News / Asia

Second Burmese Defector Was Summoned Home, Says Kyaw Win

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

Turmoil at the Burmese embassy continued this week when first secretary Soe Aung announced he was seeking political asylum in the United States, becoming the second U.S.-based embassy staffer to defect in less than two weeks.

On July 4, former deputy chief of mission Kyaw Win defected, saying his efforts at political reform had been rejected and that he feared  prosecution by the Burmese government.  

VOA Burmese service reporter Thar Nyunt Oo spoke with Kyaw Win shortly after his colleague Soe Aung announced his defection on Wednesday.

What do you know about why Soe Aung defected?


Kyaw Win: "As far as I know, he was summoned back to [Burma] within 24 hours. That indicated he's considered guilty of wrongdoing.  It also indicates that the Burmese government does not trust the civlian staffer. They trust only the ex-military officials."

Listen to VOA's interview in English with Kyaw Win

Why 24 hours? What kind of wrongdoing do you think?

Kyaw Win: "I believe that it is related to my defection. But, I've never seen such a practice  throughout my career, that someone was summoned back within 24 hours. It is very difficult to gauge why they hastily did that kind of thing."

Can you tell me more about why do you think there's discrimination between the civilian diplomatic staff and the ex-military staff?

Kyaw Win: "Look at the investigations being done for my defection. Why only Soe Aung, who is a civilian staffer? There are so many other people responsible in the Washington office. Everyone is responsible whenever anything happens in the office, so they should be investigated all together.... Also throughout my career, we know that there's unequal treatment to the civilian staff in cases of promotion, transfer, benefits. What I mean is, we don't mind serving as followers after those who are really qualified for their job, but it is not the case in many cases."

What do you hear about other embassy staffers who returned to Burma? We heard that they're being investigated for your defection.

Kyaw Win: "I hope that they will be alright. Think about that: how would they know my defection? How would I tell them?"

But yet they are being investigated.

Kyaw Win: "Yes, they are. But I don't know much details."

Soe Aung was summoned back to Burma. Do you think that this was related to your defection? Can you elaborate?

Kyaw Win: "They [Soe Aung and the two other civilian diplomats under investigation in Burma] are being blamed for not knowing about my defection earlier. But you know that they are my inferiors."

You stated that when you defected last week that the foreign ministry in Burma was disappointed about your attempts to improve relations between the U.S. and Burma. How so?

Kyaw Win: "To improve bilateral relations, we have a lot of give and take and compromise and a lot of negotiation. What I understand about U.S. policy toward Burma is it is very much depends on improving the human rights record and democratic reforms in Burma. But what is the difficulty for me is, as you know, the human rights situation, especially in remote areas, is getting worse. But for me, working throughout my career, I was hoping the situation would improve gradually. But it hasn't. After 1998, [the military leaders] promised changes but they never happened. And in 2004, the government led by General Khin Nyunt was talking about the changes, but it never happened. Things are getting worse."

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid