Govt militia continue to use villagers as forced labor in Karen State

Despite a ceasefire in place, a Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) report criticizes a government-controlled militia, the Border Guard Force (BGF), for committing human right violations against villagers in Papun Township, Karen State.

The KHRG’s report released on 23rd of April, documented that BGF battalions based in Papun Township – the 1013th and the 1014th – forced villagers from Meh Kanaw, Meh Thri Gyi, Meh Thri Poekhi and Htee Htaw Khi to transport wood, bamboo poles and thatch shingles to build its army camps.

KHRG witnesses said that for the building of the Htee Lah Eh Hta Bridge that will cross the Yunalin River, as many as 10 villagers from Meh P’Ree and Kyaw Pah were ordered to work on it

Speaking to Karen News, the KHRG’s spokesperson, Naw Khu Khu Ju said.

“Human right violations continue…such as demands for forced labor. Our report about the forced labor situation is from January to February this year.”

The KHRG said that villagers are being ordered to be messengers, perform sentry duties, cook and be porters for the BGF militia.

Naw Khu Khu Ju said.

“During this ceasefire period, villagers found that they were still being used as forced laborers. KHRG strives to work on documenting the human rights violations against civilians.”

The KHRG’s report, named the perpetrators who ordered villagers from Papun Township to do unpaid work as the 1013th BGF Battalion Commander, Saw Hla Kyaing, and the 1014th BGF Battalion Commander, Saw Maung Chit.

The Karen Human Rights Group was formed in 1992 to document human right violations in Karen state, Burma.

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