Creating the conditions for successful peace talks

September 5, 2011

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) welcomes the peace talks offered by Burma’s new government, headed by President U Thein Sein, and the positive responses from all armed ethnic groups under the umbrella of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).

Both the majority Burmans and the various ethnic groups in the country are hungrily demanding peace, and they welcome the prospect of the government opening peace talks.  But, for the peace talks between the new government and the UNFC to work, it is necessary to have a countrywide ceasefire first, so that all sides will fully commit to a peaceful resolution.

Burma’s civil war has raged for over six decades, leading to many problems.  If the new government and the armed ethnic groups are to hold peace talks, they must commit to peace. And finally, they must settle all problems related to politics, society, economics, and human rights, peacefully. There must not be a return to war.

If the peace talks are held, both sides must be sincere and consider the interests of the people.  They should strive for the betterment of all ethnic peoples in the Union, especially those living in conflict areas and who have suffered six decades of war. The following points are crucial if the peace talks are to be successful:

  • The countrywide ceasefire must be announced by the government, and all armed ethnic groups must agree to it, Each ethnic group then must form a delegation to participate in the peace talks.  During the preparation phase, all internally displaced persons (IDPs) must be allowed to return to their communities safely.
  • The armed groups belonging to both the government and the ethnic political groups must stop committing human rights violations against the local civilians in conflict areas, such as killing, forced recruitment for soldiers or frontline porters, inhumane treatment, and other abuses.
  • All sides must cease confiscation of land and property from civilians.  Soldiers must stop extorting and illegally taxing the people.  And all troops must cease committing sexual violence against women.

In bringing peace, all sides must consider their past mistakes and agree to building a better future.  Human rights, including the rights of minorities, must be respected.  Wrongs of the past, such as cases of arbitrary killings and inhumane treatment, sexual violations, unlawful confiscation of lands, and other serious cases of human rights violations must be considered, and justice must come about.


Human rights abuses are still being committed in the area of land confiscation on and around Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island

August 16, 2011

HURFOM, Yebyu: The sources from Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island reported that after confiscating 4000 acres of rubber plantation owned by ethnic Mon, the Burmese Navy Unit No.43, under the command of Ka Dike-based Government Navy Regional Command Headquarters, is still committing human rights abuses on the Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island. The residents on the island face difficulties making a daily living, as they are forced to pay money if they can’t perform unpaid labor (which is known as Loh Ah Pay) for the Navy Unit No.43. Besides forcing them to work, the Navy Unit No.43 demands them to bring their own supplies and work materials. They also commandeer the villagers’ motorbikes. Read more

Press Release: Burma’s Navy Attacks on Civilians’ Livelihood

August 15, 2011

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

By Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) – Burma

Although Burma’s new supposedly civilian-led government has been in power since March 2011, human rights violations and abuses are still committed by the troops of Burmese Army, which receive backing from the current ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).  Because the president, U Thein Sein, a former military general, does not have control over local military battalions or commands, a change in government makes little difference towards stopping the land confiscations by the USDP’s proxy business companies and the Burmese Army (tatmadaw). 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

Large Scale Land Confiscation Persists with No Compensation in Thanbyuzayat Township

August 5, 2011

HURFOM: It has been reported by the residents in the Thanbyuzayat Township that Nay Pyi Taw government has unfairly confiscated over 1,000 acres of privately-owned rubber plantations, orchards and paddy lands. The interviews conducted with the plantation owners also reveal that the case has been ignored by the Nay Pyi Taw and the respective state government, despite attempts to petition the confiscation. Plantation owners say they are frustrated because many acres of their plantations have been taken over. And, despite having a new supposedly civilian-led national government, the government army continues to act without respect to the laws of the country. Read more

Male and Female Porters and Human Shields at Burma’s Frontline

August 2, 2011


Story of male porters

“They kicked and punched my back and face, leaving my nose bleeding. Sobbingly, I apologized and explained that even though I’m wearing a soldier’s vest, it does not mean I’m a Karen rebel soldier. But they never stopped kicking my back,” said Saw Kyaw Tho.

Saw Kyaw Tho is a 41-year-old Karen man, living in Ah Pa-lon village, Kya-inn-seikyi Township, Karen State. He farms and cuts broom grasses for a living.
The outbreak of post-election fighting between Burmese government troops and the Breakaway DKBA Brigade 5 has led to many local residents in Kya-inn-seikyi Township being forced to serve as porters and human shields for the government troops. Read more

The other side of working in a food stall

July 19, 2011


“I work this job because I am poor, not because I enjoy it or have a choice in the matter” said Yu Yu Khaing (alias).

Yu Yu Khaing is 19 years old and she lives in Zin Kyait village, Mon State. She is Burmese and there are three siblings in her family. Yu Yu Khaing works in a food stall since it was originally built. She earns a basic salary of 15,000 Kyat per month working in the food stall. For extra income Yu Yu Khaing sells soft drinks as a waitress and earns another 100,000 Kyat per month on top of her basic income. Yu Yu Khaing spends 150, 000 Kyat to support and feed her family every month and the remaining spending money is between 20-30,000 Kyat. Read more

Traveling Restrictions, Extortion, and Goods Seizure Intensified in Ye and Yebyu Townships; Local Villagers Abused By Government Tollgate Authorities

July 6, 2011

Ye and Yebyu Townships

Travel restrictions and arbitrary seizure of citizens’ goods and personal effects have been reported at checkpoints and tollgates along the highway between Mon State and Tenasserim Division. Local merchants and passengers traveling through Burma on the Mon State-Tenasserim Division highway commented on the heightened procedures in comparison with former government demands to halt and inspect the personal belongings of citizens.  Government troops have appropriated effects and demanded bribes in order for citizens to be allowed to pass. Those civilians passing through have professed that the impact of the heightened security and inspections have directly impacted their ability to travel and seek job opportunities to sustain their own livelihoods. Read more

Torture in Kyauk-kyi Township, Pegu Division

June 23, 2011

Burmese troops stationing in Kyauk-kyi Township, Pegu Division, ordered Karen residents living in Kyauk-kyi Township, to destroy their paddy-field huts built in their own paddy fields for security reasons. Giving strict orders those who refused to tear down their huts were tortured by troops from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 349 as punishment. 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

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