Central Papun District: Abuse and the maintenance of military control
This report presents information on the human rights situation in village tracts in central Papun District located near the northern section of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun Road, south of Papun Town in Bu Tho Township. Communities must confront regular threats to their livelihoods and physical security stemming from the strong SPDC and DKBA presence in, and control of the area, as these military units support themselves by extracting significant material and labour resources from the local civilian population. Villagers have reported movement restrictions and various exploitative abuses, including arbitrary taxation, forced portering, forced labour fabricating and delivering materials to military units, forced mine clearance and forced recruitment for military service. Some communities have also reported threats or acts of violent abuse, typically in the context of enforcing forced labour orders or where villagers have been accused of contacting or assisting KNLA forces operating in the area. This is the second of four reports detailing the situation in Papun District's southern townships that will be released in August 2010. Incidents documented in this report occurred between April 2009 and February 2010.
Central Papun District is heavily militarized and tightly-controlled by State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) forces, which have continued efforts to consolidate and entrench military authority over lowland areas of northern Karen State by improving military infrastructure, as well as systems of civilian control and resource extraction, to support the substantial military presence active in the area. A network of roads links Papun Town, the administrative centre for SPDC-delineated Hpapun Township and headquarters of a Strategic Operations Command (SOC) of the Southeastern Regional Command, with the fringes of Dweh Loh and Bu Tho Townships, as well as major towns in adjacent districts (see map). Military bases have been constructed on or near these roads; in many cases villagers residing far from these natural centres of authority have been forcibly relocated to sites where they can be more comprehensively controlled by SPDC or DKBA forces, as well as tapped for material and logistical support in the form of forced labour and arbitrary taxation.
Villagers in central Papun District are subject to a range of regular human rights abuses that directly undercut their livelihoods and illustrate the reality of life under exploitative military control. Ma Htaw, Htee Moo Htah and Tee Tha Blu Htah village tracts in particular, which are located in Dweh Loh Township at the northern end of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road, are confronted with frequent abuses stemming from the large and permanent military presence in the area. Most communities in these tracts lie in the flat floodplain of the Yunzalin River, which approximately separates Dweh Loh and Bu Tho Townships, and are bounded by the Bilin to Papun road to the west and the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road to the east. SPDC and DKBA camps are located at strategic points throughout the area, especially along the vehicle roads, and SPDC units have long attempted to forcibly relocate communities from more difficult-to-control upland areas to central locations easily accessed by military units: Ma Htaw, Htee Moo Htah, Baw Tho Htah and Tee Tha Blu Htah villages (see map) have all previously been designated by the SPDC as relocation sites.
Since the beginning of 2009, KHRG has received reports of regular human rights abuses committed by SPDC and DKBA forces in these and other village tracts of central Papun District. According to KHRG's field researchers and villager testimony, units from SPDC Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #219 and DKBA Gk'saw Wah 'White elephant' Special Battalion #777 were active in the areas covered in this report in 2009; LIB #219 has since been replaced by other SPDC battalions, but Gk'saw Wah Battalion remains active in central Papun. Villagers have reported extensive exploitative abuses linked to the SPDC's 'self-reliance' policy, including various forms of forced labour and ad hoc demands for material support; these demands require locals to divert crucial time, energy and resources away from their own livelihoods, for token or no remuneration. Locals have also described SPDC soldiers threatening or perpetrating acts of violent abuse to encourage compliance with their demands.
Although much of central Papun is under effective SPDC or DKBA control, units of Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) 5th Brigade remain active in adjacent upland areas, frequently targeting the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road to disrupt delivery of rations and supplies as well as SPDC and DKBA troop movements. KNLA units continue to make infrequent 'guerrilla' style attacks and place landmines and booby traps. Local villagers are often put under heavy movement restrictions by SPDC or DKBA authorities, ostensibly to prevent any contact with KNLA soldiers; such restrictions also, however, disrupt villagers living in controlled areas from engaging in regular agricultural, labour and trading activities, exacerbating the strain on livelihoods created by exploitative abuses. Perceived violations of movement restrictions can result in heavy fines, detention or violence at the hands of the local military authorities, as well as threats to villagers' physical security in the form of violent abuse carried out as extra-judicial punishment or reprisal against individuals or communities accused of communicating with, or otherwise supporting, local KNLA units.
