February 25, 2017

2962 MYANMAR (Kayah State) - The Karenni people

The Karenni people, also known as the Red Karen, the Kayah or the Kayahli (meaning "red human"), are a Sino-Tibetan people living mostly in Kayah State, Myanmar. A long period they lived in their own states, the Karenni States, located south of the Federated Shan States and east of British Burma, and ruled by petty princes named myozas. They were independent until British rule in Burma, and had feudal ties to the Burmese kingdom.

The British government recognised and guaranteed the independence of the Karenni States in an 1875 treaty with Burmese King Mindon Min, by which both parties recognised the area as belonging neither to Burma nor to Great Britain. The Constitution of the Union of Burma in 1947 proclaimed that the three Karenni States be amalgamated into a single constituent state of the union, called Karenni State. It also provided for the possibility of secession from the Union after 10 years.

In 1952, the former Shan state of Mong Pai was added, and the whole renamed Kayah State, possibly with the intent of driving a wedge between the Karenni (in Kayah State) and the rest of the Karen people (in Karen State), both fighting for independence. In 1959 both the Shan and the Kayah rulers formally surrendered their ruling powers to the Burmese government. Since 1957, the Karenni Army (the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party - KNPP) has been fighting government forces in an attempt to create an independent Karenni state, apart from a brief ceasefire in 1995.

When the Burmese army gets their hands on a territory, the local population serves as free labor (slave) and systematic looting of natural resources is undertaken (precious wood, minerals) for the benefit of the corrupt generals. The conflict reached its climax in the 1990s when the Burmese army engaged in enormous offensives in Karen and Karenni countries, evacuating the entire mountain population, destroying crops and housing and scattering livestock.

In 2012, the government of Myanmar signed a ceasefire agreement with the KNPP, and in the same year was founded (official launch in 2014) the Village Karenni, a French association which pursuing a program of development, both agricultural, social and school in the state Karenni. Its goals are to contribute to the reconstruction of villages destroyed by the conflicts, and to support the schooling of the Karenni youth, with the aim of offering them a future in their ancestors' land.

Red Karen - Wikipedia
Karenni States - Wikipedia
Village Karenni - Official website
Village Karenni (french) - Breizh Info

Sender: Jean Yves Gerlat
Sent from Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / France), on 31.01.2017

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