There are over a million Kachin people in northern Myanmar and about 150,000 in Yunan, China. Thousands have sought asylum in Thailand and Malaysia following a long lasting guerilla war between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar government troops. Kachin were originally animist, however as of 1860, British and American missionaries began converting Kachin people to Baptism and other Protestant faiths. Nowadays, nearly all Kachin self-identify as Christians. The church plays today a fundamental role in Kachin's society and social services for the large displaced population. When Burma achieved its independence, the Kachin people got their own State within Burma along strong assurances of significant regional autonomy. Kachin State is very rich in natural resources such as tropical timber, gold, jade and is located in the "Golden Triangle" known for its opium production. Despite autonomy the Burmese government and later the military junta intervened heavily in Kachin's affairs depriving it of its natural wealth and access to development funds. This led militant Kachin leaders to take up arms and form the Kachin Independence Army in 1961, and starting a guerilla war against the government. The war continued relentlessly until a cease-fire in 1994 that lasted until 2011. Despite repeated rounds of negotiations and short-lived cease-fires, fighting has continued with regular occurrence displacing over a 100,000 ethnic Kachin since 2011. Human Rights groups have collected testimony of severe human rights abuses such as land confiscation, mass rape and summary executions by government troops against the Kachin people. As a result of the violence and human rights abuses over a 100,000 ethnic Kachin live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) along the Chinese border in KIA controlled territory and in IDP camps in government controlled territory. The humanitarian and psychological situation in the camps is alarming and extremely precarious in KIA controlled territory where humanitarian aid and food only reaches the area sporadically when government troops do not block all access. The border with China is also closed for humanitarian convoys leaving the IDPs in KIA controlled territory in an extremely vulnerable situation and in usually very remote mountain areas. In meanwhile the Myanmar military hinges on their control of these border areas that are extremely lucrative in terms of natural resources (jade and gold), illegal substances (drugs), plantations (banana) and Chinese large scale development projects as the Mytsone dam on the Irrawaddy river.

Permanently Displaced

Permanently Displaced

Gold Divers

Gold Divers

A Struggle for Survival

A Struggle for Survival

Beyond the Frontline

Beyond the Frontline

No Return in Sight

No Return in Sight