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Information evening on Ballina’s newest residents, the Karen-Burmese Refugees (Ballina Library)

Date(s): February 25th 2008. 7.30pm

For More Information, Contact:


Email: bvarley@mayococo.ie
Phone: +353 (0) 96 70833

Details:

An information evening will be held in Ballina Library about the Karen- Burmese refugees who have recently come to live in the area and on how the local community can help. Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a country of over 50 million people in an area the size of France . The military regime in Burma, known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), conducts violent repression of political opponents and Burma ’s many ethnic peoples. There are eight major and a number of minor ethnic nationalities within the country. Countless thousands of these Burmese citizens have fled from their homes in fear of their lives from the violent onslaughts of the Burmese Army as they carry out the SPDC practice of ethnic cleansing. The refugees who have come to live in Ballina are Karen, and have been in refugee camps on the Thai – Burmese border, trapped in statelessness for up to ten years. On the evening, Gerry Mulherin a refugee support worker with Meitheal Mhaigh Eo will speak on how the refugees have come to live here, and a number of the Karen will speak themselves through an interpreter on what their lives were like in the refugee camps and what life is like since they came to Ireland   It is hoped that as a result of this information evening, a befriending programme will be set up in Ballina to help the Karen adjust to life here and on the night a member of the North Mayo Volunteer Bureau will be on hand to talk to those interested in helping. In the meantime, an exhibition of photographs entitled ‘ Burma - Forgotten Nation, Forgotten People’ is running in the library documenting refugee life in the camps.

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