|FBR Relief Mission: Lahu Leadership and Relief Team in Eastern Shan State
18 August – 17 September, 2003
|Shan State, Burma
This report covers rape, narcotics, forced labor, religious persecution and other human rights violations by the Burma Army, as well as a daily mission report.
(1) Rape By Burma Army
Name of victim – xx xx
Age – 30
Nationality – Lahu
Religion – Christian
Occupation – Farmer
Date of Incident – 16 Aug 03
Place of Incident – Nam Yon village, Mong Tong Township.
Rapists: Captain Aung Chan Win and 20 soldiers of the SPDC Troop – LIB 519 based in Mong Tong (Mine Ton).
The Rape: On 16 Aug 2003, Capt Aung Chan Win and his troops (Burma Army LIB519) came and stayed at Nam Yon village, Mong Tong Township, Shan State. At that time, U xx xx and his wife xx xx were planting rice in their hillside field. Capt Aung Chan Win and his troops went to them and fired a gun. U xx xx was afraid and ran away but his wife could not run because the soldiers caught her hand. Then, Capt Aung Chan Win asked her about her husband and accused her husband of being a soldier of the SSA (Shan State Army). He slapped her face and said “Your husband is a Shan State Army (SSA) soldier, tell us about that”. xx xx said to them, “No, my husband is just farmer”. Then, he slapped her face and raped her. After he raped her, 20 soldiers raped to her one by one. Then, they went back to the village. xx xx was unconscious when other villagers came to care for her. Cpt. Aung Chan Win ordered to the village headman, “Nobody must tell about this to other people, if other people know about this I will punish you and your villagers”. Thus, the villagers were afraid to report the rape.
Note; FBR – Lahu Relief mission group interviewed a villager Mr. xxx xxx from Nam Yon village about this rape case. He was interviewed at a Lahu village on the Thai- Burma border on 25 August 2003. He is 40 years old and married. He is Lahu and Christian. He is a farmer.
(2) SPDC & UWSA Partnership in Narcotics Production.
On 19 August 2003, Lt. Col. Kyaw Than, Battalion Commander of IB- 65 and Wei Hsuek Yin (younger brother of Wei Hsuek Kang) began to manufacture heroin and methamphetamine pills in a cave near the Mong Han River, Eastern Shan State. The cave is located four (4) kilometers from Mong Ham village, Mong Tong Township, Shan State.
(3) SPDC & UWSA Meeting about Narcotics Production.
On 20 August 03, the battalion commanders of Burma Army LIB – 519, IB – 225, IB – 277, IB-65 and Col. Kyar Law Bon, Command Commander Wei Hsuek Yin, Bridge Commander of UWSA Tak Mar and Tak Pin held a meeting about narcotics production and other local programs. They discussed how to produce more heroin and methamphetamines, how to get more taxes from merchants, and how to sell and increase the trafficking of narcotics in their areas. They also discussed how to get funds for the SPDC’s and UWSA’s “Yar Gyi Aung” meeting hall at Mong Tong.
(4) The Activities of UWSA and Kokang Chinese
(a) The UWSA and elements of Kokang Chinese are conducting joint narcotics production and trafficking into Thailand and Laos. On 16 August 2003, Kokang Chinese merchants and 26 soldiers of UWSA (with their guns) carried 2 million Methamphetamines pills from Mong Ton, Na Kaw Mu village, Shan State to Naw Uk, Thailand and then it was sent on to Chiang Mai. Mr. Law Yin who is Kokang Chinese was the main operator.
(b) These groups also keep 100 million methamphetamine pills in a cave close to the Thai – Burma border where they arrange trafficking and sales to Thailand.
(c) From 20 August 2003 – 31 August 2003, these same groups sent four (4) million methamphetamine pills to the Thai -Burma border from Hon Pa Hon Yaw, Loi Lang, Shan State to Mae Ai, Thailand and on to Mae Sui, Chiang Rai.
(5) Other Narcotics Information
On 13 August 03, narcotics traders paid taxes to Lt.Col. Maung Pu of Burma Army LIB-519, based at Mong Tong (Mine Ton), Shan State. The tax rate is as follows;
1.Methamphetamines – 1 tablet – 1 Thai Baht
2.Opium – 1 viss – 500 Thai Baht (1 viss = 1.633 kg)
3.Heroin – 1 kg- 2,000 Thai Baht
(6) Forced Labor
a) Burma Army (B.A.) IB – 65, IB – 226, IB – 227 and LIB – 519 based in the Mong Tong Area, took control (by force) of rice fields owned by the villagers. Then the Burma Army forced the villagers to work these lands for them, to plow the wet rice fields and to plant rice. The villagers must work 4 acres (1 acre = 4,840 sq), for each village. For other fields belonging to the people, the B.A required that each acre cultivated produce 70 tin (16 pyi) of paddy rice. If 1 acre did not produce 70 tins, the villagers must offset this from other fields. In the past few years, the villagers got 40 tins per acre. Now the villagers must produce 70 tins for each acre. This year, the villagers are worrying they will not meet the quota.
(b) Burma Army (B.A) LIB519, commanded by Lt. Col. Maung Pu, ordered to the villagers to send 5- 10 people from each village to the B.A camps. The villagers are forced to build fences around each B.A camp, to cut the trees for firewood, to repair roads and bridges and to assist in security for B.A camps. The villagers were forced to work 15 days for each group by the BA. After 15 days, they rotated groups (villagers). If the villagers could not come, the village was fined 3,000 Kyat to 5,000 Kyat for each person missing. Some villagers got sick but the B.A did not take care of them or give medicine to them. They also did not give any food for the workers. The villagers had to bring their own rice and vegetables.
(7) Forced Portering and Escape
Name – Kya Heh
Age – 40 years
Sex – Male
Religion – Christian
Marital Status – Married with 2 children
Village – ****, Mong Tong Area
Place of interview -*****Lahu village, Thai – Burma border.
Date of interview – 25 August 2003
When I was staying in my village the Burma Army ordered 10 villagers to come to LIBÐ- 519. Then, we went to the B.A. Camps. When we reached to them, they ordered to us to carry the rice, oil, bullets, etc to send to their camps based on the Thai- Burma border. When we reached the jungle, the soldiers beat my friend because he became sick and could not go fast enough for them. Then I helped to him and carried his bag. When we reached to ### village, I fled from that village to this village. While I fled in the jungle, I got a wound on my foot because it was very dark. I will stay in this village 2 or 3 months and then I will go back to my village because I left my family at there but I am afraid of the Burma soldiers will beat me and force me to porter again. Thank you to your medical treatment. I shall never forget your kindness.”
Note; we do not mention his village name for his security.
(8) SPDC District Rule
SPDC rules the Eastern Shan State by separating it into 9 districts. For example, in Tachilek district there are the townships of Tachilek, Mong Pyant and Mong Yaw. Tachilek is capital city for this district. Keng Tung, Mong Khat and Mong Yan are in one district and Keng Tung is capital city of this district. Mong Hsat, Mong Tong and Mong Pin are one district and Mong Hsat is capital city of that district.
The SPDC has appointed one person to manage the political, economic, and social affairs for each district. These persons must support all military needs. They must take responsibility for all procurement of porters, to bring stones for road construction, the plowing of wet rice fields, the planting of rice and the sending of the paddy to the Burma Army.
When the Burma Army has need, they also organize motorbikes and cars for transport of the Burma Army. Civilians are forced to clean in parks, provide free labor for building projects, cut the trees for firewood, dig fish ponds, and to transport rice and oil.
The Burma Army forces civilians to contribute money whenever they celebrate a birthday for a company commander or battalion commander, and their wives and their children. The military families invite the civilians especially the rich people (merchants), and the leaders of USDA. Civilians must pay 5,000, 10,000 to 100,000 kyat as a birthday present for their families. If the civilians pay for these birthday presents then they are favored in all business transactions. They also gain protection.
(9) Religious Persecution and Separation of the Ethnic People
The Lahu people in this area used to be primarily animist or Christian. The SPDC started religious persecution in 1993. SPDC appointed the Buddhist Lahu people as leaders. These people are Kya Saw (Paw Meu) for Mong Hsat district, Kya Mu Kyo and Kya Ca Po for Tachilek and Keng Tung districts. The SPDC supports them with food and money. If they want to celebrate the Buddhist religious festivals, the SPDC provides support.
Some Lahu people are forced to become Buddhist. SPDC officers tell them, “if you become Buddhist, you do not need to pay the various taxes and you do not need to be porters”. Then the some Lahu people became Buddhist and the authorities gave each family a Buddhist idol and forced them to worship it. The SPDC has ordered that the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and animist religions should disappear and that all the people in Burma must become Buddhist.
The SPDC do not allow other religious festivals, or the building of new churches for the Christians. In some placers the SPDC has forcefully occupied Christian Churches and built pagodas for Buddhism on those sites. The SPDC appoints the important places of the departments (Immigration dep., Health dep., Education dep., etc.) to the Buddhist people. SPDC also creates conflict among the different religions.
(10) SPDC’s Forced Military Training
(a) The SPDC ordered all the battalions to do military training, not only the men but also all the available women in each battalion area from 1 August 03 to 1 November 03. The Battalion Commander of IB 43 (based in Mong Pin), ordered all the women to attend the military training. He also said that “if they cannot attend the military training, don’t give rice, oil, etc to those families”. After they are 18 years old, the children of the military (including the girls) are forced to attend to the military training. Some are students but they ordered to train and then go to school at night. While they do the military training, some women get sick but the BA does not give medicine to them. If they become too sick to attend the military training, the authorities punish them. Thus, some women have fled to Thailand while some women flee back to their parents.
(b) For example, Burma Army Battalions No. 244, 35, and 409 ordered 10 people from each village to come to the training ( Min Kun area). The villagers do not want to attend this military but they are afraid of the B. A. Some villagers are very old and while they are doing the training some get sick but they must still attend to the military training.
(11) The SPDC & Cease- Fire groups.
After Khin Nyunt became Prime Minister of Burma, he gave a special opportunity to the ceasefire groups to promote their relationship. He said that he wanted to meet and discuss with the ethnic leaders to promote a closer friendship. He also said to the ceasefire groups, “If you can convince the opposition/non-ceasefire ethnic groups, I will give to you more opportunities”.
The Daily Activities of Lahu Free Burma Ranger Relief Mission
On 18 August 03 (Monday), FBR – Lahu Relief Mission Group left from xxxxxx at 1 P. M and reached to xxxxx village at 5:51 P.M (at Orphanage), xx xx xx Township, xxxxx Province.
On 19 August 03 (Tuesday), we stayed at the Orphanage and taught about the gospel songs and how to play guitar to the children.
On 20 Aug 03 (Wednesday), We invited 20 villagers and Lahu refugees, explained about health; how to take care of ourselves and the situation of inside Burma. We provided medical treatment to the sick people.
On 21 Aug 03 (Thursday), we left from xxxx village at 10:00 am and reached xxx xxx village, Pin Lon area at 2:30 pm. We asked to the villagers about the situation of their village and we discussed about how to the Lahu people can participate in bringing about democracy in Burma. We explained about the aims and objectives of the FBR- Lahu to the villagers. We also discussed political and health topics with the villagers. Then, we treated sick people and distributed medicine.
On 22 Aug 03 (Friday), we left from xxx xxx village at 2:00 p.m, and reached xxx xxx at 4:20 Pm We stayed 3 days in that village and treated sick people in that village, the Lahu refugees also stay there. They fled from Burma because of SPDC and UWSA soldiers. Then, we asked to them about the situation inside Burma.
On 25 Aug 03, (Saturday) we left from xxx xxx village at 3; 30 p.m. and reached xx xx xx Lahu village at 5:10 Pm. We stay 3 days on that village and treated medical to the people who fled from Burma and explained about our aims and objectives and discussed the political situation of inside Burma.
On 26 Aug 03 (Sunday) we left from xx xx xx village to xx xxx xx village, xxxxx xxx area at 1; 40 p.m . We stayed on that village until 31 Aug 03. We helped to collect the soldiers for Lahu Democratic Front (LDF). We gave medicines to them and we did research the health situation of the villagers and treated the villagers.
On 1 September 03 (Monday) we left from xx xx village at 2; 58 p.m, and reached a camp at 7: 21 p.m. We stayed 3 days and treated Shan and Lahu medical patients. We tried to encourage them.
On 4 September 03 (Thursday) we left this camp, at 9:a.m to xxxxxx Lahu village at 4: 10 Pm. We treated medical cases and gave medicine to the villagers.
On 5 September 03 (Friday) we left xxxxxx village at 10; a.m and reached xxxx xxx, Orphanage Center at 11: 02 p.m. We taught the gospel songs and told the stories to the Children at the evening.
On 6 September 03 (Saturday) we left from xxxxxxx village and reached to xxxxxx Lahu village at 12: 67 p.m. We stayed 3 days at there and we asked the situation of the villagers. Then we discussed about Democracy with the villagers and treated medically the sick people.
On 10 September 03 (Wednesday) we left from xxxx xxx village at 2 p.m and reached xx xxxx village at 3; 19 P.m.
On 13 September 03 (Saturday), we invited and did a meeting including the Men, Women and Youth from different villager; 9 villages, xx xxxx area, xx xxx Township, xx xxxx province. That meeting was organized by FBR- Lahu and Lahu Democratic Front (LDF). We did advocacy about substitute crops for opium, and avoiding drugs (opium, methamphetamines, etc) including planting, using, and selling. Some villagers smoke opium and they want to stop it but they are afraid to go to the town. Thus, we encouraged to villagers, “if some one wants to stop smoking opium, we can help with that”. After that meeting, the different Lahu women (e.g Lahu Black, Lahu Red, Yellow Lahu etc.) entertained by dancing traditional Lahu dances for us and we also joined and danced with them. We treated and gave medicine to the sick people at there.
On 14 September 03 (Sunday), we left from the village at 9: 00 am and reached to xxxxx (at orphanage) at 10:00 a.m. We stayed 2 days at orphanage and taught about gospel songs, telling stories and Lahu literature.
On 17 September 03 (Wednesday), we left from xxx xxx village to xxxxx at LDF office.
During this relief mission, 41 patients were treated by the FBR- Lahu team.