The breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire in Kachin State, Myanmar, in June 2011 led to the displacement of well over 100,000 civilians and the collapse of trust between large sections of the civilian community and the Myanmar government and Army. In the absence of an adequate national response, and with the government blocking international humanitarian access to vulnerable communities, Kachin civil society groups have taken the lead in assisting and protecting their own people.
Based on 68 interviews and focus group discussions, this paper explores the conflict dynamics in Kachin State and the strategies of local protection actors, identifying the challenges they face and how other actors are contributing to or obstructing these efforts.
The study is part of a Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) research project on ‘Cross-border networks and protection in conflict: values, systems and implications’. This multi-year project explores the overlaps and differences between local and international concepts of protection, and how borders impact and influence the ways that communities respond to protection threats during armed conflict.