Human rights in Myanmar: US optimistic

Featured South East Asia - October 18th, 2012
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Talks between the United States and Myanmar have ended on a high note, in what Washington sees as an “open channel” to pave the way for deeper discussions on human rights in the once military junta-ruled state amid ensuing sectarian violence in Rakhine state.

The US delegation, led by Michael Posner, the State Department’s top human rights official, along with Deputy Assistant of Defense Vikram Sing and other US military officials, met with officials in the capital city of Naypyitaw.

“The results of the dialogue were assessed to be very positive and we look forward to continuing these discussion with Burmese authorities,” State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland told AFP.

“We are confident that we now have 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”.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was under a headlong military rule for decades that has racked the nation with massive violations to human rights. Washington decided to ease longstanding sanctions to acknowledge Myanmar’s push for economic and political reforms driven by President Thein Sein that have gradually opened up the former isolated country. One act has been to grant pardons to over 500 political prisoners.

The talks are widely seen as the latest sign of improving ties between the US and Myanmar, following President Thein Sein and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the US.