Burmese government blocks aid to Kachin war refugees

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese government has told domestic NGOs not to give aid to Kachin war refugees who fled to KIO areas along the Sino-Burma border after the outbreak of war, according to a Kachin refugee relief committee official.


kachin-refugees-flee-2sKachin war refugees arrive in Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization. Photo: Citizen Journalist

Mai Ja said that during the heavy fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and government troops in mid-June, the KIO requested NGOs to give assistance to refugees and the NGOs responded positively. But the NGO relief supplies have been blocked by the government, she told Mizzima.

“One NGO told to me that the government told them not to give relief assistance to the Kachin refugees,” she said. “The government threatened that they would withdraw their registration unless they followed the order. No NGO is allowed to give relief assistance to us.


“They had a plan to help us but they cancelled the plan when the government put pressure on them,” she said.

Mai Ja said NGOs first agreed to give cash assistance when the war broke out on June 15. She said the government has told at least three NGOs not to communicate with the KIO.

A source close to one NGO said the government told NGOs about three weeks ago to sign a pledge not to provide assistance to the war refugees. Continue reading “Burmese government blocks aid to Kachin war refugees”

Burma army threats force villagers to abandon farms

9-july 2011

Threats from Burma army have forced more than 30 farmers in the Papun district of Karen state to abandon their farms and plantations.

Pa-Pun-local-villagers-in-a-grass-overgrown-farm-300x225The villagers from Bu Tho Township sought help from the Karen National Union after the Burma army forced villagers to carry army supplies.

A statement released by the KNU alleges the Burma army Light Infantry Brigade 214 had ordered villagers to report to the army camp for portering duty.

Saw Tender, a KNU official in Papun district in an interview with Karen News said 26 farms were abandoned in Toh Poe Hta Pa Deh and Kaw Poh villages, and another six farms abandoned in Kay Hta village.

“Local villagers in the area have been ordered to carry up to five sacks of rice per household. They can’t say no. They [Burma army] burnt the villager’s plantations. Many villagers lost their farms.”

Saw Tender said it is difficult to estimate the total acreage lost in the fires, but villagers claim that each farm lost could produce between 100 to 150 baskets [equivalent to two tins – 32 kilograms] of paddy.

Saw Tenders told Karen News the next harvest will be hard on villagers.

“Villagers worked hard to clear their land to get it ready for planting. Households came together to help each other get their farms prepared. Many can’t work their farms anymore.”

Local villagers worried about the ongoing abuses by the Burma army reported their grievances to KNU official in Papun district in the hope that the information would spur the national and international communities to pressure Burma’s government to stop the army taking forced labor.

The villagers told Karen News that the destruction of their farms will mean they will face severe food shortages at the next harvest. Villagers said during March and April Burma army battalions under Division 11, IB 434 and LIB 19 have forced villagers in Bu Tho Township to porter food supplies to various army outposts in the area.

Deadly ambush kills Burma army officers by KNLA

Karen National Liberation Army sources confirmed their fighters killed two Burma army soldiers and wounded four others in an ambush on the Kler Day road, Karen State on 2 July. The sources said the dead included a Burma army battalion commander

KNLA-soldiers-on-action-300x159Major Eh Hser Hser, office manager of KNLA Brigade 7 told Karen News that their soldiers ambushed Burma army Light Infantry Battalion 547 on their way to frontlines areas.

“It was in late afternoon when our soldiers ambushed LIB 547 on the Kler Day car road. We killed two and wounded four of the enemy. Among the dead were a battalion commander and a company commander. The wounded, included another company commander and a sergeant. The wounded company commander wounds were serious, in the neck.”

Major Eh Hser Hser confirmed there are no KNLA casualties.

This is not the first time fighting in KNLA Brigade 7 area has targeted Burma army officers. In other recent clashes, the KNLA also confirmed their operations killed senior officers.

The Burma army in Karen state has been put under pressure from attacks by various Karen armed groups.

On June 29, a renegade Border Guard Force, battalion 1012, led by Major Saw Beeh attacked the Burma army camp in Ka Ma Maunn village, Papun Township, on June 30, fighting between BGF fighters broke out near Myaing Gyi village while in the southern part of the state Democratic Karen Buddhist Army soldiers have been attacking Burma army units.

KIC News

Migrant workers reach agreement with shoe factory owner TPP

July 11th, 2011

Mi Lyeh Htaw – Workers who demanded an increase to their daily wages in Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai-Burma border are working again after reaching an agreement with their employer, the owner of a shoe factory.

“We didn’t get the amount we want, but it is difficult to move another place for work even if we are dissatisfied,” said Aung Myint Soe, a leader of the workers’ protest.

