Shan IDPs Struggling Amid Pandemic

By Network Media Group
Friday, September 18, 2020

Shan displaced by conflict and living along the border between Burma and Thailand are finding their daily struggle much more difficult amid the pandemic.

Sai Lin, from the Shan Refugee Committee, explained that Shan internally displaced persons (IDPs) cannot find work and they’re not receiving any assistance from the government.

Also the head of Koung Jor refugee camp, he says some of refugees living in the Thai camp can still earn some money. However, the situation for the IDPs in Shan State is a different story. “Their situation is much worse than ours.” During the pandemic, they can’t cross the border to work in Thailand.

Regardless, during these challenging times both groups are suffering.

“Many businesses have stopped during the COVID-19 period. People can’t work and make money,” Sai Lin says. Koung Jor camp receives occasional rice donations, but he says it’s not enough. “We need other things too, so we need to be earning an income.”

There are approximately 6,200 living in five IDPs camps in Burma and in Koung Jor. They fled fighting between the Burma Army and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA) between 1996 and 1998. A time when Tatmadaw troops razed 1,400 villagers in 11 townships in southern Shan State.

A report by the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) documented 173 cases of rape and sexual violence committed by Tatmadaw soldiers against 625 girls and women from 1996 to 2001.

The Shan IDP camps are Loi Kaw Wan, Loi Sarm Sip, Loi Lam, Kong Moong Murng and Loi Tai Leng.