Shan Human Rights Foundation


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August- 2011

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4-Cuts Policy = Crime Against Humanity

Arbitrary killings and shooting on sight, which have been frequently committed by roaming Burmese army troops against unarmed, and often unidentified, civilians in Shan State over the last 4-5 decades, have continued unabated up to 2011.
Even after the national elections and the forming of what they claimed to be democratic civilian government, in April this year, a man, who later turned out to be an innocent village headman, was shot on sight by a patrol of Burmese army troops just because they thought he was a Shan rebel.
Various other types of gross human rights violations, e.g., rape, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and forced labour, etc., which have also been frequent occurrences in Shan State for decades, as have been reported in this monthly newsletter for more than a decade, have also continued unabated.
Although many of these violations have taken place at different places and times, as if they were unrelated individual cases, most of them have been committed actually as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against the civilian populations.
The troops intended and knew that their conducts were part of the overall attack, known as 4-cuts policy of the Burmese military, to prevent the civilian populations from giving any help and support to the Shan resistance.
In early 2011, 2 villagers of Naa Kawng Mu village in Murng Haang village tract in Murng-Ton township were arrested, detained and interrogated, and finally shot dead by the Burmese army troops of IB65, at a place east of Naa Kawng Mu village.
On 8 January 2011, a patrol of about 15 Burmese army troops from IB65 came to patrol the areas east of Naa Kawng Mu village along the Nam Haang stream in Murng-Haang village tract in Murng-Ton township.
On the same day, 2 men villagers of Naa Kawng Mu village also went to collect wild vegetables, to mix with the food for their pigs, along the same Nam Haang stream and at one point were seen by the Burmese army patrol.
The Burmese soldiers accused the villagers of secretly working for the Shan resistance and arrested them, took them back to the military camp at Naa Kawng Mu village and interrogated them, beating and torturing them for hours.
The villagers were detained in the camp until the next morning, on 9 January 2011, and were forced to go with the same military patrol to search the same areas where they had been the day before. The 2 villagers were believed to have been shot dead by the troops on that day because they have disappeared since then.
The 2 villagers were Ai Ko, aged 32 and Ai Ja Sae, aged 30. Although they were ethnically Burman and Lahu respectively, they had lived among Shan villagers at Naa Kawng Mu village since their childhood. Both of them happened to be opium addicts at the time of the incident.
The Burmese troops said that the 2 villagers had run away during the patrol, when asked by other villagers. But they brought a photograph of a dead man whom they claimed to be a Shan soldier killed during a gun battle.
For many villagers, however, the man in the photo was none other than Ai Ja Sae, and certainly not a Shan soldier, the Lahu villager who was one of the 2 villagers arrested by the Burmese troops earlier, although a pistol had been thrust into one of his hands as he lay dead in a pool of blood.
In March 2011, a 12-year-old girl was raped and beaten up until she lost consciousness by a Burmese army soldier from LIB516, in a pineapple farm some distance northwest of Mong Mon village in Mong Mon village tract in Nam-Zarng township.
On 20 March 2011, Naang Mya (not her real name), aged 12, of Mong Mon village in Mong Mon village tract in Nam-Zarng township, was alone in their pineapple farm northwest of the village when a Burmese army soldier came into the farm.
The soldier was alone and carrying no arms, and was wearing Burmese traditional sarong and military uniform shirt with Burmese army insignia and unit number attached to it. When he saw Naang Mya sitting alone on a stilted farm hut, the soldier dragged her down to the ground and raped her.
When the soldier pulled off her clothes and started to rape her, Naang Mya managed to call out for help a few times before she was severely beaten with a stick on the head and face several times and lost consciousness.
At that time, 3 villagers from Mong Mon village happened to be driving their motorcycles and passing by near the pineapple farm. They thought they heard some faint noises from the direction of the farm and decided to go and see, leaving their motorcycles outside the farm.
When the soldier saw the villagers, he quickly ran away and escaped. The villagers saw Naang Mya lying on the ground, naked and unconscious, with bruises and blood all over her head and face. Naang Mya’s parents were informed and they immediately took her to the township hospital in Nam-Zarng town.
Naang Mya’s relatives also went to the SPDC township office and told the authorities about the plight of their daughter. The authorities immediately called the commander of LIB516 by phone to inquire about the matter.
According to the authorities, the commander said that according to the description it looked like it was a deserter that had recently deserted from the army. That deserter would be punished and put in jail when captured, he said.
In April 2011, the headman of Paang Haang village in Kali village tract in Kun-Hing township was randomly shot at by a patrol of Burmese army troops from IB296 near his village, causing him to flee and disappear, and his fate was not yet known at the time this report was received.
On 12 April 2011, a patrol of about 90 Burmese army troops from IB296, based in Murng-Paeng, came to patrol the areas of Kali village tract in Kun-Hing township and stopped for a rest near Paang Haang village.
At about the same time, the headman of Paang Haang village, Zin-Ta, aged 45, rode his bicycle out of his village with the intention to visit Kali village, without knowing that the Burmese troops were bivouacking near his village.
When the headman got near the rice field outside the village, the Burmese troops saw him from afar and, without warning, one of them shot at him many times. The headman immediately jumped down from his bicycle and ran into a nearby forest and disappeared.
The Burmese troops then came into Paang Haang village and accused the villagers of harbouring Shan soldiers in their village. The villagers then said that there were no Shan soldiers in the village and the one they had just shot at was only their village headman who was going to Kali on his bicycle.
The Burmese troops then continued their patrol toward Kaeng Lom village tract in Kun-Hing township and said nothing more about the incident. Some time after the troops left, the villagers went to look for their village headman, starting from the place where he was shot.
The villagers saw his abandoned bicycle and some drops of blood leading into the nearby forest, indicating that the headman was wounded. But after following the blood trail for some distance, it disappeared and they lost track of him.
Even after 3 days of searching, the villagers could not find their headman, dead or alive. The fate of the headman was not yet known after several weeks when this report was received by an SHRF field worker in May 2011.
During late 2010, Naang Pao (not her real name) was suspected of working for the Shan resistance and arrested, tortured and detained by the Burmese military authorities of IB277 and the police force in Murng-Ton town, Murng-Ton township.
Naang Pao, originally from Mawk Zali village in Me ken village tract, Murng-Ton township, was the owner of a house-shop at the new market place in Murng-Ton town, and she was selling goods and living there at the time of the incident.
On 20 November 2010, Naang Pao was accused of being an informant of the Shan resistance and arrested by the Burmese army troops form IB277 at her house-shop and taken to the base of the Tactical Command of the Burmese military in Murng-Ton.
Naang Pao was interrogated by the Burmese troops who wanted to know about secret activities of the Shan soldiers in Murng-Ton town, people they used to often contact and places they used to visit. She was tortured during interrogation in various ways including electric shocks.
After some hours of interrogation, Naang Pao was taken to the police station and detained there. During the nights, every night for 15 nights, however, she was taken to the Tactical Command base to be interrogated and detained at the police station during the days.
According to her relatives, Naang Pao used to often travel back to her native village of Mawk Zali to visit them. Because of that, the Burmese military authorities might have suspected her of working for the Shan resistance, which in fact was not, the said.
Naang Pao’s relatives also learned from the police at the station where she was detained that she would not be executed as they feared, but would probably be released sometime later. However, when this report was received at the end of 2010, she was still in police custody.
In March 2011, villagers of Wan Phaai in Kaeng Lom village tract in Kun-Hing township were arrested, detained, tortured and forced to porter by the Burmese army troops from IB296 based in Murng-Paeng township.
Sometime in late March 2011, a patrol of about 50 Burmese army troops from Murng-Paeng-based IB296 came to search the area of Kaeng Lom village tract in Kun-Hing township and at one point came into Wan Phaai village.
