Villagers slowly return to former communities in search of confiscated land

December 18, 2012

HURFOM: More than ten years ago, the neighboring villages of Chapon and Ah Mae in northern Ye Township were home to roughly 600 households, with numerous farms, orchards, and rubber plantations driving a prosperous local economy. However, after years of land confiscation and other human rights abuses by the Burmese military, hundreds of residents were driven into poverty or forced to flee the area. Local villager Mi Than Myit explained that, today, Chapon is home to just 38 families. Read more

Plantations in Min Tar seized a second time

December 7, 2012

HURFOM: Since December 2010, Burmese Navy Unit No. 43, under the command of the Ka Dike regional command headquarters, has allegedly seized 3,000 acres of land spanning 200 rubber plantations on Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Region. Recently, residents of the island’s eastern Min Tar Village reported that after two years of being barred from their primary source of income, they were briefly allowed to work the plantations only to have the land confiscated again. Read more

“16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” comes to Burma

December 3, 2012

HURFOM: For the first time, women in Rangoon participated in the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” a global campaign that kicks off every year on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concludes on International Human Rights Day on December 10. The campaign aims to demonstrate how women’s rights are synonymous with human rights, and to raise awareness about gender-based violence around the world. Read more

Kyon Karoat villagers poised to protest local corruption

November 29, 2012

HURFOM: Nestled among wide stretches of rubber plantations and durian orchards, Kyon Karoat Village in southwestern Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State, is home to hundreds of families. While news of the democratic transition in Burma, also known as Myanmar, has reached the local residents, many recently reported being unable to fully enjoy the promise of reforms due to an ongoing struggle against corruption in their own hometown. Read more

“Freedom to Walk” supports global anti-human trafficking movements

November 20, 2012

HURFOM: More than 70 participants joined the final day of a 370-kilometer walk from Bangkok to the Burma border at Three Pagodas Pass on Saturday to support efforts to end human trafficking worldwide. The “Freedom to Walk” campaign raised money for five organizations that work to combat trafficking of men, women, and children across multiple industries in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Europe. Read more

Industrial Mahachai concludes second child labor conference

November 14, 2012

HURFOM: Last Friday, the Royal Thai Government’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare and the Thai Frozen Foods Association jointly held an educational conference covering Thailand’s child labor laws. The event was aptly organized in Mahachai, a port town about 45 kilometers southwest of Bangkok where an estimated 1,200 to 1,300 factories employ hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers in Thailand’s booming seafood industry. Read more

Extortion persists during democratic transition

November 13, 2012

HURFOM: In recent years, Burmese militia forces, township-level authorities, and village administrators have been accused of conspiring to extort money from residents in several parts of Thanbyuzayat Township in Mon State. Now, a similar trend appears to be continuing in the area around Waethon Chaung Village, about 1.5 miles south of Thanbyuzayat. The local authorities and alleged perpetrators maintain that the levies they collect fund a school construction project and cover the cost of guarding the nearby Ye to Tavoy railway and Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay gas pipeline, but residents are not convinced. Read more

Amended NMSP constitution to include child rights

November 12, 2012

HURFOM: As a recent signatory of Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) released a statement pledging to amend their constitution to include the protection of child rights in armed conflict. On November 5, an NMSP committee met with Mr. Chris Rush, Geneva Call’s Senior Programme Officer for Asia, to negotiate the inclusion of child rights protections in Mon law. Members of the NMSP and its judiciary plan to jointly draft the amendments prior to the party’s next big conference in 2015. Read more

Reprisals and rubber tree destruction in Kaw Taung

November 6, 2012

HURFOM: For the past ten years, landowner Daw Tin Tin Mya has permitted 45-year-old Daw Oung Mya Kyi to grow more than 3,000 rubber trees on her property in Khamout Pyin Township, part of Kaw Taung District in southern Burma. Recently though, disputes between the cultivator and local members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) led to the destruction of around 500 young trees. Residents claim that authorities have not taken appropriate action to quell the conflict, and worry that lawlessness continues despite the country’s process of reform. Read more

Kaw Taung District land disputes go unresolved

November 1, 2012

HURFOM:Township authorities continue to evade settlement for cases of land confiscation in Kaw Taung District, part of Tenasserim Region in southern Burma. Both U Nyan Sein, a landowner driven onto two of his original 8.52 acres, and farmer U Hla Tun who lost 15 acres just last year, have submitted letters that continue to be ignored by land officials. Read more

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