News / Asia

    Burma’s President Visits London Amid Accusations Of Ethnic Cleansing

    Burma’s President Visits London Amid Accusations Of Ethnic Cleansingi
    X
    July 16, 2013 1:42 AM
    On his first visit to London, President Thein Sein of Burma has held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on trade and military cooperation, as Western countries look to increase engagement with the formerly isolated country. But despite its improved relations with the West, human rights groups accuse the Burmese government of attempted ethnic cleansing, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Burma’s President Visits London Amid Accusations Of Ethnic Cleansing
    Henry Ridgwell
    On his first visit to London, President Thein Sein of Burma has held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on trade and military cooperation, as Western countries look to increase engagement with the formerly isolated country. But despite its improved relations with the West,  human rights groups accuse the Burmese government of attempted ethnic cleansing.
     
    President Thein Sein has been embraced by the West as a political reformer. 
     
    British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed him to London in the mutual hope of developing trade links. They discussed increased military cooperation - though no details were announced.
     
    Speaking at London’s Chatham House policy institute, Thein Sein called Burma’s transformation unparalleled in modern times.
     
    “Thousands of prisoners have been freed. A special committee, comprised in part of former prisoners, is working diligently to ensure that no one remains in prison due to his or her political beliefs. We are reviewing all cases and I guarantee you that by the end of this year there will be no political prisoners of conscience in Burma," he said. 
     
    But outside the British parliament, protestors built a mock graveyard.  They want to highlight what they claim is an attempt at ethnic cleansing against Burma’s minority Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine state - and they accuse Prime Minister Cameron of ignoring the conflict.
     
    Ahamed Jarmal is secretary general of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK.
     
    “Since last year - June 2012 - a state-organized and government backed ethnic cleansing has started.  Many thousands died, and children were burned alive. Many houses (were) burned and nearly 140,000 people were internally displaced," he said. 
     
    On his presidential website, the Burmese leader said Sunday that he had disbanded a security force accused of violations against the Rohingya.
     
    He did not mention the Rohingya directly in his speech - but predicted a nationwide ceasefire within weeks.
     
    “My government has been working tirelessly for peace. This too is not an easy thing. The remaining conflicts all have an ethnic character and are rooted in long-standing ethnic grievances and aspirations. And in Myanmar (Burma) there is not just one non-state armed group, but more than a dozen.”
     
    But human rights groups say the targeting of Rohingya continues, prompting campaigners to draw comparisons with the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.  
     
    Ahamed Jarmal of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK said, “Rohingya - we have got only 800,000 people in Rakhine state. Compare that 800,000 to the nearly 200,000 in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, massacres and killing and burning alive. So shall we wait until Rwanda actually happens or shall we raise our voice now?”
     
    Officials say Cameron did raise the issue of the Rohingya during the talks. President Thein Sein denies any state involvement in the violence.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    July 17, 2013 1:42 AM
    I can not believe cleansing for some ethnic is being performed in Berma still now. International attention is drown into democratizing Berma so that such massaccres and burning people alive could be done seacretly.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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 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.