KSNG media Training

In 2012 we will hold the media training for two times. For the first Basic Journalist Training course will start on the 23rd of April to 18th of March 2012.

We here at the KSNG media team will encourage the young people in camps by holding bases journalist training and workshops to improve their skills to be able update local current news to  better in the future. This training, we will choose the students from different area and we will hold this training in Thai-Burma border at Mae Sot . They can exchange and share their opinions with different situation from other refugee camps as well as taking place in the discussions and sharing their knowledge. During the training we will target completely writing news, produces audio program skills and present other useful skills. Continue reading

The 2012 Ceasefire

Karen ceasefire talks in burma

In January 2012 ceasefire talks between the Karen National Union and the Myanmar government were renewed, although there are still reports of Burmese attacks on Karen villages, as well as an escalating violence in Kachin State.  Most Karen cautiously welcome the ceasefire agreement, but there is much concern for how reconciliation will affect the Karen population, especially with so many of our people now living outside of our traditional homeland in Karen State. In refugee camps, many distrust the Burmese military (which has a constitutionally mandated majority in the new Myanmar Parliament).  Karen who have fled their homes are worried about how they will be able to go back; ethnic land rights is certain to become a new struggle, with the Myanmar government eager to have sanctions lifted and foreign investors knocking on the door

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

During this time, and especially since the early 1980s, ethnic people sought refuge in the jungles as internally placed people or across the border in Thailand. Populations fluctuate as new refugees arrive and others are given resettlement options in third countries, but an estimated 150,000 Burmese refugees live in these seven camps today, with nearly half of them from the Karen ethnic group.

Karen refugees camp in Thai-Border

These are some of the longest running refugee camps in the world, second only to those in Palestine.  Thailand does not officially recognize refugees (It is not signatory to the 1951 UN convention), so refugees in the Thai camps do not have freedom of mobility or opportunities for work or higher education.

IDP student in Karen state area

Life in the camps is quite boring and recent opportunities for resettlement to third countries (such as Australia, Canada, and the US) have tempted many Karen and Burmese refugees to leave the camps to try for new lives away from both the conflict and their traditional communities.

Meanwhile across the river in Burma, an estimated 450,000 Internally Displaced Persons remain in hiding (again perhaps half of them Karen), having fled attacks on their villages by the Burmese military, but afraid or unable to cross the border into Thailand.  These IDPs are incredibly vulnerable, both to human rights violations (rape and forced labor by the military, destruction of crops and property, a high risk of landmine injuries) as well as malnutrition and disease brought on by a life lived hiding in the jungle to avoid the conflict.

A Brief History of the Karen People

The Karen people are considered to be the largest of more than a dozen ethnic minority groups in Burma.  During the second World War, Karen soldiers fought alongside the British army and Allied forces against the occupying Japanese but also against many ethnic Burmen nationalists, who favored independence from British colonial rule.

Karen Traditional Dome Dance

Karen and other ethnic minorities were promised autonomy after the war, a promise quickly forgotten once Burma became independent of colonial rule in 1948.  Provisional agreements with ethnic minority groups were ignored by the new Burmen-dominated government.  This prompted many of the ethnic groups fighting an insurgency for political autonomy, a conflict that has lead more than six decades of civil war; the longest running war in the world.

Karen Student Network Group (KSNG) Biography

The Karen Student Network Group was formed in July 6th, 1996, on the assumption that students and youths must play a key role in the struggle for a free and democratic Burma and must be prepared as the future leaders. The purpose of the KSNG is to provide activities for Karen youths that will unite and mobilize them to fight against the current regime in Burma,which ahs excluded true representation of the Karen people in political processes.

KSNG flag

KSNG is on of the first Karen student organizations in Karen history to organize youth into one large network group, instead of fragmented and isolated groups. Today, KSNG comprises ten student-working groups with a membership of over 3,000 students, and operates along the Thai-Burmese border. Most KSNG members live in the Karen refugee camps, while some live in Thailand and abroad. Continue reading