Kachin Independence Organisation

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Kachin Independence Organisation
KIO coat of arms.PNG
Seal of the Kachin Independence Organisation
Kachin State
Abbreviation KIO
Formation 5 February 1961 (1961-02-05)
Type Political organisation
Purpose Equal rights for Kachin people
Official language
Kachin language
Affiliations Kachin Independence Army
Flag of the Kachin Independence Organisation

The Kachin Independence Organisation (Burmese: ကချင်လွတ်လပ်ရေး အဖွဲ့ချုပ်; abbreviated KIO) is a political organisation of Kachins (also Jinghpaw/Jingpo) in Burma (or Myanmar) which effectively controlled the Kachin State (excluding major cities and the railway) during the 1960s-1990s until the 1994 cease-fire with the Myanmar government. KIO was established on 5 February 1961.

The 1994 ceasefire froze the Kachin/Burmese conflict in place without addressing its root causes. The KIO continues to exert influence over much of Kachin State, and the political relationship with the Myanmar government remains tense.

The KIO maintains an extralegal bureaucracy in Kachin State and has exclusive control over pockets of territory along the Chinese border. Within this territory, the KIO maintains a police department, fire brigade, educational system, immigration department and other institutions of self-government.

The KIO headquarters are on a hillside overlooking the border town of Laiza, population approximately 7,500. Headquarters were moved to Laiza in 2005. Previous headquarters were located at a higher elevation base called Pajau.

The KIO collects taxes at border crossings with China and engages in various business deals throughout Kachin State, often related to the exploitation of natural resources such as jade, timber and gold. Some of the KIO's senior leadership have a reputation for corruption because of their business dealings with the Burmese military junta. They were junta's spy for years, helping to place military camp all over Kachin State.

In 2002, the KIO embarked on an ambitious opium eradication program that has drawn recognition from international observers.

The military wing of the KIO is the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). There are 6 KIA brigades stationed in Kachin State, with an additional KIA brigade in northern Shan State and one mobile brigade.

The KIA also maintains a military academy and officer training school near the capital of Laiza.

Februari 2016: The KIA is suspected of abducting young people of the Shan ethnicity. The International Labour Organization (ILO) keeps track of these abductions but seems to be unable to influence the KIA's practice.[1]


  • Martin Smith, "Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity"
  • Edmund Ronald Leach, "Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure"