News / Asia

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s Group Calls for Talks to Review Burma Sanctions

    Burma democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses during a meeting with youth members of her National League for Democracy party at the party's headquarters in Rangoon, Burma, February 8, 2011
    Burma democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses during a meeting with youth members of her National League for Democracy party at the party's headquarters in Rangoon, Burma, February 8, 2011

    Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy has called for talks with Western nations about possible changes to sanctions against the country.  Sanctions have been in place since the 1990s to penalize Burma’s military government for its human rights record.

    The opposition group led by Burma’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday called for discussions with the United States, the European Union and other governments to determine "when, how and in what circumstances sanctions may be modified".

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations backs the lifting of the sanctions, which range from an arms embargo to trade bans. Burma is a member of ASEAN.

    Some regional analysts say the sanctions have choked economic growth and pushed Burma’s military closer to China. Beijing has ignored the sanctions to gain business concessions in the resource-rich but impoverished country.

    But Maung Zarni, a research fellow at the London School of Economics, says the sanctions are not the cause of poverty in Burma.

    "It’s not the economic sanctions that are hurting the Burmese people in terms of their livelihood. It is the Burmese junta that refuses to acknowledge that economic reforms and other reforms are desperately needed if the country is to move forward," he said.

    Various sanctions have been imposed on Burma over several years as a way to pressure its military rulers to make human rights and political reforms. The U.S. arms embargo against Burma started in 1993, while that of the European Union in 1996. In 2003, the U.S. banned direct imports from Burma such as timber and gems, and restricted financial transactions with the country.

    However, Burma continues to trade with and attract investments from China, India and its Southeast Asian neighbors.

    Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have in the past endorsed the sanctions, but have indicated they could rethink that position. However, the party’s statement Tuesday said sanctions should not be lifted until the government frees more than 2,000 political prisoners.

    Kurt Campbell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said last week it is premature for the U.S. to lift its sanctions. He said the U.S. wants to see more concrete reforms from the Burmese government.

    Maung Zarni says the sanctions pose the "last obstacle" for the junta to gain international legitimacy. But he says the military is unlikely to undertake reforms to get rid of them.

    "Whether or not they are accepted by the Burmese domestic public, they no longer care and they want to be accepted by the international community without needing to do the improvements in both the economic and human rights conditions," he said.

    The NLD won elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power. The NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi have no formal political roles in Burma after the group boycotted the November parliamentary elections, because of elections laws the party considered unfair. The NLD has been officially disbanded as a political party.

    The military and its allies control the new parliament.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.