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Library Pa-O Relocated to Thailand: Views from Within

Pa-O Relocated to Thailand: Views from Within

Pa-O Relocated to Thailand: Views from Within

Resource information

Date of publication
October 2000
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

The Pa-O are one of the ethnic minorities of Burma. They live primarily in the Taunggyi area of southwestern Shan State. A smaller number live in the Thaton area of Mon State in Lower Burma. The Pa-O in the Thaton area have become "Burmanized" -- like their neighbors the Mon and Karen, they have adopted Burmese language, dress and customs. The Pa-O in southwestern Shan State have learned to speak Shan, but have maintained their own distinct language and customs, including their traditional dark blue or black dress. Among the earliest Pa-O arrivals in Thailand may have been slaves captured by the Karenni and sold into Siam in the mid and late 1800s. During the 1880s, the Shan States were in chaos, the local princes at war with each other. Large numbers of people fled, many into northern Thailand, very likely including some Pa-O. The Pa-O also went to Thailand as traders of cattle as well as herbal medicines and other trade goods. More recently they have gone as refugees.

Forced relocations have been particularly sweeping in Mon, Karen and Shan States -- those states where most of the Pa-O live. The Pa-O Nationalist Army signed a ceasefire with SLORC in 1991, but because the Pa-O live in many of the areas where other rebel groups are still active they have been swept up in the forced relocations and human rights abuses for which the ruling junta has become infamous. These are their stories...

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Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s)

Russ Christensen
Sann Kyaw

Geographical focus