Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

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July 15th, 2009

KHRG Photo Gallery 2009
This first instalment of KHRG's Photo Gallery 2009 presents 123 still images and 1 short video that have been received from KHRG field researchers since the last instalment of Photo Gallery 2008 in February 2009. Many of these photos chronologically overlap with photos that were previously published in Photo Gallery 2008. They therefore include photos taken from July 2008 up to July 2009. All photos are presented here in roughly chronological order irrespective of subject matter and labelled with alphanumeric identification tags beginning with 'A' followed by a number. Images in subsequent instalments of Photo Gallery 2009 will be given labels starting with 'B', 'C' and so forth according to the order of their instalment. Some photos included here have also been presented in previous KHRG field reports and news bulletins. All photos are included with no thematic divisions. As more photos are added to the Photo Gallery in later instalments, all images will be incorporated within relevant thematic sections with the most recent photos also grouped together in a 'latest additions' section. All photos included here are by KHRG except where otherwise noted.

13-year-old Saw E--- is shown here on July 25th 2008 at his family's farm field in Bilin Township, Thaton District while marching a buffalo around to break up the soil in preparation for paddy planting. Although Saw E--- is only 13 years old, he cannot currently attend school because his parents cannot afford the school fees and need him to work in order to contribute to the household income. Saw E--- has therefore had to work for his parents and also engage in wage labour tending other people's buffalo and cattle. [Photo: KHRG]

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These students at B--- village in Thaton District are shown here studying at the local elementary school on July 29th 2008. Education across Burma, but especially in rural areas, is woefully underfunded and less than half of all children complete elementary school. [Photo: KHRG]

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Photo A-3 shows flood damage to the farm fields of residents of L--- village in Bilin Township of Thaton District, on August 15th 2008. Nearly half of the paddy crop grown on this farm field was damaged due to the flooding. The livelihoods of most farmers in Karen State are highly susceptible to flooding, drought and other natural disasters as few people have insurance, while military extortion in the form of crop quotas, taxation and other demands are rarely amended to accommodate poor or failed harvests. [Photo: KHRG]

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This picture - taken on September 28th 2008 - shows a framed photograph of U Thuzana, the nominal head of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). DKBA Commander Gkaw Muh Lah, based at Lay Gkay army camp in Thaton District, ordered residents of N--- village to buy copies of the photograph at a cost of 2,500 Thai Baht (approx. US $73.32). [Photo: KHRG]

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The photograph above left shows a stack of calendars produced by the DKBA. The calendars are written in Burmese and Pwo Karen languages (with the latter using the traditional Karen Leit-San Weit ('chicken scratch') script). DKBA authorities ordered every household in Bilin Township to buy a calendar for 2,500 kyat (US $2.46). The money collected by the village head of T--- village that was to be paid to the local DKBA authorities is shown in the photo above right. Both photographs were taken in October 2008. [Photos: KHRG]

13-year-old Naw A--- and her younger sister, 11-yearold Naw M---, are shown here on November 17th 2008 helping their family by pounding paddy to remove the husks at their home in Thaton District. Naw A--- is the eldest daughter in the family and currently attends grade three. After finishing school in the evening, both girls regularly help their parents with work around the house. [Photo: KHRG]

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These pictures were taken on November 19th 2008 and show rubber plantations owned by SPDC General Major Maung Bo in Thaton District. The SPDC has been colluding with the Max Myanmar Group of Companies to confiscate large swaths of villager-owned land in Thaton District for use by the company in its business ventures. For more details on the SPDC's land confiscation in Thaton District, see Land confiscation and the business of human rights abuse in Thaton District, KHRG, April 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

Residents of T--- village in Thaton District winnow rice to separate the grain from the chaff on November 26th 2008 after the annual harvest of the rainy season paddy crop. [Photo: KHRG]

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This photo - taken on December 31st 2008 - shows the remains of a house at Htee Bper Kee village in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District, which DKBA forces destroyed on October 8th 2008 after issuing forced relocation orders to the local residents. The DKBA ordered the local residents to move to nearby Htee Bper village adjacent to which the DKBA was planning to construct an army camp. For more information on this incident, see Human minesweeping and forced relocation as SPDC and DKBA step up joint operations in Pa'an District, KHRG, October 2008. [Photo: KHRG] A-11

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In pictures A-12 and A-13, a KNLA soldier removes a DKBA-deployed landmine in December 2008 from a road in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District. This road is one which local villagers frequently use. [Photos: KHRG]

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This photo was taken on December 31st 2008 and shows an SPDC-manufactured M14 landmine which was planted by DKBA soldiers active in Pa'an District. The SPDC has provided much of the weaponry, like the landmine shown here, which the DKBA now utilises.[Photo: KHRG]

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This landmine - made by hand from a block of wood, gun powder and a battery-powered detonator - was deployed by DKBA soldiers from Special Battalion #999 in Dta Greh Township, Pa'an District. It was subsequently retrieved and photographed by KHRG in January 2009. [Photo: KHRG]

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In photograph A-16, taken on January 23rd 2009, a 42-year-old villager named Saw P--- carries 25 thatch shingles
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to be delivered to the DKBA's Gka Hsaw Wah ('White Elephant') Battalion, based in southern Papun District. He is shown here being followed by his son. Although Saw P--- was able to travel with a friend by boat to deliver the shingles, other villagers have had to take the shingles by foot - a 6 to 7 hour walk. Photo A-17 was also taken on January 23rd 2009 and shows thatch shingles which residents of M--- village stacked before delivery to DKBA camp commander Puh Tah Thoo who is based out of Meh Mweh army camp in southern Papun District. Villagers here had to collect 1,000 thatch shingles and deliver them to the DKBA by January 25th 2009. DKBA soldiers didn't compensate the villagers for the thatch nor for the petrol consumed by the boats used to deliver them. [Photos: KHRG]

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Villagers from the lowland area in Nyaunglebin District are shown here on January 30th 2009 after having travelled to the mountains to trade with, and sell goods to, displaced villagers and others living in the hills. Trading at such 'jungle markets' is a crucial means by which villagers can evade SPDC-imposed restrictions and, for those hiding in the hills, maintain their lives outside of State control. [Photos: KHRG]

In this photo, village girls are shown caring for their younger siblings on February 1st 2009 while their parents are out at work on their hillside farm fields in Nyaunglebin District. With heavy demands by miltiry forces, ongoing livelihoods vulnerabiliy and increasing poverty, many young children in Karen State have had to take on more household work as well as wage labour outside the home in order to help their families cope. [Photo: KHRG]

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Photo A-21, taken on February 2nd 2009, shows the former plantation of the 54-year-old mother of Saw T---, of M---- village in T'Nay Hsah Township of Pa'an District. Saw T---'s mother had to sell the plantation because her 28-year-old son, who had been recruited into the DKBA, refused to serve as a soldier. Along with this plantation, Saw T---'s mother also had to sell her farm field in order to collect the 900,000 kyat (approx. US $914) needed to hire someone else to take her son's place. [Photo: KHRG]

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53-year-old Saw N---, of Gk--- village in Lu Pleh Township of Pa'an District, is carving a wooden spoon at an IDP site in Pa'an District on February 6th 2009. He told KHRG that, because he had to do forced labour at his home village for the SPDC and DKBA almost every day, he had no time to do his own work and therefore fled to this IDP site at the start of 2009. [Photo: KHRG]

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This picture, taken on February 7th 2009, shows an SPDC-sponsored school in Htee Bper Kha village, Papun District. After beginning construction nearly one year prior, the building remains unfinished and villagers have been informed that the SPDC expects the villagers themselves to complete its construction. [Photo: KHRG]

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The photo to the right, taken on February 9th 2009, shows a close-up of a picture of Maung Chit Thoo, Operation Commander of DKBA Brigade #999 and now one of the most powerful figures within the DKBA, along with his wife. Maung Chit Thoo had DKBA personnel under his command forcibly sell this picture to individual households in T'Nay Hsah Township of Pa'an District, at a cost of 2,000 kyat (approx. US $2.03) each. [Photo: KHRG]

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34-year-old Naw T--- shown to the left, a widow from N-- village in T'Nay Hsah Township of Pa'an District, makes charcoal as her sole means of livelihood in order to support her four children and cover DKBA-imposed taxes. In mid-December, while felling a tree with her father, the tree landed on her legs, injuring both knees. Her legs are shown here covered with a turmeric-based medicinal compound meant to reduce and prevent swelling. She had been unable to walk or work for two months since the accident when this photo was taken on February 16th 2009; making the payment of DKBA taxes especially difficult. [Photo: KHRG]

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Saw P---, the 39-year-old head of B--- village in Bu Tho Township of Papun District, is shown here on February 24th 2009. Saw P--- told KHRG that local DKBA forces had been regularly demanding 'porter fees' from the residents of his village. On December 16th 2008, January 16th 2009 and February 16th 2009 the villagers had to give payments of 10,000 kyat (approx. US $9). Furthermore, on December 25th 2009 the villagers had to give 400 thatch shingles to the DKBA. [Photo: KHRG]

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18-year-old Maung Z---, shown in photo A-27, is of mixed South Asian and Burman ethnicity. He came from a town in Pegu Division and spoke to KHRG on February 27th 2009. Amongst other things, Maung Z--- explained that while he was involved in the military training, "There were many people under 18 years old. There were also 13-year-olds and 16-year-olds attending the military training."

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18-year-old Maung C---, shown in photo A-28, spoke to KHRG on February 26th 2009. Maung C--- was grabbed by a Burma Army soldier at the Sule Pagoda in Rangoon after returning from his grandmother's shop. The soldier then sold Maung C--- to a Burma Army officer for the equivalent of US $18.80. Maung C--- was then enlisted in the Burma Army and began military training in June 2008. As he described it, "My parents didn't know that I was grabbed and sent to the military. Up until now they still don't know where I am." For more details on the deserters shown here, see Mistreatment and child soldiers in the Burma Army: Interviews with SPDC deserters, KHRG, June 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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Northern Karen State continues to have one of the highest documented concentrations of Internally Dispalced Persons (IDPs) in Burma. Lu Thaw Township of northern Papun District is amongst those areas of northern Karen State with large IDP populations living in hiding. Photos A-29 to A-36 show the hiding site of displaced villagers who previously fled from their homes at Th--- village of Papun District. IDPs in hiding have to adopt a range of strategies to support themselves while evading the Burma Army. Photo A-31 shows a patch of onion plants now being grown by the displaced villagers from Th--- village. [Photo: KHRG] A-31

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Photo A-35 below shows a patch of sugar cane shoots that are also being cultivated at the hiding site in Papun District at which the former residents of Th--- village now reside. In photo A-36, the displaced villagers clear a hillside field on which to plant a new paddy crop. These photos were all taken on February 28th 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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This cave in Papun District, shown in photos A-37 to A41 on February 28th 2009, has long served as a hiding site for displaced villagers living nearby who have sought to avoid Burma Army soldiers when their patrols have arrived in the area. The writing on the cave walls traces the history of displaced villagers who have hid out here over many years. The year '1991' is visible in photo A39, written out by a previous resident. [Photos: KHRG]

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Photos A-42 and A-43 show an abandoned SPDC army camp at Thay Wah Gkyo village in Lu Thaw Township of Papun District. Photo A-44 shows writing on a wooden plaque found at the army camp that reads "[For] the meritorious deed [of] Major Myo Win Min company communication officer for MOC #10 [and] Major Myo Min Aung LIB #504." These photos were both taken on March 1st 2009. In total, the Burma Army withdrew from 13 camps in Lu Thaw Township between the end of 2008 and the start of 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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Karen villagers in Lu Thaw Township, Papun District construct a platform as part of a traditional ceremony on March 1st 2009 to evict malevolent spirits from the area and ensure a prosperous future on the newly sanctified land. This ceremony is often conducted in areas that have not been cultivated or inhabited for extended periods of time. For a discussion of related Karen religious architecture, see Kirsten Ewers Andersen, "Two Indigenous Karen Religious Denominations," Folk 23, 1981. [Photo: KHRG]

