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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid