Myanmar: Mergui-Tavoy Situation Update: K’Ser Doh Township, January 2017

Situation Report
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This Situation Update describes events occurring in K’Ser Doh (Thayatchaung) Township, Mergui-Tavoy District in January 2017, including civilians’ livelihoods, development, education and displacement.

  • Villagers from K’Ser Doh Township experienced a poor betel nut and paddy harvest in 2016, which has put their livelihood at risk.

  • In 2010 the East Star Company was given permission by the Tatmadaw to conduct coal mining in A--- village, without the consent of the local land owners, village leaders or the local Karen National Union (KNU) authority. The KNU later gave their permission for the coal mining and the East Star Company paid compensation to the landowners; however, this was not representative of the cost of the land or the disruption caused.

  • Another company, the May Flower Company, later took over the coal mining, and both the KNU and Burma/Myanmar government accused the other authority of giving the company permission. The actions of the KNU during this development project has led to villagers to mistrust them.

  • In 2016 the local leaders of Mergui-Tavoy District requested that the Burma/Myanmar government allows local students to wear Karen clothing and to study the Karen language at public school.

  • Villagers from F--- village, G--- village, H--- village and I---village, K’Ser Doh Township were displaced in 1997 by the Tatmadaw. Many continue to remain in the relocated area to this day, because they have built homes, a school and a church, and will find it difficult to re-establish a school in their original village. However, local landowners at the relocation site have not received any compensation for the land that is being used by the displaced villagers.