Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been plagued by civil war since gaining independence from Britain after World War II. Many ethnic groups including the Shan, Karenni, Mon and Kachin have been waging separate wars of resistance for more than six decades as the central military government resists their calls for ethnically defined regional autonomy as described under the post-colonial federal union of Burma.
Fighting between armed resistance groups and the Burmese military is still on-going in many areas, including Kachin and Karen states. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the continuing conflicts and allegations of mass human rights abuses at the hands of the military persist.
Initial ceasefire agreements have been signed between many armed ethnic groups and the nominally civilian government in 2011 and 2012. However in the absence of any concrete steps towards a genuine political dialogue or any sign that the military-backed government will negotiate the possibility of restoring federal autonomy and peace to these ethnic areas continues to remain elusive.