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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora