Shan Human Rights Group Calls For an End to Military Abuses in Northern Shan State

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) has demanded that the Burmese military stop confiscating land and relying on locals for forced labor in northern Shan State.

The human rights group released a statement on February 24 calling on the Burma Army to cease its abuses in 11 villages in Mong Kyet village tract in Lashio Township.

SHRF spokesperson Sai Tin Han said that locals in the area have been forced since last October to build a new military camp.

“It has happened for so long. The Burma Army should not have done this to people. We want them to stop all human rights abuses,” Sai Tin Han said. “Local people are forced to cut down trees for wood. [Burma Army soldiers] have seized the paddy fields and land plots of local people. We want them to stop doing these things. We want them to not commit them again in the future.”

Villagers were reportedly forced to erect a fence around the military base six days per month. They are forced to work cutting trees, logs, and bamboo.

The army’s tactical command commander informed the village administration chairs that a person from each residence in the 500 homes and 11 villages in the Mong Kyet village tract needed to participate in the building of the camp, according to SHRF.

“Villagers were forced to work for them last year. Villagers were forced to find trees, cut them down, and send the wood to them. Local trucks were also ordered to carry sand, wood and bamboo for them,” Sai Tin Han said of the Burma Army.

In December 2019, SHRF reported that villagers were forced to clear an area and build new barracks for the military-backed Mongpan People’s Militia Force (PMF)—located near the government forces’ camp. The new Burma Army camp is being built at the former camp site of the PMF.

The Burma Army reportedly asked the PMF to move, and seized land plots near the site.

Sai Tin Han also said that Burma army also seized five villagers’ farms and forests, including the land plot of a monastery, owned by an abbot.

NMG tried to call the Burma Army’s True News Information Team but had received no response at the time of reporting.