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Chronology for Mons in Burma

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Mons in Burma, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38711d.html [accessed 18 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Mar 1990 About 300 members of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), armed with heavy weapons, simultaneously attacked a police station, a camp and an infantry regimental headquarters in Ye, a town in Mon State. After the battle, 43 insurgent corpses were found, 4 military personnel were reported killed, while 14 others were wounded (BBC quotes Rangoon Radio, 03/27/90).
Jun 1990 Latest election results broadcast by Rangoon Radio indicate that the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) has won five seats in the 485-seat national parliamentary elections (BBC, 06/21/90).
Jan 1991 Insurgents from the Karen National Union and the NMSP burned down two oil trucks belonging to a Thai timber company in the Three Pagodas Pass.
Mar 1, 1992 - Mar 31, 1991 Based on the submission of the Election Commission, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has abolished 9 political parties including the MNDF for various reasons. These parties have reportedly failed to live by the rules and norms of functioning as political parties, a statement by the SLORC said (Reuters, 02/24/92).
Sep 1993 The President of the NMSP and the leader of the Mon rebels, Nai Shwe Kyin, said that he had rejected a Thai offer to mediate peace with Rangoon and clear the way for a gas pipeline between Burma and Thailand. The two neighbors are seeking a safe corridor through Mon and Karen rebel territory in southeastern Burma to allow construction of the multi-million dollar pipeline. Kyin stated that Bangkok had promised to arrange the safe repatriation of about 15,000 refugees who fled the rule of the SLORC in their native Mon state. He explained that "They told us if we made a peace agreement with the SLORC, the refugees would be repatriated and could have good jobs working on the ongoing gas fields project". The pipeline is being constructed by Western consortiums led by the American oil company Texaco and France's Total. "It's the most attractive route because it has already been surveyed for the railway", built during World War II by the Japanese army, said a Western diplomat in Rangoon. However, he asserted that "The biggest drawback, though, is the insurgencies" (Reuters Financial Report, 09/09/93). The head of the Thai National Security Council, Charan Kunlawanit, denied reports of such pressure on the Mon minority group to open peace talks with the Burmese government. Thai government sources said that none of the more than 10,000 Mon refugees situated about 40 km south of the Three Pagoda Pass would be deported, but that they would be relocated nearer to the Burmese border. The Chairman of the Mon National Relief Committee, Nai Tin Aung, has praised Thailand for not deporting his compatriots, but said their lives would be endangered if they were moved closer to the border (Bangkok Post, 09/11/93).
Oct 1993 The Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAP), of which the NMSP is a member, has threatened to blow up a gas pipeline that Rangoon is proposing to build along the route of the notorious World War II "death railway". A DAB spokesman said that "The pipeline must not be allowed to happen. It is an evil thing where international companies will be effectively sponsoring the dictatorship's war against its own people".
Nov 1993 An official from the Mon rebel army denied reports that the group had decided to open unilateral peace talks with the junta and said the group would only consider multilateral peace talks involving all factions opposed to the military government in Rangoon. "We are not going to do anything alone. We will only make peace talks with other members of the DAB," the Mon guerrilla official said referring to the DAB opposition umbrella organization (AFP, 11/26/93).
Dec 1993 Mon insurgents torched six bridges in southern Burma, halting bus and truck transport on a road linking two cities (Radio Rangoon statement quoted by AFP, 12/02/93).
Feb 1994 A US Congressman, Bill Richardson, a New Mexico democrat, is in Burma on a fact-finding mission. He said he wanted to promote dialogue between the military regime and members of the democratic opposition (AP Worldstorm, 02/14/94).
Mar 1994 A hard-line leader of the Mon ethnic minority, Francis Yap, along with 13 other Mons was arrested by Thai police in a sweeping operation against the group, a rebel source confirmed (Japan Economic Newswire, 03/01/94). Police sources indicate they were arrested on charges of illegal entry. The arrests followed a demonstration two days earlier by some 50 Mons in front of the regional headquarters of the UN in Bangkok. The rebel source interpreted the action as direct pressure to drive the group into a peace pact with the Rangoon's rulers. Yap opposes the NMSP's decision to engage in cease-fire negotiations with the SLORC. The two sides met for the first time in early January. No tangible progress was reported. "The government is preparing a second round of talks with the Mon party and I am confident that they will be successful," Burmese TV cited military intelligence chief Gen Nyunt as stating (Reuters, 03/11/94).
