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Geography Demographics Telephone
Capital: Loikaw
Location: Southeastern
Area: 11,670 km2 
Population: 259,000
Density:
Ethnicities: Kayah,Kayin,Padaung,
Bamar, Shan, Pa-O 
Calling code
Town and Districts
Bawlake, Kantarawaddy, Kyebogyi, Mong Pai
General Information
The Kayah State also called Karenni State, is a state of Myanmar. Situated in eastern Myanmar, it is bounded on the north by Shan State, on the east by Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province, and on the south and west by Kayin State. It lies approximately between 18o30' and 19o55' north latitude and between 94o40' and 97o93' east longitude. The area is 11,670 km? (4,530 sq miles).
Its capital is Loikaw (also spelt Loi-kaw). The estimated population in 1998 was approximately 207,357, according to UNICEF. It is inhabited primarily by the Karenni ethnic group, also known as Red Karen or Kayah, a Sino-Tibetan people. 
The Belu stream originates at Inle lake in southern Shan state flows pass Loikaw and joins Nam Pun river (also from Shan state) which in turn flows into Thanlyin river. Nineteen kilometers below Loikaw is the site of Lawpita hydroelectric power plant that powers the national grids.
History
The Karenni States is the name formerly given to the three states of Kantarawadi, Kyebogyi and Bawlake, located south of the Federated Shan States and east of British Burma.
The British government recognized and guaranteed the independence of the Karenni States in an 1875 treaty with Burmese King Mindon Min, by which both parties recognized the area as belonging neither to Burma nor to Great Britain. Consequently, the Karenni States were never fully incorporated into British Burma. The Karenni States were recognized as tributary to British Burma in 1892, when their rulers agreed to accept a stipend from the British government. In the 1930s, the Mawchi Mine in Bawlake was the most important source of tungsten in the world. The Constitution of the Union of Burma in 1947 proclaimed that the three Karenni States be amalgamated into a single constituent state of the union, called Karenni State. It also provided for the possibility of succession from the Union after 10 years. In 1952, the former Shan state of Mong Pai was added, and the whole renamed Kayah State, possibly with the intent of driving a wedge between the Karenni and the Karen, both of whom were by now fighting for independence.
In August 1948, the Karenni leader U Bee Htu Re was assassinated by central government militia for his opposition to include the Karenni States into the Union of Burma. An armed uprising swept the state that has continued to the present-day.
On 5 October 1951, Karenni State, under the Investigation Act, was renamed Kayah State.
In 1957, pro-independence groups already active in the area formed the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), backed by its own army, the Karenni Army (KA). Apart from a brief ceasefire in 1995, the KA has been fighting ever since. Rivals to the KNPP include the leftist Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), and the Karenni National People's Liberation Front (KNPLF), both of which are now allied with the Myanmar military.
In 1976, Myanmar's State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) of stepped up its campaign to crush Karenni independence with a population transfer program, forcibly moving villagers to designated relocation sites to deprive the pro-independence forces of bases of support. The Myanmar government has been accused of massive human rights violations in the region. It has been alleged that villagers live under the constant threat of rape, beatings, arbitrary arrest or execution, conscription as slave labor for the Myanmar army, and having their food and possessions taken without compensation. It has also been alleged that the relocation centers have inadequate access to water, food, medical services, and educational facilities. An estimated 50,000 Karenni people classified as IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and thousands more are in refugee camps in Thailand.
In 2005, although ceasefire talks continue sporadically, there have been no further developments and the fighting continues.
 
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