News / Asia

US Calls for Burma Military to Account for Human Trafficking

Ron Corben

The U.S. ambassador for human trafficking, Luis CdeBaca, is calling for Burmese military officers to be held accountable for any involvement in human trafficking or the recruitment of child soldiers.  Human rights advocates say an end to impunity by Burma’s military’s involvement with human trafficking is seen as a key test for the new civilian government.

After the end of an official visit to Burma, U.S. Ambassador for human trafficking Luis CdeBaca says he remains optimistic the civilian government will move to reduce forced labor and child soldier recruitment. But CdeBaca, who travelled to Burma with U.S. special envoy and policy coordinator for Burma Derek Mitchell, said senior military officers need to be held accountable for human-rights abuses such as forced labor.

“One of the things as well is the issue of accountability for the military officers, both the ones who use civilians for forced labor but also the ones who are engaged in recruitment child soldiers," said CdeBaca. "There have been a number of prosecutions for recruitment for recruitment of child soldiers but it’s all the low level guys.”

A 2011 Human Rights Watch report said over several decades the Burmese Army forced civilians to risk their lives in “barbaric conditions” in operations against rebel armed groups.  It said military officers and soldiers faced charges of “committing atrocities with impunity.”

The report accused the Burmese military of colluding with Corrections Department officials to use an estimated 700 prisoners from 12 prisons to act as army porters during fighting in southern Karen State.  The porters risk death from landmines.

The report added ethnic-rebel groups also face accusations of the indiscriminate use of landmines, the use of civilians as forced labor and recruitment of child soldiers.

The annual U.S. global report on human trafficking cited Burma for failing to comply with minimum standards or to make serious efforts to curb human trafficking.

CdeBaca said Burmese officials acknowledged the problems, which he said is “encouraging.”

He said Burmese steps to address human trafficking issues should also include the cooperation of neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand.

“I would like to see both legal and policy statements that end this practice of state sponsored labor," said CdeBaca. "That would be a very positive step forward.  A more robust victim identification (program) where we see more victims being helped both here in Burma but also through the offices of the Burmese diplomats in Malaysia and Thailand.”

Spokeswoman Debbie Stothard, of the rights group the Alternative ASEAN Network, says the international community will need to maintain pressure on the Burmese government to move ahead with reforms.

“So when we look at the situation of trafficking of people and exploitation of children we have to really address the problem of impunity, we have to address the problem of mass forced displacement as a result of military attacks and harmful development projects,” she said.

Burma is seeking to improve international relations in a bid to see economic and political sanctions eased to open the way for foreign investment and economic development.  But the international community says further reforms are needed, including the release of all  political prisoners.    

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs