“The European Union revoked its economic and political sanctions against Burma on Monday,” reports Erica Kinetz for the Associated Press. She continues:
Australia revoked its travel and financial sanctions in June 2012. . . . The US has moved more slowly than the European Union and Australia in normalizing relations, which some business groups argue puts US investors at a competitive disadvantage.
Even more disturbing (emphasis added) . . .
Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun told Congress Thursday that the US is “looking at ways to support nascent military engagement” with Burma, as way of encouraging “further political reforms.”
Military “engagement” with the army behind Burma’s brutal junta that officially lasted 49 years (until 2011)? Besides, isn’t that sort of putting the cart before the horse? In response, writes Ms. Kinetz, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division said
… military engagement was “clearly premature.” Human Rights Watch says the military continues to target civilians and engage in torture, sexual slavery and extrajudicial killings.
“Why is there a presumption the Burmese military wants to reform?” he said. “What’s the evidentiary basis for that? Is this the US government and international community just seeing what they want to see?”
Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.