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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora