(Note: This is letter sent out by villagers in a forced relocation site in Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State, Burma at the end of September 2007. The names of villages and villagers names have been changed to protect these people from reprisals as they are still trapped in the Burma Army forced relocation site. The Burma Army has forcefully relocated thousands of people in Eastern Burma with over 100,000 people in over 100 forced relocation sites.
To: Our leader/responsible person
Subject: Information about our situation.
“First of all, I thank God for this opportunity to express my village’s situation on behalf of all the villagers.
We, the Tha Kaw Tha Kae villagers, have been living on the frontline and facing many difficulties. Because of these difficulties, many of the villagers have passed away but some still live by the grace of God. We had lived in the Tha Kaw Tha Kae village for 43 years without having to move when, suddenly, on June 3, 2007 our village was forced to move for the first time.
In the place that our village relocated we could not work and could not make money. As a result some villagers only stayed one and half months, then returned back to their home village. The Burma Army wrote these villagers permission to go, but the villagers had to pay 1500 kyat twice a month in order to be allowed to stay.
Our village headman took a census and, as of June 5, 2007, the total number of families was 50. Based on the census, the village headman arranged a school for the village children. We had a primary school with 40 students and 2 school teachers. We, the villagers, paid 20,000 kyat per month for the two teachers. We started our school on June 13, 2007 and held classes for 55 days. However, we had to again move suddenly on August 7, 2007.
This time we had to move to the Doo Dah relocation site. We again set up school in Doo Dah and all teachers continued teaching at this relocation site. However, many villagers had no work and no food. The villagers that did not have bullock carts could only bring the belongings that they could carry to the relocation site. They had to leave many things behind. The Burma Army went to the village, took the belongings that were left behind, and sold them. The villagers that fled had no time to rest, despite heat and rain, so they faced many health problems. They also had trouble getting enough food for their families.
Now, in the new relocation site, we have no place to build our houses and we have to live with other people. We must continue to be patient. Even though we stay in the relocation site, we have to find our food by returning and working secretly in our home village. We have to do this secretly since the Burma Army no longer permits us to return.
We, the villagers, are oppressed by the Burma Army in many ways. Because of this, many villagers face health problems and many pass away. Due to the lack of medicine, the following people have died:
(1) Pu Ta Ku
(2) Saw Pwo
(4) Ma O La
(5) Naw Ku Paw
(6) Saw Kyaw Aye
(7) Saw Kyaw Kyi
(8) child no name
(9) child no name
According to the information we mention above, we beg our leaders to help us and to send this information to the world.” -On behalf of the Tha Kaw Tha Kae villagers, Saw Tha Moo La-
Thank you to all who care for these villagers and others in Burma who live under oppression.
Your love and action brings hope.
God bless you,
Nyaunglebin Free Burma Ranger Team
Nyaunglebin, Karen State, Burma
8 November 2007