The Burmese troops arrested 3 villagers in Wan Phaai village for questioning. They said they saw 2 men with white shirts run away as they entered the village and wanted to know about them, and interrogated the 3 villagers.
The 3 villagers were all men; 2 ordinary villagers, Lung Thun and Wi Ling, and a village leader, Taa Kyaw. The Burmese troops interrogated them for some time and released Lung Thun and Wi Ling, but continued to detain Taa Kyaw.
The Burmese troops then took Taa Kyaw, the village leader, into a villager’s barn and continued to interrogate and torture him. They tied his hands and dangled him from a beam of the barn and beat and kicked him, and put a plastic bag over his head. They kept torturing him until he lost consciousness several times.
After that he was let down and detained for 2 more days, with his hands still bound. When the troops left the village, they forced him to carry their things and go with them until Naa Ti village in the same village tract, before finally releasing him.
In early 2011, villagers in several village tracts in Murng-Pan township were randomly beaten by the Burmese army troops from LIB332, LIB577 and LIB575 during their patrols of rural village tracts west and north of Murng-Pan town.
For 3 days around mid January 2011, Burmese soldiers from LIB332, LIB577 and LIB575 patrolled and searched the areas of Nam Terng and Naa Law village tracts on the western side of Murng-Pan town.
During the patrols, the Burmese troops randomly interrogated many villagers and beat up those who could not give them satisfactory enough answers. Several villagers had been beaten up with sticks and some of them sustained severe pains and injuries.
Among those who had been beaten up with sticks were Lung Ing-Da (m), aged 49, of Nam Terng village in Nam Terng village tract, and his overnight guest, Wa-Lin (m), age unknown, who had come from Naa Khaan village to visit him.
Another one was Zaai Pan (m), aged 37, of Wan Kung village in Nam Terng village tract, and he was also severely beaten up with sticks. All the said 3 villagers sustained serious injuries from the beating, which took weeks to heal.
It was also learned that, after 3 days of patrolling west of the town, the Burmese troops continued to patrol the areas north of the town and beat up several people, including villagers of Long Kaeng village.

In February 2011, a villager of Khur Nim village in Naa Poi village tract in Lai-Kha township was beaten and forced to serve as a porter by the Burmese army troops from IB64 who also shot and stole 2 villagers’ cows.
On 18 February 2011, a patrol of about 47 Burmese army troops from IB 64 came to Khur Nim village in Naa Poi village tract in Lai-Kha township and arrested a man named Saw-Nan-Ti, aged 55, who was a villager of Khur Nim village.
The Burmese troops accused Saw-Nan-Ti of secretly collecting information for the Shan resistance and interrogated him. When he could not answer their questions, they beat him with a stick several times and struck and slapped his face until it was swollen all over.
After a while, when they left Khur Nim village, the Burmese troops forced Saw-Nan-Ti to carry their things and go with them as an unpaid porter until they got back to their base in Lai-Kha town, where they released him.
On their way before they reached Lai-Kha town, when they got near Paa Moi village in Naa Poi village tract, the Burmese troops saw a herd of cows belonging to Paa Moi villagers. They shot dead 2 cows, cut up all the meat and took it away with them.

In late 2010, more restrictions were imposed on the people in Pung Pa Khem sub-township and Me Ken village tract, in Murng-Ton township, by the Burmese military authorities, and cattle were let into villagers’ farms by the Burmese troops during the nights to destroy the crops.
On 18 October 2010, an order was issued by the military authorities of IB65 to many villages in Pung Pa Khem and Me Ken village tracts, restricting the movements of the villagers who already had many difficulties in doing their daily chores.
The order required the villagers to build bamboo fences around every house in their villages so that no one could easily cross from house to house. It also imposed a dust to dawn curfew, saying that from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, no one should go out on the streets or visit other houses in their villages.
Villagers who needed to go out of their villages to tend their fields and farms during day time were also required to ask permission from the military authorities on a daily basis. Failing to do so could mean heavy punishment, said the order.