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IDP villagers in Lu Thaw Township of Papun District are shown here on March 4th 2009, having come to D--- IDP camp in order to receive medical treatment from a mobile Karen medical team. Such aid, delivered by local Karen staff working with small mobile medical teams which obtain supplies from accros the border in Thailand are crucial means by which IDP communities are able to address their health needs. Many communities residing in SPDCcontrolled areas likewise rely on such 'cross-border' aid because of the lack of government health care provisions and restrictions on access to the area imposed on international aid agencies based out of Rangoon. [Photos: KHRG]

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Many elderly villagers are included amongst the many internally displaced persons in Karen State. This 79-yearold man, shown in photo A-48 winnowing rice on March 4th 2009 at an IDP hiding site in Lu Thaw Township of Papun District, previously fled from his home village when a patrol of Burma Army soldiers arrived in the area. [Photo: KHRG]

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This domestically-made M14 landmine was removed from the ground in Lu Thaw Township on December 14th 2008. A KHRG field researcher subsequently took these photos on March 5th 2009. According to Landmine Monitor, these M-14 landmines are "manufactured by Myanmar Defense Products Industries at Ngyaung Chay Dauk, in Bago division." [Photos: KHRG]

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This landmine was removed from the ground on December 14th 2008 from a spot near to P'Lah Koh Burma Army camp in Lu Thaw township of Papun District. The mine had earlier been planted by soldiers from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion #242. The mine appears to be a domestically-manufactured MM1 landmine, which according to Landmine Monitor is "modelled on the Chinese Type 59 stake-mounted fragmentation mine.". These photos were all taken on March 5th 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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These photos show displaced villagers in Nyaunglebin District as they work together to face the challenges of life in hiding from Burma Army forces. In photo A-54, girls are shown caring for their younger siblings while their parents work on their hillside farm fields. The elderly woman in photo A-55 is from S--- village and is responsible for both looking after her grandchild and pounding rice while her children work in their hill fields.

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Thramu M---, a school teacher shown in photo A-56 is a single mother who continues to both raise her own children and teach the other displaced children in her community. Photo A-57 shows a 21-year-old woman named Naw H--- from T--- village of Kyauk Kyi Township while she makes a bamboo container with which to store and carry water. These photographs were taken on March 7th and 8th 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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These pictures show bamboo huts located at the hiding site of villagers from Thaw Ngeh Der village in Nyaunglebin District. The residents of Thaw Ngeh Der fled their homes in March 2008 and remained at this displaced hiding site until at least March 8th 2009, when these photos were taken. At that time, the villagers had not yet returned to their village due to ongoing Burma Army patrols in the area. [Photos: KHRG]

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Students who have just finished their school year at an IDP camp in Papun District return to their home villages. The students are shown here on March 20th 2009 hurriedly crossing an SPDC-controlled vehicle road while Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers take security. Because of insecurity and a lack of educational facilities at their home villages, which remain outside of SPDC-controlled areas, these students must take this risky journey simply to access schools. [Photos: KHRG]

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Villagers in Papun District take part in a KHRG Village Agency workshop in March 2009. In these workshops, participants are encouraged to discuss the strategies that they and other villagers use to resist abuse and to develop and refine these strategies according their local situation. For more information on KHRG's Village Agency workshops, see Supporting IDP Resistance Strategies, KHRG, April 2008. [Photos: KHRG]

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The picture to the left shows the Burma Army camp at Bpaw Hseh Koh in the Maw Gkyaw Koh area of Papun District in March 2009. While Burma Army soldiers withdrew from 13 camps in Papun District between the end of 2008 and the start of 2009, many other camps, like the one shown here, remain occupied. [Photo: KHRG]

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Many villagers in Karen State have been displaced repeatedly over the past decades due to human rights abuse and armed conflict. 70-year-old Naw Hs---, who is shown here in March 2009 with her husband, is now staying at Th--- village in Papun District. Naw Hs--- has been repeatedly displaced since she first fled from Japanese troops during World War II. Since that time she has fled from the soldiers of successive Burmese governments. Naw Hs--- told KHRG that she hopes peace will come quickly to her and her husband. [Photo: KHRG]

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Photos A-68 to A-73 and video A-74 show villagers in Nyaunglebin District as they engage in forced labour repairing an SPDC-controlled vehicle road leading from Htaik Htoo relocation site to Kyauk Kyi Town on April 2nd 2009 as ordered by Burma Army personnel based at See Bpay Tha Ya army camp in Kyauk Kyi Township.

