Burma BorderBurmese border
It worsened in the sixties when Ne Win took over the rule with a war, set up an autocratic regimes and launched a huge rebellion against civilians to vanquish the armed forces of the ethnical oppositions (for more information on ethnical conflicts, see the armed opposition's history).
The Karen National Union (KNU) and its Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) were probably the most important of Burma's Burmese minority groups, controling large areas of Karen state and surrounding areas, which included Rangoon towns. Shan, Karenni, Mon and other ethnical nations also ruled much of their country along the border for years.
Finally, a string of Burma army assaults forced KNU forces back to the Thai border, and in 1984 a mass and violent Burma attack in the east of Burma sent 10,000 Karen returnees to Thailand's Tak province (see e.g. TBC, 2012b). That was the beginning of the flow of people from Burma to Thailand.
The" Four Cuts" policy is aimed at eliminating the four most important connections - nutrition, finances, intelligence services and recruitment - between civil and ethnically motivated opponents through a continuous militarily harassing drive. According to TBC (2004), the Burmese Army's withdrawal was thought by those who worked with them, and most of them thought they could soon be returning to their homes.
Those expectations were soon dashed when it became clear that the Burmese army had no plan to withdraw, and the attack went on. Following the 8888 insurrection in Burma in 1988, some 10,000 students' militants escaped prosecution by the Thai-Burmese border, and the fugitives realized that there was no turning back.
It was a great shock for the returnees, but it was also the first alliance was formed between racial and pro-democracy groups; Burmese scholars were now sharing histories about their shared enemies with the racial groups (TBC, 2004). The Burmese army's assaults and related streams of displaced persons continue, and in 1989 a violent assault in the Karenni state led the first large influx of Karenni displaced persons across the border into the province of Mae Hong Son in Thailand (TBC, 2004).
Despite the fact that the regime entered into cease-fire with several non-state gunmen in the 90s, conflicts and ill-treatment persisted and migrants crossed the border into Thailand. In the 1990', the border ethnical and pro-democracy organisations had become a fairly unified front of the opponents, who divided their head office with the KNU in Manerplaw, Karen State.
The greatest strike against the border groups and the KNU took place in 1995 with the downfall of Manerplaw. The Burmese army is widely thought to have taken advantage of complaints from a group of Buddhist Karen who were dissatisfied with the Christian KNU leaders and disbanded into the Karen Buddhist Democratic War.
DKBA quickly joined the gouvernment forces and assaulted Manerplaw. This was a huge setback for the entire opposing movements and significantly undermined the Karen's military response to the Iranian state. In the mid-1990s, camp fugitives felt more and more insecure as the DKBA, backed by the Burmese army, started several offensive operations in the camp:
DKBA also assaulted Mae Ra Ma Luang, burned down the TBC-rice warehouse and 170 homes and killed one kid and two grown-ups. The DKBA assaulted the Wang Kha concentration camps (Huay Kaloke) near Mae Sot in 1997, set about 60% of the camps on fire and forced the escapees into the jungles.
The DKBA is presumed not to target the Karen civilian population, most of whom were Karen, but the KNLA opposition, which operated from the wards. However, for the escapees, the assaults entailed constantly fearing the troops of their own race and increasingly constrained. After the raids, the rural encampments were reorganized and consolidated into large encampments, which were increasingly reliant on outside help.
The situation of Thai people fleeing from Thailand remains particularly fragile as they are not recognized by the Thai state. The Burmese Armed Forces started a massive drought campaign in 1997 and had for the first case in the country's long and successful border area. Unfortunately, with the help of the Karen DKBA force, no significant areas were still ruled by ethnical nationals (TBC, 2004).
Conflicts and abuses persisted and by 2006 the number of refugees in Thailand had risen to over 150,000 (TB, 2012b). Fresh tension at the border followed the government's 2008 constitution call for all cease-fire groups under the Burmese army's leadership to be transformed into the Border Guard Force (BGF) - most groups rejected the call and many long-standing cease-fire treaties were dissolved.
The majority of DKBA troops declined to finalise their conversion to BGF troops and ended their 16-year cease-fire by taking KNU's side for the first case since they broke out in 1995. The KNU welcomed their Karen Brother Karen back at their side to resist the regime, despite the terrible story between the two groups.
In 2010 and 2011, increased hostilities between the Myanmar militia and ethnically based groups along the border caused an expected 20,000 displaced people to enter Thailand. Burma's armies assaulted the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) in March 2011 and breached a cease-fire achieved in 1989. A conflict erupted in June 2011 between the Burma Defence Force and Burma's second biggest non-state gun group, the Kachin Independence Force (KIA), which ended a cease-fire in 1994.
Though in smaller numbers than the groups living near the Thai border, many Kachin tribes have also fled the war. During the second half of 2011, the regime began to negotiate new cease-fires with several groups of militarised opponents (see e.g. Human Rights Watch, 2012a). CPAs have been concluded with most of the major ethnically based arms groups, among them a historic cease-fire with KNU/KNLA.
Following the inauguration of the new nominal civil administration in March 2011, some policy development began in Burma. However, there has been an increase in hope over the last four years as violations of people' s freedoms such as seizure of property, eviction, rape, sex assaults, extra-judicial killing and acts of torture have continued with no punishment, especially in areas of ethnical origin (KHRG, 2014a, ND-Burma, 2015a).
As the tale prevails that Burma has embarked on the path to democracy reforms, the trial is becoming stonier and stonier and many critical questions still need to be resolved. There are still 248 conflicts, registered in 2014 alone (Myanmar Peace Monitor, 2015). Fights near Hat Gyi Dam in Karen State in October 2014 drove away over 2,000 village people as they escaped the fights and tried to get to Thailand (KRW, 2014).
The recent cutbacks on the Thai-Burmese border and discussions on the return of refugees have increased the concern of Burmese migrants.