Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eight innocence villagers were tortured by the ILB-144’s Captains

On August 12, 2012, eight innocence villagers were forced to carry materials for Chinese business men and tortured by the Captains of ILB-144 named Myo Naing Aung and Win Moe in Sawyam village, Namhkam Township, Northern Shan State, Burma. 

During torturing, even though village’s governors have come to beg for the victims, the captains refused and demanded his soldiers by threating the local administrators with their guns. 
On August 12, 2012, when seventeen villagers arrived at the ILB-144 temporary camp, women were sent back to village and eight men were beaten by the soldier for their cases on August 6.

The accident was started when the majors demanded to Sawyam villagers as a porter to carry materials for Chinese business men instead of the battalion at the 21 miles (boundary pillar) on August 6, 2012. 

“When we arrived at 21 miles (boundary pillar), the soldier ordered us to carry materials for Chinese business men instead for the battalion. We were forced to take our horses to carry the equipment, not only that but also had to bring our own food. As we heard, Chinese men have paid (50,000) Kyats to the majors for transportation per each horse. Because no one was happy for that and some villagers went back to home before finishing carry things as they were very hungry. As a result, the captains demanded villagers to come to the military camp again and beaten them” said by a local resident. 

The captains, Myo Naing Aung and Major Win Moe, even just take responsibility in the temporary camp for two months, not only are they treading very badly to the head of village, but also are they violating to the local people by their military power and guns.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Burmese military troops loot the properties of residents

On July 25, 2012 the Burmese military troops of ILB.501 base in Kyawkmae, loot local people’s ancestral inheritance and stole belongings from local households and shops in Pan Swe village, Manton Township, Northern Shan State, Burma.
The Military troops carried out random searches on U Nay Aung’s house and after they found traditional valuables in the house of gold and silver, they took everything they wanted by threating the house owner with their guns.
According to an eye witness “the reason the soldiers gave for searching the house was that they believed that house owner was connected with ethnic armed groups but there was no evidence linking him with the armed groups. They forced the house owner to open his jewelry box even though he begged them not to take his things as he explained things their traditional and sentimental value to him and his family. The soldiers ignored his pleas and broke the lock and took all of the contents of the box; a gold ring ($400), silver belt ($170) and silver necklaces”.
At the same time, another three families have also been subjected to having their belongings stolen by military troops as they set up camp in the same village. Over 90 soldiers entered local shops wielding their guns and took what they wanted from the shop without permission, pointing their weapons at the shop-owners.
“They separated into three groups to raid the three different shops at the same time. We were treated very badly and they swore and threatened us that if we said anything they would shoot us. The soldier that seemed to hold a high position gave boots that the shop was going to sell to each of his soldiers. Then they took several other things that they wanted such us expensive food, cigarettes, beer and dry rations. When we asked for money the leader took his gun and said “this is why we don’t we have to pay for it” and left from the village” said one of the shop owners.
The shop owner, U Kunahsin, lost over two hundred thousand Kyat ; U Kunpyo lost over three hundred thousand Kyat and U Nyein Chan lost over three hundred thousand Kyat from the goods stolen by the soldiers.
In Manton Township, most of the villagers rely on the local shops for all their needs due to bad transportation. As the result incidences like this happening whenever the military come through th e village, local people are very upset to lose their property again and again; now wen they hear of the soldiers coming to the village they leave their homes and go to the jungle or somewhere else to hide and avoid the soldiers persecution.
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Government not fulfilling their educational responsibilities

Namhlin village, one of the villages under Ta’ang (Palaung) autonomous areas in Northern Shan State, has been facing the problem of the lack of teachers at their nursery school in the 2012-13 academic school year; the school has only been opened for two months.
Even though the school development committee and village administration have submitted a file regarding the situation and have requested a teacher for nursery school to the local minister of education; it has been totally ignored by the authorities.
Local villagers have said that the situation is very disappointing because the children do not learn anything when they attend school. Their parents are unhappy for the situation their children are in even though attempts have been made by the head of the village to remedy the problem when he went to Namhsan town and discussed the issue with the authorities however they have been negligible about the complaint and nothing has changed.
Namhlinn village is a moderate sized village in Namhsan Township; it houses over 300 families. The village established the new nursery school by themselves but now is struggling to find teachers and is getting absolutely no support form the government authorities.
According to the governmental legislation, a village must have both a nursery school and a middle school in order to get government teachers; the residents have built a new nursery school to adhere to this directive. The school also has to run under management of Namhsan town until the village gets the government to build a high school.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Corruption in Namtu Traffic Police

On July 23, 2012, a traffic police and a young Ta’ang boy were involved in a motorcycle crash in front of the Barn offices at 9 pm in Namtu, Northern Shan State, Burma.
The incident occurred when the traffic police’s motorcycle brushed against Mai Aik Ngot’s motorbike as he was on his back from looking a relative at Namtu General Hospital.
Mai Aik Ngot said “I tried to avoid the policeman’s bike but the policeman was really drunk. Therefore, our motorbike collided side-on with each other. Even though he didn’t fall off from his motorbike, he took my key, treated me very rudely and threatened to beat me. Finally as I didn’t want to argue with the policeman due to his intoxicated state, I returned home on foot from the Barn office”.
During the accident, another local biker named Poethayout fell off his motorbike near the incident because he was looking at the accident as he was afraid of the traffic police.
“The traffic police also confiscated Poethayout’s motorbike even though his accident was not concerned with this problem. Poethayout explained to me later on that this particular policeman is always rude and exhibits threaten behavior to others when he has been drinking” said Mai Aik Ngot.
Next morning at 10am, Mai Aik Ngot looked for the police man and admitted that the accident was his fault so he could get his motorcycle back. But the police man refused to give it back and demanded money (50,000 kyats) from him. He tried to explain about his financial problems because of his relative being in hospital for medical care. In the end he had to pay over 40,000 Kyats in a fine to get back his motorcycle. He is very unsatisfied about his treatment throughout this case but didn’t know where to take his complaints.
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Innocent villager seriously hurt in fighting between the TNLA and Burmese Military

The fighting took place in Mansat (Ruja) village, Namhsan Township on the morning of July 17, 2012 while the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) were staying at the village, Burmese Military troops (ILB-112) fired their weapons targeting the village the conflict lasted about two hours.
As the result of the fighting several houses and a village monastery were damaged. Mai Thein Maung (22yrs), son of Thar Aik Sang, was shot in the stomach and seriously injured. He was sent to Namhsan general hospital for emergency medical care.
A local person said, “After the TNLA left the village, Burmese Military troops came to the village and tortured the head of village and the secretary of village until their bodies completely battered and bruised. The reason they were beaten was because they didn’t inform the Burmese military that the TNLA had come to the village.
There were no reports of any fatalities from the TNLA of Burmese Military during the conflict.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Innocent Villagers Arrested and Detained without Word

An incident was took place in Mantong Township on the 4th July 2012, where two Ta’ang youth were arrested by Burmese military troops from Infantry Battalion 507 as they suspected that two villagers had connections with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). 

On the road near Tin Joe Village, Mai Aik Kaung was arrested because he had a receipt that held a KIA letterhead. A second man, Aik San Maw, was arrested as Burmese soldiers carried out random house searches where they found an old walkie-talkie in his home.  

 “These kinds of walkie-talkies are very common in this area as they are useful in communication for logging and some former Palaung State liberation Army members still have them to use where there is no mobile phone coverage. It seems meaningless to arrest someone on suspicion of connection with armed rebel groups solely for possession of this item” said a local resident. 

According to their parents, the military troops took their two sons from Mantong to Mai Wee Village, Namhkam Township. There has been no news of them since their arrest and their families are worried for their safety.
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Fighting continues between the TNLA and Burmese military troops

Fighting took place between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Burmese military troops for approximately one and half hours on 5th July, 2012. According to a local resident; the fighting began at 1:30 pm until 3:00 pm.
 “Since fighting took place we are afraid to stay at the village and some villagers are hiding out in the forest as we don’t want to flee far from the village because we don’t want to lose our property. One reason why we are hiding is that whenever Burmese soldiers arrive at the village they force the villagers to porter or pointer for them” said the villager. 
According to a TNLA source there were about 50 Burmese soldiers from Infantry Battalion-501 based in Kyaukme that started to attack the collaborative armies of the TNLA and KIA which have over 60 soldiers, near Htart Kyaet village, Nar Awn village tract, Mantong.
Sources from the TNLA state that two Burmese soldiers were seriously injured and were sent to Namtu Hospital for emergency medical care, but the alliance rebel groups of TNLA and KIA had no one die or wounded.
On this occasion the rebel armies were made up of only Kachin and TNLA soldiers; SSA troops were not involved in this conflict. 
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Villagers were tortured and disappeared

Two Paung Aww’s villagers have been tortured by Min Thet,the Sergeant of Infantry Battalion324 which is based in Namtu Town, Northern Shan State, Burma. The Burmese soldiers arrested Ma Dee and his friend at the checkpoint on Nampanlay-Maisin road during their way back from village to Namtu at 10 am on June 3, 2012.

"Ma Dee’s mother went to the Burmese army temporary checkpoint for looking her son because her son didn’t arrive back home and she heard that her son was arrested by the soldiers. But she didn’t see her son as the sergeant said that her son has been already released. His mother and relatives are still looking for their son until now and their son is still disappearance" said by the local person.

The reason that they were arrested is because of a viss of dry tea and a small bag of rice, the military regime suspect that the two villagers have connected with ethnic armed groups even without any evidence. Ma Dee, Kachin ethnic nationality, was tied by rope and basted until the bleeding of his head.

According to the local people said the victims were still disappeared even their family were seeking in the battalion where they got information about detention the victims.The Burmese soldiers used to torture and kill the innocence villagers during their troops in the Ta’ang region.
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Fighting of TNLA and Burmese Military

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Burmese military regime was fighting again for 20 minutes long in the morning. It was started from 45 past 8am to 9am on May 29 2012 .It was took place at the area of Pan Swe and Htart Kyart village road Man Tong Township, Northern Shan State.
According to Tar Hol Plang says about the war which are including in this war has three groups.)One side was Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the rest of the side was combined groups the Burmese military regime and Htun Myat Lay who was leading of Namhsan people militia group were fighting backed. 

There are three privates were over throw from the military regime side, and no one hasn’t get the injuries in TNLA side. A person who leads this column is called Loi Sang; he was taking responsibility as a lieutenant colonel in Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Extreme Measures: Torture and Ill Treatment in Burma since the 2010 Elections

This report documents the Government of Burma’s torture and ill treatment against its own people since the 2010 elections. This report demonstrates that the Burmese government continues to commit these abuses despite being bound to international human rights treaties and norms. Furthermore, the lack of domestic legislation prohibiting torture, the absence of an independent judiciary, and an ineffective Human Rights Commission contribute to a climate where torture and ill treatment are perpetrated with impunity.
From January to December 2011 alone, ND-Burma’s member organizations documented 371 cases of human rights violation across the country of which 83 cases, or 22 percent constitute torture and ill treatment. Torture and ill treatment in Burma takes place in two distinct places: (1) in detention centers where political prisoners are interrogated and held, and (2) in ethnic nationality areas where the Burmese military is present.
Torture of political prisoners generally takes place shortly after an individual is arrested during interrogations. It can, along with ill treatment, continue for years – even decades – while political prisoners serve inordinately long sentences
In ethnic nationality areas torture seldom takes place in formal detention centers but is meted out in military bases or remote rural villages. Shan State and Kachin State are particularly hard hit. Evidence gathered by ND-Burma shows that torture and ill-treatment in ethnic areas often takes place within the context of other human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest, forced labor, forced portering, confiscation of property, restriction of movement, and sexual violence.
The report makes a number of recommendations to the Government of Burma and the international community. Chief among these are calls for the adoption of legislation guaranteeing basic rights for the people of Burma, particularly the internationally recognized right to be free from torture and ill-treatment, and laws that ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes face justice. There are also calls for more education, training and public awareness about torture in order to prevent future violations as well as calls to institute safeguards and programs that guarantee that victims have available, credible, accessible remedies to deal with torture should it take place. This report also raises concerns regarding the new National Human Rights Commission, including its lack of full independence, its inability to investigate crimes committed by the military, and its failure to comply fully with best practices for national human rights commissions as described in the Paris Principles.
Torture and ill treatment have a ripple effect, with potentially long lasting negative consequences for individuals, families and society as a whole. This report serves as a reminder to the Government of Burma and the international community that significant hurdles remain for Burma to emerge as a functioning democracy that respects the Rule of Law and the rights of the people of Burma, particularly ethnic nationalit
Full report: download 
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The main road from Lashio to Muse closed

On 27th May, a member of an armed group sent a message to all bus stations and drivers that they will close the main road which connects Lashio to Muse. The reason for the road closure is the ongoing conflict between the KIA and Burmese Military.
According to a villager “Many cars and buses use this road and it is usually extremely busy. However, last night, I didn’t see any buses running. The road was so quiet.”
 “We are worried that fighting will start again, also I saw no one on the road last night. We couldn’t access electricity for the past two nights and the area was too quiet. Villagers had to try to generate their own electricity by using diesel motors but are afraid that by doing this as they will attract the unwanted attention of the Burmese soldiers stationed nearby, it so quiet in Kutkai Township” according to villager said.
Another villager added “I saw a few cars ware traveling on the road this afternoon, I noticed that it was very different from how is normally is. Transportation fees have also increased, in the past they asked that we pay 10,000 Kyat per person but currently the drivers are asked to pay 15,000 Kyat each.”
Many traders are asking the Burmese authorities to address this problem. If the road remains closed the cost of importing goods will increase and at the same time exporting goods will take longer and this could damage export relations and ultimately lose the traders a lot of money, and the price of local goods will also increase.
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Notions of Peace shattered in the Ta’ang (Palaung) self-autonomous areas

On May 26th 2012, ethnic rebel troops blocked the road from Mantong to Namtu, the local authorities failed to keep the situation under control and as a result local Mantong residents are finding it difficult to maintain their livelihoods and have suffered price increases from the road blockage and continuing conflict.
In response to the actions of the rebel group, the Burmese army deployed 200 armed soldiers to block access to the road between Mantong to Namhsan . Due to their actions local peoples’ rights were impinged upon as it restricted their right to travel and to earn their living.
The impact of the blocking every possible access route to the Town affects people from both the urban and rural areas who are worrying for coming challenges with regards to the ongoing civil war. At the same time, they are faced with rising of prices of commodities for their survival.
On May 27th, one of the residents from Manton town spoke about their personal situation “5 local trucks were driving along the Mantong – Namtu road when they encountered the rebel group and they had to pay 50,000 Kyats for each tuck to continue to Lashio”.
Not only did the Burmese army control the road between Mantong to Namhsan but also the road between Mantong to Moe Make were their armed troops were in transit in order to control as much territory around Mantong as possible.
Mantong Town is the former headquarters for the Palaung State Liberation Army (PSLA). It was one of the two provincial towns listed under self autonomous areas since 2010. Infantry Military Battalion No.130 is located in the town and it is a base for the training for the local’ militia.
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KIA blocks the road from Mantong to Namtu

On May 26th 2012, the Kachin Independence Army blocked the way between Mantong to Namtu citing reasons of civil war. They sent a letter to the local bus station to inform them of their actions.
A local resident and bus station manager said "the KIA  released a letter sayingthat due to the civil war they would block access to the road between Mantong and Namtu and that this would have an affect on passengers ability to travel and that it would be advisable for buses and trucks to avoid taking this route.”
Local people feel that the reason for the road block is to prevent Burmese military soldiers reaching Lashio as they have to take this route to get there. It is one of the main cities in northern Shan State and important for trade.
The letter was sent to the bus station so they would inform the local authorities of the road block. The KIA letter advised local traders to avoid travel at this time as they could possibly get caught in the cross fire in fighting between the KIA and the Burmese Military. The KIA strategy is to block the road in order to prevent the advance of Burmese Military troops.
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Mantong Villager Shot

Fighting has been ongoing in the Namhsan area between the Burmese Military and the rebel insurgency groups, KIA and TNLA. Travel for local people has been made difficult as armed forces have blocked access to local roads in order to gain control over the area.
On May 20th the Burmese Military had blocked a local road and set up a security check point. Two local residents who were traveling by motorcycle were asked to stop and ordered by the soldiers to turn off their engine. The two men were terrified about what the soldier would do and so made an attempt to drive off in order to escape the wrath of the soldiers. The soldiers shot at the motorcyclists. The passenger was shot to the head and fell off the bike and the driver escaped unharmed and drove to a nearby house to tell them of the events that just happened. The dead mans family waited three days until the soldiers had moved on to find the body and only then could they perform a traditional funeral. The family was distraught when they saw the extent of the damage the bullet wounds had to the head. The Infantry Battalion responsible for this was Infantry No. 501 which is normally based in Kyaukmae Township.
Local people are outraged at the continual blocking of roads and the interrogation they face when trying to travel from one place to another. Local people say the situation is becoming worse “when they stop to check people their behavior and attitude is often wild and unpredictable. They can be extremely rude and attack people without reason and often demand payment from local people in order to pass. The Burmese soldiers are unhappy about losing fellow soldiers in the conflict and take their vengeance out on innocent people” Most travelers and traders try to avoid these checkpoints but often have no choice if they wish to go about their daily business.
In relation to the above case in May this year it has been reported that two more villagers were murdered by Infantry Battalion No. 130 near Moe Nwe village, Mantong Township. There have been multiple reports of murders perpetrated by Military soldiers that have been covered up by the authorities and many villagers have been threatened by the soldiers not to speak out about these events and are afraid about what will happen if they talk.
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Investments cause renewed war, threatening Ta’ang communities in northern Burma

Foreign investments are causing increasing conflict and abuses in northern Burma despite recent ceasefire agreements and talk of reform in the country, according to a briefing paper released today by an ethnic Ta’ang group.
Catalyst for Conflict by the Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) documents how Burma Army soldiers deployed to secure Chinese mega projects, including oil and gas pipelines and hydropower dams, have been threatening, extorting money from, and killing local villagers since January this year. In March, two villagers coming back from fishing near a Chinese dam site were interrogated and killed by Burmese soldiers patrolling the site.

The briefing also details how Chinese companies are paying 5,000 kyat (US$6) per day to Burma Army soldiers from local battalions for security around pipelines which will carry oil and gas to China.
Control over natural resources and abuses by the Burma Army have been core grievances in both Kachin and Shan states where conflict erupted last year. In July the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) was formed and has since launched several attacks against Burmese troops patrolling in Ta’ang areas.

Since December 2011, over 1,000 men, women and children have become internally displaced, sheltering in Nam Kham and Mantong. Many have also fled to China to escape the war.
“Foreign investors are cold-bloodedly fuelling war in Burma” said Mai Khroue Dang of TSYO. “All mega projects should be suspended until Burmese troops withdraw and political dialogue leads to a meaningful resolution of conflict.”

The Ta’ang, also known as Palaung, are an ethnic group numbering an estimated one million living in the hills of Burma’s Shan State and China’s southern Yunnan province.

Contact: Mai Aung Ko, Lway Phoo Reang, Mai Khoure Dang
Phone: 080118 4479, 0800 580 720, 0845 739 331

Full download for briefing paper: English Version
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Shwe Gas pipeline security soldiers demand money from locals

The Burmese soldiers, who take responsibility for the security of the Shwe Gas Pipeline from Namtu to Maimaw, are demanding money from local people travelling around the Pipeline. On April 28th 2012, three tea traders were threatened by soldiers of Lashio Battalion 68, who demanded money from them, on their way from Namtu to Takhalat village.

“The three of us were carrying tea back to Takhalet village by motorbike. When we arrived at the entrance of the village, the Burmese soldiers, who are responsible for the Gas pipeline security, demanded money from us for Alcohol, they were already drunk. We begged them to leave us be because we didn’t have much money and each of us only had 5oo Kyat but they didn’t accept our pleas. They said that if we couldn’t pay for their alcohol, we would not be allowed to pass. Finally, each of us had to pay our last 500 Kyat to the soldiers” said by the victim.
The soldiers are not only demanding money from the motorcyclists, but also from local people on foot and in cars. In Northern Shan State, local people are often subjected to being threatened and being stopped and checked without any reason and having to pay money under the intimidation of Burmese soldiers who take responsibility for Shwe Gas Pipeline security which pass across from Arakhan State to China.
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