This report by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights is intended to recognize the important achievements brought about as part of Burma’s reform process, in particular the election of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other candidates from the NLD as Members of Parliament (MP) this April. At the same time, we wish to warn against hasty or irresponsible optimism and to sound the alarm about the lack of civilian control over the Burmese military, which has very serious human rights and humanitarian consequences. Recent progress has not yet extended to all parts of the country, nor to all of the people of Burma. Going forward, we believe that it is important for the international community to look beyond central Burma in assessing the depth and sincerity of the country’s reforms. Respect by the Burmese government and military for human rights and international law in Burma’s ethnic minority
areas will be the real measure of change in the country and should inform any decision regarding the permanent removal of sanctions by Canada […]
For the first time in nearly fifty years, President Thein Sein will visit the United States and meet with President Barack Obama today, 20 May. This follows the historic visit by President Obama to Burma six months ago. The visit is an opportunity for the White House to pressure Thein Sein to continue the reforms that have been taking place and highlight some of the concerns the United States, the international community and particularly the citizens of Burma have. The visit also represents the more troubling view that there has been a relaxing of the US policy of rewarding positive reforms with increased engagement and that there is more interest in the economic and geo-political benefits of the relationship than addressing and solving the very large problems that the people of Burma are facing inside their country today.
When President Obama visited Burma, Thein Sein made a series of pledges; he agreed to create a commission to review political prisoner cases with the aim of releasing all political prisoners from custody, to allow the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an office in the country, to adequately address religious violence, more specifically to hold those guilty of violence against Rohingya people accountable and address resettlement and citizenship issues, and finally to allow humanitarian organizations access to conflict areas […]
Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) introduced the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, legislation that continues the ban on imports from Burma, particularly gems. “I remain very concerned about human rights violations in Burma, including violence against ethnic nationalities, the use of rape as a weapon of war […]May 17, 2013 • By Joe Crowley Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives • Tags: Joe Crowley, Sanctions, United States • Read more ➤
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization Altsean-Burma regret that the European Union (EU) has discarded its own benchmarks for reform in order to dismantle sanctions against Burma/Myanmar.
The disposal of this important and legitimate instrument to push forward positive change in the country is inconsistent, as mass atrocities continue in Kachin state and targeted violence endangers Rohingya and other Muslims in the western and central regions. In addition to undermining its own credibility, the EU decision threatens to decelerate the pace of reforms and prolong a state of impunity in Burma/Myanmar […]April 24, 2013 • By International Federation for Human Rights and Altsean-Burma • Tags: Altsean-Burma, European Union, Impunity, International Federation for Human Rights, Sanctions • Read more ➤
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today urged the European Union (EU) to ensure that continuing grave violations of human rights, including religious freedom, in Burma, remain a priority, despite the decision yesterday to lift all EU sanctions on Burma apart from the arms embargo […]April 23, 2013 • By Christian Solidarity Worldwide • Tags: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, European Union, Freedom of Religion, Human Rights Violations, Sanctions • Read more ➤
Pressure Still Needed to Protect Rohingya and Minorities, Release Political Prisoners
The European Union’s premature lifting of all targeted sanctions on Burma means the EU will need a new platform to press the government to improve the country’s still dire human rights situation, Human Rights Watch said today. On April 22, 2013, EU foreign ministers ended decades of EU travel bans and targeted sanctions on Burmese army and government individuals and entities, except its export ban on arms […]April 22, 2013 • By Human Rights Watch • Tags: European Union, Human Rights Watch, Sanctions • Read more ➤
European Union members have abandoned hundreds of political prisoners and downgraded human rights as a priority in Burma, following their decision to lift all sanctions on Burma except arms.
The EU suspended sanctions on April 26th 2012, in recognition of changes that had taken place in Burma. At the time the decision to suspend the sanctions was controversial […]April 22, 2013 • By Burma Campaign UK • Tags: Burma Campaign UK, European Union, Political Prisoners, Sanctions • Read more ➤
Today, the EU is likely to lift most of the remaining sanctions on Burma allowing a glut of investment by European companies, despite the benchmarks set out last year not being met. In April last year, the EU suspended sanctions for one year and outlined conditions that must be met if they were to be lifted completely. These benchmarks included the unconditional release of political prisoners, an end to armed conflict, recognition of the status of Rohingya, and improved humanitarian access to conflict-affected zones. These conditions are being ignored.
Firstly, there remain over 200 political prisoners in Burma and those who have been released face restrictions, for example, not being issued passports. While there have been some limited steps towards the release of those remaining with the establishment of a review board to determine who is still a political prisoner and thus release them, this review board has so far lacked any substance. Furthermore, as pointed out by the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, Rohingya prisoners in Arakan State are being tortured and left out of the review board’s list of political prisoners […]
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) urges the European Union (EU) to maintain the current level of sanctions on Burma until the Government of Burma takes further steps to demonstrate its commitment to peace, political reform, and respect for human rights […]April 21, 2013 • By United Nationalities Federal Council • Tags: European Union, Sanctions, United Nationalities Federal Council • Read more ➤
The European Union (EU) should renew its suspension of sanctions against Myanmar but stop short of a total lifting of restrictive measures, ASEAN Parliamentarians said today, citing serious human rights concerns and the failure of the Myanmar government to meet EU benchmarks for reform […]April 12, 2013 • By ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus • Tags: ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, European Union, Sanctions • Read more ➤