The following sections of this report detail the regular abuses described by local villagers to KHRG researchers, as well as the responses local communities employ in attempts to protect themselves and limit the harmful impacts of SPDC and DKBA abuses. Despite the strong military presence in central Papun District, villagers continue to find space to negotiate, reduce, or avoid abuses, and thereby retain time and resources for their own immediate livelihoods activities.
Abuses by SPDC forces and local responses
In 2009, villages in Ma Htaw village tract faced frequent exploitative demands, as both of the two most senior officers of LIB #219, Battalion Commander Aung Naing Oo and Deputy Battalion Commander Moe Zaw Oo, operated out of Toung Tho Lo (aka. "Three Mountains") camp in Ma Htaw village tract. Toung Tho Lo lies approximately 19 miles (31 kilometres) south of Papun Town on the Papun to Ka Ma Maung vehicle road. According to KHRG's field researchers, detachments of LIB #219 based in Toung Tho Lo, Ma Htaw village, Htwee Thee Uh (Chaw Tha Yar in Burmese), and Ku Seik all made regular and onerous forced labour and other exploitative demands from the surrounding villages in 2009.
Major Min Soe, the SPDC Commander at Ma Htaw camp, reportedly demanded five porters from the surrounding villages to porter rations between Ma Htaw village and Ma Htaw camp once every month in 2009. SPDC units based in Ma Htaw and other camps along the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road also impose heavy demands for the fabrication and delivery of building materials including thatch shingles for roofing, and bamboo poles and wooden posts for constructing buildings and fences. In the following quote, Saw Hp---, the headman of Si--- village, Dweh Loh Township, described to a KHRG researcher the extent to which demands for forced labour are an integral part of SPDC administration of villages under its control:
Orders for forced labour and the fabrication of building materials are typically issued via written letters circulated to villages or, increasingly, in meetings called by SPDC commanders with village heads from communities under their control. Such meetings themselves constitute a form of forced labour, as village heads must take time out of their own livelihoods activities to travel to and from the local SPDC camp and attend the meeting.
Villagers from Ma Htaw village tract and the village tracts to the north have confirmed in interviews with KHRG field researchers that they and their resources have been repeatedly tapped by SPDC authorities to provide building materials, especially bamboo poles and thatch shingles. On September 28th 2009, for example, Deputy Battalion Commander Moe Zaw Oo, commanding a unit based in Toung Tho Lo camp, ordered each of Htee Law Thee Hta, Noh Ghaw Hta, Wah Tho Koh, Hsa Law Teh, Baw Tho Htah, Pway Htaw Ro, Gka Bpee Kee and Htee Theh Lay villages to fabricate and deliver 200 thatch shingles, 1,600 shingles in total, to repair roofs on buildings in their camp. The following villager quotes illustrate further the frequent demands for forced labour faced by local villagers.
Demands for the fabrication of building materials are usually made on an ad hoc basis, making them difficult for rural communities to anticipate, and therefore often disrupt regular agricultural and livelihoods activities, which can be extremely damaging for those villagers dependent on subsistence farming. The impact on livelihoods is exacerbated by the fact that villagers are rarely, if ever, compensated for the time spent finding, collecting, fabricating, and delivering the materials requested. The strain on livelihoods is a powerful factor motivating attempts by villagers and their leaders to avoid or negotiate, sometimes unilaterally, orders for forced labour and the provision of materials, despite the risk inherent in opposing local military authorities.
At least two village heads have told KHRG that they can be caught between competing authorities when such demands are levied, saying that villages have to ask permission from local KNU/KNLA authorities to provide building materials to SPDC units. While these village leaders did not elaborate on the consequences of breaking an order by KNU/KNLA officials not to comply with SPDC demands, they pointed out that village heads do bring up such orders when negotiating with SPDC officers to reduce or rescind orders for the fabrication of materials.
The strain on livelihoods caused by SPDC demands for the fabrication of materials is compounded by frequent demands for forced labour, particularly clearing and repairing roads. On October 8th 2009 LIB #219 Deputy Battalion Commander Moe Zaw Oo demanded forced labour from several villages after the Tee Tha Blu Gkloh Bridge, on the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road, was burnt and damaged in an attack by KNLA soldiers. In July 2009 this bridge had been built with forced labour, as described in the following quote from Saw Ho---, the deputy village head of Sa--- village, Dweh Loh Township:
Five labourers from each of eight villages, plus the eight village heads, were ordered to work on the bridge for four full days from October 8th to 11th 2009. During the construction period, the villagers had to sleep at the work site and were only released to return to their villages in the morning if other labourers had come to replace them. The villages ordered to participate included Tee Tha Blu Htah, Hsa Law Teh, Noh Ghaw, Gka Bpee Kee, Baw Tho Htah, Wah Thoh Gklah, Htee Ah Bpee Htah and Gka Toh Roh; the village heads were threatened that their villages would be destroyed and the villagers relocated to sites closer to the main road if they did not send labourers. In the following quotes, the village heads of Si--- and Ke--- villages, Dweh Loh Township, describe the incident:
Instead of receiving payment for the work as originally promised, the village heads were called to a meeting at LIB #219 camp at Toung Tho Lo, informed that they would not be paid, and given one sack of low quality rice for each village that participated in the labour.
KNLA forces operating along this road often destroy bridges and lay landmines on the road during the rainy season to disrupt SPDC troop rotations and re-supply operations when the annual monsoon rains end. Demands for forced labour clearing roads and repairing bridges, as well as for porters when roads are not passable, are therefore frequently imposed on civilians in Ma Htaw and other village tracts along the vehicle in September and October, when the rainy season has ended. Forced labour obligations during this period can be particularly damaging for rural villagers, as the weeks following the end of the rainy season offer a small but crucial window to harvest paddy crops; demands for labour that disrupt harvest activities during this period can gravely undermine local communities' food security for the coming year. As explained throughout this field report, villagers and village leaders frequently attempt to reduce or circumvent exploitative demands in a number of ways to reduce the strain on local livelihoods. Some villagers have also reported that they have refused such demands when they felt that their physical security would be endangered by a certain forced labour activity.
Repair of the Tee Tha Blu Gkloh Bridge was accompanied by other measures undertaken by local authorities in October and November 2009, to secure the delivery of rations in and around Ma Htaw village tract. In October, soldiers from LIB #219 based at the Ma Htaw SPDC camp imposed tight travel restrictions, forbidding villagers from travelling to and from their farms and plantations. A few villages whose farms were located near their villages were able to continue working their land, but villages near SPDC camps and those with fields near the vehicle road could not. Locals told KHRG that eight villages had at least one plantation or paddy field destroyed because the villagers couldn't tend their land; the largest losses included 16 plantations and two paddy fields in Pi--- village, and four plantations and nine paddy fields in Bo Baw Koh.
On October 25th 2009, communities in Ma Htaw village tract were ordered provide one person per household to clear grass from along sections of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road near their villages. Forced labour clearing roadside brush is often ordered by SPDC soldiers after the end of the rainy season, during which shrubs and bushes may have grown several metres tall. Clearing this overgrowth facilitates SPDC control over roadways, allowing troops to spot villagers crossing or walking near the road, as well as opposition soldiers active near the road. It can also, however, be an intensely dangerous activity for civilians in areas where unmarked landmines have been placed by SPDC, DKBA or KNLA forces.
Beginning on November 9th, residents of Pi--- were ordered by SPDC troops to send villagers to serve as round the clock sentries at the nearby army camp, as an additional security measure due to fears about possible KNLA attacks and landmines in the area. Pi--- was instructed to send three villagers at a time, and rotate those on duty with fresh sentries every morning and evening.
On November 15th a DKBA unit led by Saw Pah Soo, a monk, and Company Commander Soe Myint Oo arrived in Ma Htaw village and ordered residents of Ma Htaw who owned bullock carts to drive their carts from Ma Htaw to Pi--- and back, in order to clear the road of landmines before rations and military equipment were transported. The DKBA authorities instructed the villagers to place heavy loads, but not their own rations, on their carts to ensure that any mines were triggered. The villagers were not paid or provided food during this operation; instead, they were forced to provide 50,000 kyat (US $51.28), a big tin of rice [16 kg. / 35.2 lb.], and collect 50 nipa palm leaves to make thatch roofing for the soldiers' approaching Karen New Year celebration. Local sources told KHRG that bullock cart owners in Dt'Bpay Kee, Pway Htaw Ruh, Taw Meh Htah, Pah Loh and Paw Htee villages had also been ordered to use their carts to clear the road of landmines.
Despite such uses of human and animal minesweepers to clear the roads for rations delivery, on November 3rd 2009 a soldier from a unit of 30 men from LIB #219 based at the Pi--- SPDC camp stepped on a landmine while walking between the camp and Pi--- village, injuring himself and two others. After the incident, the residents of the village were ordered to assemble in the SPDC camp and for the next three days were subjected to harsh treatment including heavy forced labour and denial of sufficient food, while children were separated from their parents and forced to sit in the sun without food or water during the day. Villagers' homes and possessions were looted while they were forced to work, and adult males were ordered to sleep in the SPDC Army camp at night. The villagers were apparently subjected to this abuse as a form of punishment in retaliation for the injury of three SPDC soldiers; locally deployed SPDC units often tell villagers that they will be held accountable for KNLA landmines and ambushes on SPDC troops near their homes, regardless of whether or not the villagers have communicated or cooperated with KNLA forces in their area. Village heads living under SPDC control or have reportedly asked local KNLA commanders not to carry out operations near their communities, in order to protect villagers from such retribution.
On November 6th, after the third day of abuse, 105 residents of Pi--- held a meeting to discuss possible courses of action and decided to flee that evening to several locations in Dweh Loh and Bu Tho Townships, assessing that the acute physical and food insecurity confronted by villagers in hiding in areas beyond SPDC control would be more conducive to their survival and livelihoods activities than remaining near their own homes under worsening exploitative and abusive SPDC control. It is not uncommon for villagers from areas of Dweh Loh and Bu Tho Township with a strong SPDC or DKBA military presence to make such decisions to become strategically displaced to areas with a less permanent SPDC and DKBA presence, as a means of escaping from regular human rights abuses. Dozens of hiding villages have been established in remote parts of Meh Nyu and Meh Ku village tracts in Bu Tho Township, which have more mountainous terrain and are more difficult to control.
Living in these areas brings greater physical and food security risks as they are areas in which SPDC and DKBA forces place landmines and launch intermittent attacks against inhabited villages and agricultural operations in order to force their inhabitants to relocate to controlled areas; villagers who choose to flee to such non-state spaces typically have no established farmland and limited short-term food supplies. The living conditions in non-state controlled spaces of Papun District have been reported in detail in other KHRG reports. It is important to note here, however, that individuals and communities living in hiding appear to have evaluated the risks of irregular attacks and violent abuses, as well as food insecurity, in such areas against the severe damage to livelihoods caused by regular exploitative demands when living under military control and have decided that they stand a better chance of survival with dignity by living in areas beyond SPDC or DKBA control.
Abuses by DKBA forces and local responses
Communities in Ma Htaw and the neighbouring village tracts have to deal with further demands from soldiers from DKBA Gk'saw Wah Special Battalion #777. In July 2009 Gk'Saw Wah Battalion soldiers issued an order for several villages in Htee Moo Htah and Tee Tha Blu Htah village tracts in Dweh Loh Township to provide them with new recruits. DKBA troops called village heads to a meeting to issue the demands, and followed this up with a written order one week later when conscripts had not yet been found.
Most village heads had difficulty finding new recruits, and attempted to avoid meeting the demand. Villagers' hesitance to join the DKBA may be attributable to fears of poor living conditions and ill treatment among low-ranking soldiers; KHRG has previously published interviews with DKBA deserters indicating that conscripted troops serving in the rank and file do not receive adequate rations and are poorly treated; this includes physical abuse, which interviewees have cited in their reasons for desertion. Saw Le---, the head of Ke--- village, also suggested that his villagers were unwilling to join the DKBA due to the perception that new recruits would be sent to fight in the joint SPDC/DKBA offensive against KNLA 7th Brigade positions in Pa'an District, conducted in mid-2009, and would have to fight against other Karen soldiers:
According to Saw Pu---, the headman of Gi--- village at the time of the recruiting drive, only a few villages met the full demand for recruits. At least one village, Mu---, was able to negotiate with DKBA authorities and make a payment of 800,000 kyat (US $820.51) instead of supplying villagers as conscripts. DKBA troops resorted to arresting two villagers from Htee Theh Leh in their attempts to secure recruits, but were reportedly ordered to release them and refrain from conscripting troops in this manner by senior DKBA officers and monks. Many other village heads hoped to negotiate the request, and planned to visit DKBA officers in Gka Teh Tee camp together, in order to strengthen their bargaining position. Representatives of Ke---, Gi---, and Pr--- villages, however, went to the camp first and were promptly detained, threatened that they would themselves be conscripted, and were made to do forced labour for seven days. The other village heads heard about this while en route to the camp the next day, and managed to avoid this punishment. The following quotes, from three village heads who were ordered to provide conscripts to the DKBA, describe the detention and treatment of the leaders who visited Gka Teh Tee.
