Recently, airstrikes by Myanmar’s military on two villages inhabited largely by ethnic Karen killed five civilians.

 

About ‘Karen ethnic community’

  • They are a large and dispersed ethnic group of Southeast Asia.
  • Origin — They trace their origins to the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, or Tibet.
  • Location — Karen settled in Burma/Myanmar’s southern Irrawaddy river Delta area and in the hills along the Salween River in eastern Myanmar and in neighbouring Thailand.
  • Religion: The vast majority of Karen are Buddhists (over two thirds), although large numbers converted to Christianity during British rule and constitute about 30 per cent among the Karen.
  • Population — Their total population has been estimated at around 4 million.
  • Language — The languages of the Karen are generally considered to be of the Tibeto-Burman family and the main dialects are Pwo and Sgaw.
  • In Karen society women are often considered inferior or subservient to men and both women and men are encouraged to adhere to strict gender roles.

 

About the Irrawaddy River

  • It is a river that flows from north to south through Myanmar.
  • It is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway.
  • Originating from the confluence of the N’mai and Mali rivers, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through the Irrawaddy Delta into the Andaman Sea.
  • Its drainage area of about 255,081 km² covers a large part of Myanmar.