News / Asia

Burmese Diplomat Defects to US

The senior diplomat writes to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying he has lost hope that his country's leaders will effect democratic change

A recent photo of Kyaw Win, the second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, D.C.
A recent photo of Kyaw Win, the second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, D.C.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Analysis on the defection of a senior Burmese diplomat

A senior Burmese diplomat has announced his defection in the United States, saying he has lost hope that his country's leaders will effect democratic change in the foreseeable future.

Kyaw Win, the second-ranking official at the Burmese embassy in Washington, says in a July 4 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that his efforts to push for reform have been rejected and he fears prosecution if he returns to Burma.

In the letter, he urges the United States to maintain targeted economic sanctions against the Burmese leaders and their businessmen allies, and to press for an international council of inquiry to investigate Burmese human rights abuses.

The diplomat confirmed his resignation and request of asylum in the United States by telephone to a reporter for VOA's Burmese service.

Kyaw Win is a career diplomat with 31 years experience who has served in major Burmese embassies from India to Brazil. He is also seeking asylum for his wife and three adult children, all of whom are living in the United States.

Listen to analysis by Monique Skidmore, professor at the University of Canberra

In his letter, Kyaw Win says he had hoped that, over time, Burma's military would ease its grip on power and move Burma to greater political pluralism. But, he says, the military has retained its hold on uncontested power in spite of elections last year that brought in a nominally civilian leadership.

He says that in reality, senior military officials are seeking "to stamp out the voices of those seeking democracy, human rights and individual liberties." He says war against the nation's ethnic minorities is "imminent" and threats against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be taken seriously.

Kyaw Win appears to be referring to recent warnings of potential "chaos" if Aung San Suu Kyi goes ahead with a planned national tour this month. When she attempted a tour of upper Burma in 2003, government thugs attacked her motorcade, killing numerous people.

The diplomat says that during his time in Washington, he has tried to build bridges between the Burmese government and the international community. But, he says, his recommendations have been continually rejected and he is now considered "dangerous" by his own government.

Kyaw Win says the United States has played a special role in standing up for freedom and democracy in his country. He urges Secretary Clinton to facilitate the creation of an international body to investigate human rights abuses perpetrated in Burma's conflict zones by the military and other armed groups.

He also says that highly targeted economic sanctions can play a "critical role" in keeping the Burmese leaders and the businessmen who live off of them from having access to the international financial system.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid