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Home > Main Library > Non-Burman and non-Buddhist groups > Ethnic groups in Burma (cultural, political) > Single Groups > Salon (Moken, Sea Gypsies)

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Salon (Moken, Sea Gypsies)

Individual Documents

Title: Burma "Sea Gypsies" Compendium
Date of publication: June 2004
Description/subject: "The Salons or sea gypsies are the among the smallest minorities in Burma and no less vulnerable or defenseless against human rights abuses committed by the junta. They need the attention of Human Rights activists and organizations." -- Chin Forum Information Service Freely roaming the ocean in small boats from birth to death, living simply off its riches, a Southeast Asian people seem as mythical as mermaids. These ethnic groups known as "Sea Gypsies" are still found from the Philippines to Borneo to Thailand to Burma. Their lives are romantic but increasingly difficult. This report focuses exclusively on those from Burma's waters. Burma's "Sea Gypsies" face particular problems which may even threaten their existence as a culture and people. Amid the vast array of documentation on Burma's human rights situation and ethnic groups there has been very little investigation about Burma's "Sea Gypsies." A series of books by a French ethnologist, two new books published in Burma, and a recent documentary film are among the main resources available. There has been little press coverage outside of a few tourism-oriented articles and a spate of news coverage in early 2004. Even an activist from the Mon ethnic group of the same region of Burma comments about the "Sea Gypsies": "These people are living offshore and rarely have communication with the people on the coast." As a compendium, this report seeks to fill some of this information gap with a collection of 29 documents and articles from 1997 to 2004 concerning Burma's "Sea Gypsies" in a format accessible to those who are interested in Burma and indigenous/nomadic peoples issues. This compendium is modeled on Project Maje's previous "A Chin Compendium," released in 1999. The material contained here is compiled for nonprofit public interest use. For reproduction contact the original sources. Be sure to credit the original sources, not Project Maje, if quoting from non Project Maje material contained here. This is not a scientific study or a comprehensive report. It is intended as a reference and background resource. It draws upon available information in English about Burma's "Sea Gypsies" from an array of sources, including news articles, tour agencies, and researchers. Project Maje, the compiler of this report, does not endorse, confirm or deny the veracity of any of the non Project Maje material. In some cases, only excerpts directly relevant to the Burma "Sea Gypsies" are included, rather than a complete article. Places where articles were cut for excerpts are marked with three woven rattans (###.) The beginning and end of each article is marked with three nautilus shells (@@@.)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Project Maje
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2004