International


The United States led international praise on Tuesday for a draft ceasefire accord between Myanmar’s government and ethnic rebel groups, a move aimed at ending more than 65 years of armed conflict in the country.
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A delegation of US officials led by Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives, will arrive in Burma on Wednesday for high-level meetings in Naypyidaw and Rangoon.
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In the face of scathing criticism from international human rights groups, supporters of the sainted Aung San Suu Kyi are left with only one way to spin her inaction and silence on the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar: as cold political calculation on her part.
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The United States is concerned by reports that the Government of Burma has filed criminal charges against peaceful protesters engaged in campaign activities advocating reform of the National Education Law. We call for the immediate, unconditional release of all individuals being detained in the country as a result of exercising their right to peacefully assemble.
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The  last international oil companies that must still sign Production Sharing Contracts with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise have now received permission from Myanmar Investment Commission, a statement said yesterday.
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Burma’s government has failed to engage in meaningful public consultation on a draft investment law that could have a profound impact on human rights in the country. The government should extend its March 26, 2015 deadline for public comments and engage in genuine consultations with civil society organizations before submitting the draft law to parliament.
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Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Myanmar has soared to more than $8 billion this fiscal year, $3 billion more than anticipated, owing to increased activity in the energy, manufacturing and telecoms sectors, a senior official said.
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The World Bank says access to finance is the top constraint for private enterprises as Myanmar’s economy undergoes market-oriented reforms.
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Four United Nations agencies have welcomed a grant of US$19.5 million from the Japanese government for humanitarian and development activities in Myanmar.
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A U.N. human rights investigator said on Wednesday she expects Myanmar to guarantee her security, despite failing to censure a radical Buddhist monk who called her a “whore” and incited his followers against her.
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Christian Solidarity Worldwide says it is deeply concerned about the violations of freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression in Myanmar, amid growing religious intolerance, as illustrated by two current cases of “religious defamation,” according to a press release on March 17.
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The World Food Programme has welcomed the Myanmar’s adoption of the Zero Hunger Challenge and its aim of achieving Zero Hunger in Myanmar by 2025, according to a press release from the United Nations Development Programme and World Food Programme on March 13. (more…)

President Obama has based his foreign policy on the notion that it is better to “engage” than confront hostile nations and that such diplomacy should encourage gradual reforms, rather than revolution or regime change. The results of such outreach to Cuba and Iran are not yet in, but his administration continues to tout Burma as an example of how his strategy can work. There, a once-isolated military regime freed political prisoners and allowed its opposition to participate in a parliamentary election while being showered with U.S. economic and political concessions, including two visits by Mr. Obama. As recently as last month, the State Department’s top official for Asia, Daniel Russel, said Burma could be a model for North Korea: “Change in North Korea does not need to be regime change, as the example of Burma shows,” he said.
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The United Nations remains committed to helping Myanmar achieve its humanitarian and development needs in order to boost living standards for all its citizens, top UN officials have declared during their visit to the Asian country. (more…)

Burma has been identified as a country of concern by the United Kingdom for the 10th consecutive year as the UK foreign office prepares to increase direct aid to the country by more than 30 percent. (more…)

The government of Australia has pledged US$2.5 million in assistance to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the protection of children in Burma from sexual and physical violence, and human trafficking. (more…)

Burma Campaign UK is calling on the British government, European Union, USA and other donors to conduct a full review of all their direct and indirect assistance to the government of Myanmar, to ensure that international aid is not being used to modernise and improve the institutions of an authoritarian regime, instead of assisting a genuine transition to democracy.
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Two ethnic women from Myanmar testified at the Canadian Parliament on March 10, calling for Canadian pressure on the Myanmar government to end systematic human rights abuses, particularly sexual violence, by the Myanmar military, according to Inter Pares, a Canadian social justice organisation on March 11.
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Derek Mitchell, US ambassador to Myanmar, told the Myanmar Eleven at a press conference at the US Embassy in Yangon that America was keeping a close watch on efforts to change the 2008 Constitution. (more…)

As the first phase of an EU-funded program designed to professionalize Burma’s police comes to an end, its beneficiaries find themselves in the spotlight after three violent crackdowns on peaceful education reform protestors in less than a week. (more…)

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