International


The government is to defend a package of four controversial “protection of race and religion” laws at a key UN meeting on discrimination against women in Myanmar being held in Geneva tomorrow.

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Three NGO groups have spoken up in a UN forum on issues of discrimination and rights of women in Myanmar. The following is the oral statement by Amnesty International, the Women Peace Network-Arakan and The Arakan Project in light of the review of Myanmar’s fourth and fifth combined report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:

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Ms Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, made a statement at the end of her 12-day visit to Myanmar on Friday. Here is her statement in full.

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Last week officials prevented the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, from visiting areas of Shan State where alleged human rights abuses have taken place, citing “security reasons”.

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The US government has revised its mandatory reporting requirements for investing in Burma, significantly reducing the number of firms that will have to comply with regulations aimed at promoting transparency and strengthening human rights in Burma.

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Myanmar will send seven athletes to compete in the upcoming Rio Olympic Games, U Kyi Soe Lin, assistant director of Ministry of Health and Sport, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

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Myanmar’s government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), should amend and abolish laws that threaten freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Wednesday.

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The European Union has requested an investment protection agreement with Myanmar which is being criticized by local NGOs in the country, according to a report on the ScandAsia website on 28 June. The report said that the agreement was intended to secure investors from the EU in case of dispute so the dispute could be raised in an international court of law.

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The United States has decided to place Myanmar on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking, officials said, a move aimed at prodding the country’s new democratically elected government and its still-powerful military to do more to curb the use of child soldiers and forced labour.

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United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma Yanghee Lee on Monday visited prisons in Rangoon to inspect standards.

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In an effort to raise awareness and strengthen Myanmar’s response to the production, trafficking and use of illicit drugs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Myanmar held a number of high-level policy discussions today.

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Myanmar’s international trade still lags well behind its neighbours despite runaway growth in the last five years, and a comprehensive overhaul of existing trade regulations is needed to stimulate economic development, the World Bank said this week.

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The European Union Ambassador to Myanmar has said that communal tensions in Rakhine State remain “very high on the international agenda” during a policy briefing Wednesday.

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The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, and Arakan State Chief Minister Nyi Pu struck a conciliatory tone on a meeting in the state capital Sittwe on Wednesday, in which the contentious terms “Rohingya” and “Bengali” were avoided.

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The European Union said on Wednesday Myanmar needed “space” to deal with human rights abuses in its restive northwest, adding it would respect the call by country leader Aung San Suu Kyi to avoid the term “Rohingya” to describe persecuted Muslims there.

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Issuing a new report on the situation of minorities in Myanmar, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged the Government to take concrete steps to end the “systemic discrimination” and ongoing human rights violations against minority communities, particularly the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

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Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights that the government will avoid using the term “Rohingya” to describe a persecuted Muslim minority in the country’s northwest, an official told Reuters on Monday.

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The new Government of Myanmar, led by the National League for Democracy, must establish a clear plan for strengthening the rule of law and protection of human rights, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today, 20 June, as it released its 14 General Recommendations to the new Government and Parliament.

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North Korea is prepared to offer Myanmar assistance in improving rice production and in the construction and maintenance of dams, The Myanmar Times has learned. Sources stressed that at this point, the two governments are in preliminary negotiations and there is no decision yet on the signing of an agreement.

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday pledged his country’s support for Burma’s development by announcing plans to raise 200 million euros (US$224.92 million) in funds for the formerly military-ruled nation.

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