Recently, much attention surrounding Burma has focused on the democratic reform, 2015 elections and the future of the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led Government, whilst a profound humanitarian crisis and continuing concerns of the ethnic minority communities in the southeast have been largely ignored. The recent story of political and economic reform has insufficiently addressed the ongoing struggles of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as they become an inconvenient truth rendered invisible by the larger reform narrative.
Nearly 70 years of ethnic conflict has created a displacement crisis with over 644,000 internally displaced and over 479,000 refugees fleeing the country predominantly from ethnic areas. At present, over 100,000 refugees live in camps along the Thailand-Burma border, and approximately 400,000 IDPs live in protracted displacement in southeast Burma. As the continuing political and social transformation in Burma and the triumph of the NLD in the 2015 elections captivates local citizens and foreign observers around the world, optimism and the infectious idea that those displaced will soon begin to move back to Burma has led to further decline in donor funding along the Thailand-Burma border.
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