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Home > Main Library > Administration and administrative areas of Burma/Myanmar > Karen (Kayin) State

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Karen (Kayin) State

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Karen Profile
Description/subject: "The term ‘Karen’ actually refers to a number of ethnic groups with Tibetan-Central Asian origins who speak 12 related but mutually unintelligible languages (‘Karenic languages’) that are part of the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan family. Around 85 per cent of Karen belong either to the S’ghaw language branch, and are mostly Christian and animist living in the hills, or the Pwo section and are mostly Buddhists. The vast majority of Karen are Buddhists (probably over two-thirds), although large numbers converted to Christianity during British rule and are thought to constitute about 30 per cent among the Karen. The group encompasses a great variety of ethnic groups, such as the Karenni, Padaung (also known by some as ‘long-necks’ because of the brass coils worn by women that appear to result in the elongation of their necks), Bghai, Brek, etc. There are no reliable population figures available regarding their total numbers in Burma: a US State Department estimate for 2007 suggests there may be over 3.2 million living in the eastern border region of the country, especially in Karen State, Tenasserim Division, eastern Pegu Division, Mon State and the Irrawaddy Division..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Minority Rights Group
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.minorityrights.org/4482/myanmarburma/karen.html
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2014


Individual Documents

Title: THE STATE OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE: TRENDS IN KAYIN
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report outlines the results of the Local Governance Mapping research conducted by UNDP in Kayin State. Based on the perceptions of the people and local governance actors, the mapping has tried to capture some key aspects of the current dynamics of governance at the frontline of state-citizen interaction and focuses in its analysis on participation in public sector planning, access to basic services and accountability in local governance. In consultation with the Kayin State government, it was agreed that the Local Governance Mapping would be conducted in three townships, namely, Hlaingbwe, Kawkareik and Hpa-An between February and June 2014. Three of the more remote and less populated townships (Myawaddy, Hpapun and Thandaung) have for a long time been partially under control of the KNU and have been more unstable than the other four townships in Kayin State during the 65 years of armed conflict. As a result of their remote character, their low population density and the years of conflict, the availability of basic services and their governance situation is most likely to be significantly different from the ones included in this study."
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNDP Myanmar
Format/size: pdf (2.2MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.mm.undp.org/content/dam/myanmar/docs/Publications/PovRedu/Local%20Governance%20Mapping/U...
Date of entry/update: 05 February 2016


Title: Everyone wants change in Burma: Village Chief
Description/subject: "U Than Nyunt is a 57-year-old Karen refugee and the chief of a small rural village on the riverbanks of Moei. He grew up in a village near Belin in Mon State and was chosen to become the village chief during a time when Burmese military was employing Four Cuts policy. U Than Nyunt eventually couldn’t stand the military abuse anymore and fled to the Thailand-Burma border in 2003. He was again appointed the chief and led his villagers to build a thriving new village on the Burmese side of the border. Five years later, armed conflict forced them to abandon the village and flee across the river to Thailand. The villagers were scattered all over the border but U Than Nyunt was determined to bring them back together. He spent a year locating and collecting the villagers, finally able to bring them back to live in the same village. While U Than Nyunt speaks of their village on the Burmese side with great fondness and sorrow of a lost home, he doesn’t want to go back until there is genuine peace in the country."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 March 2016


Title: I Have Never Regretted Becoming a Soldier
Description/subject: "Shan Lay is a friendly, compassionate and dedicated young man from the Shan State who has sacrificed everything to fight for the freedom of his people. Growing up in the Shan State with a Karen mother, young Shan Lay was always interested in learning more about his Karen roots. But his mother didn’t speak the language and all he was taught at school was that ‘Karen were rebels’. Somewhere deep inside, Shan Lay felt that there was more to the story. He witnessed firsthand the brutality of the government forces: Two of Shan Lay’s family members perished in the 8888 uprising, and when Shan Lay was a teenager, the Burmese military confiscated their family farm. Among other villagers, Shan Lay and his three childhood friends were forced out of their homes and left with nothing. A few years later, Shan Lay and his friends became freedom fighters on the Thailand-Burma border. Today, Shan Lay is the only one of them still alive. Despite the heartache, Shan Lay vows to never give up. Not until the country is free."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: I want peace, I really want it to be true
Description/subject: "Noe Myint is a friendly and kind-hearted 46-year-old Karen man who grew up hiding in the jungle from Burmese military until fleeing to Thailand at the age of 12. Son of a soldier, Noe Myint joined the revolution in 1988 and has spent much of his adult life in the battlefield fighting alongside his school friends and his son. Out of his three children, two are still alive, one of them resettled in Australia and one living in Mae La refugee camp waiting to join her brother and other family in Australia. While their children are registered with the UNHCR, Noe Myint and his wife are not, and thus unable to reunite with their family in Australia. Read more to learn about the life of this soldier who has not only fought for revolution for over 20 years but also looked after a number of orphans who had no one else to turn to. Read more to learn about Noe Myint’s experiences with the UNHCR and resettlement, DKBA’s split from the KNU, Burma Army tactics, and refugee camp attacks. Find out why Noe Myint has great hopes for the future of Karen and how the international community can help the Karen and other ethnic people of Burma in their quest for peace and democracy."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: Please Support Our People, Not the Government – They Are Cheating the World: Mahn Robert Ba Zan
Description/subject: "Mahn Robert Ba Zan is a former Karen freedom fighter and an advisor to the Karen Communities of Minnesota. He served in the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) for more than 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father Mahn Ba Zan, the first commander of the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) and a former President of the Karen National Union (KNU). In 2000, Mahn Robert Ba Zan resettled to the United States of America with his family, changing his revolutionary tactics towards raising awareness and educating the Karen and other ethnics. In this interview, Mahn Robert Ba Zan talks about the ceasefire and car permits, ethnic unity, and how the international community can help the Karen in their quest for genuine peace and freedom."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 19 March 2016


Title: Story of a Karen refugee’s struggle for survival
Description/subject: "U Soe Myint is a 60-year-old Karen refugee who has struggled his whole life just to survive. Amidst deep-seated poverty, armed conflict and Burma Army abuse, U Soe Myint has had everything but an easy life. He had to work in a farm throughout his childhood, frequently hide from Burmese soldiers in the trees and the jungle in his adulthood, and finally flee to Thailand. U Soe Myint walked to Thailand through the jungle, knowing that he might step on a landmine any moment. For nearly 30 years, he was forced to live away from his wife and three children. While U Soe Myint was at last able to reunite with his family in Mae La refugee camp in 2006, his close family members are now scattered around the world, uncertain if they will ever be able to reunite. This is his story."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 March 2016


Title: They Burnt Down Our Village
Description/subject: "Naw Woo doesn’t know her age exactly but she thinks that she is about 40 years old. She grew up in a small village in the Karen State, helping her parents make a living with hill-side plantations. Conditions were harsh and sometimes the villagers had little more to eat than rice with salt. Other times they had to substitute rice for bamboo shoot or anything else they could find in the jungle. The villagers also regularly fled from Burmese soldiers who came to their village with no warning, demanding porters and torturing and beating anyone who got caught running away from them. Naw Woo and other villagers lived in a constant state of fear, and many villagers lost their lives amidst fighting between Burmese and Karen soldiers. Eventually, Burmese soldiers burnt their whole village to the ground. This is her story of survival and hope."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: We Weren’t Afraid of Snakes or Tigers, just Burmese Soldiers
Description/subject: "Daw Hla Shin is a 70-year-old Karen woman from Win Tar Pan village in Bilin, Mon State. She grew up amidst Burmese Army abuse that only worsened after she married a Karen soldier. The villagers lived in constant fear of the Burmese soldiers, enduring torture, killings, and burnt homes and belongings. For Daw Hla Shin, things were even worse; the villagers tried to protect her but they were so afraid of the Burmese military that even her own parents refused to live with her, knowing the Burmese soldiers thought she was a spy for the Karen. She couldn’t even live in the village anymore. She had to stay away in the jungle. The villagers knew about that and they tried to protect her but there was not much they could do. Daw Hla Shin had nowhere to go. Having never attended school or had any connection to the outside world, Daw Hla Shin, nor her younger sister, had any idea that there would be any escape or that Thailand even existed. Both sisters lost their first husbands in battle against the Burma Army. What happened to them and where are they now? Read Daw Hla Shin’s story to find out more."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2016