Jul 1994 The Thai Public Relations Office of western Kanchanaburi Province announced that according to a representative from the Border Patrol Police, a group of 9,000 Mons fled a Burmese military attack and entered into Thai territory (BBC, 07/27/94). Military authorities have forced more than 20,000 Mons to work as slave laborers on a new rail line connecting the southern cities of Tavoy and Ye, according to Pisanh Paladsingha, Coordinator of the Bangkok-based Thai Mon Community Organization. He said, "Several hundred Mons died during the construction... This is a human rights violation that is even worse than when the Japanese tortured their prisoners during the building of the Death Railway in World War II...Thai authorities sent 8,000 Mons to their death by pushing them out to a new camp [in Burma]" (UPI, 07/20/94).
Aug 1994 Military authorities have released two prominent Mon politicians in a move guerrillas said was aimed at encouraging ceasefire talks. Burmese TV, monitored in Bangkok, reported that Nai Tun, an elected MP from the MDP, and Nai Ngwe, a MDP executive member, were released from prison in the southern city of Moulmein (Reuters, 08/24/94).
Aug 9, 1994 Around 30 Mon monks held a demonstration in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok to draw attention to the situation of some 6000 Mon refugees who fled to Thailand in July. Burmese forces attacked and burnt down the camp where the refugees lived. The monks want the refugees to be allowed to stay in Thailand because of threats to their security (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 08/09/94).
Aug 11, 1994 Thai authorities blocked the main road leading to a refugee camp in Sangkhla Buri township where more than 6000 Mon refugees have been residing since July. Relief supplies have not been able to make it through the blockade and water supplies have been cut off, leading to worries about an outbreak of disease. The Thai government indicates that it will not use force to expel the refugees (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 08/11/94; BBC, 08/13/94; Inter Press Service, 08/13/94).
Aug 24, 1994 Over 2000 people, who the Thai government believes are illegal immigrants, were rounded up and sent to the new Halockhani camp which is temporarily housing more than 6000 Mons who fled Burma in July. The group includes Mons, Karens, Indians, and Burmese (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 08/24/94).
Sep 1994 At a ceremony at Ye in Mon state, 28 members of the NMSP formally gave up their armed struggle against the Burmese government (Japan Economic Newswire, 09/05/94).
Sep 8, 1994 The last of 6000 Mon refugees that fled to Thailand in July are returning to their old camp inside Burma. Reports indicate that the Thai government had "starved" them as food supplies had been cut since early August. Amnesty International condemned the Thai government for its treatment of the political refugees (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/08/94; Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 09/08/94).
Sep 23, 1994 Thai officials have rounded up more than 60 Mons and sent them to Halockhani refugee camp on the Burmese side of the border. The Mon were reported to be illegal immigrants (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 09/23/94).
Sep 29, 1994 Two people were killed and four others wounded when a bomb exploded in southwest Burma. The bomb was reportedly planted by local Mon guerrillas (Reuters, 09/29/94).
Dec 1994 Human Rights Watch Asia says that the Mons are "victims of Thailand's economic engagement with Burma's military rulers". The organization states that the Mons are victims of a new pipeline agreement that will provide Thailand with natural gas. It condemned Thailand's siege of a refugee camp in August that led around 6000 Mon refugees to return to Burma (BBC, 12/02/94).
Jan 1995 Some 200 Mons fled into Thailand and have been allowed to join around 12,000 other Mons who are living at four refugee camps near the Thai-Burmese border. According to a spokesman for the Mon National Refugees Committee, the Mons escaped from forced labor gangs who are building the 110 mile Ye-Tavoy railway line. When completed next year, the railway will allow for supplies to be delivered to the Yadana gas field (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 01/17/95).
Jan 29, 1995 A member of the SLORC and a former Mon commander were among four people killed in a clash with members of the Mon National Liberation Front, a faction of the NMSP. No rebel casualties were reported (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 01/21/95).
Feb 1995 Thailand has signed a 30-year agreement to import natural gas from Burma. The multi-billion dollar project requires building a pipeline from the Yadana gas field, Burma's largest offshore field, to the Thai border. Two foreign firms -- Total of France and Unocal of the US -- have been contracted by Rangoon to help implement the agreement. Both the Mons and the Karens oppose the deal, arguing that it will provide revenue for Burma's military rulers. Also, the Secretary General of the Mon National Relief Committee, Nai Mon Chan, says that 80% of the proposed land route for the pipeline will pass through Mon-controlled areas. Chan asserts that 3000 Mon villagers will be forced to relocate and the region will suffer large-scale environmental destruction (UPI, 01/31/95; Reuters, 02/02/95).
Apr 1995 Two Thai policemen are missing and two others were wounded following a clash with intruders, who are reported to be ethnic Mons, in the western province of Kanchanaburi. A spokesman for the New Mon State Party denied responsibility for the incident (Agence France Presse, 04/06/95).
Apr 15, 1995 The All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) asserts that a joint force of Burmese soldiers and members of the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Organization (DKBO) attacked Mon villages in southern Burma. (In December of 1994, the DKBO broke away from the main Karen National Union and joined the military junta.) At least three people were reported dead. No independent confirmation of the report was available (Agence France Presse, 04/15/95).
Jun 1995 The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has agreed to a ceasefire agreement with the SLORC. NMSP Vice Chairman Nia Htin said that over 40 years of fighting had brought nothing but misery to people in Mon state. The NMSP has asked Rangoon for assistance in helping to resettle more than 10,000 Mon refugees that are located in camps along the Thai-Burma border. Under the agreement, the Mons were allowed to retain their weapons. So far, more than 13 ethnic groups have signed ceasefire agreements with the military junta (Agence France Presse, 06/29/95; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 06/29/95).
Aug 1995 The chairman of the NMSP, Nai Shwe Kyin, says that peace talks between his organization and the SLORC will be held soon. On June 29, the NMSP returned to the legal fold when it agreed to a ceasefire. However, Kyin says that a real agreement to end the hostilities remains to be negotiated. Analysts indicate that the ceasefire is a major coup for the SLORC as it would improve security along the projected route of a major natural gas pipeline project (UPI, 08/25/95).
Aug 31, 1995 The NMSP has pledged to join the Burmese government in its efforts to modernize the country. The pledge follows a meeting held between the two sides in Rangoon (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 08/31/95).
Nov 1995 Following a request from Mon leaders, the United Nations will offer to monitor the repatriation of around 20,000 Mons who are located in Thailand or in camps along the Thai-Burmese border. A UNHCR delegation will meet with the military junta in the near future (Agence France Presse, 11/16/95).
Feb 1996 The New Mon State Party, the Karen National Union, and a Karenni rebel group, the KNPP, sign a cooperation agreement. They also discuss conducting joint operations in areas under government control (BBC, 02/26/96).
Aug 1996 Amnesty International reports that tens of thousands of people in Mon state and the Tenasserim area are being used as forced labor on the Yadana pipeline project. It also indicates that some 10,000 Mons who were forcibly repatriated from Thailand in 1995 to areas controlled by the NMSP are still unable to return to their homes. In April and May of this year, Amnesty asserts that some 1000 Mon refugees fled to NMSP-controlled areas as they were allegedly being used as forced labor on the Ye-Tavoy railway line extension (Agence France Presse, 08/07/96).
Oct 1996 A Mon leader says that the Burmese military is slowly stopping forced labor in an area where Total of France and the US-based Unocal are constructing a natural gas pipeline. Nai Shwe Kyin, leader of the New Mon State Party, states that while forced labor and other rights abuses continue in areas of Burma's Mon state, the behavior of the military is improving because it is gaining more financial profits. Kyin notes that a Mon group will be allowed to start up joint ventures with foreign companies to build a toll road and open a bank in Mon State (Agence France Presse, 10/02-04/96).
