Burma: 40 Year War Continues to Displace Ethnic Kachin

Collection with 15 media items created by Antolo

10 Jun 2014 14:04

Kachin State, Burma

Tens of thousands in Burma's Kachin state have been forced from their homes as fighting continues between Burmese government forces and the autonomist guerrilla group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The ethnic Kachin, from the mountainous north of Burma, speak a different language than that of Burma’s Bamar majority and are also Christian, in contrast with the country's Buddhist majority. Since 1961, both sides have been at war for political and economic control over the Kachin state, which is rich in natural resources.

While there is hope that a dialogue between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO, the political wing of the KIA) will bear fruit, sporadic fighting continues and it is taking a huge toll on the local population. Many fields are strewn with landmines and tens of thousands of Kachin have had to relocate to temporary camps.

Most of these internally displaced people (IDPs) are sheltered in camps within the strip of territory along the Chinese border controlled by the KIO/KIA. There are also some camps in government controlled zones. For almost two years, the Burmese government has blocked any international aid to the IDPs and they have had to rely solely on help provided by local organizations. Many have been living in camps since the fighting resumed and are losing all hope of ever returning home.

In government-controlled areas, some IDPs have been arrested on spurious charges of collaboration with the KIA and tortured under detention. This has created a climate of fear in camps that are closely watched by Burmese security forces.

Burma Myanmar Kachin State Kachin Rebels Refugees Id Ps Internally D... Civil War Military Junta Aung San Suu... China Government C... Kachin Indep... Kia Minorities

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Burma's Internally Displaced 11
By Antolo
01 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. A Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier looks out over the valleys on the frontline of Lai Ja Yang, some miles away from the KIA headquarters in Laiza.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 5
By Antolo
07 Mar 2014

Kachin State, Burma. A young woman prepares a mean inside her house in the Nhkawng Pa Camp for the internally displaced. The camp is located on the strip of land along the with China which is controlled by the anti-government Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

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Burma's Internally Displaced 2
By Antolo
24 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. Brang Shawng with his two children inside the hut where the family lives at the Janmai Camp. In June 2012, while he was living in the camp, the Burmese authorities arrested him under suspicion of having links with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). While he was detained, he was routinely tortured as the authorities attempted to extract a confession. He was released in July last year under a general amnesty.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 3
By Antolo
24 Mar 2014

Kachin State, Burma. Internally displaced children in the Janmai Camp.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 1
By Antolo
24 Mar 2014

Kachin State, Burma. Several Kachin women pray at the Baptist Mass in the Janmai camp for internally displaced people. The camp is run by the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and other local organizations in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, a government-controlled area.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 12
By Antolo
21 Feb 2014

Je Yang is the biggest camp for IDPs in the area controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) alongside the border with China. It is located not far from the headquarters of the KIO in the town of Laiza and gives shelter to more than six thousand displaced Kachin.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 9
By Antolo
06 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. La Hpai Lanan is an IDP living in the Nhkawng Pa Camp. Her husband died in battle in November 2011 when he was fighting with the KIO against the Burmese Army. Now this 34 year old widow has to raise and take care of her 7 year old son on her own.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 8
By Antolo
07 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. Many of the internally displaced people living at the Nhkawng Pa camp are women, elderly people and children.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 4
By Antolo
07 Mar 2014

Kachin State, Burma. Internally displaced children having dinner inside their house in Nhkawng Pa camp.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 10
By Antolo
06 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. A view of the Nhkawng Pa Camp, one of the camps for IDPs in the KIO-controlled area along the Chinese border.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 7
By Antolo
07 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. Lazum Htang is 92 years old. Over his lifetime he has been a soldier of three different armies: he fought with the British Army against the Japanese during World War II; after Burma's independence he joined the ranks of the Burmese Army to fight the Karen insurrection; finally he joined the KIA in 1961 to fight against the Burmese Army. Now he's an internally displaced person (IDP) living in Nhkawng Pa camp, in KIO-controlled territory.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 14
By Antolo
18 Feb 2014

Kachin, Burma. A boarding school in the KIO controlled Pa Kahtawng camp. Many schools in the Kachin state have closed as a consequence of the war. The parents of these children have sent them to the camp so they can continue their education.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 13
By Antolo
20 Feb 2014

Kachin, Burma. Mass at the Catholic Church in the Je Yang camp. The overwhelming majority of Kachin people are Christian, mostly Baptists, but there are also Catholics. Many IDPs turn to religion to seek consolation to help endure their plight.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 15
By Antolo
18 Feb 2014

Kachin, Burma. Dinner time at the boarding school in the Pa Kahtawng camp, near the KIO controlled town of Mai Ja Yang. Many schools have closed in Kachin state as a consequence of the war. The parents of these children have sent them to the camp so they can continue their education.

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Burma's Internally Displaced 6
By Antolo
07 Mar 2014

Kachin, Burma. A woman with her two children inside their house at the Nhkawng Pa camp, in KIO-controlled territory along the Chinese border.