Myanmar fighting spurs mass displacement

The country's political reforms have not shielded remote communities from being devastated by ongoing conflicts.

| | Human Rights, Refugees, Myanmar, Asia Pacific

Myanmar has undergone political reform over the past few years, led by President Thein Sein, a former military commander who has adopted a more moderate stance concerning the country's political system.

Despite the reforms, however, conflicts involving minority groups have escalated, and Myanmar's Muslim communities, especially the Rohingya in the northwest, have become victims of violence.

According with UNHCR's latest statistics, there are more than 300,000 internal displaced people (IDP) and almost half a million refugees originating from conflict areas in Myanmar.

Adding to the numbers, fresh displacements are still being witnessed in northern Kachin State where clashes between Myanmar's army and Kachin Independent Army continue.

In Shan State, many people escaped months ago from clashes between the rebel Talang National Liberation Army and government soldiers.

More than 120,000 people from the Karen minority are still living in temporary shelters along the Thai-Myanmar border waiting for the results of the never-ending peace agreement between the Karen rebel groups and the central government.

In 2012, violence in Rakhine State forced almost 140,000 people to flee their homes. The majority live in government-designated IDP camps near the state capital, Sittwe, and in surrounding townships.

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