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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More