Similar orders to provide soldiers for the DKBA were reported in other villages in the area. Naw Pl---, the village headwoman of Ga--- village, in Ma Htaw village tract, described to a KHRG researcher how she refused a local commander's order for recruits and appealed to a more senior authority, the Buddhist monk and nominal head of the DKBA U Thuzana, to have the order withdrawn.
Naw Pl---'s statement that DKBA troops demanded rice from her village has been confirmed by numerous villager accounts. Locals have told KHRG researchers that they were frequently required to provide rice, perform construction, and fabricate and deliver materials, as well as porter rations and serve as 'human minesweepers' for the DKBA units active near their villages.
On September 10th 2009, Commander Pah Hsee requested that Ma Htaw, Thwa Koh, Tar Hu Loh, Tha Ma Shu Kee, Khaw Gklah, Gka Dwee Koh and Haw Baw Koh villages supply 21 big tins (336 kg. / 739 lb.) of rice to his unit because their rations had run out and new supplies had not yet arrived. He promised to return the rice when new rations arrived, but threatened to enter the villages and confiscate the rice if his request was not met. Each village supplied three big tins of rice (48 kg. / 105.6 lb.), but did not receive any back from the commander before his unit vacated its camp at Ma Htaw and returned to Papun Town. This was not an isolated case, as residents of other villages reported being asked for rice at different times during the DKBA unit's deployment to the area.
DKBA soldiers active in village tracts along the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road also demand that villages located near their camps fabricate and deliver large numbers of thatch shingles at least once per year. The thatch is used to repair roofs in DKBA camps. Villages also face ad hoc demands for bamboo poles, which are also used in camp construction, as well as for forced porters and set tha.
Despite villager reports that the DKBA troops from the Gk'Saw Wah Special Battalion #777 returned to Papun town at the end of October 2009, their departure appears to have been only temporary. At the beginning of December, Gk'Saw Wah soldiers based at the DKBA camp at Paw Htee Ku under the command of Battalion Commander Maung Nu and Deputy Commander Hser Htih demanded 180,000 kyat (US $184.62) from ten villages in Bplaw Htah village tract in southern Lu Thaw Township, which is under DKBA and SPDC control. The officers said that the money would be used to hire porters in Papun town, since the villages had resisted previous demands to provide porters for the DKBA; Hser Htih said that he would have to pay 30,000 kyat (US $30.77) to hire a porter for the month. Kler Ahoh Der, Moe Thay Der, Wah Mee Day, Maw T'Kaw Der, Klaw Hta, K'Nel Kgaw Hta, Htoh Lwee Gkyoh and Ton Thay Pu villages were each ordered to pay 15,000 kyat (US $15.38), while Day Baw Kawh and Ter Gaw Kyo had to give 30,000 kyat (US $30.77) each. These demands were repeated in January and February 2010, meaning that as of March 2010 the villages had paid 540,000 kyat (US $553.85) to avoid sending involuntary porters to the DKBA. Villagers told a KHRG researcher that they had been ordered to make similar payments between December 2008 and April 2009. Statements from local villagers in Bplaw Htah village tract indicate that the ten villages listed above were not the only villages required to pay for hiring porters.
Between January 27th and February 6th 2010, ten more villages in Bplaw Htah village tract, Lu Thaw Township received orders from Maung Nu and Hser Htih's unit to fabricate 2000 thatch shingles and 300 bamboo poles, and deliver them to Papun town. Dter Gaw Kyo, Day Baw Koh, Kler Ahoh Der and Wah Mee Day villages were each instructed to make and deliver 500 thatch shingles, while Toe Thay Pu, Du Breh Kyo, Toe Lwee Kyo, Ka Ne Kgraw Hta, Klaw Hta and Paw Ta Kaw Der villages were told to fabricate and deliver 50 bamboo poles each. Some villages faced demands for building materials from both DKBA and SPDC authorities.
