This Field Report includes information submitted by KHRG researchers describing events occurring in Hpa-an District between January and December 2015. It describes different human rights violations and other issues which are important to the local community, including education, healthcare, land confiscation, killing, development projects, fighting, and drug issues. In particular, land confiscation and drug-related problems are highlighted as major ongoing concerns in Paingkyon and Hlaingbwe townships.
- Villagers’ land that has been confiscated by armed actors has not been returned even though villagers have submitted official complaints to local and national authorities. Despite villagers from Hlaingbwe Township having previously submitted a complaint letter related to land confiscation, in 2014 the Township general administrator and land administrator declared that the land that had been previously confiscated by the Tatmadaw will not be returned to the villagers.
- Increased trade and use of drugs, primarily methamphetamine, amongst local villagers have caused serious social and medical problems. Villagers from Hlaingbwe Township have therefore submitted a letter to the Burma/Myanmar Parliament regarding the issues related to the increased trade and use of drugs in Hlaingbwe Township.
- Religious leaders have faced serious violence from armed actors when they have tried to object to illegal logging in their communities. On October 9th 2014, a senior monk from L— village was arrested and killed by soldiers from the Karen Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC), including the Company Commander Ta Wah, after the monk had attempted to prevent the soldiers from logging in his monastery’s compound.
- Civilian villagers have been injured in the midst of fighting between different armed actors. On 6th July 2015, two young villagers, a 17 year old and a 21 year old, were shot and killed by Tatmadaw soldiers during a clash with Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) soldiers in Hlaingbwe Township, Hpa-an District, which forced local villagers to flee for their safety.
- The Karen residents continue to experience difficulties with being able to learn their own Karen-script in schools as the Burma/Myanmar government has continued to send Bamar teachers to teach in a dual system with Karen teachers in rural areas in Nabu Township.
Download this full report HERE.