News / Asia

US Praises 'Very Positive' Rights Dialogue with Burma

Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Myanmar Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Myanmar Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.
x
Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Myanmar Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.
Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Myanmar Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.
VOA News
The United States is describing its first ever human rights dialogue with Burma as "very positive," saying it now has an "open channel" to discuss sensitive topics with Burmese leaders.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Wednesday a "full-range of human rights issues" was discussed during the talks in the capital of Naypyidaw.

"We are confident that we have now an open channel with the government of Burma to discuss human rights and to continue to work on bringing them where they want to be in terms of human rights standards for their government," said Nuland.

Nuland said Washington was not sure if Burma would be willing to discuss sensitive issues, such as political prisoners. But she says they were, and that the tone was "very good."

Burma has freed some political prisoners and made other reforms since a nominally civilian government came to power last year, replacing five decades of authoritarian military rule. In response, the U.S. has lifted many of the long-standing sanctions that helped isolate Burma's economy.

But many rights groups have cautioned against moving too quickly, pointing out that many abuses are yet to be resolved. One such problem is in western Rakhine state, where recent violence between Buddhists and Muslims left dozens dead and thousands displaced.

Human Rights Watch researcher John Sifton says that Burma has not addressed its official policy of discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship and many other rights.

"Instead of addressing the violence, they've embraced this policy of ghetto-ization, of segregation, where the Muslims are supposed to live separately from the Buddhists," said Sifton.  "They literally want to put them in camps and keep them separate from everybody else. Somebody's got to tell them they can't do this."

Washington has called for Burma to protect the rights of the Rohingya. But it has also continued to ease sanctions and offer other diplomatic gestures, to the frustration of some rights groups.

Sifton expressed concern that increased Western business activity in Burma could provide less incentive for its government to continue reforms.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
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 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 Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
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. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid