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Displacement and Poverty in South East Burma / Myanmar

By Thailand Burma Border Consortium  •  October 25, 2011

A new government in Burma/Myanmar offers the possibility of national reconciliation and reform after decades of conflict. Every opportunity to resolve grievances, alleviate chronic poverty and restore justice must be seized, as there remain many obstacles to breaking the cycle of violence and abuse. Militarisation continues to pose the greatest threat to human security in the south eastern states and regions, with more people forced to flee from their homes during the past year than any other since the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) and ethnic community based organizations started documenting displacement in 2002. Providing a protective environment by stopping human rights abuses, ensuring accountability and ending impunity will be essential for conflict transformation.

Poverty alleviation has been recognised by the new government as a strategic priority for human development. While official figures estimate that a quarter of the nation live in poverty, this survey suggests that almost two thirds of households in rural areas of South East Burma/Myanmar are unable to meet their basic needs. Impoverishment is particularly severe in the conflict-affected townships of Kyaukgyi and Shwegyin in Pegu/Bago Region and Thandaung in Karen/Kayin State. Comparative analysis with household surveys conducted by the World Food Program suggest that that standards of living in rural areas of the South East are similar to conditions in Northern Rakhine State and far worse than those those reported from the central Dry Zone.

Download the full report here.

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