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Those ordered to comply with the forced labour include villagers previously relocated from Ay Neh, Bpa Ta Lah, Thoo Gka Bee, Noh Gkaw and Weh Lah Taw village tracts. Burma Army personnel ordered one person from each household to contribute to the road repair. Women and children were amongst those engaged in the forced labour. [Photos and video: KHRG]

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A-74 [To watch the video click here.]

Photo A-75, taken on April 3rd 2009, shows the road leading from Papun Town to Gk'Ma Maw at the point where it connects Way Hsah and Way Moo villages. Local SPDC authorities have surveyed the farm fields on both sides of this road, apparently planning to confiscate this land as they have done with other land in the area. If the SPDC does confiscate the land, many civilians who farm fields along both sides of the road will lose their means of livelihood. [Photo: KHRG]

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16-year-old Maung Ht---, a deserter from the Burma Army is shown here in April 2009. Maung Ht--- told KHRG that "In the past, when I was staying in the SPDC Association [Burma Army] I suffered many troubles. I was exploited with insufficient salary and rations. And furthermore, as I didn't have a high level of education, I had to remain at a low-rank. They [Burma Army authorities] ordered [the soldiers] as they wanted. I had to meet all of their needs. Because I couldn't endure this treatment, I fled when I got in contact with the KNU... In the same way as me, I pray that the child soldiers who remain with the SPDC Army will be quickly released from oppression and torture." [Photo: KHRG]

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In April 2006, SPDC Light Infantry Battalion #349 forcibly relocated the residents of numerous villages in Nyaunglebin District to Htaik Htoo relocation site - also located in Nyauglebin District. Over nearly three years, the empty homes and other buildings at the formerly occupied villages became dilapidated. However, in December 2008, the former residents of B--- village, one of those that had been previously relocated, were able to return to their homes and have since rebuilt the local school, as shown in photo A-77, although without any SPDC assistance. A-77

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Amongst those forcibly relocated to Htaik Htoo relocation site by Burma Army forces in 2006 were the residents of multiple villages in Bpa Ta Lah village tract of Kyauk Kyi Township. However, on December 22nd 2008, SPDC authorities ordered the former residents of Bpa Ta Law village tract to relocate again. This time three of the previously relocated villagers were moved to a new site (photo A-78) with no irrigation located in an open area between Bpa Ta Lah and Taw Koh village. For more details about the SPDC's forced relocation of civilians to Htaik Htoo and other relocation sites in Nyaunglebin District, see Cycles of Displacement: Forced relocation and civilian responses in Nyaunglebin District, KHRG, January 2009. [Photos: KHRG] A-78

This picture, taken in April 2009, shows a family from Thaton District that fled to Pa'an District and then to Thailand. The family reported that they had to pay money to support the villagers who were recruited as new DKBA soldiers. They therefore decided to leave their village to avoid paying this money. [Photo: KHRG]

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20-year-old Saw M--- deserted from the DKBA in early 2009 and subsequently spoke to KHRG on April 14th, when these photos were taken. Prior to deserting, Saw M--- served in the 'Brigade Security Force' of DKBA Brigade #999 under commander Pah Nwee. Regarding child soldiers in the DKBA, Saw M--- told KHRG that "some soldiers are only 13 years old. There were six soldiers who were 13 years old in my security detachment [the 'Brigade Security Force']." [Photos: KHRG]

On April 19th 2009, SPDC and DKBA soldiers combined to attack the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) camp at Khaw Lay Kee in north-eastern Dooplaya District. Due to the fighting, about 200 local villagers fled to a site in Thailand near the Moei River where they built approximately 30 huts in which to temporarily reside, as shown in these photos.