On February 1st 2010, Commanders Maung Nu and Hser Htih demanded nine villagers from Doh Koh Wah and three villagers from Mon Hta to porter rice from Pgway Pgah to Doh Koh Wah. The next day on February 2nd 2010, they arrived at the DKBA camp in Ma Htaw and issued an order for the surrounding villages to fabricate and deliver 3300 thatch shingles to repair the roof of the camp. The unit demanded 500 thatch shingles from Ma Htaw village, 500 from Tar Huh Lo village, 500 from Noh Pa Htaw village, 500 from Thaw Koh Loh village, 300 from Tha M'Su Lo village, 400 from Khaw Gklah village, 250 from Ta Kwee Koh village and 350 from Boh Baw Koh village. Local sources told a KHRG researcher that the DKBA soldiers based along the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road make similar demands for thatch and bamboo three or four times each year; some of the materials are used to repair the roof and huts in DKBA camps, while others are used for houses for DKBA officers' families.
This report has provided examples of the heavy and frequent exploitative abuses - and irregular threats and violence - faced by villagers in central Papun District living in areas controlled by SPDC and DKBA forces, as well as the impact of such abuses on local livelihoods. Exploitative abuses appear to be a product of established SPDC and DKBA practices of utilising local civilian resources to support troop deployments and operations, and thereby maintain military control of a given area. That communities and their leaders in central Papun are sometimes able to reduce or avoid exploitative demands, despite the strong military presence near their homes and the omnipresent threat of violence to encourage compliance with orders issued by local SPDC and DKBA units, testifies to the bravery and creativity with which villagers respond to protect themselves against perceived threats to their security and livelihoods. These protection responses have been developed based on local knowledge of what are feasible and effective methods of minimising the impact of regular abuses; they therefore indicate practical entry points for actors looking to materially improve human rights conditions in rural eastern Burma. Activities designed to support proven local strategies employed to avoid or mitigate the impact of exploitative abuse on security and livelihoods, such as negotiations with local military commanders, will be best placed to improve protection in communities that continue to confront abuse related to maintenance of SPDC and DKBA control.
 Note that the areas indicated on KHRG's maps as Dweh Loh and Bu Tho Townships are not recognized by the SPDC authorities and therefore do not influence or constrain the operations of SPDC or DKBA forces deployed to the area. KHRG uses these designations for the purpose of consistency and clarity, because local Karen villagers frequently use them to describe village and incident locations to KHRG's field researchers. The village tracts referred to by KHRG are also local designations and not necessarily recognized by SPDC or DKBA authorities or may be referenced using different names, often in Burmese rather than Karen languages.
 See: "Internal Displacement and Vulnerability in Eastern Burma," TBBC, October 2004, p.69.
 LIB #219 was under the command of SPDC Light Infantry Division (LID) #11 commanded by Than Htunt, headquartered at Lay Kay in Thaton District; "Starving them out: Food shortages and exploitative abuse in Papun District," KHRG, October 2009. As of March 2010 KHRG's information indicated that LIB #702, under Military Operations Command (MOC) #4, Tactical Operations Command (TOC) #2, has replaced LIB #219 in the area. The unit was led by Battalion Commander Nay Myo Aye, who was based at the SPDC camp at Toung Tho Lo, in Ma Htaw village tract. Information received from KHRG field researchers as of July 2010 indicates that battalions from LID #11 have returned to Bu Tho and Dweh Loh Townships and that LIB #216, as well as LIBs #506 and #17 from MOC #1 TOC #2 have been active in Dweh Loh Township.
 The SPDC's 'live off the land' or 'self-reliance' policy became explicit in 1997, when Burma's War Office issued an order instructing the country's Regional Commanders that troops "were to meet their basic logistical needs locally, rather than rely on the central supply system." See, Andrew Selth, Burma's Armed Forces: Power Without Glory, Norwalk: Eastbridge, 2002 p. 136. See also, Mary Callahan, "Of kyay-zu and kyet-zu: the military in 2006," pp. 36-53 in Monique Skidmore and Trevor Wilson (eds.), Myanmar: The State, Community and the Environment, Canberra: Asia Pacific Press, 2007 p. 46.
 For examples of KNLA units targeting SPDC roads and road construction operations in other parts of Bu Tho Township, see: "SPDC and DKBA road construction, forced labour and looting in Papun District," KHRG, March 2009. The KNLA formally adopted the use of guerrilla tactics in 1998 at a military conference in Mae Hta Raw Tha, Dooplaya District. See, Ashley South "Ethnic politics in Burma: States of conflict," New York: Routledge, 2009 (2nd ed.), p.56.
