No Let Up In Rights Violations In Burma: Campaign UK

Guwahati: Burma (also known as Myanmar) remains one of the worst human rights violators in the world, even since the quasi-democratic regime was installed in Naypyidaw two years ago, said a campaign group based in London.

On the eve of Burmese President Thein Sein’s visit to the UK, the campaign group asserted that even after two years of his rule as the President, Burma maintains one of the worst human rights records in the world.

“Since the former General Thein Sein became President, human rights abuses which violate international law have actually increased in Burma,” according to a statement issued by Burma Campaign UK. The campaign group asserted that it has received increased numbers of reports of rape by the Burmese Army and security forces in the recent past. It also argued that hundreds of political prisoners remain in jail, and almost all repressive laws remain in place in the southeast Asian country.

There has undoubtedly been an increase in civil liberties in cities such as Rangoon and Naypyidaw, but none of these are enshrined in law, and so can be reversed at any time. At the same time, in ethnic states, human rights abuses are being committed which are so serious they could be classified as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, stated the report sent by Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK to the media.

President Thein Sein is visiting Britain and France in the next few days and his visit to the UK has been positioned as a big reward for the quasi-democratic regime in Naypyidaw. The Burma Campaign UK insisted that rather than focusing on trade issues, the British government should be aiming to secure concrete agreement on key human rights issues, such as an international investigation into abuses against the Rohingya minority, releasing all political prisoners, starting a genuine dialogue process to draft a federal democratic constitution etc.

“The British government is about to give Thein Sein red carpet treatment in the UK, but the reality is that after two years of his reforms, Burma still has one of the worst records on human rights in the world,” said Anna Roberts, executive director of Burma Campaign UK, adding that the ongoing human rights abuses should be dominating the agenda of Thein Sein’s trip to the UK, not only trade.

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Northeast India) based journalist, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world.