Each year, the U.S. State Department sends Congress detailed reports assessing respect for human rights around the world. They evaluate how governments show respect for human dignity and individual freedoms, and they help Congress and others shape our nation’s foreign policy. The reports also tell human rights defenders and activists that the U.S. recognizes their struggle and stands with them.
In Burma, four years ago, a new government took office and began implementing social, political and economic reforms. But significant human rights abuses remain a troubling counterpoint to the broader trend of progress since 2011.
More than 140,000 internally displaced persons remained interned in camps in Rakhine State. Central and local authorities in Rakhine State severely restricted humanitarian access and did little to address the root causes of violence and discrimination. The government did not establish a fair process for granting access to full citizenship rights on an equal, nondiscriminatory basis to stateless individuals, including Rohingya.
Authorities did not make meaningful efforts to help Rohingya and other Muslim minority persons displaced by violence to return to their homes and continued to enforce restrictions on their movement.
Other significant human rights problems persisted throughout the country, particularly in conflict areas, including politically motivated arrests, corruption, and widespread land confiscation without adequate compensation. Authorities also enforced restrictions on the media and arrested journalists. The government took limited actions to prosecute or punish citizens responsible for abuses, although abuses by government actors and security officials continued with impunity.
We’re committed to advancing universal rights, building partnerships that will move us forward, helping every person live up to their potential. On human rights, every country, including our own, has room to improve. And in cases like Burma, we are committed to speaking out for those unable to do so for themselves.