The ethnic Karens are one of more than 100 minority groups in Myanmar.
They are predominately concentrated in the hill country along the border with Thailand. While Myanmar has no official state religion, about 89 percent of the country practice Buddhism. The Karen are predominately Christian, though also comprised of Buddhists and animists.
Following persecution in Myanmar, close to 140,000 predominately Karen refugees have fled to rudimentary camps in Thailand across the border. Still, they've had some of the largest number of fighters among the ethnic groups fighting for self rule in Myanmar.
While Myanmar hasn't had a census since 1983, recent estimates put Karens at some 7 million people, or 7 percent of the country's approximately 50 million people, reports the Monitor.
There are three main Karen languages, and a number of dialects.