News / Asia

Top Burmese Official to VOA: 'Future Will Be More Peaceful'

VOA interviews U Aung Min, September 20, 2012
VOA interviews U Aung Min, September 20, 2012
VOA News
A high-ranking Burmese official says the government will do more to end fighting with ethnic groups and help refugees return to their lands.

In an interview with VOA's Burmese Service Minister for the President's Office U Aung Min says the Burmese government will make good on pledges to end ongoing skirmishes, especially in Kachin state.

"Yes. The president already promised there will not be offensives apart from some defensive actions.  I also tell you the army is strictly following the orders.  There will be no open season offensive.  I guarantee it," said U Aung Min.

Aung Min says, already, the military is taking steps to minimize the potential for conflict.

"Now the position of the troops are overlapping.  There have been some misunderstandings and some shootings.  My objective is to make the troops withdraw from their positions so they are at least five kilometers apart as required in the primary cease-fire agreement.  Only then can people sit to negotiate more," he said.

Aung Min came to Washington to attend the Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying he is proud that a Burmese citizen was awarded such a high honor.

But his visit also comes at a crucial time.  

Burmese President Thein Sein is due in the U.S. next week to address the U.N. General Assembly.  The United States has also been considering the relaxation of some of the tough sanctions that were imposed on Burma because of the former government's poor human rights record.

Questions about Burma's human rights record remain.

Prisoner Releases in Burma:

February 2009: 6,313 prisoners freed, 24 were political.

September 2009: 7,114 prisoners freed, 28 were political.

May 2011: 14,578 prisoners freed, 55 were political.

January 2012: 651 prisoners freed, all were political.

September 2012: 514 prisoners freed, as many as 90 were political.
The Burmese government this week announced it is releasing 514 prisoners - including an estimated 90 political prisoners - as part of a general amnesty. But activists and rights groups have responded cautiously, saying hundreds of prisoners are still being held despite the government's promises to release them.

There have also been questions about Burma's treatment of refugees, many of whom fled to Thailand to escape fighting between the government and ethnic groups.

Human Rights Watch estimates 140,000 refugees are bunched in often overcrowded camps along Thailand's border with Burma.

Aung Min said the Burmese government is doing what it can to speed up the homecoming process.

"If the areas are secure enough, they will be coming back," he said. "When they come back, they will get back their own, original lands where they used to live.  For us, what we are going to do for them is to make sure the land is safe enough, for example, de-mining and making sure there is food security, and then providing them with food and shelter at least for a year."

Aung Min says the process is voluntary, but that refugees who wait too long to return may miss out on some services and benefits.

He also says returning refugees will not be forced to return to farming - that the government plans to establish industrial zones that will allow the refugees to earn a living by working in textile manufacturing or other industries.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid