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Despite Clinton’s Efforts, Myanmar Is Consumed By “Serious Human-Rights Lapses”

- November 13, 2015

In Her Memoir, Clinton Touted Myanmar As A “High Point” Of Her Time As Secretary Of State. “It is sometimes hard to resist getting breathless about Burma. … For me, the memories of those early days of flickering progress and uncertain hope remain a high point of my time as Secretary and an affirmation of the unique role the United States can and should play in the world as a champion of dignity and democracy. It was America at our best.” (Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hard Choices, 2014)

  • That The Future Of Myanmar "Is So Important" To Clinton Is A Reminder That Her Record As Secretary Lacks "Foreign Policy Wins," And That "If Events There Do Represent A Victory, It Is Hardly A Clear-Cut One." "That the future of the chronically underdeveloped country, also known as Burma, is so important to the Democratic front-runner is a reminder that Clinton's record as the top U.S. diplomat in a period of intractable crises is not exactly bristling with foreign policy wins. And if events there do represent a victory, it is hardly a clear-cut one." (Stephen Collinson, "Scrutiny For Hillary Clinton Ahead Of Elections In Myanmar," CNN, 11/6/15)
  • Foreign Policy Headline: "Hillary's Burma Problem" (Catherine A. Traywick and John Hudson, "Hillary's Burma Problem," Foreign Policy, 3/27/14)

The New York Times : "Emboldened" By Its Successes From The Easing Of U.S. Sanctions, "Myanmar Has Stopped Moving The Reform Process Forward And Has Turned A Deaf Ear To Condemnations Of Serious Human-Rights Lapses." "Since the recent easing of American-led economic sanctions against Myanmar, foreign investment has been pouring into the country. Myanmar's retreat from pariah status also won it the 2014 chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the regional economic group known as Asean. Apparently emboldened by these successes, Myanmar has stopped moving the reform process forward and has turned a deaf ear to condemnations of serious human-rights lapses." (Editorial, "Myanmar Regresses On Rights," The New York Times, 8/21/14)

"Despite The U.S.-Led Rolling Back Of Economic Sanctions … More Than A Million People In Burma Are Facing State-Sponsored Genocide." "Despite the U.S.-led rolling back of economic sanctions and internationally backed national elections taking place early next month, more than a million people in Burma are facing state-sponsored genocide, according to a new report." (Rishi Iyengar, "Burma's Million-Strong Rohingya Population Faces 'Final Stages Of Genocide,' Says Report," Time, 10/28/15)

  • The Rohingya Muslim Community "Has Been Systematically Persecuted And Expunged From The National Narrative…To The Point Where Complete Extermination Is A Possibility." "The Rohingya Muslim community of the military-dominated Southeast Asian nation, which is now officially known as Myanmar, has been systematically persecuted and expunged from the national narrative - often at the behest of powerful extremist groups from the country's majority Buddhist population and even government authorities - to the point where complete extermination is a possibility, according to a damning new study by the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) at the Queen Mary University of London." (Rishi Iyengar, "Burma's Million-Strong Rohingya Population Faces 'Final Stages Of Genocide,' Says Report," Time, 10/28/15)
  • The Continued Violence Against The Rohingya "Undermine The Idea That Burma Is A Success Story." "Meanwhile, continued violence against the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority and multiple civil wars that have raged since the country's independence from Britain in 1948 also undermine the idea that Burma is a success story."
  • The Rohingya People Were Not Allowed To Vote In The November 2015 Myanmar Election. "While Myanmar's first national election in more than twenty-five years took place in November 2015, and the pro-democracy Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party will claim a parliamentary majority, questions still remain about both the status of the Rohingya people, who were not allowed to vote in the election, and the future nature of the military's relationship with its new civilian leadership." ("Sectarian Violence In Myanmar," Council On Foreign Relations' Global Conflict Tracker , Accessed 2/2/16)

In 2014, Obama Said The Situation In Myanmar Was An "Unusual And Extraordinary Threat To The National Security And Foreign Policy Of The United States." OBAMA: "Despite great strides that Burma has made in its reform effort, the situation in the country continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.'" (Barack Obama, Letter To The Congress -- Continuation Of The National Emergency With Respect To Burma , 5/15/14)

Defenders of Myanmar And Newly Elected Aung San Suu Kyi Note The Country Still Has "Many Problems", But That Doesn't Justify Watching "Crimes Against Humanity" Persist. "Defenders of Myanmar and of Aung San Suu Kyi note that the country has many problems; they see the Rohingya as one misfortune in a nation with a vast swath of misfortunes. The priorities, as they see them, are economic development, democracy and an end to the country's many local conflicts, and they protest that it's myopic to focus on the problems of one ethnic group in a nation so full of challenges. Yet to me, there is something particularly horrifying about a government deliberately targeting an ethnic group for destruction, locking its members in concentration camps and denying them livelihood, education and health care. When kids are dying in concentration camps, after being confined there because of their ethnicity, that's not just one more problem of global poverty. It's a crime against humanity, and addressing it is the responsibility of all humanity." (Nicholas Kristof, " Myanmar's Peace Prize Winner And Crimes Against Humanity," The New York Times, 1/9/16)


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