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The Hidden Kingdom 19
Hpa An, Kayin Anyd Thar Village
By vincenzo floramo
12 May 2014

A villager performing her "Bao", a kind of spiritual withdrawal for 12 days during two weeks around raining season full moon. In the back is the holy Hta Mote building.

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The Hidden Kingdom 20
Hpa An, Kayin Anyd Thar Village
By vincenzo floramo
12 May 2014

Two boys chosen by the King to take care of his pets. At Kayin Anyd Thar Village the King is regarded as a divinity.

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Burma's War on Opium
Myanmar, Burma
By vincenzo floramo
24 Apr 2014

Burma’s war-torn Shan State is a well-known hotspot for the cultivation of opium poppies, the plant from which morphine and heroin are synthesized. In the state’s remote mountains near the Chinese border, the T’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) rebel militia has been waging a hidden war against opium cultivation.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), the cultivation of opium in Burma increased by 26% in 2013, marking the highest rise since the UNODC and the Myanmar government started their assessments in 2002. One of the main factors leading to an increase in poppy cultivation is the fact that farmers have few other ways to make a living.

Burma is the second largest opium-producing country in the world after Afghanistan; and Shan State remains the center of the country's opium activities, accounting for 92 per cent of the country’s total cultivation.

The north of the state is the home of the Palaung ethnic minority, which has been cultivating and harvesting the "sleepy plant" for years.

While very profitable for producers, the production and consumption of opium has a high social cost in Burma’s impoverished north. In some villages up to 80% of men are addicts.

To fight the economic and social damages caused by opium, the armed organisation of the Palaung minority, the TNLA declared a war on the plant in 2012. TNLA introduced prohibition laws in the Palaung community areas under their control. Cultivating, costuming and selling drugs is now strictly prohibited.

The TNLA claims to have 1,500 soldiers, who this year were ordered to destroy poppy fields during the harvest season. The commanders have accused the Burmese Chinese minority of controlling the poppy fields and working in collusion with local militias and the Burmese army.

TNLA’s goal is to replace the poppy fields with other crops like corn and tea. But changes have to be implemented gradually opium represents a major source of income for local peasants.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 22
Mergui Archipelago, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
20 Apr 2014

A young Burmese fisherman glances out from the shaded deck of a squid boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 21
Mergui Archipelago, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
20 Apr 2014

Four dugout canoes tied to the stern of the 'mother boat' of family of Moken, an nomadic ethnic minority also known as the Sea Gypsies. The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off around 400 km of coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 20
Mergui Archipelago, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
20 Apr 2014

A family of Moken, an nomadic ethnic minority also known as the Sea Gypsies sit in their 'mother boat'. The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off around 400 km of coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 19
Mergui Archipelago, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
20 Apr 2014

A family of Moken, an nomadic ethnic minority also known as the Sea Gypsies sit in their 'mother boat' and prepare a meal of sea snails. The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off around 400 km of coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 16
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A family of Moken, an nomadic ethnic minority also known as the Sea Gypsies sit in their 'mother boat'. The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off around 400 km of coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 15
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman who has married a into a Moken family prepares sea snails for their dinner on a small wooden boat on which they live. The Moken, a nomadic ethnic minority are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered of the couthern coast of southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. Combined with commercial fishing in the area, this represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 14
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Six fishing boats anchored side by side on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 13
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Children from the Moken, a nomadic ethnic minority thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000, travel in a dugout canoe known as a kabang. They traditionally lead a nomadic life on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 12
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman, documents the day's catch with pen and paper on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 11
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, works on the bow of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 10
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, stands on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 09
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Fishermen load their catch into drums of ice to be brought in to port on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 08
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman ties a knot in a large rope on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 07
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Fish loaded into drums of ice on a Burmese fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 06
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Small fish placed out to dry on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 05
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Fish hung out to dry on the deck of a Burmese fishing boat anchored off the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 04
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

(L-R): Ii Lang, her husband Du Tha Nuc and their grandson Wef Thai at their home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Lang's family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago as it became more diffficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their mother boat. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. One resort is planned for their island, which has a 3km stretch of beach. The Lang says her family will have to move within two years.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 03
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth and thanaka, a pale paste made from bark, on his face, rests in a low-ceilinged cabin on the upper deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Threats to the fishing industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 02
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Du Tha Nuc at his home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Nuc's family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago as it became more diffficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their mother boat. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. One resort is planned for their island, which has a 3km stretch of beach. The Lang says her family will have to move within two years.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 01
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

Du Tha Nuc at his home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Nuc's family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago as it became more diffficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their mother boat. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. One resort is planned for their island, which has a 3km stretch of beach. The Lang says her family will have to move within two years.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 18
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A young woman who is a member of a family Moken, an nomadic ethnic minority also known as the Sea Gypsies. She has married and has had two children to a Burmese fisherman who has also joined her parents' in their nomadic lifestyle living in a mother boat that is their home. The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They reside in the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off around 400 km of coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's Sea Gypsies 17
Andaman Sea, Myeik Province
By David Tacon
19 Apr 2014

A Moken man who lives with his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children sits on the small wooden boat that is their home. The Moken are an ethnic minority thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000. They traditionally lead a nomadic life on the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast in southern Myanmar. Although the Mergui Archipelago has seen little tourism, last year 12 licenses to develop resorts have been granted for the area. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

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Burma's holy sites
Burma
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2014

Myanmar, or Burma, is one of the most mysterious and unexplored destinations in the world. Situated at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilisations of India and China, this Buddhist country is home to thousands of unique and bejewelled temples, holy sites, ancient kingdoms, and devout monks.

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Rohingya #01
Maungdaw
By Lauren DeCicca
02 Apr 2014

Myanmar has been in a stage of rapid transition throughout the past couple of years with advancements in development and western trade. However, the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in the western Rakhine State of Burma, have remained one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. June 11, 2012 marked the first in a series of “The Rahkine State riots”, conflicts between Rahkine Buddhists and the Muslim minority, leaving approximately 100,000 Muslims displaced and living in internal displacement camps. They are jobless, living in makeshift tents, and surviving on rations from NGO’s and private donors. Issues surrounding sanitation, nutrition and healthcare are serious problems these people are facing. The Rohingyas struggle between wanting resettlement and wanting to move to a more welcoming country. They have been stripped of their human rights and this essay aims to document the prolonged deterioration of their freedoms instead of the select instances of violence.

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Rohingya #14
Sittwe
By Lauren DeCicca
02 Apr 2014

Myanmar has been in a stage of rapid transition throughout the past couple of years with advancements in development and western trade. However, the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in the western Rakhine State of Burma, have remained one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. June 11, 2012 marked the first in a series of “The Rahkine State riots”, conflicts between Rahkine Buddhists and the Muslim minority, leaving approximately 100,000 Muslims displaced and living in internal displacement camps. They are jobless, living in makeshift tents, and surviving on rations from NGO’s and private donors. Issues surrounding sanitation, nutrition and healthcare are serious problems these people are facing. The Rohingyas struggle between wanting resettlement and wanting to move to a more welcoming country. They have been stripped of their human rights and this essay aims to document the prolonged deterioration of their freedoms instead of the select instances of violence.

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Rohingya #21
Sittwe
By Lauren DeCicca
02 Apr 2014

Myanmar has been in a stage of rapid transition throughout the past couple of years with advancements in development and western trade. However, the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in the western Rakhine State of Burma, have remained one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. June 11, 2012 marked the first in a series of “The Rahkine State riots”, conflicts between Rahkine Buddhists and the Muslim minority, leaving approximately 100,000 Muslims displaced and living in internal displacement camps. They are jobless, living in makeshift tents, and surviving on rations from NGO’s and private donors. Issues surrounding sanitation, nutrition and healthcare are serious problems these people are facing. The Rohingyas struggle between wanting resettlement and wanting to move to a more welcoming country. They have been stripped of their human rights and this essay aims to document the prolonged deterioration of their freedoms instead of the select instances of violence.

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Rohingya #12
Buithidaung
By Lauren DeCicca
02 Apr 2014

Myanmar has been in a stage of rapid transition throughout the past couple of years with advancements in development and western trade. However, the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in the western Rakhine State of Burma, have remained one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. June 11, 2012 marked the first in a series of “The Rahkine State riots”, conflicts between Rahkine Buddhists and the Muslim minority, leaving approximately 100,000 Muslims displaced and living in internal displacement camps. They are jobless, living in makeshift tents, and surviving on rations from NGO’s and private donors. Issues surrounding sanitation, nutrition and healthcare are serious problems these people are facing. The Rohingyas struggle between wanting resettlement and wanting to move to a more welcoming country. They have been stripped of their human rights and this essay aims to document the prolonged deterioration of their freedoms instead of the select instances of violence.

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Myanmar's Rohingya crisis
Sittwe, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
31 Mar 2014

DESCRIPTION UPDATED ON MARCH 2015

Almost two years after a wave of sectarian violence against the Muslim community broke out in Rakhine state in Western Burma, about 70,000 displaced people from the Rohingya ethnic group are caged in appallingly precarious shelters in the camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the capital Sittwe, and could face potential disaster as rainy season approaches. The Rohingya population has to withstand the poor conditions during their stay at the camps - including the lack of food, medical assistance and the abysmal hygiene conditions - that are likely to worsen markedly during the rains at the low-lying areas next to the sea near Sittwe.

Human Rights Watch had already accused the government, which considers Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not recognize them as Burmese citizens, of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority group. This follows Burma's refusal to allow people to class themselves as Rohingya in the first national census in three decades and officials' insistence that members of the ethnic group call themselves Bengali if they want to be registered. Meanwhile, international aid agencies working in Rakhine were attacked last week in what is the latest in a long series of sporadic assaults that erupted into full-scale violence in Rakhine scale back in 2012, causing thousands of Rohingyas to flee their homes. The UN has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

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Burma's Rohingya Fear Persecution aft...
Arkan State
By vincenzo floramo
31 Mar 2014

Burma - In the volatile Arakan State, thousands Muslim Rohingyas have been displaced since two years, following deadly violences.

Tensions could rise again as the authorities started a controversial nationwide census in march 2014, a census laying into the hands of extremist Buddhist nationalists.
Nationalists have long considered Muslim as a significant threat to the dominant Buddhist faith due to their increasing population. Although it’s widely believed Muslims represent about 4% of the population, the number may be much higher, as no census had been made since 1983. Also critics have accused the government of lowering the number.

Other minorities have also deeply criticized the government census, which is running from March 30th to April the 10th. They claim it will lump them into categories and carve them into sub-tribes based on villages.
Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country. But its rulers have an history of dividing the minorities to ensure its stability. In the past both Muslims and Chinese populations were named as scape goats to curb growing resistance against the country’s rulers.

Last year, State authorities started a household survey reportedly only aimed at the Rohingya population. But the Rohingya participants were allegedly forced by the border police to illegally enter Bangladesh, making them illegal immigrants in Bangladesh. The survey led to several violent confrontations and deaths after the police had opened fire on the angry crowd.

The Rohingyas are nearly a million in the State of Arakan. Several more millions are now refugees in Bangladesh, India and other countries in South Asia. In Burma they have been stripped and denied their citizenship by the 1984 citizenship law.
After the recent violences the Rohingyas were locked up in squalid camps and saw their movements restricted. They have received barely support.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 02
Battambang, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
23 Mar 2014

Girl living and collecting waste in a garbage dump near Battambang, Cambodia.

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Food stall in night-time Yangon
Myanmar, Burma
By Michael Biach
28 Feb 2014

A woman is selling snacks at a night-time food stall in Yangon's Chinatown.

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Burma-In Buddhas Honor
Yangon, Burma
By Michael Biach
28 Feb 2014

Burma, also know as Myanmar, is a predominantly Buddhist country. Nearly 90% of the country's inhabitants are Buddhist. A number of tribal peoples also practice forms of Animism. Among the country's most sacred sites are: Shwedagon Pagoda in the former capital Yangon (Rangoon), Golden Rock in the south, the ancient city of Bagan, Mount Popa, the most important nat pilgrimage site in Burma and the Maha Muni Buddha Pagoda in Mandalay. This photo collection documents some of the country's most famous sacred sites and the life of its Buddhist inhabitants.

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Myanmar's Revolutionary Karen
By Fabio Polese
30 Jan 2014

The Burmese village of Oo Kray Kee in Karen state celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of the Karen people in 1949. The celebrations of ‘Karen Revolution Day’ take place on January 31 and parades four different paramilitary groups, united into one rebel party as a sign of defiance to Myanmar’s government.

Burma, renamed Myanmar by the military junta in 1989, is composed of a hundred ethnic groups forcibly incorporated during the British colonial period in the nineteenth century. At the end of World War II, a treaty was proposed that would have allowed the post-colonial Burmese ethnic mosaic to establish several federal states. However, the treaty has never been observed. The Karen, who live in the mountainous areas of Eastern Myanmar for more than 2,700 years,started fighting in 1949. Theirs is in fact one of the longest-lasting conflicts in the world.

The Karen are an ethnic minority in Myanmar fighting to preserve their heritage and calling for their own federal state. They have their own political structure, the KNU (Karen National Union) which is democratically elected every four years.

The celebration of Karen Revolution Day is done in several villages in Karen State. The celebration involved military and political leaders Karen and often come to the celebration of other ethnic groups from the rest of Burma (Arakan, Shan, Kachin).
The celebration is a veritable feast. During the day there are military parades, dances and traditional songs Karen and boxing matches. The evening concerts and even dances. During the parades, hundreds of people arrive to attend the ceremony, some come in river boats, battling rain and cold to sing and dance, and watch the parade of volunteer fighters from rebel groups in a show of national aspirations for independence.

In past months, the fighting between the Burmese army and the Karen guerrillas have intensified. Karen armed groups – the KNLA (Karen National Liberation Army), KNDO (Karen National Defense Organisation), DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) and KNLA-PC (Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council) – have joined forces to form the KAF (Kawthoolei Armed Forces).

In its statement of unification, the KAF vowed to “protect the Karen people and carry on the struggle until the establishment of an independent state”. In recent days, general Nerdah Mya, leader of KNDO, said that despite the talks for a ceasefire began in 2012, the Burmese government is concerned exclusively with the resources of the Karen province.

Myanmar began a process of democratization after the 2010 elections, but the ethnic clashes in Karen between rebels and government troops did not bode well with the minorities.

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Karen Christmas 5
maela refugee camp Mae Sot Thailand
By vincenzo floramo
24 Dec 2013

Christmas rituals on the 25th of December at the Anglican Church at C zone of Maela refugee camp.

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Karen Christmas 3
Maela refugee camp Mae Sot
By vincenzo floramo
24 Dec 2013

Altar boy puts in place the wine for the Mass on Christmas Day at the Anglican Church of C zone at Maela refugees camp.

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Karen Christmas 4
Maela refugee camp Mae Sot
By vincenzo floramo
24 Dec 2013

Naw Tue Tu,65 years old listens to the priest Sermon during the Christmas day at the local Anglican Church at Mae la refugee camp.