset that not only has their land been destroyed, or broken into multiple parts, but that this acquisition of their land is the second time locals have lost their landholdings, whether it be rubber plantations, paddy land, or other farmland.[1] Download report as PDF [352KB] Read more

“Sitting on the fire”: forced labor demands during Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay Pipelien expansion

March 13, 2011


In early January 2011, large steel pipes were delivered to villages along the Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay gas pipeline in southern Burma. The delivery of the pipes marked the first step in a larger process currently undertaken by the Burmese government operated Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), to expand the capacity of the pipeline.

The introduction of this expansion project marks a significant potential point of increase in the ongoing abuses committed by Burmese soldiers against local civilian communities. The proposed pipeline expansion has begun a labor intensive campaign in which residents excavate and extract the current 20” diameter pipes, and in some cases re-direct and dig the pipeline route so that the new 30” diameter pipes can be installed. Additionally, these laborers are used to guard the new pipe segments prior to installation, portions of the pipeline that will be replaced, build bamboo cover for exposed pipes, and re-bury and cover pipes. Civilians along the pipeline, who often live in significant poverty, are nonetheless used to perform a large portion of the labor during this process without compensation of money or food, and no regard for health or the impact that such extended forced labor would have on community livelihoods. Download report as PDF [324KB] Read more

Like birds in a cage: Impacts of continued conflict on civilian populations in Kyainnseikyi and Three Pagodas area

February 10, 2011


While the sudden conflict that erupted on November 7th between the Burmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and splinter Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) forces drew much attention internationally, and concern from Burma’s ASEAN neighbors, the local impacts from the continuation and even expansion, of this conflict have garnered less attention.. For this months report the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) has documented the commission of crimes against humanity and assorted human rights abuses, on local ethnic residents between Kyainnseikyi Township, and Three Pagodas Pass Township, Karen State.

In areas of continued fighting, civilians have suffered from direct exposure to violence, as bystanders to indiscriminate mortar, RPG, and small arms fire, use as forced porters, human shields, human land mine triggers, and physical abuse. Armed groups have also abused civilian communities through theft, extortion, and travel restrictions. Direct exposure to these threats undermines key methods of survival for local communities, who, though capable of addressing normal military presence, face greater threat to safety and live hood with enlarged and aggressive military presence. This uncommon level of disruption must be resolved for communities to ensure their safety and livelihood.Download report as PDF [287KB] Read more

‘When I became desperate’: Opinions of residents during forced land acquisition in Kyaikmayaw Township

January 18, 2011


Since the release of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland’s (HURFOM’s) October 2010 report, Waiting In Tears[1], farmers in Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon Sate, have faced increases in pressure to give up freehold land holdings that have been passed down from generation to generation, in order to make way for the construction of several private large scale cement factories and lime stone processing plants.

Throughout the month of December 2010, land owners of Ni Don and Mae Garow villages have faced significant efforts by the development company, Zaykabar Company, and local Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) leaders, to give up their farms. While residents have been offered some tenable opportunity for compensation by Zaykabar Company, the amount offered for compensation is 9 times lower then the estimated value of the per acre price for the land. Zaykabar Company staff and senior leadership have made multiple visits to the area, demanding that residents settle for this degraded price. Additionally, villages have been exhorted by the movie actress Nan Dar Hlaing to sell their land, and were threatened by the local village headman that if they refuse to sell, they would be forced to leave the area. Download report as PDF [467KB]

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Sand on the meat: citizen voices on election intimidation, manipulation and loss

December 3, 2010

The following accounts compiled by HURFOM field reporters detail the voices of election participants as the November 7th polling day unfolded.  These civilians were the predominant eyewitness observers to the on the ground operation of the election in Burma. These detailed accounts provide information that confirms concerns of widespread government election manipulation and ballot fraud practiced by Burmese government staff, soldiers, and the key government backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Download report as PDF [295KB]

The following abuses of the election polling station rules fall in to several categories that are briefly detailed below. Predominately all abuse of election and polling rules came from either government staff or pro-government USDP members. Government staff included polling station employees, soldiers, administrative staff and members of the election commission (EC) that have dictated rules throughout the entire period of this election. Read more

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