In News: Myanmar’s military launched air strikes on a village and outpost near the Thailand border after ethnic minority Karen insurgents attacked a Myanmar army post.
About Karen conflict-
- The Karen National Union (KNU) is the most powerful political organisation in Karen, or Kayin State, which borders Thailand.
- Its aim is to give the Karen people self-determination in an area of about 1.6 million people, approximately the size of Belgium, where they are the ethnic majority.
- The KNU, which had been marginalised in Burma’s post-independence political process, launched a revolt in 1949 that lasted nearly 70 years.
- The majority Bamar community‘s domination of Myanmar’s state and military was one of its main grievances.
- Karen nationalists have been fighting for an independent state known as Kawthoolei since 1949 but since 1976 they have shifted towards calling for a federal system in Myanmar instead.
- The conflict has been identified as one of the world’s “longest running civil wars”.
- Myanmar’s oldest rebel faction, the KNU, has also claimed control of an army camp on the Salween river’s west bank.
- The Karen are an ethnolinguistic group of Sino-Tibetan language-speaking people.
- The group as a whole is heterogeneous and many Karen ethnic groups do not associate or identify with each other culturally or linguistically.
- These Karen groups reside primarily in Kayin State, southern and southeastern Myanmar.
- A few Karen have settled in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India and other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries.
Padaung tribe, best known for the neck rings worn by their women, are just one sub-group of the Red Karens (Karenni), one of the tribes of Kayah in Kayah State, Myanmar.