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EU Restoration of Myanmar Preferential Trade Regime: Neglect of Human Rights Concerns?

By European Institute for Asian Studies  •  August 31, 2013

On 19 July 2013, the European Union brought Myanmar back into the so-called “Everything but Arms” regime, a preferential trade regime within the “Generalised Scheme of Preferences”. Although the EU claims this decision will facilitate the country’s path to democracy and development, it has been strongly criticised by numerous human rights organisations.

Trade preferences with the EU had been suspended since 1997 as a result of the country’s serious and systematic violations of core international conventions on forced labour. Although some political and economic reforms have been made by the new democratic government, the human rights situation in Myanmar is still dire. Concrete examples include the severe restriction of humanitarian access to displaced persons, repressive laws still in use and reported involvement of state security forces in violent episodes against Rohingya Muslims. The lifting of sanctions by the EU brings into question the priorities, intent and form of its foreign policy decisions.

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights

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