News / Asia

Clinton Makes Historic Visit to Burma

Multimedia

Audio
  • Burma Analyst Monique Skidmore talks to Victor Beattie about Clinton's visit to Burma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Burma Wednesday for a historic visit.  Clinton's trip is the first in half a century for a top U.S. diplomat and is in response to political and economic reforms by the military-dominated government.

Burma Analyst Monique Skidmore talks to Victor Beattie about Clinton's visit to Burma

The secretary's visit is the first visit by America's top diplomat since Burma's military overthrew a democratically elected government in 1962.

The army has dominated the country ever since and been accused of widespread rights abuses.

An election last year, although criticized in some quarters as a sham, brought a nominally civilian government to power.

Since then, officials have surprised critics by relaxing the state’s grip on the media, releasing more than 200 political prisoners, legalizing protests and labor unions, and holding direct talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Clinton told reporters in South Korea Wednesday that she wants to determine if the government intends further reforms.

"Obviously, we and many other nations are quite hopeful that these 'flickers of progress', as President Obama called them in Bali, will be ignited into a movement for change that will benefit the people of the country," she stated.

On the two-day visit, Clinton will meet with government leaders including President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel Prize laureate was released one year ago from 15 years of house arrest. In Rangoon Wednesday, she was asked by reporters what she thought would come from Clinton's visit.

Suu Kyi says she still opposes lifting economic sanctions, which the Burmese officials have been pushing for.

Photo Gallery: Key Moments in Aung San Suu Kyi's Career


The U.S. and European Union have sanctioned Burma for the government's alleged human rights abuses and anti-democratic practices.

Before her trip, Clinton said the sanctions would remain in place for the time being.

Skeptics of the government are quick to point out there are still hundreds of political prisoners languishing behind bars.  Rights groups say military abuses are common in ethnic rebel areas, including extrajudicial killings and rape.

Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher on Burma David Mathieson says that fighting increased in the past year - at the same time the government was publicly promoting its political and economic reforms. He says he believes these abuses will be addressed during Clinton’s meetings this week.

"What I'm talking about is raising very serious ongoing concerns about political prisoners, about abuses against civilians in ethnic conflict areas and the general climate of abuse that still pervades the Burmese military," Mathieson said.

Clinton will meet with representatives of ethnic minority groups on Friday to discuss the ongoing conflict.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid