Forced labour in Chin State and Sagaing Region, 2011 – 2012
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Forced labour in Chin State and Sagaing Region, 2011 – 2012
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Burmese soldiers stormed into a Christian conference in southern Chin state and threatened a member of the state’s parliament at gunpoint, reports the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
30 January 2010: More than 40 youths from southern Chin State have escaped to India in recent days to avoid ongoing forcible recruitment drive that targets people between the age of 15 and 45.
60 TIMES A PORTER FOR THE BURMESE ARMY IN 1998
Mangte (name changed),a Chin villager from Saek village, Falam township of Chin State, had served as porter for 60 times in 1998. Other villagers also served as army porter as he did. He said: “Most of the time we had to carry chicken, pork, foods and house-wares that the army had looted from the villagers.” Interview with a Burmese army defector
Major Khin Maung Ye, LIB 266, ordered the three villages: Saikah, Ruakhua and Ruabuk to present one person per family with their own tools and food in reconstructing road between Sopum and Sihhmuh village. The villagers have started reconstructing the road since 23rd September because they did not dare to resist the order. As most the Chin people are farmers they have no time to work in the fields.Escape in fear of arrest: Hre Ling and Sui Ceu had escaped to Bualpi village, Mizoram State of India when a troop led by Major Khin Maung Ye came to arrested them. The army accused them to be supporters of CNF. Later on, friends and relatives send their families to them on September 8. Sui Ceu has 4 children and Hre Ling has 5 children. They said ” It is not easy for us to depend on friends for our living in Bualpi”.
SPDC USED FORCED LABOR TO REPAIR ROAD
1. (Date of receiving report: 30th September 1999)
On 25/9/1999, Burmese army Company 3 Commander of 268 Battalion stationed at Tibual Camp, Falam Township ordered 20 villages along Falam-Rihkhawdar road to repair the road (which extends up to the Indian border). (See attached order)The number of laborers from each village ranges from 15to 30 depending on the size and the population of the village. They had to bring their own tools and ration for three days. They were not paid for their labor. The soldiers warned them that any village that failed to contribute “unpaid laborers” will be considered supporters of CNF, and that severe action will be taken against them. No village dare nor defy the order.
( Order Translation )
Impression of round seal of the 268 Light Infantry Battalion Company 3
Village Peace and Development Council
Hnathial village (Old)
Subject: Invitation for ” voluntary labor”
Regarding the above subject, you are hereby informed that you organize 15 adult men from your village to volunteer for the reconstruction of the motor road between Falam and Rihkhawdar, which was damaged as a result of erosion and heavy landslide during the monsoon. The heavy downpour had also caused flood that damaged bridges. Led by yourself, 15 volunteers from your village have to bring hoes, shovels,saws, harrows and other tools, which will be required for the road construction. You also have to bring rations for three days during your work. You have to reach Hmunthar village to notify yourselves by 28 September 1999. Defaulter village will be considered as active supporters of CNF and severe action will be taken for defiance of order.
A new army camp in Lentlang
The villagers around Lentlang are now facing problems, as they do not have 800 kyats to give Myo Kyaw, the commander of Battalion 268, Company 2,based in Falam, Chin State. He made an order throughout the area that one person from each family must see him or pay the fine in his camp which he ordered the villagers to build on September 1, 1999. Many of the villagers were too busy to see him timely, as it was the crucial period for their farm works.
MEETING FOR VARIOUS KINDS OF WORKS
Captain Min Zaw, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 55 (Ngapali battalion), No.3 company commander, based in Arakan State, took a position as camp commander of Shinletwa, Paletwa Township, Chin State on July 25 1999. On Sunday of 1st August 1999 he summoned a meeting of 9-village tracts in the area. Knowing the fact that Chin people are Christian and observe the Sundays, the army personnel intentionally summoned a meeting and forced the villagers to serve as porters on Sundays. In the meeting, they ordered villagers to build a house for the army at the center of every village around Shinletwa. The 9-village tracts to be completed within one month. In addition, they ordered villagers to deliver(4′ by 2′) mat and 8-pieces (18′ by 6′) of woods to build woodenboxes to the army camp before the end of September without fail. The commander fixed the price of chicken at 300 kyats per viss (about1.5 kg, actual price for one viss of chicken is Kyat 750). They ordered the villagers to deliver only hens since those are tastier than cocks.Capt. Zaw Min also restricted the villagers not to sell rice anywhere except to Sinbowah and Sinletwa villages where there are army camps. Rice is the sole commodity of the farmers for their earnings. He also made a restriction that no household in the village should sell rice more than three times ayear. The soldiers depend freely on the rice of the villages whenever they go for patrolling. Capt. Min Zaw made an order that 18 people, two each from the 9villages, must be reserved to serve the soldiers. Six villages have to serve, in a routine-wise, in the army camp for 7-days a week for emergency needs and to serve as porters. The villagers who serve in the camp have to bring their own food. The commander announced that anyone missing in the camp would cause a fine of 1500 kyats. Since the villagers were busy with their farm work they had to arrange the money by selling rice or cattle and pay the money to the commander. Now it is said that the commander is in full pocket with the money he took from the villagers. The commander also ordered the villagers to reconstruct the roads and clean even dried leaves and branches on the roads between villages. All the VPDC’s Presidents are forced to attend the meeting everymonth. The place of the meetings is 5-day walk (to and fro) from their own villageand all the expenses(including foods) are also incurred by themselves.
Civilians engaged in road construction as forced laborers
Date of interview : 4.7.99
Name : Ngun Hmung (Village tract chairman)
Age : 40
Gender : Male
Occupation : Farmer
Village : Khua Bung (A), Thantlang Township, Chin State
Nationality : Chin
Religion : Christian
Family member : 8 including 6 Children
By using the name of ” Border Trade between India and Burma” the military government of Burma, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), constructed roads merely for better links between army camps in the border areas. The junta forced the people to construct road between Hriphi army camp and newly constructed Vuangtu camp, which is 13 miles in distance. One thousands villagers from the surrounding 30 villages were working for this construction as forced laborers. Moreover, these laborers had to carry their own tools, equipment and ration supplies during the road construction, which lasted from 1st February to the first week of June. The soldiers guarded the laborers and threatened that the entire concerned villages will be punished if anyone from any village ran away from the work site. The laborers were forced to work from dawn to dusk and were allowed to sleep only by their respective work sites where the soldiers assigned them. No medical treatment was given to the sick during the construction. The army allotted the work to each village and the villagers were forced to finish their allotted work before the first week of June that started from March 23. Major Khin Maung Ye, from Company 2 of Hriphi Camp and 2nd Battalion Commander of LIB 268 stationed in Falam, was directed to supervise the construction. Known among his inferiors who helped supervise the construction were Sergeant Nyo Win, Corporal Win Kyiang and Corp. SoeMyint. Firing 5 or 6 shots in the air the Major would often threaten the tired laborers with dire consequences if they did not follow his instruction. Therefore no one dare to complain their tiredness and had to stay calm. Sometimes the laborers were even robbed of their rations such as rice, dried meats that they brought from the village. The soldiers also stole five hoes from the laborers, which were brought from ZaBung village. Moreover, 4 persons from each village along Thantlang and Hriphi were forced to carry an empty diesel tank (50 gallons-capacity) from one village to another – any group that could not carry the tank were punched and beaten. The age of the laborers from each village ranged from 67 years to 15 years, including school children. Among the laborers who worked in the road construction were 3 elderly men, over 65 years, 3 widows and 5 school children from ZaBung village; 4elderly men (around age 50) from Zephai village; 1 elderly man and 4 middle school students from Nga Lang village and people from different age group even children and some Christian religious teachers from Hriphi village. While working on the construction, Ni Awi, a 23-year-old youth, son of Nun Hei from Hriphi village fell off the wall of the road and broke his right arms. Ram Cung, a 17-year-old youth, son of Hei Mang received serious chest and back injuries from the same incident. No medical treatment whatsoever was given to the victims. The newly constructed road had crossed private farms owned by HramThang, Sui Mang, Lian Te and Hre Cem of Hriphi (B) village were destroyed. The farmers received no compensation so far. These farmers are likely to face serious difficulties in the coming year, as their farms were destroyed without compensation. According to a reliable information, despite reportedly sanctioning Kyats 500000 and 140000 worth diesel for bulldozer. However, nothing was spent for the construction, instead forced labor was used. After completing the construction the laborers were forced to work on the army farms.
Force to construct police station and army camp
Name : Zamulaage : 35
Gender : Male
Occupation : Farmer ( presently Chairman of Shiao village tract )
Religion : Christian
Family members : 6-Children
The police station in charge and army/company commander of Shinletwa, Paletwa township, jointly, forced the villagers to construct police station and army camp. The villagers were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to build police station and the other was assigned to construct army camp. Para village, Shewlike village, Yayitaung village, Gonepin village, Pondmao village, Kyupyahtin village, Pyiwa village and Khone village were assigned to build army camp. Under a watchful eyes of the guards the villagers were forced to work from morning 6:00 until 5: pm without taking rest. No medicine was provided for the sick from the authorities. At night the villagers had to sleep at the place where the authority had specified. The villagers were warned that anyone who escape from the work field would be severely punished. The villagers had no time even for bathing. “The two constructions simultaneously started in February of 1999. As our group could not complete the construction in February they told us to come back in March. However, I could not go back to the construction because I was busy with my farm works. So when I went for the meeting in the beginning of May, the commander questioned me why I did not show up in the construction work and I was kept under arrest ( kept in the army camp). I requested the commander to allow me to stay in the village because I was so uncomfortable to stay in the army camp” said Zamula. He also added, “even though the commander allowed me to stay in the village, I had to give my signature twice a day at the camp. Moreover, the authority asked me to pay Kyats 500 for the cost of papers and pens”.
Collecting Cane Sticks From Villagers for Army
Name : Ngo Sa Age : 45 Gender : Male Religion : Christian Occupation : Farmer / vallage in charge of Tlaupi village Family members : 8 members(6 children, husband and wife)
Major Hla Ko Oo from LIB 740 ( Myaut Oo battalion ) of Arakan State was appointed as the company commander of Shinletwa army camp in Paletwa township, Chin State. He called the villages in the area to attend the meeting every month. In Shinletwa area there are 9 village tracts: Para tract, Shewlake, Ponemoo, Gonepyine, Shiao, Patheinplan, Maobin, Sineowa and Shinletwa.
In January of 1999 Major Hla Ko Oo, camp commander, summoned villages’ Chairmen and Secretaries of the 9 village tracts for a meeting. He ordered to bring 1,500 cane sticks from each village tract to the army camp in February. The total number of 13,500 cane sticks had to be sent by the 9 village tracts.
The canes were carried through riverine route to Akyap and sold them at 50 Kyats per cane.They were not paid for their labors at all.They just did it for the army’s profit. The forest where the cane plants are available is very far away from the village, and therefore they were not able to get them. Since the villagers are very poor, they had to sell their domestic animals and even rice which they kept for themselves to pay the army because they were not able to provide the canes which the army demanded. “That’s why I paid Kyats10,000 which I collected from the villagers for 500 cane at the rate of Kyat 20 per cane to company commander on 22 March 1999” said Mr. Ngo Sa, the incharge of Tlaupi village . The consequence of such kind of inhuman treatment by the army, the villagers now have faced shortage of food for the year to come
In the end part of March 1999, Major Hla Ko Oo was transfered and Capt. Than Naing Oo from LIB 233 Bothitaung Battalion replaced him as company commander. Capt. Than Naing Oo followed the footsteps of the previous commander. He summoned for a meeting every month. “He ordered us to give Kyats 4,000 instead of 200 canes. So I went to the army camp and paid it. A total which I paid was Kyats 14,000” said Mr. Ngo Sa.
KYATS 20,000 PER VILLAGE TRACK FOR ARMY HQR SCHOOLS
In June 1998 SPDC issued the order to close down all self supported private schools in Chin State. While ordering to close down self supported private school in Chin State, the SPDC army forced Chin villagers to pay for construction of army Headquarters School. Lt. Col Saw Thun, the commander of LIB 538 ordered 18 villages that under the command of Sinletwa army camp in Paletwa township has to contribute 18-ft. long 400 poles of bambo and 100 cubic feet wood to construct Battalion 538 Headquarters School before November 15 1998. The army warned and threatened the villagers that they had to pay three times if they could not meet the requirement before the dead line. It was harvesting period and the villagers were busy with their farm works. When they pleaded to the army for forgiveness, the battalion commander told them to pay Kyat 20,000/- per each village tract. There are 6-village tracts.
( Excerpt from Interview with College Students, January 1999 Issue )
Question : Did you have to do voluntary labour while you were student?
Ngheta : The Let Pan Chaung villagers are forced to work on road construction every year. The villagers have to repair all the roads linking the various villages in the township. They also have to repair the bridges. This work is usually taking place in the summer. Every villager ends up doing one day of road work per week for 4 or 5 weeks every year. Then, in the rainy season, we have to repair the dam and canals for irrigation. There is little rain in Kaley area, so the villagers have to use an irrigation system to grow their crop. The dam is built with stone and mud, so it often breaks during the monsoon, and we have to go and repair it. I often missed school or arrive late in class, because that dam is quite far from our village. I am the only young man in my family, so I always have to go. The labour is ordered by Village PDC, and everyone failing to go to labour is fined 100 Kyats.
Muana : In Tahan quarter, the largest forced labour projects have now been completed: the Kaley to Gangaw railway and the Ye Chaung hydro dam. Since then, people are ordered to clean the ground in front of their house and to paint the façade, the fences and the trees around it whenever a high-level leader of SPDC is coming to Kaley. This is happening 4 or 5 times a year. We were also forced to build a platform in front of our house because the main road is a little higher. Also every household had to build a drain for sewerage water in front of his house. The Township PDC gave the measurement and ordered it to be built with brick and cement, but they did not provide the material.
Supply Wood Or Pay Fine
Each block of villages in Paletwa area, Southern Chin State, were forced to supply wood of 75 cubic feet per block. The defaulter Hemapi block had to pay the fine of Ks. 60000 to Major Zaw Tun, the battalion commander of Sinletwa. The Battalion, Light Infantry Battalion LIB 538, issued an order that each of the 18 blocks in the surrounding area must saw the wood and send to him. The villagers were cheated that the wood would be used for building boats for the convenience of the public.
In October 2000, the Platoon commander Kyaw Kyaw Oo of LIB 538 ordered the villages of Pathiantlang (Upper and Lower), Sia Oo, Hemate and Hemapi to supply 150 cubic feet each as a punishment for having moved the villages two years ago.Major Zaw Tun sold the wood to traders in ThuraAi for Ks. 1000 per cubic feet, only for his own pocket. It was learnt that he issued the order after the ThuraAi traders gave him the advice to do so, and offered a good deal. In the transaction, the traders were given the right to reject wood with flaws, in which case, the villagers were told to supply “good wood.”
In remote areas like Sinletwa, not every village has people who know how to saw wood. Shortage of tools is another problem. Some villages had to hire wood men for Ks. 500 per person per day. Maung Tin Aye and Kyaw Thein of ThuraAi, Tun Win of Sinletwa, and Aung Tun Hla of Sweletwa were reported to have purchased the wood from Major Zaw Tun.
Soldiers who had a temporary camp in Sweletwa, Sinowa and Puahhmung demanded 2 persons from each block, to serve in the camp. The villagers serve in the camp as slave labours, doing whatever they were told including night sentry.
Villagers of Para, Tlopi, Hemapi, Hemate, Pintia, uppper and lower Pathiantlang, Mau, Salangpi and Arakan villages near Saiha held a meeting on September 17, and decided to report the deeds of the camp commanders to higher authorities. Each household in the whole area contributed Ks. 100 for the expenses of those who would go for the reporting to plain Burma.
FORCED LABOUR IN MATUPI TOWNSHIP
Border Area Development means torture, forced labour, displacement of families and destruction of an ordinary villagers in the border areas “My name is Tuan Hrang (name change for security reason), 48 years old and I am from Capaw village, Matupi township, Chin State. Our village is situated between Sabawngte and Lailenpi village. There is a Burmese army camp under the command of Major Maung Maung stationed in Sabawngte village which is half a days walk from our village (about 12 miles) and there is another Burmese army post in Lailenpi village which is 24 miles away from our village.
Thus, the army always compels us to work for them. The situation became much worse in our area last year when the army started to implement a border area development project. In January 1999 Major Maung Maung and Lt. Myo Swe issued an order to construct a road for cars between Sabawngte village and Lailenpi village under this project. We were forced to work on the road for the whole year with no time to work for ourselves. We were not paid at all for our labours. Also, we had tocarry our own rations, medicines and all the tools necessary for road construction.
The work was very hard and we had to work from dawn to dark. The food was not very good so we became sick. Some people suffered from malaria and some from diarrhea. Some people even died from their illnesses. The sick people were allowed two days rest only when his/her condition was at its very worst. We were not even allowed to go to church for Sunday worship service. The working conditions were terrible. The road we constructed had to be 10 feet wide and, as it is mountainous area, the embankment of the road is about 10 to 20 feet high. The soldiers guarded us when we were working. They forced us to work until 9 or 10 PM, and only after that, allowed us to eat our supper. We become very weak and thin because of excessive work and lack of nutrition. Since the Burmese army battalion stationed itself in our area, forced labour, torture and all kinds of harassment are no longer strange in our daily lives. Our village of 60 households used to be quiet and a nice place to live but now we have only 30 households left. Many families fled to Mizoram State in India and many peoples moved to other villages or towns. Now the population of our village is about 200 and only about 50 of us are able to work. Most of the time we have to spend our labours working for the army and there is no time left to work for ourselves.
As a result, we will surely starve in the coming year. Major Maung Maung and Lieutenant Thin Lin Aung of Sabawngte army camp issued an order on December 9,1999 for the following five villages to reconstruct the road: Capaw, Sabawngte, Sabawngpi, Darling and Hlungmang
1. They demanded 60 workers from Capaw village but only 15 people could show up.
2. They demanded 80 workers from Sabawngte village but only 40people could show up.
3. They demanded 80 workers from Sabawngpi village but only 38 peoplecould show up.
4. They demanded 80 workers from Darling village but only 40 peoplecould show up.
5. They demanded 60 workers from Hlungmang village but only 12 peoplecould show up.
The army demanded 340 people to reconstruct the road from five villages but only more than a hundred people could work. While working, the soldiers punched, kicked and beat us whenever they wanted. We were not even allowed to go to our villages to celebrate Christmas. Being Christians, Christmas celebrations are the most joyful time for us. However, last Christmas, we were working as forced labourers in the jungle. Many forced labourers got sick but they did not receive any medicine or treatment from the army. Thus we have to find medicine by ourselves. The slogan “Border Area Development” sounds great but in reality it means forced labour, torture, displacement of families and destruction of the lives of ordinary villagers in the border areas just like what happened to our village.
A YOUNG BOY DROWNED WHILE RELAYING A LETTER FOR THE ARMY
My name is Pu Vu Leng, 40 years old Chin Christian. I am a farmer from Sabawngte Village, Matupi township, Chin State. Rizua village is two days walk from our village, Sabawngte. The military ordered me to relay a letter to Rizua village. The letter was from 2ndLt. Thin Lin Aung of Aimed forces No.3107/Khalahyah 273 Battalion to Major Maung Maung. On December 27,99, I walked to Darling village. The following day, I and a boy named Khai Tlua started to walk to another village, Capaw. When we were crossing Bawinu River, the boy was drowned. This boy is the youngest of 8 children in the family. Since the family is too poor to support him to go to school, the boy helps his parents on farming.
His body was found on the evening of the same day and was carried to Sabawngte village and the people in the village buried him. Even though he died on journey ordered by the military, the family was not given any helps by the military. In view of the New Year 2000, people wanted to celebrate continuously Christmas throughout New Year. Unfortunately, the celebration was interrupted by the death of this boy. No one dared to make any complaint to the military. The military used the people as they like. But they ignored what people suffered and even death. People in Sabawngte village suffered most because there is a military camp.
SPDC uses Forced Labor in Army Owned Farm
The Burmese army has been forcing the civilian to work in the army-owned farms in Kankaw township of Western Burma, according to the testimony of U Kyaw Win (Name changed for security reason). A 48 year-old village headman from XXX village, U Kyaw Win testified to the CHRO field reporter that amidst claims by Burmese junta of having eradicated forced labor in Burma, the practice continues.
According to him, the Burmese army has a large plot of farm in the vicinity of Taung-khin-yin Village of Kankaw Township, Magwe division, Western Burma. The farm is operated under the supervision of army North Western Command since 1996.
From the beginning, villagers were forced to clear 15,000 acres of virgin land. Since then, forced labor never ceases in our area. From 1997 to 2001 the farm was operated under the command of Major Kyaw Soe of Light Infantry Battallion LIB 269 based in Tidim.
From March 2001, Major Kyaw Soe was replaced by Major Zaw Oo from Light Infantry Battalion LIB 226, based in Haka. Civilians from around the area have to work at the army farm from the time of sowing to harvesting time. Sometimes the soldiers are unsatisfied with the human labor, and forced laborers are made to bring along their bulls and buffaloes to work at the farm
This harvesting season (2001), civilians from Taung-khin-yin village, Tha-lin village, Shwebo village, Thin-taw village, Hnan-kha village, Min-tha village, Kung-ywa village, A-lay village and Ywa-ma villagers are among those forced to work at the army farm from June to Septermber
U Kyaw Win added that; besides the farm works, villagers have to do manual works for the army such as building the army barracks, cutting woods for the army, carrying waters and making furniture for the army officers.
( CHRO: interview U Kyaw Win on October 1, 2001 )
SPDC Troops Forced Chin Villagers To Serve as Porters
The Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 268 from Lentlang army camp, Tidim township of Chin state, forced 15 civilians from Lentlang village to serve as porter on September 8, 2001.
The porters were herded by Sergeant Tin Myint of LIB 268, and his troops from Lentlang village to Tio village of Falam township, Chin State. When they arrived to Tio village, the porters were forced to carry ration for the army. Overburdened, the porters could not carry the loads.
Thus, Sergeant Tin Myint demanded two more porters from Tio village. While the porters were packing the load, one soldier took a stick and started to beat the porters saying that they are too slow in packing the load. He stopped beating them only after an elder from Tio village begged the soldier to stop.
The next day, on September 9, 2001, Sergeant Tin Myint and his troops took another 15 porters from Tio village and forced them to carry army ammunition from Tio village to Lentlang army camp.
Ms. Nini (an eye witness of the incident), 29 years old villager from Tio village reported the incident to CHRO field worker on September 15 2001.
(CHRO note: the name Nini is not her real name. We changed the name to protect her identity for security reasons)
Forced Portering In Thantlang Twongship
Burmese Army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 274 and LIB 268 conducted a joint military operation in Thantlang township, Chin State in the month of August 2001. Commanding in charge of military intelligence unit in Chin State, Hla Myint Htun led the operation.
To aid in the supply needs during the operation, Hla Myint Htun and his troops arrested many civilians to serve as porters. The huge loads of army supplies, however, exceeded the availability of civilian porters. Thus, the troops demanded horses from the civilians to carry the loads.
The operation lasted for three weeks, and villagers from Thantlang township had to endure grueling conditions during the whole operations.
FORCED LABOR IN MAGWE DIVISION
Farmers from Kangaw township, Magwe division of Western Burma have been forced to work on the farm owned by the Burmese military North Western command, despite claims to the ILO that the practice has been eradicated in Burma.
According to U Ba Thein (name changed), 50 years old Burmese farmer from Hantha-wadi village of Kangaw township, it’s been 3 months that all the villagers from Kangaw township are forced to work on the North Western command military-owned farm. The forced labour started in June and is still going on at the time CHRO interviewed U Ba Thein on August 18, 2001.
U Ba Thein was forced to work at one of the forced labour camps called ” Kyu-kya ” under the command of Major Thein Aung of Light Infantry Battalion LIB 309 Katha battalion. There are several forced labour camps in Kangaw township and Colonel Hla Ngwe, tactical commander of North Western Command is the supervisor of all the labour camps in Magwe division.
Despite their engagement with forced labour most of the time, villages’ headmen are ordered to submit monthly report to the township Peace and Development office saying that there is no forced labour and forced porter in their village.
Racially selective settlement and relocation being implemented in Kalay-Tamu Area
The State peace and Development Council in Sagaing Division has established three new villages between Kalay and Tamu town since March 2001. In the new three villages, only Burmese Buddhists are allowed to settle, although the surrounding areas have been co-inhabited by ethnic Chin and Shan-Bama decent.
The names of the three villages are Yanmyo-Aung, Yantaing-Aung, and Yanngein-Aung. The meaning of the villages name literally translates “conquest of the enemy”. These names are reported to have been dubbed based on superstitious astronomical readings consulted by SPDC.
The area is mostly inhabited by Chin and Shan-bamas and there are many virgin lands and forest in the surrounding areas. The inhabitants in the area are prohibited to extend their farm or plough the virgin land. Only the Burmese Buddhists are allowed to settle in the new villages.
The SPDC persuades (Burman) people from Minkin township of Magwe division to settle in the new villages promising them that they would be sufficiently provided with whatever they need.
Since January 2001, the SPDC authority strictly collects or seizes goods and commodities, such as rice, cooking oil, bicycles, medicines and farm animals from traders and villagers. The goods they seized were provided to the new settlers from the three villages.
According to U Than Aung (name changed), 60 years old Burmese farmer from Tamu township, all the nearby villages have been working in the new three villages since March 2001 till today. The villagers have to build school, houses, digging the well, cutting wood and ploughing in the farm for the new settlers. (Date of interview with U Than Aung, 11 August 2001).
SPDC monopolizes farming management
The State Peace and Development Council in Kangaw township have forced farmers to buy paddy seeds, corn seeds and bio-fertilizer with high price saying that the paddy seeds which they sell can produce 300 tins of rice in one acre area of land and that all the farmers should buy and sow them in their farm.
Thus, all the farmers bought the paddy seeds from the authority with a high price, 1,800 Kyats per tin and corn seeds with 80 Kyats per one pyi (one pyi is about 4 kgs ) and a bottle of bio-fertilizer for 800 Kyats.
But when they actually grow the paddy seeds they bought from the SPDC authority, it produced only 60 tins per acre according to U Tha Lu, 50 years old Burmese farmer from Hanthawadi village of Magwe division. The authorities buy back the rice from farmers with the rate of 350 Kyats per tin.
“It is totally unjust. When they sold them to us, we paid 1,800 Kyats per tin and they want to buy back from us with the price of 350 Kyats per tin” said U Tha Lu.
The SPDC authority started this method in the year 2000 and they knew that it is damaging the farmers. But when the monsoon, farming season in Burma, come in June authority repeated what they did to the farmer last year.(CHRO interviewed U Tha Lu on 9 August 2001)
Villages Headmen Must Sign: “There Is No Porter or Forced Labour”
CHRO received a report from reliable source that the SPDC in Kalay Township, Sagaing Division have ordered all the villages headmen to report that there is no porter and forced labour in their respective areas.
According to U Phu Kya (Name changed for security reason), 45 years old Burmese village council member from Ywasi-Ywatha village tract of Sagaing Division, starting from June 2001 the township Peace and Development Council ordered all the village headmen to write monthly report that there is no porter or forced labour in their village, despite the existence of the practice of forced labor on a large scale throughout the region.
Again on August 8, 2001, all the village council members in Kalay Township were summoned to the township Peace and Development Council office and forced to sign that there is no porter or forced labour in their village.(Date of interview with U Phu Kya: 11 August 2001)
October 4, 2001: Junta disbands Christian infrastructure, restricts access to theological studies abroad
According CHRO source, Chin Christian ministers face a limited access for their further studies in foreign countries especially in the United States. Even though the ruling military junta in Burma does not explicitly impose law on restriction on Christian ministers for their further studies, many Chin Christian ministers have had their application for passport rejected for unknown reasons.
The majority of Christian pastors who come for further studies in the United States from Burma are Chins. According to sources, Chin Christian ministers make about two third of the population among those who come to the States for further Studies in the field of theology.
The American Baptist Missionary came to Chinland in late 19th Century and majority of Chins converted to Christianity by the end of 20th century. The United States is the most favoured place for Christian ministers for further studies.
Since 1995, Christian institutions in Burma cannot get permission from the authority to build Christian infrastructure such as Church, seminary and Christian school. According to the rule and regulations imposed by the ruling military junta, any religion in the country can apply permission at the ministry of Home and Religions Affairs to build the institution’s infrastructure. However, the ministry always rejects their applications.
After bribing a good deal of money to the lower level, township or district authorities, Christians institutions are allowed to repair, extend or build their infrastructure.
Furthermore, Christians are prohibited to hold worship service in their home. According to the order no. 100 ( HTWE ) 10/TTP-345/ KL-2000 dated 26 May 2000 released from the office of township directorate office of religious affairs in Kalay Myo, Sagaing division, there will be no more home worship service, religious meeting and training outside of the church. The order warned that anyone who does not abide by the order would be put on trial.
SPDC troops abduct civilian vehicles at whims
According to Khuma, one of the drivers from the “Zalat Phyu” truck association in Tahan, Sagaing Division, the Burmese troops constantly abduct their vehicles whenever they want.
” Zalat Phyu” truck association was formed with truck owners, mostly Chins from Falam and Tedim of Chin state and Tahan of Sagaing division. There are about 30 truck running every day. Since the beginning of their functioning, the Burmese military have been using ” Zalat Hhyu” trucks without pay for whenever they want.
Most of the time, the truck association has to serve as porter for the Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 266 based in Haka, LIB 268 in Falam and LIB 269 in Tedim, in Chin State. The Association has to transport army rations, arms and ammunitions and the Burmese soldiers whenever they travel.
They also have to carry their own food and the Burmese army does not provide anything to the driver or the truck association.
According to Khuma, he transported LIB 266 troops from Tio river, Indo-Burma border to Haka, the capital of Chin state. The military paid nothing for his service.
Khuma said that sometimes the Burmese troops abduct the truck to squeeze money from the association. In that case, the truck is usually released after letting the driver pay between 10,000 to 30,000 Kyats to the army.
Every vehicle coming from Kalay myo has to transport one quintal of sand without fail for the Buddhist pagoda being built at Lentlang, Falam township of Chin State. It is compulsory for every car. Besides, any vehicle passing through Manipur River has to donate 500 Kyats at the immigration gate.
Civilian in Southern Chinland forced to work at the Army Camp
CHRO received and confirmed the following information from Mr. Thang Cin, 55 year old farmer from Lungcawipi village, Matupi towship of Chin state. In the first week of June 2001 Lieutenant Kyaw Kyaw Naing of Light Infantry Battalion LIB 274 from Sabawngte army camp asked village headmen from Lungcawipi, Hlungmang, and Darling to attend a meeting on June 9 at Sabawngte army camp. He warned the villages headmen that any one who fail to attend the meeting will face revere punishment.
In the meeting, Lt. Kyaw Kyaw Naing issued an order for the villagers. The order includes 5 points that the villagers must obey without fail. To rebuild the fence of Sabawngte army camp. Villagers are not allowed to carry their gun outside of the village. Those who carry their gun outside of the village will be shot. To keep the record of visitors or guest from other villages. Villagers must obtain permission from the headman when they want to travel. Any guest who does not have permit from the headman shall report to the army camp.
Lt. Kyaw Kyaw Naing warned the villagers that if any villagers fail to comply the above order, the village must be burnt by the army. According to order number one, the villagers from Lungcawipi, Hlungmang, and Darling were forced to work from June 11, 2001. Villagers were forced to work from dawn to dark. Even though, the beginning of monsoon-the month of June- is the busiest time for villagers to work in their farm, they have to abandon their farm work and repair the fence of the army camp. The villagers have to bring their own food and tools to work at the army camp.
Interview with an escaped prisoner from Saya San Hard Labor Camp
(Rhododendron Note: Saya San Force Labour Camp is located in Kabaw valley of Sagaing Division, Western Burma )
Name : Thang Hnin (name changed)
Town/Village : Haka
Age : 41
Marital Status : Married with three children
Nationality : Chin
Religion : Christian
Interview date : 28/3/2001 at Aizawl.
CHRO: Why were you arrested?
Thang Hnin : I was arrested by the Military Intelligence for carrying teak lumber without permission. I used to obtain a permission for doing this business on previous occasions but unfortunately I did not have one with me when I was arrested.
CHRO: Where were you kept after your arrest?
Thang Hnin: After being arrested, the MI had the Forestry Department lay charges against me and the court sentenced me to two and a half years in prison. After being convicted, I was sent to Kaley prison for three months after which I was again sent to Saya San Hard Labor Camp.
CHRO: Can you tell us about the names of officials in charge of the camps and how they behaved in terms of treating the prisoners?
Than Hnin: Captain Soe Win was in charge of the Camp. Just below him were one lieutenant and a 2nd lieutenant. I can’t remember the names of the rest officials. They all are from the Jail Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs. All of them are heavy drinkers. The worst thing is that we got beaten up whenever they were intoxicated. Capatian Soe Win was a very violent and brutal person and so were the rest officials.
CHRO: Can you give us a sense of how you keep up with in the prison?
Thang Hnin: We didn’t have to work in both Haka and Kaley Prisons. However, once we landed in the Saya San Hard Labor Camp, we realize that there was hardly any chance a person would survive.
CHRO: Can you tell us a little bit about your experience and how difficult was the work there in the Camp.
Thang Hnin: There are many things to say about. I don’t know how to even describe. But to describe it in brief, there were over 450 prisoners in the Saya San Hard Labor Camp, most of whom were Burmese Amy deserters. Inmates from Monywa and Kaley prisons were usually sent to this camp to serve hard labor sentence.
CHRO: What sort of work did you do?
Thang Hnin: The most common work was digging drains for irrigations, digging soils, ploughing & tilling rice fields, cutting firewood and preparing char coals. The paddy fields we ploughed were primarily for their own use and the jail officials often sold the rice for their personal ends. Charcoals that we made were also for the personal use of the jail officials. Since there were no oxen or buffalos available for the tilling, three people have to pull the yoke like animals.
CHRO: What is the time of your work hours and how do you keep up with that?
Thang Hnin: We never had a rest time. Between 4-5 a.m. in the morning, they conducted regular checks to make sure everyone is present. Beginning from 5 a.m. we work until 12 noon. We are given a breakfast break at 12 noon and the work resumed at 1 p.m and lasted until 5 in the evening. The work proceeds even on Sunday. Even sick people are not allowed to take a rest. We are whipped if we take even a short break during the work. We had to rush to work if called even when we are having meals. We can’t rest no matter how hot the sun is or no matter how hard it rains. It makes things even more difficult as our feet are chained with a two-Kilo-weigh manacle. The shackles remained fastened on our feet from the day we landed in the camp until we got out. It remained attached to our feet wherever we are – during work or at bedtime. We had to work even at night in preparation for the arrival of high officials from Rangoon. I remember the Home Minister and Deputy Home Minister visiting our camp on separate occasions. There were other high officials visiting the camp but I can’t remember their names.
CHRO: What type of food were you fed in the Camp?
Thang Hnin: The foods we received were nothing better than those we usually feed pigs with. The rice was half un-husked and husked grain mingled together. Everyone received only a handful each. We have no more to eat than just a handful of those. We never had curry or soup to go with the food. There is nothing else to express than it was very very bad.
CHRO: Do you receive any medical treatment when you are sick?
Thang Hnin: No, not at all. We have to work even when we are sick not to mention the medical treatment. They wouldn’t let us rest just because we are sick. Sometimes people took a rest out of exhaustion from sickness. But as soon as the guard discovered them they whipped them and beat them up. Many prisoners died from this. There was absolutely no medicine to be seen in the camp.
CHRO: How many prisoners do you think died while you were in the camp
Thang Hnin: About 70 of them died in only the three-month period that I was there. It was almost an average of one person per day that died in three months. There might even have been more deaths that I didn’t know of.
CHRO: What was the most common cause of death?
Thang Hnin: How on earth could a human being endure those kinds of conditions? The work was extremely hard and the food was extremely bad, and in addition we couldn’t rest during sickness and there were no medical treatment. Everyone was just waiting to die.
CHRO: How were they buried after they died?
Thang Hnin: They were buried in a grave of about one foot deep. After about one week, the smells of the corpses attracted strayed dogs and pigs and the bodies are mutilated and eaten up by these animals. It was extremely sad to see this situation. The relatives were usually informed of the death but with a different story. They said that the prisoners died of sickness after being carefully treated in hospital. It was just a bunch of lies that the relatives were informed of. I wonder how could they lie with such things while we never even saw medicines. (Note: While talking about this he becomes too emotional).
CHRO: Was there any discrimination in the camp on ground of religion?
Thang Hnin: Absolutely! There was no room for people like me who are Christians. We were told that once we were in the prison we ought to follow the Burman religion, Buddhism.
CHRO: Wasn’t there any way in which you could be eased from doing hard works?
Thang Hnin: It was only the question of whether we have money or not. Money can do anything. If someone had more than 50,00 Kyats to give to the authorities, then he is made a Section Commander, which means that he no longer had to work. If someone from among the prisoners wanted to be an Office Staff, he had to pay 500,00 Kyats to the authorities. Anyone being able to pay that amount is automatically made the Office Staff. (Note: There are 10 Office Staffs in the Camps with half the number being from the Jail Department and another half from among the prisoners).
CHRO: How did you escape?
Thang Hnin: I simply could no longer bear the conditions that I took the risk to escape. It was on the night of 29th January 2000 after everyone was asleep when I made the escape. I was among those lucky enough to be an Office Staff; I fled while there was nobody in the Office.
CHRO: Where did you flee?
Thang Hnin: I fled to the Indian side. Our camp was located just one mile away from the Indian border and I just ran desperately towards the border until I reached Manipur State. I stayed in Manipur with one of the local families for eight months. I did not even speak the local language so I had to use body language and gesticulations to communicate with them. After eight months I came here to Aizawl of Mizoram State.
CHRO: Had there been any other prisoners who escaped like you did?
Thang Hnin: There had been many incidents in the past where prisoners tried to escape because they could no longer bear the conditions. But there were many people who are not lucky enough and were recaptured. Only a few of them had been lucky enough to survive from the beatings and torture after being recaptured. Most of them died from the torture. Those who survived these tortures were usually given additional one year prison term.
CHRO: Can you give us a picture of how you lived in the camp?
Thang Hnin: There are three prison hostels. When we sleep, there was no space left so as to be able to stretch our legs. But when we tried to bend our legs, again the space become too tight for us. There were two minor prisoners who are under 18. Most of us were between the ages of 20 to 40. If we want to shit, we have to do it in an open atmosphere where every sees us.
CHRO: How do you plan to move on?
Thang Hnin: The future is too grim. Everything is like closed for me. I don’t know how I am going to look after my wife and my children.
Night Watch Duty By Civilian Persists In Town In Chin State
Since mid 1997, civilians in northern Chin State’s Thantlang town have been regularly forced by the Burmese Army to do night watch duty. The duty does not spare even lone widows, according to information received from Thantlang.
The civilian sentry duty was enforced in 1997 by the Army in the wake of the National Student Sport Festival in Hakha to ensure security in the urban areas. Thantlang town is divided into seven blocks in which one sentry post is built in each block where four civilians from each block have to do the sentry duty every night. This duty goes on a rotating basis and lone widows who can not perform the duty by themselves have to hire one able person for Kyats 80 per night. A mandatory fine of money is imposed on those who fail to do the duty, said ( name omitted for security reason ) who is a student in Thantlang. The duty starts as soon as it is dark and lasts until dawn. The soldiers are conducting a regular and surprise check during the night to ensure people are doing their duty carefully. If they found out that someone is dozing off while on duty, the soldiers severely beat and punish that person.
Households who can afford to pay Kyats 10,000 to the Block Peace and Development Council are exempted from the duty for one year. Block PDC members themselves are required to do separate duty every night at each Block PDC Office. Though the citizens of Thantlang are greatly disappointed over the forcible duty imposed on them, they are left with no choice but to continue to perform the duty as they are afraid of the army authorities.
Army Authorities In Chin State Imposed Levy On Farmers
Name Laipa ( Name change )
Occupation: LPDC chairman and farmer
Marital Status: Married with 4 children
Address: ++++village, Falam Township, Chin State
Date of Interview: 14/01/2001
Some months ago, Township Peace and Development Council chairman in Falam summoned a meeting where he invited all Village PDC chairmen in the township and informed us that the government would no longer allow shifting cultivation in the area with immediate effect. He told us that anyone continuing the shifting cultivation would be arrested and imprisoned and that the shifting cultivation would be replaced by wet cultivation. We all pleaded to him that since most people do not have fields to do the wet cultivation without the current shifting form of cultivation, we would have nothing to eat and would all die. He said that he would allow us to continue the shifting cultivation under one condition-that everyone doing it would pay Kyats 60 to the authorities.
Therefore, for the year 1999-2000 every household pays kyat 60 each to the authorities in return for their permission. There are 10 villages in the Zahau village tract all of which have to pay the same amount to the authorities. They are Haimual, Thipcang, Hnathial (a), Hnathial (b), Zawngte, Ngailan, Seilawn, Sih Ngai, Tlang Kawi, Leilet village.
There are 40 households in our village and we paid Kayts 2,400 altogether regardless of the household is a widow. For the year 2000-2001, we were told that we have to pay another Kyats 60 per household. We have already cleared the site for cultivation, but if we do not pay the money then we would not be allowed to proceed. We are also fearful of arrest and imprisonment.
Forced Labor Continues In Remote Areas of Chin State
Beginning January 5, 2000, ten villages in remote areas of Chin State were forced to construct a 20-mile motor road lingking Vuangtu and Ngaphaipi villages, an eye witness told Chin Human Rights Organization.
Section 2 Commander of Burmese Army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 269 stationed at Vuangtu village issued an order requiring 10 villages located in the surrounding areas of Vuangtu to contribute unpaid labor for the road construction. Headmen of the ten villages were summoned to Vuangtu army base where they were told to carry out the order.
The villages include:
1. Lelai (Lailen)
2. La-ao (La-u)
3. Khipilu (Khuapi lu)
4. Mifawko tla (Farkungtlang)
5. Locitae (Lungcuaite)
6. Ngephetae (Ngaphaite)
10. Ngephepi (Ngaphaipi)
In addition, 235 people from Khuabung village were ordered to particpate in the forced labor. Not only were the villagers ordered to bring with them their own tools and ration during their work period but also were ordered to birng an additional one tin (About 8 Kgs) of rice and other needs for the army guards who supervised the forced labor.
The road construction is part of the Border Area Development Project and extensive forced labor have been used in the process. Although the army claimed that the project is for the development of the area, the roads have been used only to ease movements and communication of the Burmese troops around the area.
Force Labor Used to Repair Army Camp
According to a reliable source, the Burmese army forcibly took 35 persons from Tawngla Lung Cawi village, Thangtlang township to repair the army camp at Sabawngte village from January 3, 2002 to January 16, 2002.
2nd Lt. Mya Myit Soe ordered the forced labor recruits to bring their own ration and equipments for during their two-week stay in the camp. They were aslo ordered to bring one chicken for the army. Dried fish, meat, salt and other spices that the villagers brought with them were confiscated by the Lieutenant.
The laborers who became sick as a result of two weeks of hard work had to travel a 20-mile journey to Mizoram State of India to get medical treatment as the army did not provide them any medicines.
Tawngla Lungcawi is a small village of 40 households. Out of these, two persons in every household were forced to participate in the forced labor.
The Sabawngte army camp is repaired three times a year and all villages in the surrounding areas are forced to participate in repairing the camp on a rotating basis.
To : Janek Kuczkiewicz
Department of Trade Union Rights
International Confederation of
Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
5, Bld. du Roi Albert II
B 1210 Brussels, Belgium
Date: 31 August 2005
Re: Chin Human Rights Organization’s submission to the ICFTU and ILO Expert Team on forced labor in Burma/Myanmanr
Chin Human Rights Organization is an independent non-government organization which has been documenting human rights situations along Burma’s western regions of Chin State and adjacent areas inhibited by Chin indigenous people for over the past 10 years. CHRO is registered as a not for profit organization in Canada and maintains information collection centers in Mizoram and New Delhi of India and Bandarban of Bangladesh. CHRO publishes a bi-monthly human rights news letter Rhododendron News and maintains a website at www.chro.org. For the past several years, CHRO’s works have been widely covered in a number of human rights reports on Burma, including the ILO reports, the United States State Department country reports, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Special Rapportuer’s human rights reports on Burma/Myanmar.
We are pleased to submit the attached information on forced labor in Burma. Reports contained in this submission cover forced labor incidents in Chin State from the beginning of the year until July of 2005. Despite Burma’s State Peace and Development Council’s insistence that forced labor no longer exists, it is still a common practice in many parts of Burma, especially in more isolated areas. It is our hope that this submission will help provide the Committee of Experts valuable insights into the prevalent nature of forced labor practices in Burma’s western regions, especially in Chin State.
Orders for compulsory labor are not issued only by local army unit commanders. Many incidents of forced labor are a result of direct orders from Tactical Commands I and II, the highest authorities in Chin State, a clear indication that forced labor incidents occurring in Chin State are not isolated ones, but rather a systematic and widespread practice. This will counter persistent claims by Burma’s ruling military regime that the practice of forced labor has been outlawed in Burma and that those responsible for breaching the prohibition of the use of forced labor has been properly penalized in compliance with its obligations under International Labor Organization Convention 29.
Reported incidents of forced labor in Chin State have gone up in the past year and increased militarization is one key factor. The expansion of army presence in southern Chin State with the establishment of Tactical Command II is largely responsible for increased use of forced labor by the army. The ongoing construction of trans-national highway between India and Burma is also responsible for significant portion of forced labor incident. Many incidents of forced labor can be attributed to infrastructural development projects associated with the naming of two new Townships in Chin State, Rih Township and Ruazua Township. Forced labor is often intimately associated with extortion. While military authorities’ common practice is to directly order civilians to participate in designated work, in many instance, people indirectly engaged in forced labor to escape or avoid extortion by the army.
The forced labor reports compiled in this submission are documented by Chin Human Rights Organization since the beginning of this year. Reports otherwise credited come from Khonumthung News, an independent news organization operating out of India-Burma border, which has made valuable contributions to documenting human rights situations in Chin State. Also, it is to acknowledge that reports documented by CHRO is limited and that the actual incidents of force labor in Chin State are very likely to be higher than information we can collect.
Lastly, Chin Human Rights Organization is encouraged by the continued concerns expressed by the International Labor Organization in the matter of forced labor in Burma/Myanmar. In submitting this communication, we hope that the Committee of Experts would seriously look into the continuing concerns of widespread use of forced labor in Burma. Additionally, CHRO will be happy to respond to any queries the Committee of Experts may have regarding this submission.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang
Chin Human Rights Organization
Forced Labor Reports By Chin Human Rights Organization
Submitted to The International Labor Organization
• Mass Forced Labor Exacted to Construct New Military Camp
• Villagers Forced to Renovate Army Camp
• Military Authorities Compel Civilians to Supply Wood Planks for Construction of Hospital
• SPDC Forced Primary School Children to Porter
• Army Officer Sells off 1000 Round Bamboos Forcibly Collected from Civilians for Personal Profit
• 30 Villages Forced to Contribute Sand to Renovate Army Camp
• SPDC Forced School Children and Civilians to Labor at Government’s Tea Plantation
• New High School Being Constructed with Forced Labor
• New Military Camps: Anguish For The People
• SPDC Use Prisoners for Construction of Hospital
• SPDC Forced 600 Villagers to Engage in Road Construction
• Chin Christians Forced to Supply Construction Materials for New Buddhist Monastery
• Forced Labor Increases Hardship for Impoverished Villagers
• Local Army Chief Orders Forced Labor and Illegal Tax from Civilians
• Hundreds of Civilians Provided “Voluntary Labor” to Construct Road
• Extortion Intensified at India-Burma Border Trade Route
• SPDC Unlawfully Destroyed House of Local Leader of National League for Democracy Party
• Chin Christians Forced to Contribute Money and Labor for Construction of Buddhist Monastery
• Civilians Compelled to Take Militia Training, Conscription Order Issued
• Unjust Order Against Chin Farmers
• SPDC Continues to Practice Forced Labor in Chin State
• Forced Labor: Construction of Rih Hospital Quarter
• Forced Labor at Tea Plantation Farm
• Bullet Speaks Lauder than Words
• Civilian Compelled to Repair Army Camp
• High School Students Forced as Porter
• Supply Wood or Face Severe Punishment
• Forced Labor at Indo-Burma Border Trade Route
• SPDC Practice Widespread Forced Labor In Border Towns
• Villagers Forced As Porter
• Christian Pastors Forced to Take part at Buddhist Water Festival
• Obey the Order or Go to Jail
• Three Chin Christian Pastors Detained One Night for Defying SPDC Order
• SPDC Open 2 New Concentration Camps in Chin State
• Village Headman and It’s Council Member Arrested for Failing to Repair Border Trade Road
• 45 Villagers from Rezua Township Engage in Forced Labor Construction of Kangaw-Matupi Road
• Villagers Forced to Work at Army Camp
• Forced Labor in Thantlang Town
• Forced Labor In Matupi Township
• 11 Villages Forced to Work at the Army Tea-Plantation Farm
• The SPDC soldiers Collect Illegal Tax from Chin Villagers
• Burmese Soldiers on Extortion Rampage
• Over 200 Household Forced to Work in Road Construction
• Villagers Forced to Work In Rih Area
• Villagers Forced as Porter
• Human Rights Violations in Lailenpi Area as reported by Mara People Party
• Prisoners Were Engaged In A Hard labor in Indo-Burma Border Road Construction (Khonumthung News)
• Two Civilians on Full time duty for the Beck and Call of The SPDC (Khonumthung Nes)
Mass Forced Labor Exacted to Construct New Military Camp
August 2, 2005, Aizawl:
(Note: Victims and Informant names in this report are to be kept confidential for security reasons)
Major Tin Moe, patrol column commander from Burma Army Infantry Battalion 304 (under Chin State’s Tactical Command No. 2 based in Matupi) temporarily stationed at Dar Ling village of southern Chin State’s Matupi Township requisitioned compulsory labor to build a new military post at Dar Ling village. More than one thousands civilians from 20 villages in the area have been working at the site since the first week of July, 2005.
The forced labor incident was reported to Chin Human Rights Organization by U Tin Maung, Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council, Ngaiphaipi village of Thantlang Township.
Starting form 11 to16 July 2005, U Tin Maung and 50 of his villagers were forced to dig a 150-feet long drainage measuring 3 feet in width and 4 feet in depth.
Another 50 civilians and members of the Village PDC from Khuapi village were forced to supply 4,000 round bamboos. Each stick of the 4000 bamboos has to be 10 feet in length. The work to collect the bamboos lasted from 9 to 16 July, 2005.
From 16 to 21 July 2005, for a total of 5 days, 50 civilians and members of the Village PDC from Hlung Mang village (Matupi Township) were forced to dig trenches and bunkers for the army camp.
Civilians from Fartlang village (Thantlang Township) were compelled to supply 50 sticks of wood measuring 10 feet in length. Civilians from other villages engaged in other works such as fencing and building barracks, digging trenches and bunkers, and collecting woods and bamboos.
The work occurs on a daily basis and all workers are required to supply themselves with food and tools for the job. The work starts at 5:00 am in the morning and lasts until 6:30 in the evening. Workers are given breakfast break at 11:00 am and dinner at 7:00 p.m. The work was projected for completion in the month of July and workers are not exempt from working on Sundays, said U Ni Hmung, Chairman of the Village PDC from Khuapi village, Thantlang Township.
“The expansion of military establishment in our areas only brought hardship to the local people who rely on farming for our survival. Now that the new army camp is only 5 miles away from our village, it is predictable the kinds of hardship we will have to keep up with,” complained the Chairman of PDC from Hlung Mang village.
“The patrol column commander has already ordered us to raise chickens, pigs and other livestock. He might even call us for another round of forced labor. He said that we cannot ignore his order because it is our civic duty to comply with army orders. Many people from our village are already fed up with the perpetual forced labor and are contemplating to escape to Mizoram across the border,” he added.
Villagers Forced to Renovate Army Camp
5 August 2005, Aizawl:
Platoon Commander 2nd Lieutenant Win Zaw Oo from Light Infantry Battalion 289 based in the town of Paletwa in southern Chin State exacted forced labor from civilians living in an around Shinletwa village to renovate army camp stationed at the village. The work started on 16 July, 2005 and lasted until 19 July.
90 civilians from Salanpi, Saiha and Ma U villages were ordered to report themselves at the army camp one day prior to the day the work was to begin. All the forced laborers were ordered to bring with them their own tools and enough rations for five days. Workers were made to gather twigs and round bamboos needed to fence the army camp.
Lt. Win Aw Oo, in his requisition warned severe punishment for non-compliance with the order.
Military Authorities Compel Civilians to Supply Wood Planks for Construction of Hospital
17 August 2005
On 10 July, 2005, Battalion Commander Lt. Colonel Kan Maw Oo of the Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 269 based in Tiddim Town of northern Chin State ordered residents living in villages across the Township to supply wood planks to construct a new Civil Hospital in the area.
Laitui village has more than 500 households. Each household was forced to supply 2 wood planks of 8’x6″x2″ cubic feet. The planks are to be brought to the site of the new hospital by the first week of September. “Our family had to buy the mandatory 2 planks for 2500 Kyats out of our pocket,” explained a villager of Laitui.
Burma’s military junta started the construction of the new hospital in Tiddim early this year. The hospital is to accommodate 50 beds and two buildings are to be constructed. Civilian residents in the areas have been adversely affected by extortion of money and demands of wood planks as a result of the new hospital. Prisoners from hard labor camp in the area have also been extensively used for the hospital construction.
SPDC Forced Primary School Children to Porter
(Names of Informants to be kept confidential)
8 August 2005, Aizawl:
On 15 July 2005, commander of Lailenpi army camp Sergeant Tin Soe from Burma Army Infantry Battalion 305 based in Matupi, southern Chin State, forced underage primary school children to carry army rations and supplies. U Hla Oo, Secretary of the Village PDC of Mala village reported the incident to Chin Human Rights Organization.
The army rations were on their way to Laienpi camp from Sabawngte army camp. Civilians from villages along the route were forced to carry the rations from one village to the next. But when the supplies reached the village of Mala, most villagers were out working in their farms and the supplies had to be left there overnight because there were no adult persons in the village to carry the loads on to the next village.
Arriving in the village the next day, Sergeant Tin Soe and his troops immediately summoned U Hla Oo, Secretary of the Village PDC and demanded explanations why the rations were still in the village. Sergeant Tin Soe punched him in the face and demanded that U Hla Oo arrange for 18 persons to carry the supply loads within one hour.
The Sergeant dismissed U Hla Oo’s explanation and pleas to have the supplies transported as soon as the villagers arrived back in the village from their farms. Unsatisfied, Sergeant Tin Soe slapped him in the face and said that he will find people to carry the loads himself. Searching for people, he found 10 primary children and 5 government servants and forced them to carry the supplies.
Half way through the journey, two of the youngest children became too exhausted to carry on any longer. Fortunately, they met with 5 Lailenpi villagers making their way back from Mizoram to buy household goods. The five villagers then had to substitute the 10 boys.
The ration loads carried by the ten boys included 10 tins of rice, 10 bottles of cooking oil, 10 viss (15 kgs) of fish paste and 5 viss of dried chili. They traveled a 12-mile distance before being substituted by the 5 villagers.
Army Officer Sells off 1000 Round Bamboos Forcibly Collected from Civilians for Personal Profit
5 July, 2005, Aizawl:
On 10 June, 2005, Company commander Captain Myo Nwe from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 289 stationed at Shinletwa Village of Paletwa Township, southern Chin State sold off more than 10,000 round bamboos he collected from 9 villages in the area to buyers in Sittwe (Ayekyap). All proceeds were kept for his personal benefit.
During the last week of May, Capt. Myo Nwe summoned a meeting of Village PDC Chairmen from the 9 villages at Shinletwa army camp where he ordered each village to bring him designated amount of round bamboos at the latest by June 5, 2005.
U Lai Maung, Chairman of the PDC for Salanpi village, whose community was affected by the Captain’s order complained, “Forcing us to cut the bamboos for his personal benefit seems to be meant only to deliberately afflict our community. He said the bamboos were for renovation of the army camp.”
The following is the quotas of round bamboos for each village to contribute:
Salaipi Village = 1,000, Ma U Village =1,500, Saiha Village = 1,800, Pamu Village = 2,000, Da Thwe Village = 1,500, Khung Ywa Village = 1,000, Shwe Letwa Village = 1,500, Mara Hla Village = 2,000 and Pa Thein Village = 1,500 round bamboos.
30 Villages Forced to Contribute Sand to Renovate Army Camp
8 July, 2005, Aizawl:
Company Commander Major Mhu Win, stationed at Tibual camp from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 268 (Battalion based in Falam Town) requisitioned sands from 30 villages in Falam Township to renovate an army camp at Tibual village. Beginning in the first week of June, 2005, each of the 30 villages was ordered to send in 10 tins of sand.
In his order, Major Mhu Win set the deadline for each village to bring in the sand at the end of July and warned that any village that didn’t meet the deadline would face severe penalty. As a result, some villages were compelled to gather sands from Tio river (A river dividing international boundary between India and Burma), a distance of three days travel by walking. Civilians from these villagers had to transport the sands on horseback. Villages whose communities were too far off from Tio river had to buy the sand for 1000 Kyats per tin from communities that are closer to the sandbank at Tio river.
In a similar incident, on May 5, 2005, Chin villagers were forced to contribute 1 tin of sand per household to construct a Buddhist pagoda at Sabawngte village.
The 30 villages whose communities were forced to contribute sands were;
(1)Tah Tlang, (2)Thing Hual, (3)Tikhuang tum, (4)Tlangkhua, (5)Aibuk, (6)Leilet, (7)Sing Ai, (8)Zawngte, (9)Thing Cang, (10)Phung Zung, (11)Khaw Lung, (12)Bawm Ba, (13)Tiah Dai, (14)Lung Tan, (15)Zan Mual, (16)Da te ti, (17) Hmawng kawn, (18)Khaw Thlir, (19)Phun te, (20)Sa ek, (21)Sial lam, (22)cawng hawih, (23)Khua mual, (24)Hmun luah, (25)cawh te, (26)Lian hna thar, (27)Lian hna hlun, (28)Hai heng, (29)Khuang Lung, (30)Lung Dar Village.
SPDC Forced School Children and Civilians to Labor at Government’s Tea Plantation
25 July, 2005, Aizawl:
U Sai Maung, Chairman of the Township Peace and Development Council for Tiddim Township issued an order requiring Tiddim residents to participate in compulsory labor to work at government’s tea plantation. Workers included ordinary civilians, students and government servants. They are expected to contribute labor for government’s tea plantation once every month beginning early this year.
Each governmental department in Tiddim administrative center was assigned one acre of tea plantation. Government employees from these departments are required to plant tea, pluck off weeds, gather twigs, and roof plantation beds. Supervised by local village PDC Chairmen, those failing to show up for work were fined 500 Kyats for each absence.
On paper, Light Infantry Battalion 268 based in the town was also expected to work at the plantation. However, the Battalion warded off responsibility by forcing civilians to work on their behalf. A civilian who was forced to burden off the army’s work testified to Chin Human Rights Organization.
The Township authorities gave orders to teachers working at schools in Tiddim to instruct their students to collect manures. According to the order, each student is required to bring in one Viss of manure (about 1 ½ Kgs) to the Township PDC office on a designated deadline each month.
The State Peace and Development Council arbitrarily designated Chin State as a tea plantation area in 2002. With the slogan of “Chin State Shall Become a State of Tea Abundance,” the military regime has been forcing local people to work in the project. The tea plantation in this area is located at two miles from Tiddim Town.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL BEING CONSTRUCTED WITH FORCED LABOR
20 May 2005
Aizawl: Residents of Hakha town, Chin State’s capital were forced to construct a new government high school, Basic Education High School No. 3, by Colonel Tin Hla, Chief of Tactical Command No.1, the highest ranking military officer stationed in Chin State. Local residents had to contribute free labor starting from February 2005, despite the fact that there is a 400 million Kyat allocated for the construction project.
Every household from all localities were compelled to carry construction materials such as sand, bricks and woods, with an outstanding order of a one thousand Kyat fine for households that couldn’t afford to participate in the forced labor.
An unnamed resident affected by the forced labor program explained, “Laborers were divided according to their skills and abilities: Those skilled in carpentry, for example, had to work as carpenters while all other unskilled workers were forced to transport sand, bricks and woods to the work site from different places.”
Local headman of Pyidawtha block U Kyi Han and one sergeant from Light Infantry Battalion 266 supervised the construction project.
The local resident complained of the work conditions: “We were forced to start the work from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and now only one building has been completed, with three more buildings left to be constructed. It is hard to know how many times we were going to be forced to work. My family were called to work for four times and paid 4000 Kyats to the authorities. Some people from other blocks were forced to work for more than ten times already because it depended on the demands of the work. Students from kindergarten to fifth class attend in the morning and students from fifth to tenth classes attend in the evening alternately because the construction is still ongoing.”
A local construction engineer by the name of Sui Kio was appointed for the construction of the school but till today he and laborers were not paid for their services properly by Colonel Tin Hla.
NEW MILITARY CAMPS: ANGUISH FOR THE PEOPLE
15 May 2005
Aizawl : The residents of Satu village, Matupi Township, Southern Chin state were forced to carry supplies/rations for the construction of a new military camp in Satu village.
“We seldom experienced this kind of forced labor in our village but since we heard about the new military camp coming to our village we experience such sort of labor everyday,” said a villager from Satu village.
The village headmen never informed Satu villagers for the duration of the labor or the quantity of rice to be provided or transport to the army. Furthermore, one person from every household have to carry supplies for a distance of 20 miles from Bawi Ring village to Satu village, our source reports.
“We, the residences of Satu village, were ordered to provide 38 tins of rice to the army with a promise to be excused from transporting the military ration. Our village provided the 38 tins of rice but the army failed in keeping their promise,” complained a villager of Satu.
Second warrant officer, Kyaw Sein, posted as Chief In-charge of Lailenpi village from Light Infantry Battalion-140 allegedly forced the Satu villagers to transport rations, being supplied from Matupi town.
“The supplies are collected from Hnawte village and passes through Dai Hnan village, Bawi Ring village and finally to Satu village. All the supplies/rations have been collected in Satu village but it is not known, when the construction of military stations will be initiated,” said a trader who is currently at the border area.
Meanwhile, the villagers of Lei Sin village are occasionally engaged in this forced labor of military supplies transportation and in the construction of the new military camps, our source reports.
Since 2003, besides the expansion of Light Infantry Battalions-140 and 204 stations in Matupi town, and Light Infantry Battalion-89 of Falam town, construction of various new military stations have been initiated in the villages along the Indo-Burma border.
SPDC USE PRISONERS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF HOSPITAL
23 May 2005
SPDC authority in Chin state capital have been using prisoners from two hard-labor camps from Haka township for construction of Civil hospital in Haka the capital of Chin state. About 100 hard labor prisoners from Khuathar block of Haka town and 120 prisoners from Zokhua hard-labor prisoner camp have been deploy by the SPDC in the construction since January 2005.
The prisoners have to work from 8 AM to 5 PM daily. Since the authority does not feed them well, some prisoners run away from the labor site and steal from the town residents. In April of 2005, a woman from Haka town was killed and looted her jewelry such as necklace, earring and rings. Even though the authority could not make any arrest on the culprit of the crime, the town people believes that the crime must be committed by the runaway hard-labor prisoners.
Reports said that construction of the 400 bed civil hospital is part of government project implemented by the ruling military junta called State Peace and Development Council. The project of the hospital building seems well funded by the government. However, Colonel Tin Hla, commander of Burmese army tactical one commander has demanded every family from Haka town to contribute 800/-Kyats for the construction.
SPDC FORCED 600 VILLAGERS TO ENGAGE IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION
8 June 2005
Aizawl: About 600 people from 20 villages from southern Chin state were forced to construct a motor road connecting Lungngo – Lotaw, Lungngo – Tingsi village. The forced labor is carried out accordance with the direct order from Colonel San Aung, commander of Burma army tactical II based at Matupi.
Lungngo and Lotaw is 20 miles in distance and Lungngo and Tingsi is about 19 miles.
The forced labor started during the first week of May, and is still continue on the day of this report. Forced laborers were strictly guarded by Captain Htun Myint Maung and his company from Burma army Light Infantry Battalion 140.
According to one of the villagers who witness the working condition report to CHRO that; “the working condition was miserable. They were not even allowed for a day off on Sunday to conduct worship service. As all of the forced laborers are Christians, they expect to get a day off on Sunday, but the Burmese army would not allow them”.
The army compels the forced laborers to complete at least 200 feet per day. Even though the army provided one bulldozer for the construction, it never was working because there was no diesel to run the machine.
The forced laborers have to bring their own food, tools and medicine at the work site.
CHRO source added “The forced laborers manage their own food and tools. Donations were collected from the government servants and the Christian pastors and mission workers, who were exempted from the road construction, in that way vegetable and food were bought with the donation.
“It is weird that the Burmese soldiers who guarded us have demanded food and vegetable from the laborers” said the villager.
Villages who are engage in construction of Lungngo and Lotaw are; Lungngo, Senpi, Balei, Voti, Kelong, Tuphei, Lawngdaw, Nabung, Ranti, Darcung, Khuaboi, Cangceh (Sancet), Suitawng, Daidin, Dinkhua villages while the road between Lungngo and Tingsi is constructed by Tingsi, Tilat, Longka, Theisi, Lungring villages.
CHIN CHRISTIANS FORCED TO SUPPLY CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS FOR NEW BUDDHIST MONASTERY
5 May 2005
Aizawl : Deputy Battalion Commander Major Hla Myint of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 140 stationed at Sabawngte village, Matupi Township, Southern Chin State issued an order demanding every household in the village and surrounding areas to “contribute” one tin of sand for construction of a new Buddhist monastery, a local resident reported.
The monastery is set to be built inside the compound of army camp and a Buddhist monk has already arrived at the camp to occupy the monastery once completed. The order to demand sand from villagers came out as soon as the monk arrived at Sabawngte village, the villager said.
“As of now villagers are busy gathering sand from riverbanks and nearby streams to have one tin of sand ready for every household to give to the army. But for residents of Hlung Mang village, they have been asked to ‘donate’ 25 bags of cement since they are closest to Mizoram of India,” he explained.
Buddhist monasteries and shrines are increasing throughout State while the SPDC is prohibiting the construction of Christian Churches and unlawfully destroying Chins Christian crosses erected on different top of the mountains and hills. Moreover, the people of Chin state are still being forced to contribute money and labor for the construction of Buddhist monasteries and shrines.
FORCED LABOR INCREASES HARDSHIP FOR IMPOVERISHED VILLAGERS
Aizawl, 16 March 2005:
Seven villages in Matupi Township of Southern Chin State were involved in a forced labor to construct a road between Matupi-Answe-Madu. The forced labor order came from U Soe Nyuntt, Chairman of Matupi Township Peace and Development Council. The work began in the first week of January and civilians from Answe, Madu, Saton, Pantui, Lungpan, Lingtui, Rung and Rohtlang villages were involved in the unpaid labor.
Pu Palai (name changed), one of the forced laborers from Lungpan village said his community tremendously suffered as a result of the forced labor.
“Nine villages, including ours received the order for forced labor on December 15, 2004. Since December is the month of harvesting crops, we pleaded with the local SPDC Chairman to allow us to harvest our crops first. But he told us that it was beyond his power to alter the order and referred us to Lieutenant Colonel San Aung. Only after we gave 100,000 Kyats in bribe, did the Lt. Colonel agreed to harvest our crops and postponed the road construction to the first week of January 2005,” Pu Palai explained.
A budget of 8 million Kyats was sanctioned on paper for the road construction but it was never used. Instead, villagers in surrounding areas were forced to construct the road without pay.
Supervised by Deputy Commander of Infantry Battalion 305 based in Matupi, the work started on January 5, 2005 and lasted until January 26. Pu Palai said there were 59 people from his village tract alone, including four girls under the age of 18. Ten families were unable to send laborers and they were forced to pay money to cover some of the cost for foods and other things.
“We were divided into groups and some of the groups did not have enough food supplies during the work, which lasted more than three weeks. Each group had to dig one third of a mile long of land and everybody had to supply themselves with food and rations during the work,” Pu Palai explained.
LOCAL ARMY CHIEF ORDERS FORCED LABOR AND ILLEGAL TAX FROM CIVILIANS
Aizawl: 14 March 2005
Lieutenant Colonel San Aung, Chief of Tactical Command No. 2 based in Matupi town of southern Chin State ordered Matupi residents to “donate” 70 tins of gravel per household for building roads in the town.
In addition, to build a highway between Matupi and Madu, Lt. Colonel San Aung demanded 4500 Kyats from every household, a local resident told Chin Human Rights Organization.
The order to “donate” 70 tins of gravel did not exempt even widows, elderly and handicapped people. Since it is difficult to find enough rocks to make gravels, the entire town, about 800 households, is working day and night to meet their quotas.
HUNDREDS OF CIVILIANS PROVIDED “VOLUNTARY LABOR” TO CONSTRUCT ROAD
A massive forced labor was used to construct a 7-mile road between Congthia and Hmawng Tlang villages of Thantlang Township, northern Chin State beginning in mid January of 2005. An order released by the Township authorities in Thantlang compelled 250 civilians to engage in what the authorities stated was the provision of “voluntary labor for a self-support development project.”
A memo submitted by local authorities to Colonel Tin Hla, Chief of Tactical Command No. 1 for Chin State based in Hakha, indicated that 10 million Kyats was officially sanctioned for the road construction through the Public Work Department.
However, the money was never used for the purpose and civilians were forced to engage in “voluntary labor” for construction of the road.
One person per household from Hmawngtlang, Phai Khua, Letak(A), Letak(B), Leitak(C) and Aibur villages were ordered to participate in the work starting from the second week of January, 2005. Each person was assigned to dig 20 feet of land and 20 women were among 250 laborers. The women served as cooks for other laborers and foods and rations had to be supplied entirely by local churches.
EXTORTION INTENSIFIED AT INDIA-BURMA BORDER TRADE ROUTE
Aizawl: 12 April 2005
Burmese soldiers and police patrols in Chin State are routinely involved in extortion of money from cross-border traders, one cattle trader told Chin Human Rights Organization. On March 18, 2005, four policemen extorted 100,000 Kyats from a trader who was trying to sell 30 cows to Mizoram of India. The same policemen also collected 80,000 Kyats in illegal tax from another cattle trader for 11 cows. The victim was from Daidin village of Gangaw Township, Magwe Division.
On March 20, 2005, a platoon consisting of twelve Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 268 collected 400,000 Kyats in illegal tax from another trader shipping 90 cows to India.
One trader who recently had his money squeezed by the Burmese army on his way to India explained his situations.
“Even though a cattle trading is not profitable as before, there is no job at home and we have to continue this business under numerous difficulties hoping to gain a meager profit. Since the government asked too many taxes from us, sometimes we did not even gain Ks.50 000. If we calculate our daily wage, it ranges between Ks. 400-500 per day. This sum of money can only buy one bottle of cooking oil. It takes one and a half month for one round of business. We pay a cow from Ks. 100000 to Ks. 200000, as the price is so high now. We get around Rs. 8000 – 9000 per cow in India as the price of cow is not good. We have to report ourselves to a police station in order to buy a cow and we can only buy after obtaining their permission. We have to pay Ks. 1000 tax per head. We buy our cattle mostly from Tilin, Pale, Mait, Kyawtoo, and Saw which are situated in Gangaw Township, Magwe Division. When we shift cattle to Mizoram, we hire 4-5 workers who are paid Ks. 30,000 per person. If we meet soldiers or police on the way to Mizoram, we have to pay Ks. 1000-5000 per cow.”
Extortion of cross-border traders by Burmese soldiers has steadily intensified since 1995. On March 15, 2005, Colonel Tin Hla, Chief of Tactical Command No. 1 issued a decree criminalizing the selling of cattle to India. The penalty includes incarceration and time at hard labor camp.
SPDC UNLAWFULLY DESTROYED HOUSE OF LOCAL LEADER OF NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY PARTY
Aizawl 10 March 2005
Lieutenant Colonel San Aung, Chief of Tactical Command No. 2 based in Matupi town of southern Chin State unlawfully seized and destroyed the house of Pa Lian Thang and Daw Hlan Zing. Pa Lian Thang is the Assistant Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) for Matupi Township.
The local NLD leader, now joined in India by his family, fled his native town Matupi to escape arrest by military authorities in July of 2003. After Pa Lian Thang’s escape to India, his family was constantly harassed, interrogated and intimidated by Burmese soldiers. His family home was demolished by order of Lt. Colonel San Aung, leaving Pa Lian Thang’s wife and children homeless.
Pa Lian Thang’s wife testified to Chin Human Rights Organization that their demolished home and its compound had been confiscated by the army. According to her, their two-storied home was worth 8 million Kyats in current market rate. She said half of their home compound was taken for a military intelligence office and another half for a Buddhist monastery.
Pa Lian Thang and the entire local NLD leadership were sought for arrest by military intelligence for their active role in welcoming Aung San Suu Kyi in their town in April of 2003. More than a dozen NLD members fled to India and at least two people were arrested and sentenced for 11 years with hard labor.
CHIN CHRISTIANS FORCED TO CONTRIBUTE MONEY AND LABOR FOR CONSTRUCTION OF BUDDHIST MONASTERY
Aizawl: February 2, 2005
20 villages, most of whose populations are Christians from Shinletwa village tract of Paletwa Township, of Southern Chin State were forced to contribute money and labor for construction of Buddhist Monastery near Shinletwa army camp by the Burmese Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 354.
Lieutenant Thein Lwin, Shinletwa army camp commander of Burmese army LIB 354 forcibly collected 5,000 Kyats per household from 20 villages in the area according to the local man who prefers to remain anonimity in fear of retaliation from the Burmese army. The Lieutenant said that the money they have collected from Chin Christians villagers is going to be used to pay for the transportation cost of the cement from Paletwa town to Shinletwa village for construction of a Buddhist monastery near the army camp.
Every village headman from the area was ordered to collect the money and present it to Shinletwa Army Camp commander no later than January 15, 2005.
As the Burmese army camp is going to be vacated for the Monastery, villagers are forced to contribute their labor for relocation of the army camp. Starting from January 15, 2005 one person per every household must participate in relocation of the Army camp.
However, two village tracts, Pathiantlang and Para were demanded to contribute money instead of labor: 70,000/- Kyats for Pathiantlang village tract and 50,000/- Kyats for Para village tract respectively.
The local man explained “It is very unusual that Christian Cross, building and even graveyard are forcibly occupied and destroyed by the Burmese army whenever they wanted to construct their camp. But now, the Burmese army is relocating their camp for the Buddhist Monastery”.
CIVILIANS COMPELLED TO TAKE MILITIA TRAINING, CONSCRIPTION ORDER ISSUED
January 10, 2005
Residents of Leilet and Siallam villages near India-Burma border were compelled to take emergency militia training by Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 268 based in Falam town of northern Chin State. The one-week training commenced on January 3, 2005 and was conducted by Captain Thawng Lian and his platoon from LIB 268.
Aside from the militia training, Lieutenant Colonel Win Bo, Battalion Commander of LIB 268 had placed a demand on the headman of Leilet village requiring him to select 4 able young men from his village to serve as soldiers in the Burma army. The news of conscription had many young people worried that many high school students studying at Falam Town did not dare to go home to Leilet village for Christmas holidays.
“The Burmese (Army) said that Chin villagers must take the militia training in order to be able to defend ourselves when the “terrorist” come to the village,” explained a local man in the area. “In fact the Burmese (Army) are the real terrorist, they dictate every movement of innocent villagers, but what can we do? They have the gun and power,” he complained.
UNJUST ORDER AGAINST CHIN FARMERS
February 4, 2005
All village headmen from Paletwa Township in Southern Chin State were summoned for a meeting by the Township Forestry Department head U Thein Kyaw in December last week 2004. In the meeting, U Thein Kyaw told the villages’ headmen that no one is allowed to slash the forest for farming.
He coerced the villages’ headmen into signing a paper saying that they agreed not to slash the forest for farming. The agreement paper mentioned that those who broke the order must be properly fined.
“The order is totally unjust knowing that without slashing the farmland we can not grow anything. This is our ancestral land and we have been doing slash and burn cultivation system since time immemorial. Prohibiting slashing the farmland without providing us with any other alternative is totally unfair,” complained one village headmen to CHRO’s field monitor.
“We slashed our farmland anyway, and we are prepared to pay the price for it. We have collected 2,000/-Kyats each from every household, and with that money we are going to bribe the Burmese authority” he further explained.
Usually the farmland had to be slashed by January and burnt by March. However, due to the order, the farmers can barely start slashing their farmland in February and that will delay burning of the farm.
“If the rain comes early, we will not be able to burn our farmland and that will result in famine in the whole region,” said the village headman.
Last year, the Burmese authority issued the same order, not to slash the farmland, but we were allowed to slash the farmland after every household paid 500/-Kyats each to the authority.
In a similar incident, farmers from Matupi township of Southern Chins state were allowed to slash their farmland only after the farmers bribed more than 200,000/- Kyats to Burma Army Tactical 2 Commander, Colonel San Aung.
The farmland between Matupi and Phanai village were to be slashed for farming in 2005-2006. However, Colonel San Aung of Burma Army Tactical 2 Commander issued an order saying that no one is allowed to slash the farmland because the area was a designated land for the Burma army.
Thus, villagers collect 500/- Kyats each household and approached the Colonel to allow them slashing the farmland. The Colonel refused the bribe money. Then, the villagers collected 1,000/- Kyats more per every household and approached the Colonel a gain. Only then, Phanai villagers were allowed to slash their farmland.
“We are humiliated and badly treated by the Burmese (army). What a shame! We can’t even cultivate freely on our own ancestral land” complained the local man.
SPDC CONTINUES TO PRACTICE FORCED LABOR IN CHIN STATE
February 2, 2005
According to one local man whose name is withheld for security reason, the Burmese military government known as State Peace and Development Council SPDC is still using forced labor in Chin state.
In accordance with the order issued by Thantlang Township Police Chief on December 15, 2004, villagers from Hmawngtlang area were compelled to repair Hmawngtlang police camp. The work involved digging trenches and repairing a 2000-meter long fence.
About 400 villagers from Hmanwgtlang, Leitak (a), (b) and (c), Congthia, Phaikhua, Aibur had to pack their own food and tools to engage in forced labor for two days repairing the police camp.
“This is not the only time people are forced to construct and repair the police camp, it is a yearly routine” said the local man.
In another incident, Burma Army Tactical commander Colonel Tin Hla on December 6, 2004 issued an order forcing residents of 9 villages to repair a road connecting Tibual village and Rih Town. The order was implemented by Rih Township Administration Officer Mya Win.
About 350 people, including men, women and children and elderly, were compeledl to engage in the labor for about 1 week. Villages that participated in the forced labor are; Tibual, Satawm, Sialam, Thingcang, Saek, Phunte, Khuahlir, Rih khuathar, Rih khuahlun.
FORCED LABOR: CONSTRUCTION OF RIH HOSPITAL QUARTER
December 14, 2004
In accordance with the order issued by Colonel Tin Hla of Burma Army Chin State Tactical No. 1 Commander, 17 villages from Rih township were forced to engage in construction of Rih Hospital quarters from November 22 to December 10, 2004.
One person from every household has to pack his/her own food and tools for the job. The work involved digging the ground and producing bricks for construction of the buildings. One local man who participated in the forced labor informed CHRO that a Lieutenant from Burmese army was assigned to supervise the forced laborers. The Lieutenant was constantly yelling at the villagers throughout the course of their work.
“Most of the time we have to engage in forced labor. It never cease, we are just waiting for one order to another. We do not have time to work at our farms,” said the villager who prefers to remain anonymous.
The villages engage in forced labor are; Tibual, Satawm, Siallam, Thingcang, Saek, Phunte, Khuahlir, Rih khuathar, Rihkhuahlun, Cawnghoih, Lianhna(A), Lianhna (B), Haiheng, Cawhte, Hmunlawh and Ticirh.
Rih village, which is situated at India-Burma border trade route, was granted township headquarters status by the SPDC in 2002. Ever since Rih was granted that status, the surrounding villages were constantly forced to work at government project such as road construction, and other development infrastructure.
FORCED LABOR AT TEA PLANTATION FARM
January 13, 2005
An order issued by Lieutenant Colonel Myint Tun, commander of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 266 based at Rih, forced 150 people from Rih town to work as tea plantation farm from January 3 to 6, 2005.
The local man who participated at the forced labor told CHRO that the Burmese army has divided forced laborers into two groups. The first group starts their work from 7 AM to noon. And then, the second group continued the work from noon to 5 PM.
“As usual, we have to bring our own food and tools to work for the army. But this time, students were exempted from forced labor,” said the local man.
He said that farmers did not produce enough food to eat due to extensive forced labor and bad weather in the past harvest season, and has greatly affected their livelihood.
In Tiddim Township, township Peace and Development chairman U Sai Maung Lu and Burma army LIB 269 Battalion commander Colonel Kan Maw Oo have forced people from Luaibual block to work at tea plantation farm.
Everyone, including government employees and students, was compelled to work at the plantation.
Four years ago, the then North Western Command Commander Lt. Gen. Soe Win (now Prime Minister of SPDC) has proclaimed that the government (SPDC) will transform Chin state into tea plantation farm. Thus, tea plantation project was implemented with forced labor in every township of Chin state. So far, the project is a failure.
BULLET SPEAKS LAUDER THAN WORDS
Aizawl: September 9, 2004
The village headman of Ruava village from Rezua township in Chin state was terrify by unusual order he received from Major Khin Maung Cho, Company commander of Burma army LIB 274.
On August 10, the headman received a letter with G3 bullet from Major Khin Maung Cho saying that he must send 14 porters to Rezua army camp no later than 11 August. The order further threatened that there will be a consequence if he fails to obey the order.
Being terrified by the order that comes with a bullet, the headman and the village elders arrange 14 porters, accompanied by one of the village elders, and send them to Rezua army camp the next day.
The Major demanded 2 more porters on August 12. Thus, two porters and the headman himself went to the army camp as soon as they got the order. They all were kept at the army camp till 16 August. After a several days of waiting to serve as porter in the army camp, the Major told them that he does not want the porters any more since the trip was cancel and he will call them whenever he want.
Since Ruava villager is located near the Burmese army camp, they have been consistently forced to work such as repairing the army camp, and to serve as porters. At the time of this report, Burma army demanded 2000/-Kyats and 10 chickens from the village for unknown reason.
CIVILIAN COMPEL TO REPAIR ARMY CAMP
Aizawl: September 6, 2004
11 villages surrounding Sabawngte area were summoned to repair the army camp by the order of 2nd Lieutenant Htun Kyaw, Company commander in-charge at Sabawngte army camp, Burma army LIB 274. According to the order, every village must provide 1000 bamboo poles and a chicken without fail.
The villagers have no other choice but to obey the unfair order, and thus they pack their own food and tools to work as forced laborers for the army. It took three days (from August 24 to 26, 2004) each for every village to cut 1000 bamboo poles in the forest and transport it to the army camp.
The name of the 11 villages are; 1. Ngaphaipi, 2. Fartlang, 3. Khuapilu, 4. La-U, 5. Darling, 6. Ruamang, 7. Sapaw, 8. Tawnglalung, 9. Sabawngpi, 10. Sabawngte, 11. Hlungmang.
In another incident, 15 villages from Rezua township were forced to construct a new Burmese army camp for Company base at Rezua town. The (oral) order issued by Major Khin Maung Cho of Burma army LIB 274 on August 10, 2004 demanded that one person per household from Rezua and surrounding 15 villages must contribute their labor to construct a newly extended army company base.
According to Pu Khua Do, who participated at the forced labor, his village is 12 miles away from the army camp. They brought 200 bamboo poles and 10 chickens for the army when they come to work as forced laborers. They work at the army camp from 16 to 19 August for four days digging trench, building barrack and sharpening bamboo. The army did not provide tools, food or any thing. The villagers bring their own food and tools to while working for the army.
Pu Khua Do said that another villagers from Lekhan, which is 7 miles away from Rezua were also working at the time. The army demanded at least 50 people from Lekhan village but only 30 people could show up because Lekhan village is too small and could not manage to contribute 50 people to work at the army camp. There are several woman among the forced laborers said Pu Khua Do.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FORCED AS PORTER
Aizawl: August 26, 2004
On July 24, 2004, 21 high school students including several girls from Sabawngpi High School were forced to serve as porters by Captain Myo Min Naing of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion 274
A group of Burma army led by Captain Myo Min Naing of Burma army LIB 274 was preparing to station at Sabawngte camp on July 24, 2004. The troops requested 70 porters to carry their ration and ammunitions. They just drag whoever they find in the village to serve as porter. Among the porters were 21 high school students including several girls.
The students had to carry army ration and ammunition from Sabawngpi village to Sabawngte army camp. Since the load they carried were too heavy and they have to walk overnight, the students were too exhaust and some of them could not make their class for the following week.
On the previous day on July 23, 67 villagers from Lailenpi village were forced to carry the army ration and ammunition from Lailenpi village to Sabawngpi village by the same Burmese troop.
SUPPLY WOOD OR FACE SEVERE PUNISHMENT
Aizawl: August 25, 2004
17 villages in Matupi township from Southern Chin state were ordered to supply 200 cubic wood-plank per village to build teachers quarter at Leisen government middle school. The order was issued by Leisen village middle school headmaster U Cang Toi in the month of April with the approval made by Colonel San Aung of Burma army No. 2 tactical commander based in Matupi town of Chin state.
The order mentioned that every village must submit their quota to Leisen middle school before the end of July and those who fail to comply the order will face severe punishment from the authority. Thus, villagers have hired laborers to saw the wood. Since many villages have no car or cart road, the villagers have to carry the wood on their shoulders from their respective villages to Leisen middle school which is several miles away.
When Colonel San Aung visited Leisen village, he told the villagers that the government will supply nails and zinc for the roof of the school and the rest must be contributed by the surrounding villages.
The villagers are routinely summoned to work at the farm of Leisen government middle school headmaster. Since the teachers, like all other government servants, did not get sufficient salary from the government, they have to find any possible means for their survival.
There are 7 teachers and more than 100 students at Leisen government middle school. The following villages are covered by Leisen government middle school;
1. Leisen, 2. Valangte, 3. Koela, 4. Vangkai, 5. Cangtak, 6. Thiboei, 7. Leiring, 8. Bunghung, 9. Khobal, 10. Thangping, 11. Anthaw, 12. Luivang, 13. Boiring, 14. Daihnan, 15. Khohung, 16. Vamaw, 17. Lalui.
FORCED LABOR AT INDO-BURMA BORDER TRADE ROUTE
August 24, 2004
Ever since Rih, a small town at India-Burma border trade route, was granted township headquarters status a year a go, the surrounding villagers have been endlessly forced to contribute their labor to implement various government projects by the authority of the ruling Burmese military regime known as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
Pu M…….(name withheld for security reason) one of the village council members from Khawthlir village complains that 15 surrounding villages have been forced to engage with construction of road and other infrastructure such as hospital, school etc. from mid 2003 to August 2004 accordance with the order issued by U Mya Win, the newly established Rih town administrator in northern Chin state.
Whenever the authority asked for forced labor, one person per household have to pack his/her own food and tools to work as forced laborer.
“Even though we heard that the government has sanction about 20 millions Kyats for construction of this new town project, the villagers never get paid for what they have done” said one of the villages council members from Khawthlir village.
The most recent forced labor lasted more than a week starting from July 12, 2004 to July 18, 2004 including Sunday. The order was issued by Major Maung Myint of Light Infantry Battalion 269. One person per house hold from 15 villages has to contribute their labor to repair India-Burma border trade route between the two villages Haimual and Lentlang. The villagers who are engage in forced labor were not even allowed to go to Church on Sunday July 18.
The 15 villages those who are constantly engage in forced labors are;
Rih Khuathar, Rih Khuahlun, Tio, Khawthlir, Phunte, Thingcang, Saek, Sianlam, Cawnghawih, Khuamual, Hmunluah, Cawhte, Lianhna thar, Lianhna hlun, Haiheng.
In another incident at Tiddim township in northern Chin state, Burma army Light Infantry Battalion 267 forced villagers along the road from Tiddim to India border including Laitui village, which consist more than 500 household were forced to work in road repair for more than a month. One person per household have to bring his/her own food and tools to work as forced laborer.
Those who fail to complete their quota have to pay 4,800 kyats to the authority.
Pu M further told CHRO that whenever a column of Burmese army is traveling around the villages along Indo-Burma border trade route, they never bring their own ration and villagers must supply them with whatever they demanded. The Burmese soldiers take whatever they want from the villagers. They didn’t spare chickens, pigs or vegetables from the farm and they drag villagers as porters whenever they want.
Border trade agreement was signed by the two trade ministers of Burma and India in 1995.
SPDC PRACTICE WIDESPREAD FORCED LABOR IN BORDER TOWNS
August 5, 2004
The newly established border town Rih residence has been forced to construct streets in the town accordance with the order issued by Colonel Tin Hla, commander of the first tactical command of Burma army in Chin state on July 3, 2004. The order was implemented by township administrator U Mya Win office.
The authority ordered residences of Rih town to take responsibility for laying concretes in the town’s major streets. According to local source, every household have to complete their quota, which is to lay concrete on the street 10 foot wide and 6 foot long, before August 10, 2004.
“It is a grueling job for the town residents” said one of the village council members from nearby village Khawthlir. At the first step, villagers have to carry stones from the nearby stream to lay on the bottom of the street. After that, they have to lay gravel on it and then pour sands over and at the final stage lay the concrete.
It is likely that the town residents will not be able to finish their respective quota before the deadline as most of them have only completed the first step by the time of this report.
Similarly, residents of Teddim town in northern Chin state are compel to engage in extension of the town street and laying concrete since May 2, 2004. U Sai Maung Luu, chairman of Township Peace and Development Council of Teddim town has ordered the town residents that every home owner must complete their quota to repair the street as the standard set by the authority before the end of August.
The order mentioned that anyone who fails to comply will be effectively punished.
As the civilian have to work as forced laborer most of the time, they have no time to work for themselves and it has greatly effect their survivals especially the poor and farmers.
VILLAGERS FORCED AS PORTER
August 5, 2004
Major Win Maung, company commander of Darkhai camp from Burma army Light Infantry Battalion 269 based in Tonzang township northern Chin state has constantly ordered villagers from Tonzang township to carry army supply from Rih army camp to Darkhai camp which is 30 miles away.
Villagers are routinely ordered to carry army supply including ration, arms and ammunition for the whole company. Every village had to contribute 15 horses and 10 persons to serve as porter for every month since the beginning of this year.
CHRISTIAN PASTORS FORCED TO TAKE PART AT BUDDHIST WATER FESTIVAL
Aizawl: June 21, 2004
According to Rev. C……(name withheld for security reason) of Matupi Baptist Association, Colonel San Aung, Commander of Burmese army Tactical no.(2) Chin state, has ordered several Chin Christian pastors from Matupi town in Southern Chin state to participate at an opening ceremony of Buddhist water festival on April 12, 2004.
At lease 15 Chin Christian pastors, most of them are reverend, were forced to take part in the ceremony wearing their Christian religious robe. They were seated with the Buddhist monk at the front raw of the stage where the ceremony was held.
CHRO source said that the ceremony was recorded by Mya-Waddi television station to propagate that Burmese Buddhists are in harmony with Chin Christian leaders. Mya-Waddi television station is the Burmese army propaganda television station.
Chin Christians from the town were forced to construct marquee at the middle of the town to conduct the Buddhist water festival. Besides, every household is compel to contribute 1000/-kyat for the festival.
Young girls are compel to perform cultural dance at the ceremony and one person per household must attend the ceremony.
Rev. C….. further mentioned that it is totally unjust as most of the town residence are Chin Christians and there are only about a dozen Buddhist who are Burmans coming to the town as government servants.
OBEY THE ORDER OR GO TO JAIL
Three Chin Christian Pastors Detained One Night For Defying Spdc Order
Aizawl: June 4, 2004
Three Chin Christian pastors in Matupi town were detained by the SPDC authority for a night on April 16, 2004 for failing to obey the order, issued by Colonel Hla Swe of Burmese Army Tactical Command No. 2 of Chin state, to construct the road between Matupi town and Duma village.
The three pastors are Rev. Thuan Ting of Christian Reform Church at Longvan block of Matupi town, Rev. Kui Dim of Matupi Baptist Church at Ngala block, and Captain Dup Ding of Salvation Army church at Longvan block.
The three pastors were arrested by Captain Aung Myint Tun of Matupi police station and detained them for a night at the police station lockup. On the next day, the three pastors were brought to Colonel Hla Swe.
The Colonel ordered the three pastors to get dress with their respective religious robe and meet him again with their uniform. When the pastors come back with their uniform, the Colonel told them to choose whether they wanted to go to jail or engage in road construction. The Colonel warned them that he will not tolerate if they defy his order in the future.
Construction of the road between Matupi town and Duma village was started with forced labor in March 2004. All the town residence and surrounding villages, including government servants, are compels to contribute one person per household to participate in the forced labor. Widows are exempted from the labor if they can pay 4,000/-kyats. 8,000/- to 10,000/- kyat fine was imposed on every family those who are not widow and fail to participate in the road construction.
SPDC OPEN 2 NEW CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN CHIN STATE
Champhai: May 6, 2004
CHRO source reported that the Burmese military junta State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has expanded two new concentration camp at Rih town and Lentlang village at India-Burma border trade route in March 2004.
There are about 30 prisoners who are engage in construction of civil hospital at Rih town and another concentration camp at Lentlang village have about 50 prisoner who are engage in construction of road between Tiddim town and Rih town in India-Burma border.
Source said that most of the prisoners are from Kalaymyo prison. They are strictly guarded by both police and Burmese army. Villagers and civilians are not allowed to contact with the prisoners.
The SPDC made two other concentration camps in Chin state at Matupi town and Tlangzar village of Falam township in 1997.
VILLAGE HEADMAN AND IT’S COUNCIL MENBER ARRESTED FOR FAILING TO REPAIR BORDER TRADE ROAD
Champhai: June 4, 2004
“Village headman and it’s village council members of Kaptel village from Tiddim township, northern Chin state were arrested by the local authority for failing to repair India-Burma border trade road between Haimual village and Tiddim town near India-Burma border” said the local villager who cross the border to India side.
The local villager inform CHRO field monitor that the headman of Kaptel village Pu Khai Bawk and village council member Pu Jacob were arrested and detained at Kaptel police lockup. They were arrested for failing to repair their imposed quota which the authority ordered them to repair in the beginning of May.
About 30 villages from the border area were compels to repair India-Burma border trade road since the last week of March this year. However, as most of Kaptel villagers have to cross Indian side of the border to find any job available to support themselves, they have no time to work at road repair to fulfill their quota. Even though the village headman made petition in advanced to the authority about their situation, the authority ignored his petition.
Kaptel villagers are now trying to approach the local authority to release their headman and the village council member.
In March 2004, village headmen and village council members of Phanai and Lungtum villages from Matupi township were arrested and detained for failing to repair Midat-Matupi road.
45 VILLAGERS FROM REZUA TOWNSHIP ENGAGE IN FORCED LABOR CONSTRUCTION OF KANGAW-MATUPI ROAD
Aizawl: June 21, 2004
30 persons per villages from 45 villages in Rezua tonship were forced to construct Kangaw-Matupi road since March 2004 and the forced labor is continue till this report date. U MW (name withheld for security reason) of Rezua town reported to CHRO field monitor.
Major Kyaw Sein Win of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion LIB 50 based in Kangaw, Sagaing Division issued the order that construction of the road must be completed before the end of June. Major Kyaw Sein Win appointed Captain Win Hlaing as in-charge and supervisor of the road construction.
The SPDC does not provide any thing for construction of the road and the villagers have to bring their own ration and necessary tolls to the work site.
Three villages Lungrang, Sawthing and Resa were fined 80,000/- Kyats each by Captain Win Hlaing that their job performance is not satisfactory.
VILLAGERS FORCED TO WORK AT ARMY CAMP
Aizawl: April 27, 2004
Sergeant Major Maung Myint of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 55 at Sinletwa army camp had ordered Sinletwa and surrounding 4 village tracks to repair the fence of the camp starting from April 10, 2004. 12 persons per village track have to go to the army camp to repair the fence of Sinletwa army camp.
The villagers have to bring their own ration and tools to work at the camp for seven days. The forced laborers start their daily work at 5 AM in the morning. They were allowed to take their breakfast at 12 PM noon and continue to work till dark. Then they have to cook their supper after dark.
FORCED LABOR IN THANTLANG TOWN
March 22, 2004
CHRO received a report that starting from the first week of March, Thantlang town resident in northern Chin state are forced to construct the sidewalks for the town’s main street.
Thantlang Township Peace and Development Council Chairman U Luu Tin ordered the town residents to finish the sidewalk of the main street before the end of March 2004. According to the order, any household that does not complete their quota before the end of March will be punished by the authority. Additionally, the residents are to face punishment if their work does not meet the standard set by the township landscaping office.
The authority does not provide any necessary material to construct the sidewalks and the local residents have to purchase brick, stone and cements etc out of their own pocket. Thus, some residents have to spend as much as 100,000/- Kyats to 200,000/-Kyat, in addition to their labor, to construct the sidewalks.
FORCED LABOR IN MATUPI TOWNSHIP
March 25, 2004
Over two hundred villagers are being forced to work at road construction between Sabawngte army camp and Darling village. Major Thant Zin Oo, deputy battalion commander of Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 268, ordered civilians to repair the road connecting Sabawngte army camp and Darling village in central Chin state. The forced labor started on March 8, 2004 and continued till the day this report is made.
The villages that are engaged in the forced labor are; 40 people from Sabawngpi village, 19 people from Malang village, 15 people from Lungcawi village, 30 people from La-Oo village, 57 people from Darling village, 43 people from Sabawngte village, and 10 people from Hlungmang village. There are 27 women among over two hundred forced laborers.
The villagers have to bring their own tools and food to the work site.
The Major ordered the villagers to complete the works before the end of March. However, according to CHRO source, it is likely that the work will not be completed before the end of March as the road between Sabawngte army camp and Darling village is 37 miles in distance and only about half of the works have been completed on the day (March last week) of this report.
This road was first constructed in the year 2000 with forced labor to connect Rezua, Sabawngte and Darling.
11 VILLAGES FORCED TO WORK AT THE ARMY TEA-PLANTATION FARM
According to information received from the local villager, eleven villages in southern Chin state near India-Burma border are being forced to work in the army tea-plantation farm. The order was issue by Major Thant Zin Oo, deputy battalion commander of Burma army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 268 on January 23, 2004. The order mentioned that any village that fails to obey the order will face the consequence.
No one dare to defy the order and the forced labor work started from the second week of February 2004.
The affected eleven villages who are; Ngaphaipi, Fartlang, Khuapilu, Lauo, Darling, Ruanmang, Sapaw, Tonglalung, Sabawngpi and Sabawngte. Every village has to provide 6 people per week to work at the tea plantation farm owned by the army. The villagers, except for villagers form the forced labor site, have to travel a week-long journey to Sabawngte to work at the farm. They have to bring all the necessary tools and food to the work site.
The forced laborers have to water the tea-plantation farm by carrying water from the stream which is about half a mile away from the plantation farm. Since the Major did not mention the duration of the works in his order, no one knows how long the forced labor is going to take place. It is likely that the forced labor will take place till the end of summer.
Starting from the year 2000, the SPDC started tea-plantation farm in Chin state by using excessive forced labor.
THE SPDC SOLDIERS COLLECT ILLEGAL TAX FROM CHIN VILLAGERS
February 15, 2004
The Chin Human Rights Organization received a report that the SPDC soldiers have illegally collected cattle tax from villagers in southern Chin state.
On January 31, 2004 Pu He Thang of Tinam village in Matupi township was accused of trying to sell three pigs to India without permission and badly beaten up by 2nd Lieutenant Win Sein from Light Infantry Battalion LIB 268 and commander of Lailenpi army camp. Besides, the Lieutenant had extorted 6,000/-kyats from Pu He Thang charging 2,000/-Kyats per pig of the three pigs he was to sell to India.
The victim explained that because of poverty and economic hardship the villagers have to sell whatever they have to India in order to survive. Pu He Thang was on his way to sell the three pigs when he was intercepted by the Burmese soldiers near Lailenpi village.
On January 28, 2004, 2nd Lieutenant Win Sein and his troop also extorted 2,2500/-Kyats from U Maung Shwe and Daw Ni Sung. U Maung Shwe and Daw Ni Sung were on their way to sell some pigs and goats when they were intercepted by 2nd Lieutenant Win Sein and his troop. When the Lieutenant and his troops threatened to beat them up, the two villagers paid to the soldiers two goats and 2,2500/-kyats at the rate of 2,500/-Kyat per pigs for five pigs.
BURMESE SOLDIERS ON EXTORTION RAMPAGE
March 25, 2003
According to Laise (name changed for security reason) of Satu village near India-Burma border, Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 268 Lailenpi army camp in charge Lt. Tin Soe and his troop extorted money and domestic animal from the local villagers who were on their way to sell their cattle to Mizoram state of India. In most of the following incident, the Burmese soldiers threatened to beaten up and seize all their cattle if they fail to pay.
On March 4, 2004, Lt. Tin Soe and his troop extorted 6,000/-kyats and two chickens from Vua Chawng and Bi Khe of Aru village. The incident occurred when the two villagers were on their way to sell chicken and pigs to Mizoram state of India.
On March 9, 2004, 20,000/-Kyats was extorted from Lay Maung and Laise by Lt. Tin Soe and his troops by threatening them that 7 buffalos from them will be seized if they refuse to pay the money.
On March 5, 2004, Lt. Tin Soe and his troops extorted 5,000/- Kyats from Cherry May and Zordan from Lailente village.
On March 1, 2004, 5,000/- Kyats was extorted from Khai Lawng of Ruanvan village by Lt. Tin Soe and his troop.
In another incident on February 27, 2004 Lt. Tin Soe and his troop extorted 15,000/- Kyats from a group of eight Thongbu villagers of Matupi Township.
OVER 200 HOUSEHOLD FORCED TO WORK IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION
Saiha: Over 200 households in Rezua town from southern Chin state were forced to work in road construction by the State Peace and Development Council SPDC authority. In the month of November, the authority ordered residences of Rezua town to take responsibility for laying concretes in the town’s major roads. However, as the town residences were busy working at their farm as it was harvesting season, they could not start the road construction in November. Thus, the SPDC ordered over 200 households to finish construction of the road before Christmas. The SPDC issued an order that anyone those who fail to construct their quota in construction of road before the deadline will be severely punished.
The forced laborers have to manage for all the necessary tools and food as the SPDC provide them only cements.
The SPDC granted Rezua village to town status in the year 2002 and residence of Rezua were forced to engage as forced laborers in construction of most of the town’s infrastructures such as school, hospital etc.[Source: Khawnutum News]
VILLAGERS FORCED TO WORK IN RIH AREA
Colonel Tin Hla, commander of tactical one in Chin state from the Burma army visited Rih area (India-Burma border) on December 8, 2003 to inspect the progress of India-Burma border trade route which is schedule to be opened soon. The Colonel issue an order before he leaves that every household in the area should send a person per day to construct a hall to celebrate the opening ceremony of India-Burma border trade route.
The army told the villagers that; as there will be many dignitary people along with foreigners coming to the opening ceremony, they wants the construction of the hall to be elegant.
VILLAGERS FORCED AS PORTER
A local resident from Matupi report to Chin Human Rights Organization that Major Thant Yin Oo and his troop from Light Infantry Battalion LIB 266, Sabawngte camp, traveled to Sabawngpi village on January 5, 2004. The Major and his troops forced 14 villagers from Sabawngpi to serve as porters. Some women and under age school children include among the porters.
On their way back from Sabawngte village on January 17, 2004, Major Thant Yin Oo and his troop stole vegetables from the farm along with four chickens from Pu Vel Lei of Sabawngte village. When the villagers complained the stealing of vegetables and chickens to the Major, the Burmese Major told them that they didn’t stole but they just took necessary food from the people.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN LAILENPI AREA AS REPORTED BY MARA PEOPLE PARTY
1. According to the order issued by Captain Aung Naing Oo of Sabawngte army camp on February 16, 2004, three villages Phaphe, Hloma and Meisakotlah are forced to repair the fence of Sabawnte army camp.
2. On February 9, 2004, Sergeant Kyaw Htun of Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (55) has badly beaten up Pu Kawng Rim from Lailenpi village and robbed 800,000 Kyats from him. The incident occurred at Sau-U village, Paletwa township of southern Chin state.
3. On February 15, 2004 Captain Sein Win of Burmese army, Lailenpi army camp commander, seized two goats, a pig and 6,000 Kyats from Maung Maung and his friends of Aru villagers.
PRISONERS WERE ENGAGED IN A HARD LABOR IN INDO-BURMA BORDER ROAD CONSTRUCTION
Khonumthung news Group
Aizawl: 5 August 2005
The Indo-Burma trade road no.II connecting Tedim and Rih town in northern Chin state has been under the construction of about fifty detainees in the Tedim Zebet (concentration camp) by the order of the SPDC.
The Tedim – Rih road of about thirty miles long has been constructed, with the aim of its completion by next year, exploiting the Zebet detainees’ everyday while commandeering the vehicles of the traders to transport the necessary materials in the construction. A man from New Rih town said, “Now, they have completed an asphalt road of about three miles from Tedim and had laid stones along the road till the Mang Chawng Bridge in Run River.”
The man continues, “This area is an accident prone area, where traders and civilians often died in a road accident. The improvement of the road is very much welcome, and the authority promise to complete the road by next year. Will it be completed as being targeted?”
The road in this region is often severely damaged in monsoon, on 2nd May a good carrier slide down the road and killed one Kam Mung (32), a health worker in Health Care Centre of Laitui village. This is the road where more traders and civilians die of road accident.
The detainees in Tedim Zebet are made to work in the road construction from 5:00 am (BST) to 6:00 pm everyday; they were made to collect rocks and lay it on the road. Due to the severity and inhuman working condition, about three to four prisoners reportedly escape every week. However the unfortunate recaptured escapee prison term is extended with another year.
TWO CIVILIANS ON FULL TIME DUTY FOR THE BECKON CALL OF THE SPDC
Khonumthung News Group
Aizawl: 23 June 2005
The military authority posted in Vuangtu Camp, Thantlang Township of Northern Chin State makes two civilians to be on duty as a beckon call workers to do all the necessary work in the camp regularly in a rotatory basis.
A man from Vuangtu village told our reporter that the Commanding Officer of LIB – 268, Captain Thawnghlei, posted in Vuangtu keeps two civilians, regularly, to fetch water, mopping the camp, repair the bunkers and as a messenger to the surrounding villages. On emergency the civilians were made to be on duty for twenty-four hours a day or till 6:00 A.M. in the morning.
The other villagers often have to help out the men on duty when they are too busy and are not in the position to fulfill all the ordered works. The civilians on duty on Sunday missed the Church service and were made to work as another day of the week.
The village chief was ordered by the military authority to send two civilians every day. A block of wood, as a sign of the household chance for duty, was prepared and in the household where the wooden block was placed is an indicator of the chance for duty to the army camp with its nearest neighbor, reports the man from Vuangtu.
The man said, “In time of sickness, we hired another person to be on duty in lieu of the household by paying wages of 700/- or 800/- Kyats.” Meanwhile, the army in Lailenpi and Sabawngte too reportedly forced the people to collect bamboos for repairing the army’s camp.
The army posted in the border area of Chin state reportedly forced the people to work everyday in Rihkhuadar, Falam Township; Lungler and Vunagtu in Thantlang Township; Sabawngte and Lailenpi in Matupi Township and Chinletwa in Paletwa Township.