Continuing Conflict in Kachin State

Members of the Kachin Community at a 'Kachin Day of Solidarity & Celebration' at Brighton Museum, Sep 2013
Members of the Kachin Community at a ‘Kachin Day of Solidarity & Celebration’ at Brighton Museum, Sep 2013

Today marks the third anniversary of the breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire agreement between the Kachin Independence Army and Burmese government which has had tragic consequences for the Kachin community.

The Kachin are an ethnic minority group based in northern Burma although there are now Kachin diaspora communities around the world, including in London. Thanks to the generosity of the James Henry Green Charitable Trust, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has been working with members of the Kachin community since 1996, in and outside Burma. Brighton Museum holds the James Henry Green collection, some 1400 photographs and 230 textiles collected in northern Burma in the 1920s. As many of these relate to the Kachin this collection is a rare and unique resource of a place and people who have experienced political turmoil throughout much of the twentieth century and now the twenty-first.

Weaving demonstration at the 'Kachin Day of Solidarity & Celebration' at Brighton Museum, Sep 2013
Weaving demonstration at the ‘Kachin Day of Solidarity & Celebration’ at Brighton Museum, Sep 2013

As noted in an Amnesty International public statement issued today, the current conflict has caused ‘tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, many of them seeking refuge in internally displaced person (IDP) camps along the Myanmar-China border. At least 96,000 people are currently believed to be displaced as a result of the conflict, some of them victims of multiple attacks and displacement. The humanitarian situation of IDPs remains grave, and there are ongoing concerns about conditions in IDP camps, including with regard to access to shelter, clean water and sanitation. … In addition, humanitarian organizations continue to face restrictions in carrying out their work, exacerbating the already vulnerable situation of the growing displaced population. The London Kachin community have established the Kachin Relief Fund, a registered charity, to help those affected by the current conflict. Details can be found here: http://kachinrelief.org.uk/

Helen Mears, Keeper of World Art

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