The peace process in Burma may be in crisis, not least due to widespread fighting and serious human rights abuses committed mostly by the Burma Army in Kachin and Shan states. But across southeast Burma, ceasefires are holding and communities are beginning to recover from decades of armed conflict. There are huge needs for livelihoods and basic human security in these conflict-affected areas, which remain isolated from government-controlled Burma and feel like another country.
In mid-January, I spent three days walking through what the Karen call Lerdoh Township, in the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Kler Lwee Htoo District. Officially, this area is designated Kyaukkyi Township, Bago Division by the central government. I was returning to this area after half a dozen visits between 2008 – 2015...