Foot, Hand, Walk, Weave: An Afternoon with Karenni Refugee Women.

26 May, 2011 § Leave a comment

Burma, as it is known today, can be divided into two distinct parts: the central Burman populated plains (Burmans constitute two-thirds of the total population); and the seven mountainous frontier states, which encircle it. Each of these states is named after the ethnic race that predominates there: the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Arakan and Shan. Together the ethnic states cover 60% of the area of Burma. Karenni State is the smallest of those states.
Karenni is regarded as one of the least accessible and poorest areas in the Union of Burma (Myanmar). Over half a century of conflict and neglect has left Karenni State lacking in basic infrastructure, with poor transport and communication links, inadequate health care, widespread illiteracy and little or no social and economic development. Mortality rates from malnutrition are common, treatable illnesses are high and the number of schools, teachers and students is the lowest in Burma.
Karenni suffers under the iron rule of a military occupation force with the ethnic people denied their economic, social and cultural rights. Exploitation and rapid depletion of the natural resources, forced sale of agricultural products, extortion, forced labour, forced relocation of whole villages and crops, destruction of houses, planting of landmines around crops and villages, torture, rape, extra-judicial killings, burning of villages, expropriation of food supplies and livestock, arrest without charge, false accusations and exploitation of the poor have all been well documented by Amnesty International.
(All information from

So often the world sits idly by, watching ethnic conflicts flare up,
as if these were mere entertainment rather than human beings
whose lives are being destroyed.
Shouldn’t the existence of even one single refugee be
a cause for alarm throughout the world?
— Urkhan Alakbarov


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