Borderlands of Burma 

Karén refugees flee a military offensive into neighboring Thailand the day after national elections in Burma. Mae Sot, Thailand November 8, 2010.

 
 A member of the Thai military watches over a group of Karen refugees, recently displaced due to fighting across the border in Burma.

A member of the Thai military watches over a group of Karen refugees, recently displaced due to fighting across the border in Burma.

 

A day after Burma's national election in November of 2010, an estimated 5,000 refugees spilled across the border into Thailand to escape an armed offensive between Burma's military regime and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a militia democratic and Buddhist in name only and historically allied to the military junta. The largely ethnically Karen refugees were escorted by Thai military personnel to a nearby army base out of concern of them adding to the nearly 150,000 Burmese refugees that already populate the nine official refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. After two days of over-crowding, families within the burgeoning crowd began to weigh their options as some chose to return home amidst the fighting, while others jumped over the perimeter walls to join the 1.4 million Burmese already living in Thailand as immigrant laborers.  Few doubted the outcome of the election, which resulted in a landslide victory for the military dictatorship. 


 

Part I: Camp Mae Sot

 

Karen children wait in line for a meal inside a temporary refugee camp.

 Karen men set up a canopy to provide shade for incoming refugees fleeing election season violence in Burma.

Karen men set up a canopy to provide shade for incoming refugees fleeing election season violence in Burma.


Part II: The Border

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Part III: Little Burma
A community of Burmese refugees, largely ethnic Karen, create a tenuous life for themselves along the border near Mae Sot, Thailand. Photographs and text by Carey Russell, May, 2010.

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