A major unifying element among the Karens is a strong opposition to Burmese political domination. Their revolt (1948–49) against the union government aimed at separation from Myanmar. They scored important successes, and the government was forced to grant the Karenni State (later Kayah State) a large measure of autonomy. The Karens continued their rebellion through the 1990s, by which time, however, there were only an estimated 4,000 active guerrillas. Between 1995 and 1997 the Karen rebels suffered setbacks when government forces mounted significant offenses against them. Apparently promising negotiations in 2004 ultimately failed, and new offensive operations followed. Negotiations in 2011, however, led to a cease-fire that was signed by both sides in 2012.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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