Dec 1996 The vice-president of the NMSP, Nai Htin, asserts that the ceasefire agreement has not brought about any political, economic or social improvements. He says that human rights violations against Mon civilians and forced relocations have neither stopped nor subsided. It is still forbidden to teach the Mon language in schools. The SLORC had promised to end forced labor and relocations. The NMSP has actively pressed the government to implement the provisions of the agreement (The Nation, 12/23/96). Under the ceasefire deal the NMSP will retain control of 12 designated areas but will gradually hand over eight others, including two strategic outposts in Mergus district and two others in Tavoy district, where the French oil giant Total's US$1-billion natural gas pipeline will cross into Thailand. NMSP secretary-general Nai Rotsa says the Mon will withdraw some forces from Tavoy, however, the civilian population will remain where they are (Ibid.). The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has split ranks over the 18-month ceasefire. About 300 members have formed the Beik Mon Army, claiming that the mainstream NMSP has made too many concessions to the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). The splinter faction accuses the military junta of continuing to use forced labor and displacing people to make way for the oil pipeline to Thailand. Some 80 people, mostly villagers who support the Mon rebels, have been killed recently (Bangkok Post 12/23/96; Inter Press Service, 12/30/96).
Jan 1997 Representatives of fifteen ethnic groups from across Burma, including the New Mon State Party, attended a meeting in Karen-held territory on January 15. The groups signed the Mae Tha Raw Hta agreement which calls for the establishment of a democratic, federal union in Burma. Among those present at the meeting were representatives of the Wa, Karenni, and Kachin groups with whom the ruling junta has signed ceasefire agreements over the last few years. The delegates also expressed support for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and for the need for a tripartite dialogue between the Burmese regime, the NLD, and ethnic groups. The State Law and Order Restoration Council's (SLORC) efforts to draft a new constitution were described as a "sham" (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97)
Feb 1997 Seventeen ethnic rebel factions including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Karen National Union (KNU) meet in KNU-controlled territory under the banner of the newly-revived National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF fought against the military in the 1970s and 1980s until the KIA signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 1994 . A spokesman says that several rebel groups are set to renege on their cease-fire deals and resume fighting. Reports indicate that the government has launched a military offensive in Karen areas to stop the groups from reuniting (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97; Reuters, 02/06/97).
May 1997 More than 1000 troops attack camps run by Karen rebels and the Beik Mon Army as well as camps of a dissident students' group in the Tenasserim Division of southern Burma. This is the area where an oil pipeline between Burma and Thailand is being built (Japan Economic Newswire, 05/22/97).
Jun 1997 More than 300 members of the Beik Mon Army surrender, handing over some 1,700 pieces of arms and ammunition to authorities at a camp near the Thai border. Meanwhile, more than 720 Mon villagers fled into neighboring Thailand last week to seek shelter from fighting between the rebels and the government (Xinhua News Agency, 06/03/97).
Aug 1997 Canada and the US have imposed economic sanctions against Burma due to its human rights record (BBC, 08/26/97).
Sep 1997 Widespread flooding is reported in Mon state. Japan, Germany and China provide financial assistance (Japan Economic Newswire, 09/08/97).
Sep 1998 The government orders 120 out of 123 Mon schools to close. The schools are operated by the NMSP. The action reportedly violates the government's peace agreement with the group. In 1997, the SLORC ruled that the Mon language could not be taught in the 170 jointly administered schools. Many students then moved to the NMSP-run schools. The junta says that the Mon schools have had a negative impact on official education policy (British Broadcasting Corporation, 09/05/98).
Sep 17, 1998 The New Mon State Party, the Shan State People's Liberation Organization, the Karenni All People's Liberation Army, and the New Kayah State Party support the decision by the National League for Democracy (NLD) to convene a parliament consisting of those elected in 1990. The military refused to abide by the results of the election. All of these groups have reached ceasefire deals with the government (Agence France Presse, 09/17/98).
Sep 30, 1998 The SLORC threatens the NMSP for supporting a political dialogue with the NLD (BBC, 09/30/98).
Oct 1998 Malaria is reported to be widespread in Mon, Karen, and Kayah states (Xinhua News Agency, 10/20/98).

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