The workers had stopped working after asking for an extra 30 baht per day. Eventually, their employer agreed to a15-baht-per-day increase.

The factory pays its workers twice per month, and on average an employee receives about 1,500 baht per pay period. The workers demanded increased wages because of increased commodity prices. Additionally, the Burmese currency is currently stronger than the Thai currency.

Maung Win, a worker, said, “I got 70 baht per day previously, and now I will get 85 baht.” The difference will not solve all of the workers’ problems, but most of them will continue with their current factory jobs as seasonal agricultural workers face difficulty in finding employment during the rainy season.

Recently, the workers have been getting 100,000 Burmese kyat if they exchange 4,000 Thai baht, although they used to get the same amount when they transferred 3,000 baht last year, Maung Win explained.

He added, “It costs about 700 baht for my living expenses for half a month. I don’t have enough money to send my parents in Burma since the value of Burmese currency has increased.”

About 2,000 workers from Basini Enterprise Co., Ltd protested peacefully on July 7 for an increase to their wages. The factory was closed for two days after the work stoppage. Basini Enterprise Co., Ltd is located between Three Pagodas Pass and Sangkhlaburi, Thailand.

Short URL: http://monnews.org/?p=3190

Migrant Workers Rush for Work Permits as Four Days Remain

July 11th, 2011

Jaloon Htaw, Independent Mon News Agency – Many ethnic Mon, Karen, and Tavoyan migrant workers in the agricultural, fishing, and construction industries in the central areas of Thailand are rushing to complete the process of applying for permits to work in the kingdom legally. Only four days remain to complete the procedure.

The Thai Ministry of Labour has granted illegal migrant workers from Burma (Myanmar), Laos, and Cambodia a one-month period from 15 June to 15 July to legalize their status and complete proper work permit documents.

Thousands of illegal workers from Burma poured into Thai administration offices with their employers to apply for work permits.

“Although there are only four days remaining, there are still many workers coming to apply for permission,” said a social worker from a labour protection agency in Bangkok. Continue reading “Migrant Workers Rush for Work Permits as Four Days Remain”

Gold shop owner robbed, then killed

July 11th, 2011

Min Thuta – The female owner of a gold shop was killed after being robbed by bandits this past Saturday afternoon in , Kawkareik Township, Karen State, according to local residents.

Three robbers on motorbikes robbed gold shops belonging to Nai Tun Win and Ma Nan Mya.

“Ma Nan Mya was shot in the head on the spot because she was shouting during the robbery,” said Mi Aye from Kanne Village.

Kanne villagers guessed that the robbers probably made off with around 50 kyattar (or half a viss in Burmese goldsmith measurements) from Nai Tun Win’s shop, and two-and-a-half viss from Ma Nan Mya’s shop.

A Kanne villager said that the police in Kanne Village were able to arrest one thief after the event occurred, but two other robbers escaped.

“It does not feel peaceful to live in this village when we hear news like this,” commented a villager. Kanne is a predominantly Mon village with both Mon and Karen inhabitants.

Kanne Village was put under the control of Thaton District’s New Mon State Party after NMSP agreed to a ceasefire with the Burmese regime. Since the ceasefire between the Burmese government and the ethnic group ended last year, bomb explosions and thefts from general commodity and gold shops have occurred.

Short URL: http://monnews.org/?p=3194

3 Killed in Yetagun Copter Crash

A helicopter hired by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas oil and gas company for work in Burma’s Yetagun offshore natural gas field crashed into the Andaman Sea at around 11 am on Monday, killing three people on board including a Burmese pilot, while 11 others, including a French pilot, have been saved.

The helicopter was owned by Paris-based Heli-Union. A commercial assistant at Heli-Union’s head office in Paris told The Irrawaddy when contacted on Monday that further details were not available.

Company sources in Rangoon said that the 11 people who survived the accident were hospitalized in the city.

Petronas owns a 30 percent stake in the Yetagun field, which is operated by Britain’s Premier Oil Plc. Thailand’s PTTEP International Ltd holds a 14.17 percent share, Japan’s Nippon Oil Exploration Ltd has a 14.17 percent share.

Fifteen percent is owned by Burma’s state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

Petronas is also involved in Burma’s other offshore natural gas fields alongside the Burmese-owned IGE Group of Companies’ UNOG. According to business reports in January 2010, Petronas and UNOG signed production-sharing contracts with Burma’s Ministry of Energy for deep-sea Blocks MD-4, MD-5 and MD-6 located in the Gulf of Martaban, south of Rangoon.