 The distance from Papun to Ka Ma Maung is approximately 57 miles (92 kilometres).
 For collected examples of written orders for forced labour, see: SPDC and DKBA order documents: August 2008 to June 2009,KHRG, August 2009; as well as previous KHRG Orders Reports available on KHRG's website.
 For more on forced attendance at meetings as a form of forced labour, see: Village Agency: Rural rights and resistance in a militarized Karen State, KHRG, November 2008, pp.55-6.
 For more on road clearance as a form of forced labour see: Village Agency: Rural rights and resistance in a militarized Karen State, KHRG, November 2008, pp.49-50.
 A "big tin" is a unit of volume used locally to measure paddy, husked rice and seeds. One big tin of paddy equals 10.45 kg. / 23.04 lb. in weight; one big tin of husked rice equals 16 kg. / 35.2 lb. in weight.
 Called da nih in Burmese, the leaves of the nipa palm (nypa fruticans) are used by villagers in some parts of rural Burma to make thatch. It was not clear in this instance whether the villagers were ordered to fabricate the thatch, or merely to provide the leaves.
 See, for example:Cycles of Displacement: Forced relocation and civilian responses in Nyaunglebin District,KHRG, January 2009. Food Crisis: The cumulative impact of abuse in rural Burma, KHRG, April 2009.
 KHRG has previously reported an increase in the DKBA's use of forced conscription since August 2008; see: "Joint SPDC/DKBA attacks, recruitment, and the impact on villagers in Dooplaya and Pa'an Districts," KHRG, May 2009. The recruitment drive was accelerated starting in May 2008 when it was decided that the DKBA needed to recruit an additional 3,000 troops to participate in the SPDC programme for cease-fire groups across the country to transform into Border Guard Forces (BGF) under at least partial SPDC control prior to elections scheduled for 2010. For more background on the use of forced recruitment by the DKBA and the group's proposed transformation into a Border Guard Force, see: "Forced recruitment of child soldiers: An interview with two DKBA deserters," KHRG, August 2009. "Abuse in Pa'an District, Insecurity in Thailand: The dilemma for new refugees in Tha Song Yang," KHRG, September 2009.
 Paw Htee Ku is a DKBA army camp located near Papun town at the northern end of the Ka Ma Maung to Papun road. KHRG's field research indicates that as of December 2009, a detachment of DKBA Gk'Saw Wah Special Battalion #777 soldiers were stationed in Paw Htee Ku under Commander Hser Htee.
 Full transcripts of interviews with DKBA deserters are available in: "Forced recruitment, forced labour: interviews with DKBA deserters and escaped porters," KHRG, November 2009; and "Forced recruitment of child soldiers: An interview with two DKBA deserters," KHRG, August 2009.
 This campaign and its consequences for civilians in the area have been covered extensively in previous KHRG reports. See: "Joint SPDC/DKBA attacks, recruitment and the impact on villagers in Dooplaya and Pa'an Districts," KHRG, May 2009; "Over 700 villagers flee to Thailand amidst fears of SPDC/DKBA attacks on a KNLA camp and an IDP camp in Pa'an District," KHRG, June 2009; "Over 3,000 villagers flee to Thailand amidst ongoing SPDC/DKBA attacks," KHRG, June 2009; "Update on SPDC/DKBA attacks on Ler Per Her and new refugees in Thailand," KHRG, June 2009; "Abuse in Pa'an District, Insecurity in Thailand: The dilemma for new refugees in Tha Song Yang," KHRG, September 2009; "Functionally Refoulement: Camps in Tha Song Yang District abandoned as refugees bow to pressure," KHRG, April 2010.
 All conversion estimates for the kyat in this field report are based on the fluctuating informal exchange rate rather than the SPDC government's official fixed rate of US$1 = 6.5 kyat. As of August 20th 2010 this unofficial rate of exchange was US$1 = 975 kyat, and this figure is used for all calculations above.
 "Loh ah pay" a Burmese term now commonly used in reference to forced labour, although traditionally referring to voluntary service for temples or the local community, not military or state projects.
 "Set tha;" Forced labour as a messenger stationed at army camps or bases and serving as a go-between to deliver orders from army officers to village heads, but also involving other menial tasks such as cooking, collecting water and cutting firewood.
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