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Home > Main Library > Internal Displacement/Forced Migration > Burma: Internal displacement/forced migration of individual ethnic groups > Internal displacement/forced migration of Karenni villagers

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Internal displacement/forced migration of Karenni villagers

Individual Documents

Title: Where is genuine peace? - A critique of the peace process in Karenni State
Date of publication: 05 December 2014
Description/subject: "A new report by the Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN) raises concerns about international “peace support” programming amid st increasing Burma Army militarization in Karenni State after the2012 ceasefire with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). The report “Where is Genuine Peace?” exposes how a pilot resettlement project of the Norway-led Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI) in Shardaw Township is encouraging IDPs to return to an area controlled by the Burma Army where their safety cannot be guaranteed. The MPSI claims that between June 2013 and September 2014 it supported 1,431 IDPs to return to 10 Shadaw villages forcibly relocated in 1996. However, KCSN found only about a third of these IDPs in the villages, most of whom were working-age adults returning to carry out farming, but not daring to return permanently due to fears of renewed conflict. As in other parts of Karenni State, the Burma Army has been reinforcing troops and fortifying its positions in Shadaw, where there is a tactical command centre and over 20 military outposts. “Instead of encouraging IDPs to return home be fore it is safe, international donors should be trying to ensure that the rights of conflict-affected villagers are protected,” said one of KCSN. “There must be pressure on the government to pull back its troops from the ethnic areas and start political dialog ue towards federal reform.” KCSN also criticizes the MPSI for fuelling conflict by ignoring Karenni-managed social service organizations that have been providing primary health care and other support to IDPs in Shadaw for decades. MPSI’s health support was through the government system, which remains highly centralized and dysfunctional in Karenni State. “Donors should not just give one-sided support to expand government services into ethnic conflict areas. This won’t be effective, and will only increase resentment and fuel conflict,” said KSWDC. The report also raises concerns about rampant resource extraction after the ceasefire, land confiscation, military expansions and lack of transparency around dam plans on the Salween and its tributaries in Karenni State. KCSN is calling for a moratorium on large-scale infrastructure and resource extraction projects in Karenni State until there is genuine peace." [from the KCSN press release of 5 December, 2014]
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN)
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 08 January 2015


