One of the seven ethnic states of Myanmar. It is located in the south-east of the country, on the border with Thailand.
The titular ethnic group - Karens - make up 55-60% of the state's population. Karens differ from the main ethnic group of the country (Burmese people) in religion, as during the British Empire, the Karen were converted to Christianity.
The process of the formation of an autonomous state is connected to the attainment of independence by Burma. Although the Karen, unlike other peoples, did not enter into the Panglong Agreement of 1947, the constitution adopted in the same year granted them regional autonomy.
During the period of military governments in Myanmar, the balance was violated, and for many decades the armed conflict between the Karen National Liberation Army and the central government continued. In recent decades, in the context of the democratization process, attempts to restore balance in relations among ethnic groups have intensified. In 2016, with the aim of resolving the contradictions, the "The Union Peace Conference - 21st Century Panglong" began its work.