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Damming at gunpoint(English Version)


INCREASED BURMA ARMY PRESENCE 39 1inch = 25 miles Map 13: Relocation Sites in Papun District-2004

40 DAMMING AT GUNPOINT Forced Labour The SPDC relies on forced labour as a means to maintain their troops and military infrastructure in general. In Papun District, villagers in the areas near roads have been forced to mend the roads. All of the roads in Papun District are dirt roads, and after every rainy season the SPDC mends the roads to transport supplies by ordering villagers in the area to carry out the work. Even though the SPDC officially announced that it had ended the use of forced labour in 2000, local troops have still continued to force villagers to work for them. A defector from the SPDC army in 2001 quoted an SPDC operation commander in Karen State as saying “I will still use forced labour in my area.” (Tin Lwin, Lance Corporal, who deserted to KNU- KHRG, Flight Hunger and Survival, October 2001, ) The increased number of SPDC troops has inevitably meant increased use of villagers for forced labour, especially on construction and maintenance of military barracks, to the extent that villagers have had no time to work their own fields. “There was no help. After they drove the people out, we had to build houses for the soldiers, we had to make fences for them, and we had to go for “loh ah pay” [general forced labour] and “set that” [messenger forced labour]. People couldn’t work their hill fields anymore. This year no one got any paddy.” “Saw Thi Oo” (M 60), village head from xxx village, Dweloh Township, KHRG Flight, Hunger and Survival, October 2001,. The use of villagers for forced labour has continued into 2004, despite the ongoing ceasefire talks between the KNU and the SPDC. The KNU information department reported that on 15/1/04 the SPDC IB 36 Battalion Commander Zaw Zaw Naing forced villagers from several villages in Dwelo township to make bamboo spikes for them. They asked for 300 spikes from Htee Law Thi Hta village, 50 spikes from No Gaw village, 50 from Wa Tho Klah village and 50 from Baw Tho Hta village. (Bamboo spikes are used to fortify military camps.)

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