Title: Living Ghosts - The spiraling repression of the Karenni population under the Burmese military junta
Date of publication: March 2008
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The people of Karenni State are living ghosts. Their daily survival is an achievement; however, it also signifies their further descent into poverty and a spiralling system of repression. Whilst this report documents the deteriorating situation in Karenni State over the past six years, this is nothing new for the ethnically diverse population of this geographically small area. They have been living in a protracted conflict zone for over 50 years with no respite from decades of low-intensity conflict and frequent human rights abuses. All the while both State and Non-State actors have marginalised the grassroots communities’ voices, contributing to the militarisation of their communities and societies. Burmese soldiers oppress Karenni villagers on a daily basis. Villagers are isolated from members of their own communities, and other ethnic groups; they report daily to local Burmese troops about Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) troop movements and other activities in their areas; community members spy on one another, reporting back to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); and they are punished by the SPDC in retaliation for the actions of the KNPP. All of these strategies create an environment of fear and mistrust between ethnic groups, communities, and even family members. These tactics successfully oppress the villagers, as they are too fearful and busy to think beyond daily survival. Further exacerbating the situation is the fact that villagers face oppression not only from the Burmese army, but also ceasefire groups and the KNPP. Soldiers from both the KNPP and ceasefire groups physically maltreat villagers and undermine their livelihoods. While these occurrences are certainly less frequent and less severe than similar acts by the SPDC, they still oppress the civilian population and undermine their ability and capacity to survive. Additionally the presence of many different actors has resulted in the militarisation of Karenni State. Thousands of landmines have been indiscriminately planted throughout the state, without adequate mapping or markings to minimise civilian causalities. The SPDC, ceasefire groups and the KNPP all recruit and have child soldiers in their armies. The Burmese army has the largest number of child soldiers anywhere in the world, and approximately 20 per cent of the KNPP’s troops are under 18 (the minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces under Burma’s national law). The increased militarisation of Karenni State has resulted in increases in human rights abuses. However villagers are staging their own non-violent resistance movement. They have developed and implemented a number of early warning systems and household and village-wide risk management strategies so as to minimise the impact of the SPDC and other armed groups violence and abuses. These resistance strategies have become the biggest threat to local and regional authorities; consequently the villagers are increasingly becoming the targets of hostilities from the Burmese army. Most people in Karenni State rely on agriculture as their primary source of income and are living a subsistence existence. Despite the villagers’ best efforts to secure their livelihoods, their ability and capacity to do so is constantly undermined by the SPDC and, to a lesser extent, ceasefire groups and the KNPP via crop procurement, forced production of dry season crops, arbitrary taxation and fines, theft and destruction of property and food, forced labour and land confiscation. This is further exacerbated by the drought that has been occurring in Karenni State for the past decade, which affects crop yields. When coupled with skyrocketing commodity prices, villagers’ ability to ebb out a living is further eroded – to the point of impossibility in some cases. The abject poverty in Karenni State prevents villagers from accessing basic health and education services. Whilst the SPDC claims to provide free health care and education, in reality this does not occur. Health and education services provided by the state are extremely expensive and are well-below international standards. As a result, for most people education and medical treatment becomes a luxury they simply cannot afford. As a result of poverty some villagers are turning to illegal activities in order to survive - mainly poppy production. In Karenni State there are two areas where villagers are growing poppies with the permission of ceasefire groups. Farmers can earn a significantly higher monetary return on their poppy yields than for other crops using the same quantity of land. Poppy growers can earn up to 300,000 Kyat per 1.5 kilogram package of raw opium they produce (a 1.5 kilogram package of raw opium can be produced in four months). A teacher supported by the SPDC would have to work for 60 months in order to earn the same amount. Additionally amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) are being produced in Karenni State. Three factories producing ATS in Karenni State have been identified, again in areas controlled by ceasefire groups; however as it is difficult to distinguish between factories and ordinary dwellings it is possible that there are many other ATS factories in Karenni State that have not been identified. Each factory can produce between 250,000 and 300,000 pills per month. From the three known factories in Karenni State between 9 million and 10.8 million ATS pills are being produced and released into the international drug market each year. Today over a quarter of the population in Karenni State have been forced from their homes as a direct result of the actions of the Burmese military junta. Between 70 and 80 per cent of those displaced are women and children. Displacement has increased 42 per cent since 2002 and represents eight per cent of the total population in Karenni State. Karenni State has the highest level of displacement to population ratio in all of eastern Burma. When similar comparisons are made to the five countries with the largest displaced populations in the world (Sudan, Colombia, Uganda, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo) the percentage of displaced persons in Karenni State is alarmingly higher. Over 12 per cent of Sudan’s population is displaced – less than half that of Karenni State. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Burma receive very little assistance, if any at all, primarily due to the policies of the SPDC, which severely restrict humanitarian agencies accessing these vulnerable populations. The SPDC deems IDPs as enemies of the state and implements a shoot on sight policy, which includes children and the elderly. IDPs are vulnerable to human rights abuses, exploitation and violence from the SPDC, as well as food shortages and have severely limited access to education and health care services. The most pressing need of the people and the IDP population is physical security. Most people have the capacity to earn a livelihood mitigating food shortages, to educate their children, establish a medical clinic and develop their communities; however, they lack the security necessary to do so. There are humanitarian organisations working in Karenni State, including local community based organisations (CBOs), nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and international agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme. Despite this presence the humanitarian situation in Karenni State continues to deteriorate and people are finding themselves slipping further and further into the poverty abyss – with no foreseeable escape. The impacts from the situation in Karenni State are not confined to the State’s boundaries - they spill over into other states and divisions in Burma and also across international borders, especially into Thailand. These spill over effects include, but are not limited to: the mass exodus of people from Burma to neighbouring countries as refugees and migrant workers; illegal trafficking of drugs and people and associated health concerns, especially HIV/AIDS. These non-traditional security threats impinge on Burma’s neighbours economies and social welfare systems, affecting regional stability and security. The situation in Karenni State cannot be rectified without genuinely addressing Burma’s complex issues, including ethnic chauvinism, in a participatory manner, which engages the whole nation’s citizenry. Only when these issues are truly addressed may the people of Karenni State find peace and start living life for the future, and not as living ghosts."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Issues
Format/size: pdf (666K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmaissues.org/images/stories/pdfreports/livingghosts.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 April 2008


