News / Asia

ASEAN Meeting Urges Lifting of Burma Economic Sanctions

ASEAN FMs, (L-R) Indonesia's Marty Natalegawa, Thailand's Kasit Piromya, Singapore's George Yeo and Philippines' Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio before the opening of the ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting Retreat in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara pr
ASEAN FMs, (L-R) Indonesia's Marty Natalegawa, Thailand's Kasit Piromya, Singapore's George Yeo and Philippines' Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio before the opening of the ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting Retreat in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara pr

Foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) say economic sanctions against Burma should be lifted now that the military has held national elections and released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from detention. But rights groups say lifting sanctions may be premature.  

ASEAN foreign ministers, meeting in Indonesia, called for the United States, the European Union, Canada and Australia, to review the sanctions imposed on Burma to press the military government to implement political and economic reforms.

The foreign ministers, led by Thailand and Indonesia, also urged Burma’s military to press ahead with efforts to reconcile with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's political opposition.

The U.S. sanctions include a ban on imports, as well as restrictions on financial transactions and foreign investment in Burma. The European Union has also had a series of sanctions in place for several years.

The ministers say the elections and release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house detention should be taken into account.  

The managing partner of regional investment fund Leopard Capital, U.S. businessman Douglas Clayton, says sanctions would reopen the way for foreign investment into the country.

"We would like to see the U.S. lift its sanctions, which would be a catalytic step towards facilitating foreign investment, because at the moment multi-nationals are unable to deal there.  They have problems if they deal there," said Clayton.

Debate over sanctions has been divisive. Some analysts say the sanctions have failed to end the military’s grip on power and have caused massive unemployment.

Meanwhile China, Thailand and India have remained key foreign investors in the country.

A spokeswoman for the rights group Alternative ASEAN Network, Debbie Stothardt, says lifting sanctions is premature, especially while the military still holds more than 2,000 political prisoners in detention.

"It is incredibly naïve and illogical for ASEAN to be calling on the international community to remove sanctions on Burma," said Stothardt. "ASEAN should instead be calling for the military authorities and the so-called new parliament of Burma to cooperate in an international investigation of crimes against humanity and serious crimes in Burma instead."

Rights groups raised doubts over the legitimacy of last November’s general election following allegations of fraud, and concerns over restricting participation by some opposition political parties.

Political groups close to the military secured almost 80 percent of the votes and seats in the national parliament, with a quota of 25 percent of the seats already set aside for military personnel.

ASEAN foreign ministers are to send a delegation to Burma in late January to meet representatives of the new parliament and raise the issue of the status of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid