The mission was conducted to learn about the situation of Arakanese IDPs and the condition of Arakan people under the military regime.
Our Arakan FBR relief team works to investigate human rights violations and provide relief to IDPs in Arakan State . In the Arakan area there are many people abused by the military regime and forced to flee due to this abuse and the attacks by the regime’s army. Villagers are being forced to carry ammunition, rations and other supplies in support of the regime’s military operations. Violations of human rights by the military dictatorship include forced labor, the destruction and looting of villagers’ belongings, extrajudicial killings, sexual abuse, demands for money, food, livestock, and other materials.
We are helping IDPs with medicine, money for rice, and educational supplies for school children. We give counseling and pray for all of the people for peace for the people of Indo-Burma border and Bangladesh and Burma border. We pray for happiness and held festival for IDPs. We had vigil in a church with Arakanese IDP students, Free Burma Ranger relief team members and other people for the tragic events happening to Karen IDPs. Our Arakan relief team made a decision that we will help others learn about violations of human rights inside Burma. Our decision included co-operating with other social and religion organization to update news and to promote justice, equal rights and peace for all the people of Burma.
Forced Labor and Land Acquisition
The military regime created a forced labor law, Article 1/99 (March 1999, October 2000), which states that forced labor is outlawed throughout Burma. They are ignoring their own law in Arakan State. In Palawa Township, a new Burma Army LIB, No. 289, created in 2004, recently issued an order to the villages of Nharmatar, Mondawn, Loundkadu, Palawa, Ruwa, Kethar, Panetapan, Jalay, Chindawn, Nupu, and Kuwa to each send 20 forced laborers every day to the local Burma Army camp. The people were forced to bake brick, clean the camp, make fences, and build a temporary building and do general work in the camp. The age of the laborers must be between 15 and 40 years. Each person was forced to bring rations and firewood for three days. They also had to bring tools like hoes, pickaxes, and knives to use during their work. The Army is continually demanding pigs, chickens, rice and other supplies by force. And the Army uses force labor to carry ammunition, ration, and others.
In the Kyauk Taw Township, LIB No 539 was shifted from Tharaoke village to Kansouth village, so many similar abuses are occurring there. The villages of Thainshawn, Kharumor, Pranyanwa, Nasarichawn, Lakue, Taywa, Mainsonkhu, Kanpi, Kha Maung, Thaluchawn, Chinmawandown, Lamutapin have been forced to send laborers. Each village must send firewood to bake bricks for the construction of the Burma Army camp. Each piece of wood must be 18 inches wide and 64 inches long. Each village has to send 800 pieces a year. The Burma Army also uses forced labor to repair and construct base camps and temporary camps. In February 2006, The Arakan Liberation Army burned a Twepen Burma Army camp, a temporary military camp. The Burma Army then came to the nearby village and accused of the villagers of being rebels. The Burma Army demanded 80,000 Kyat as compensation. The villagers were then forced to re-build the camp.
Villagers throughout Arakan State have been forced to plant castor seeds, groundnuts and onions which have been sold to them by the Military Regime at high prices. Villagers have been unable to profit from these crops and would rather plant rice paddy. Larger areas of farmland have also been annexed by the Burma Army for fisheries and agricultural products which benefit the military, as well as for land on which to build new camps.
In Poutdaw Township, approximately 180 square kilometers was annexed by LIB No. 344, 200 square kilometers was annexed by LIB No. 374, 80 square kilometers by the Air force and 150 square kilometers by the Police department for the construction of a fishery lake. One man, Oo Maung, was forced to shift his family from his own residence in order to make room for the residence of Burma Army officer. When Oo Maung went to his house to ask for compensation, the officer’s bodyguard beat him. Many people were forced to labor during the digging of the fishery lake, from Kyauk Taw and Sittwe Township. Land owners have not yet received any compensation.
The Burma Army continues to demand money, pork, chicken, wood and bamboo from villages. They are still collecting taxes from checkpoints. Some battalions are forcing farmers to sell rice to them for less than half of the current market price. These abuses are occurring unnoticed by the outside world because of the lack media freedom and because the regime controls the country by the gun.
The Burma Army in the area of the Pikoutchawn bridge has been demanding a tax from local boat operators: 200 Kyat for a small boat, 500 Kyat for a big boat and 1,000 Kyat for a motorboat. One villagers’ boat license was confiscated when he could not pay the tax and he then had to pay a 15,000 Kyat fine to get his license back. One family from Arpoutwa villages was also been forced to pay the forestry department 5,000 Kyat to build a new home.
Because it is becoming so difficult to live under these conditions, many villagers, especially young people, are leaving their homeland.
IDPs and people in the Arakan border areas suffer from very poor health. Many people suffer from malaria, pneumonia, and other treatable diseases. There is no access to medical care for these people, so the people are very happy when our team comes to provide medicine. There is one clinic in the area, however they have been recently unable to provide treatment because they have run out of funds with which to purchase medicine.
Education for Children
In Arakan State of Burma there are thousands of Arakanese children who have no way to get an education because most of the rural areas do not have an education system. This is especially in the border areas.
Name : : **** ****
Age : : 42
Brother and Sister: : 5
Place of Birth : : Whe Ku village, Palawa Township, Arakan State of Burma
Occupation : : Highland farmer
Religion : : Buddhist
Nationality : : Khumi
Children : : 7
Son : : 3
Daughter : : 4
Name of father : : ** *** ( Age 63)
Name of mother: : **** ** ( Age 60)
“In Feburary, 2006, the Palawa Township leader, Kyaw Zaya ordered a meeting where villagers were told to begin the construction of the new Arpound Thar road. The road was is to be part of the national highway system. One person from each household was to be sent as forced labor on this construction project. Family members from families that do not send someone to work would be arrested. Every laborer was forced to bring rations, and other tools to be used during construction. The laborers were also forced to sleep at the work site. The Regime had said it would provide 16,000,000 Kyat for the construction of the highway, however none of that money has been provided. The road is to be 14 feet wide and the villagers must complete a distance of 30 miles. Villagers have not received any compensation and were even forced to work on May Day, a national holiday.
“The local authorities of Palawa Township were also to provide a pipeline to supply drinking water. Villagers were demanded to pay 1,000 Kyat to 10,000 Kyat from each house for the water supply pipeline.”
Name : : Thar *** **
Age : : 24
Nationality : : Chin
Religion : : Buddhist
Name of Father : : Thar *** **
Place of Birth: : Scin San village, Palawa Township, Arakan State of Burma
**** *** ** is living in Scin San village, Palawa Township, Arakan State of Burma. **** *** ** said that in Palawa Township LIB No 289 issued order to the villages of Nharmater, Mondawn, Tensixe, Loundkadu, Kanwa, Palawa, Ruwa, Kethar village, Panetapan, Jalay, Chindawn, Nupu and Kuwa to send 20 forced laborers each day. The interviewee said that he must go once a month to provide forced labor for two days at the local Burma Army camp. They are ordered to bake bricks till, to build temporary buildings, fencing, clear the compound, fetch water, chop firewood and do other general work in the Army camp. When they go, they must bring their own food, firewood, knife, hoe and other tools. They sometimes have to stay for more than two days. The present LIB No. 289 commanding officer’s name is Kyaw Man and second duty officer name is Kyaw Twe.
**** *** ** said that they work from 6 am to 11 am and 1 pm to 4 pm every day. He also said that he and the other farmers in his areas must give between 1,500 Kyat and 5,000 Kyat to the forest department, Survey department and Army when they demand payment.
Our Free Burma Ranger Arakan Relief Team is helping the Arakanese Internally Displaced Persons by means of medicines, medical treatments, food, money for school children, counseling etc. We get together and pray to God for peace, justice, freedom and human rights. Our Arakan Free Burma Ranger Team members are working hard in Arakan State. By the grace of God all of our team members are interested in relief work. We are very sad indeed when we see and listen to the sounds of our suffering people. The people warmly welcome our team and they recognize us as their own family. I am also very happy and satisfied to help them and I saw our team members and the people are being loved and enjoy their time together.
Arakan Relief Team Leader