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On April 28th 2009 the joint SPDC and DKBA forces defeated the KNLA at Khaw Lay Kee. When these photos were taken on April 30th 2009, some of the refugees from the Khaw Lay Kee area had briefly returned to the area of the fighting to check on their abandoned agricultural fields. [Photos: KHRG]

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This picture, taken in April 2009, shows a poster of DKBA Brigade #999 Brigadier Pah Nwee's drama troupe. Pah Nwee announced that his drama troupe would perform in Ht--- village of Pa'an District, on March 7th to 9th 2009. He demanded 200,000 kyat (approx. US $182) from the residents of Ht--- village to pay for the production. [Photo: KHRG]

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The photos above and below show IDPs in Lu Thaw Township in northern Papun District receiving emergency food support in the form of rice supplies that are being given by local KNU officers. After prolonged periods of hiding in the forest, these villagers have been unable to fully tend to their farms or maintain stores of harvested paddy. As a result, they have faced severe food shortages. These photos were taken on April 25th 2009. [Photos: KHRG]

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The S'Gkaw Karen Buddhist monk, shown here on April 30th 2009, reported to KHRG that he had gotten into an argument with Pah Nwee, the commander of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army Brigade #999, which operates primarily in Pa'an District. When Pah Nwee insisted that the monk follow a strictly vegan diet, the monk replied that he would not do so. Pah Nwee then got angry with the monk and punched him in the chin and hit him on his back. The monk subsequently fled to Thailand. U Thuzana, a Karen monk and the nominal head of the DKBA, enforces a strict vegan diet at his compound at Myaing Gyi Ngu in Pa'an District, which also functions as the DKBA headquarters. Following U Thuzana's regulations, some DKBA officers maintain a vegetarian diet, while others do not. [Photo: KHRG]

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

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The photo to the right shows 34-year-old Naw M--along with her three sons, who now live in Mae La Oo refugee camp in Thailand. Naw M--- told KHRG that she left her village in Lu Thaw Township, Papun District, because of problems created by frequent SPDC patrols. Naw M--- lost a leg to a landmine while she was displaced in Lu Thaw Township, and her husband was shot and killed by the Burma Army. A fourth son and her father died from lack of access to medical treatment. This photo was taken on May 9th 2009. [Photo: KHRG]

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This picture, taken on June 2nd 2009, shows land in T'Nay Hsah Townshipof Pa’an District owned by DKBA Brigade #999 Operation Commander Maung Chit Thoo. Maung Chit Thoo reportedly plans to build a resort for foreign tourists at this location. However, he has demanded money from local villagers to pay for the construction. [Photo: KHRG]

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Beginning in the first week of June 2009, DKBA and SPDC forces conducted joint attacks on a KNLA camp located in Dta Greh Township of Pa'an District. The KNLA camp was located adjacent to Ler Per Her camp for internally displaced people, which prior to the attacks had a population of over 1,200. Residents from the from the surrounding villages began leaving for Thailand at the start of June to avoid the fighting as well as expected forced labour carrying military supplies amidst the fighting. Subsequently, on June 5th the entire civilian population of Ler Per Her camp evacuated to Thailand to avoid the fighting. Joint SPDC/DKBA attacks on the KNLA continued until mid June, when the KNLA withdrew its forces from the camps and dispersed as small units into the surrounding forests. [Photos: KHRG]

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

Photo A-94, taken in July 2008, shows the locations (at the time immediately preceding the attacks) of the SPDC and DKBA camps in the background. In the foreground lies the now empty Ler Per Her IDP camp. Between Ler Per Her and the SPDC/DKBA camps lies the KNLA camp. Photo A-95 shows the Moei River dividing Thailand (on the left and bottom) and Karen State (on the right). The village of Mae Salit (to which many of the Ler Per Her refugees subsequently fled) is visible on the Thai side of the river at the bottom left corner of the photo. A few buildings at Ler Per Her IDP camp are just barely visible amongst the trees on the opposite bank of the river. Photo A-96 shows smoke rising from the KNLA camp near Ler Per Her on June 14th 2009, after KNLA forces withdrew and the camp was taken by the DKBA.

