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Rights Groups Express “Grave Concern” Regarding U.S. Policy on Investment in Burma

By Freedom House, Institute for Asian Democracy, Physicians for Human Rights, US Campaign for Burma and United to End Genocide  •  July 9, 2012

In response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement on the lifting of restrictions on U.S. investment in Burma, five human rights groups issued the following statement:

“We express grave concern regarding the U.S. government’s decision to allow investments into businesses connected to the Burmese regime that are corrupt and help to fuel human rights violations. As it stands now, investment in many of the most attractive sectors of the Burmese economy is likely to worsen the human rights situation while directly benefitting individuals and entities responsible for rights abuses, who contribute to corruption, or are otherwise acting to obstruct political reform.

“The U.S. government has acknowledged that there are many unacceptable business partners in Burma. However, the government has failed in its responsibility to clarify who these actors are, or to prohibit U.S. companies from conducting business with these problematic entities. The Obama administration’s decision-making process has lurched forward without careful thought, strategy or transparency. What little progress has been accomplished in Burma—as well as the prospects for lasting peace, human rights and democracy—is being undermined by failures in U.S. decision-making.”

Groups signing on to the statement include Freedom House, Institute for Asian Democracy, Physicians for Human Rights, U.S. Campaign for Burma and United to End Genocide.

The rights groups have sent various appeals for a cautious approach to the Obama administration, but these calls have been ignored.

The following members of the human rights community are available for comment:

Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Ph.D.
Director of the Southeast Asia Program
Freedom House
202-747-7016
vaughn@freedomhouse.org

Megan Prock
Senior Press Officer
Physicians for Human Rights
617-301-4237
mprock@phrusa.org

Jen Quigley
Advocacy Director
U.S. Campaign for Burma
202-234-8022
jennifer@uscampaignforburma.org

Bama Athreya
Executive Director
United to End Genocide
202-701-3051
bathreya@endgenocide.org

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This post is in: Press Release

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