At some villages, as at Mawk Zali village in Me Ken village tract, the Burmese troops patrolling at night often pulled off some bamboo pickets from the fences enclosing villagers’ fields and farms to make holes and let roaming cattle in to destroy the crops.
These restrictions were imposed after the Burmese troops accused the villagers of supporting the Shan resistance. They said that these villages often let the Shan soldiers secretly come into them to collect rice, money and information.
The villagers also supported the Shan resistance with new recruits, accused the Burmese troops. When they were told by the Shan soldiers to send their sons to serve in the Shan resistance, some villagers reported it to the Burmese army, but they secretly told the Shan soldiers to come and take the recruits themselves, they said.
In that way the villagers thought they would not be blamed, said the Burmese troops. They also warned the villagers that those who willingly sent their sons to serve in the Shan resistance would have to either run away with them or face heavy punishment.
In late 2010, sesame farmers of Hawng Lin and Phaai Khe villages in Phaai Khe village tract in Murng-Ton township suffered great losses because of the restrictions of movements imposed by the Burmese troops of IB225 and IB277.
For many days in September 2010, villagers of several villages in Phaai Khe village tract in Murng-Ton township were restricted from going out of their villages by patrols of Burmese troops from IB225 and IB277, surrounding the villages.
The Burmese troops suspected that the villagers were harbouring Shan soldiers. They guarded all the entrances and allowed no one to go out of the villages while they looked for the Shan soldiers in and around the villages.
It was sesame harvest time and many sesame farms were ready for harvesting when the restrictions were imposed. Some farmers needed to immediately cut their sesame plants and some had already cut and dried them, ready to be threshed and the sesame collected.
If harvesting was not done in time, the ripe sesame pots would burst and throw the sesame seeds all over the place, and that was actually what had happened to many of the sesame farmers in the said areas.
When the villagers were finally allowed to go out to their sesame farms around mid September 2010, many sesame plants had already rid themselves of their seeds. Farmers of Hawng Lin and Phaai Khe villages were said to have lost most of their produce.
When the Burmese military authorities learned about it, they told the villagers that it was not their soldiers’ fault, but because of the Shan soldiers that the villagers had to lose their farm produce which they had worked hard to produce.
For over a decade, since the Burmese military started to expand their presence in Kaeng Tawng area in Murng-Nai township, local indigenous farmers have had to face more and more difficulties to continue to work their rice fields as a traditional livelihood.
During the mass forced relocations in central Shan State in 1996-97, carried out by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops, most farmers in Kaeng Tawng area had been forced to abandon their rice fields and move to different places.
However, after some years, many of them have been allowed to return to their old villages, at least temporarily, and work their original rice fields which had not been already confiscated by the Burmese military troops and their families during their absence.
During the last decade or so, according to their militarization policy, the Burmese military have set up several battalion bases in Kaeng Tawng area. In doing so, they have designated large areas of land at different places to build those military bases.
Those land areas, usually covering many acres of rice fields, farms, gardens and wood lands, etc., belonging to the local indigenous populations for generations, have been confiscated with no compensation whatsoever.
Even after the setting up of the military battalions, the Burmese military have continued to forcibly take many lands belonging to the local populations in the surrounding areas of their battalion bases to be used to generate income for their battalions, or simply for security reasons.
Many rice fields which were not in the vicinity of any military battalion, but near the villages and good water sources, have also been confiscated for the troops or their families, which have continued to come and settle in the area every year, to work.
In addition to many other difficulties, local farmers now have problems getting enough water for their rice fields for the duration of rice cultivating time, because many water sources have been in the hands of the Burmese troops and their families, who have little sympathy towards indigenous populations.
In 2011, Kaeng Tawng area, which had traditionally exported rice to other areas in the past, has been facing a scarcity of rice which could be obtained only at a very high price. During March 2011, local people said they had to pay 9,000 kyat for a half-basket of rice and the price was still rising. Up until last year, the price had only been 5,000-6,000 kyat at most, they said.