Karen State, Burma: Papun District Image Analysis

Executive Summary
>Papun District Image Analysis
Toungoo District Image Analysis
Dooplaya District Image Analysis
Shan State Image Analysis
Shwegyin District Image Analysis
Myawadi District Image Analysis
Thailand Image Analysis

Papun District, like Thandaung District to its north, has been a perennial conflict zone for years. Due to its proximity to the Thai border, it is the source of many of the refugees who occupy camps in Thailand, upon whose testimony the Thailand Burma Border Consortium relies to reconstruct events within that country.

AAAS surveyed areas in Papun District in 2007 and again in 2009. The first analysis relied upon coordinates received from the field identifying a specific set of villages burned on and around April 22, 2007. Reports indicated that 33 military camps were built in the area in 2006 and existing camps were enlarged and used as bases for military operations and internment. Attacks in this area are documented in Karen Human Rights Group reports as well as by the Free Burma Rangers, and supported by information from Thailand Burma Border Consortium.

Images from 2000, 2006, and 2007, covering a portion of Papun District, were compared with one another to derive results. Imagery analysis located nine settlement areas that had been visibly disturbed, burnt, or destroyed (see Images 1 - 4 and Images 7 - 11). A military camp and an auxiliary military camp were also identified in the study area (Images 5 and 6). Analysis of 93 sq. km. surrounding the military camps indicated 31 possible sites of forced relocation, indicated by the appearance of new villages and groups of structures between imagery collected in 2000-2001 and a new satellite image acquired in late 2006. Samples of these 31 sites are presented in Images 12 - 13. Figure Two summarizes these locations. Images 1 - 4 and 10 - 11 correspond with the reported attacks around March through May of 2006, and the area believed to be the site of the village burnings in April 2007 is presented in Images 7 - 9. Of special interest, reporting concerning the April 2007 attacks identified a number of villages that had been burned by the military in the northern Papun District area. Given the report of burning, which produces recognizable scarrring on the land surface, a new image of the areas was ordered, though no before imagery of some areas was available. Despite the fact that the monsoon clouds had moved in for the season, in mid-June the clouds cleared briefly one morning and an image was successfully collected for the area. AAAS revisited Papun in 2009 after reports that the district ranked second only to Thandaung District in intensity of conflict during 2007-2008. Imagery from 2006 and 2009 was analyzed by AAAS SHR and shown to largely corroborate these reports, revealing the destruction of entire villages, as well as isolated dwellings in the forest. In some cases, one settlement would appear to grow at the expense of others - a pattern that could be consistent with reports of forced relocation collected by humanitarian workers familiar with the situation on the ground. Images 14 - 17 are from the 2009 analysis of Papun.

Papun District Sites: 2007 Analysis

Image 1: Removed Village

The "before" image (11 November 2000) depicts a settlement in the Papun District adjacent to rice paddies in 2000 (red dots added for ease of identification). The "after" image (13 December 2006) shows the same area of land as with all structures removed. Note: a similarly sized settlement appeared 1 km north in the interim. This area was reported attacked in April 2006. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.41 N Long: 97.26 E)

Image 2: Removed Village

The image from 11 November 2000 (left) shows a 6-structure settlement; all structures are removed from the 13 December 2006 (right) image. This area was reported attacked in April 2006. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.42 N Long: 97.26 E)

Image 3: Removed Village

The "before" image shows 5+ structures along a densely-wooded ridge in 2000. All structures are removed in the corresponding 2006 image. The area was reported attacked in April 2006. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.39 N Long: 97.24 E)

Image 4: Removed Village

The first image (11 November 2000, left) depicts a settlement of 6-10 structures. The majority of structures are removed in the "after" 2006 image (13 December 2006, right); significant forest growth is also seen. This area was reported attacked in April 2006. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.36 N Long: 97.24 E)

Image 5: Military Camp

Before Image: 11-Nov-2000. © 2007 GeoEye. After Image: 13-Dec-2006. © 2007 DigitalGlobe.This particular camp was identified from a report disseminated by the Free Burma Rangers that reported a major expansion of the camp in 2006. Bamboo fencing was erected around the camp, visible in the "after" image above. Left image 11 November 2000, GeoEye. Right image 13 December 2006, DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.42 N Long: 97.23 E)

Image 6: Satellite Military Camp

This image is of a suspected military camp developed between November 2000 and 13 December 2006. This is likely a satellite camp, lying about a kilometer from the larger military camp depicted in Image 5. Image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.42 N Long: 97.23 E)

Image 7: Removed Structures
 
This settlement in the image pair above has experienced the removal of at least 3 structures between 13 December 2006 (left image) and 24 June 2007 (right image). This corresponds with reported attacks in the area in April of 2007. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.56 N Long: 97.06 E)

Image 8: Structural Burn Scars

The settlement in the image pair above shows burn scars for about 12-14 structures. This corresponds with reported attacks in the area on April 22, 2007. Left image 13 December 2006, GeoEye. Right image 24 June 2007, DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.54 N Long: 97.05 E)

Image 9: Structural Burn Scars

Two burn scars can be seen in the "after" above image (24 June 2007) between two standing structures, corresponding with reported attacks in April 2007. This corresponds with reported attacks in the area on April 22, 2007. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.54 N Long: 97.06 E)

Image 10: Removed Village

The "before" image (11 November 2000, left) shows 2 - 5 small structures, with those structures removed by 133 December 2006 (right). The location is 4.1 kilometers from the military camp shown in Image 5. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.43 N Long: 97.25 E)

Image 11: Removed Village

The "before" image (11 November 2000, left) shows a small cluster of huts and a path. The "after" image (13 December 2006, right) indicates that those structures have been removed. The location is 4.1 kilometers from the military camp shown in Image 5. Left image GeoEye. Right image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.43 N Long: 97.25 E)

Image 12: Possible Relocated Villages

The two villages in this image appeared between February 2001 and 13 December 2006, the date the image was acquired. Reporting indicates numerous instances of forced relocations to this area, which lies 3.7 kilometers from the military camp shown in Image 5. In Papun District, analysis of 93 sqkm surrounding the military camp indicated 31 possible sites of forced relocation, indicated by the appearance of new villages and groups of structures between imagery collected in 2000 - 2001 and a new satellite image acquired in late 2006. Image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.42 N Long: 97.26 E)

Image 13: Possible Relocated Villages

Four areas of housing shown in this image appeared between November 2000 and the date of the image acquisition, 13 December 2006. Reporting indicates numerous instances of forced relocations to this area, which lies 5.6 kilometers from the military camp shown in Image 5. In Papun District, analysis of 93 sq. km. surrounding the military camp indicated 31 possible sites of forced relocation, indicated by the appearance of new villages and groups of structures between imagery collected in 2000 - 2001 and a new satellite image acquired in late 2006. Image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.41 N Long: 97.29 E)

Papun District Sites: 2009 Analysis

Image 14: Removed Village



A village of ten dwellings is present in this location on 13 December 2006 (top). By 08 February 2009 (bottom), all have been destroyed, with one new structure erected in the interim. Additionally, the small orchard located in the south of the earlier image has been abandoned. Image was obtained based on reporting by the TBBC. Top image GoogleEarth/DigitalGlobe. Bottom image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.42, Lon: 97.13)

Image 15: Removed Village



Before Image: 13-Dec-2006. © 2009 DigitalGlobe. After Image: 08-Feb-2009. © 2009 DigitalGlobe. A village consisting of fourteen structures occupies this location on 13 December 2006 (top). By 08 February 2009, all save one have been destroyed. As the remains of the razed dwellings are clearly visible, their destruction was likely recent. Image was obtained based on reporting by the TBBC. Top image GoogleEarth/DigitalGlobe. Bottom image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.49, Lon: 97.14)

Image 16: Removed Village



A village of twelve dwellings (top) is visible on 13 December 2006. All but two have been destroyed by 08 February 2009. As in image seventeen, the visible remains of the razed dwellings are evidence of the structures' relatively recent destruction. Image was obtained based on reporting by the TBBC. Top image GoogleEarth/DigitalGlobe. Bottom image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.45, Lon: 97.14)

Image 17: Removed Village



At top, on 13 December 2006 a small village of nine structures is present. All have been removed by 08 February 2009, and the surrounding land has been clear-cut. Many new structures appeared in a village to the northwest during the same interval, a fact which could represent evidence of forced relocation. Image was obtained based on reporting by the TBBC. Top image GoogleEarth/DigitalGlobe. Bottom image DigitalGlobe. (Lat: 18.43, Lon: 97.19)