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

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Photos A-97 to A-100 show displaced villagers from Ler Per Her IDP camp who wait to leave the area by boat as they flee to Thailand on June 5th 2009 to avoid the joint SPDC/DKBA attacks.

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

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In photos A-101 to A-105, displaced villagers from Ler Per Her IDP camp flee to Thailand by boat on June 5th as insecurity grows amidst the SPDC/DKBA troop build-up in the area.

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

Following their arrival in Thailand, local and international aid organisations including the Karen Refugee Committee (KRC), the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) came to provide assistance. In photos A-106 to A-112 the newly displaced refugees from the Ler Per Her area receive humanitarian aid on June 7th 2009 in Noh Boh village in Tha Song Yang District of Tak Province, Thailand. A-108

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

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Many of those injured in the fighting around Ler Per Her IDP camp subsequently went to Thailand for medical treatment. Photo A-113, taken on June 23rd 2009, shows a 17-year-old DKBA child soldier named Saw P--recovering at a hospital in Thailand after being injured during fighting with the KNLA near Ler Per Her camp. Saw P--- told KHRG, "In 2008, the DKBA recruited 10 villagers in my village to join the army. I had to draw a lottery ticket and then [due to the ticket that he drew], I had to join the DKBA for three years... Commander Saw Hsar Muh Say stayed behind along with the Burmese Army and gave an order that the soldiers had to fight at the frontline and also had to plant landmines. It's like the DKBA commanders ordered us to die." A-113

Amongst those who fled to Thailand were villagers who had been previously injured from landmine explosions. The villagers shown in photos A-114 and A-115 each lost a leg when they stepped on landmines in separate incidents. The man in photo A-114 lost his leg in 2007 when he stepped on a landmine near to his home village of Muh Aye Puh in Dta Greh Township of Pa'an District.

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

Likewise, the man in photo A-115 lost his leg near to the same village at the end of 2008. As their village was located near to Ler Per Her IDP camp, they both fled to Thailand at the start of June 2009 (when they were photographed by KHRG) in order to avoid the fighting between joint SPDC/DKBA attacks against a KNLA camp in the area. [Photos: KHRG]

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In 2007, this man stepped on an SPDC-deployed landmine near his home village in Bu Tho Township in Papun District. Since losing his leg, he has not been able to work to support his family, so he has moved to stay at Ee Thoo Hta IDP camp in Papun District of northern Karen State where he is able to get some limited food rations to support himself. This photo was taken in June 2009. [Photo: KHRG]

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

When this photo was taken in June 2009, the young man shown above wearing a grey shirt was enrolled in 10th standard at Ee Thoo Hta High School in Ee Thoo Hta IDP camp. When he was 11 years old he stepped on a KNLAdeployed landmine near his village in Bu Tho Township in Papun District. The prosthetic leg he now wears has been provided by the KNLA and he currently receives support from the Karen Youth Organisation to be able to continue to study. [Photos: KHRG]

The photo to the left shows Ee Thoo Tha camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Papun District along the Salween River bordering Thailand. The camp has steadily increased in size since it was opened in April 2006 and now has a population of just over 4,000 people. The residents of Ee Thoo Hta told KHRG that due to the recent fighting between joint SPDC and DKBA forces and the KNLA in June 2009, they are concerned about their security and a possible attack on the camp. [Photo: KHRG] A-119

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Karen Human Rights Group | KHRG Photo Gallery 2009

23.07.09 00:19

Children residing at Ee Thoo Hta IDP camp play football and walk to school during the rainy season in the first week of July 2009. Most of these children have come from villages in the mountains of northern Karen State and for some the school at Ee Thoo Hta is their best opportunity for education. The current camp registration includes 472 children aged 1 to 5 years. The head teacher of Ee Thoo Hta High School, furthermore, told KHRG that there were over 500 children aged 6 to 15 years attending the school. Including those aged 15 to 17, the head teacher estimated that the total population of Ee Thoo Hta below 18 years of age is about 2,000, or roughly half the camp's population of over 4,000 people. [Photos: KHRG]

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