Title: Conflict and Displacement in Karenni: the Need for Considered Responses
Date of publication: May 2000
Description/subject: Click on the on the html link above to go to a neater, paginated table of contents or on the pdf links below to go straight to the document .... PDF File 1: Cover and Contents. PDF File 2: Boundaries; Climate; Physical Features; Population; Ethnic Groups in Karenni; Gender Roles in Karenni; Agriculture, Land Distribution and Patterns of Recourse; Resources; Water; Communication, Trade and Transport Conflict in Karenni; A History of Conflict; The Pre-Colonial Period; The Colonial Period; Independence in Burma and the Outbreak of Civil War in the Karenni States; State and Non-State Actors including Armed Groups and Political Parties; The Role of the Tatmadaw; The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP); The Karenni National Peoples Liberation Front (KNPLF); The Shan State Nationalities Liberation Organisation (SSNLO); The Kayan New Land Party (KNLP; The NDF and CPB Alliances and their Impact in Karenni; War in the Villages; The Formation of Splinter Groups in the 1990s; The Economics of War; The Relationship between Financing the War and Exploitation of Natural Resources; The Course of the War; Cease-fires.... PDF file 3: Conflict-Induced Displacements in Karenni -- Defining Population Movements; Conflict Induced Displacement; Displacement in 1996; Displacements by Township; Relocation Policy; Services in Relocation Sites; Smaller Relocation Sites and so-called Gathering Villages; Displacement into Shan State; Displacement as a Passing Phenomenon; Displacement, Resettlement and Transition; Women outside Relocation Sites. Development Induced Displacement -- Displacements in Loikaw City; Confiscation of Land by the Tatmadaw; Displacement as a Result of Resource Scarcity; Food Scarcity; Water Shortages; Voluntary Migrations. Health and education needs and responses: Health Policy; Health Services; Health Status of the Population; Communicable Diseases; Nutrition; Reproductive and Womens Health; Landmine Casualties; Iodine Deficiency and Goitre; Vitamin A Deficiency; Water and Sanitation; Responses to Health Needs; Education Policy; Educational Services and Coverage; Traditional Attitudes to Education; Educational Services in Karenni; Responses to Educational Needs; Responses from the Thai-Burma border; Responses by International Humanitarian Agencies from Inside Burma. Appendices: A Comparison of Populations in Relocation Sites in Karenni; Refugee Arrivals at the Thai Border; Displacements by Township; Examples of Population Movements.
Author/creator: Vicky Bamforth, Steven Lanjouw, Graham Mortimer
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Ethnic Research Group (BERG)
Format/size: 3 pdf files: (1) Cover and Contents (472K); (2) Text-pp1-47 (782K); 3 Text pp48-128 (1300K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Considered_responses-1.pdf
http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Considered_responses-2.pdf
http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Considered_responses-3.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Forced Relocation and Human Rights Abuses in Karenni State, Burma
Date of publication: May 1997
Description/subject: This report documents human rights violations carried out by troops from the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) against Karenni people in Karenni (Kayah) State in eastern Burma. Information regarding human rights abuses in the area has come from interviews with Karenni refugees who have fled into Thailand, and with officials from the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: ABSDF
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.geocities.com/absdf_au/public/krnrep.txt
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: SLORC Activities in Ler Ba Ko Village
Date of publication: 31 December 1992
Description/subject: "Testimony by a refugee from central Karenni (Kayah) State and List of Villages Relocated in March 1992." "(Northwest Karenni State) List of 76 villages relocated in March 1992. Deemawso and Pruso Townships March, July 92. Karenni men, women: Rape; forced labour incl. portering and work on the Loikaw-Aung Ban railway -- 91); extortion; forced relocation; religious intolerance (the villages were Christian)..." ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg92/92_12_31b.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Statements by Karenni Refugees
Date of publication: 12 June 1992
Description/subject: "Statement by Karenni refugees fleeing a SLORC ultimatum to all villagers in a large part of the State where the Karenni opposition is strong to leave their villages or die. Their statements describe some of the SLORC army’s activities in civilian villages of western Karenni..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg92/92_06_12a.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003