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Improving Human Rights In Burma


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, foreground third from left, and attendees pose for photos during the Myanmar-US Human Rights Dialogue in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

Long ruled by an authoritarian military junta, Burma has made progress since the formation of its new government in the spring of 2011.

As the United States continues engagement with the government of Burma amid the important political reforms being made there, discussions have begun on the state of human rights in the Southeast Asian nation.


A 22-member U.S. delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Michael Posner met with Burmese officials in the capital Nay Pyi Taw to discuss the full range of human rights issues affecting the country. The delegation included senior representatives from several U.S. government agencies, including the White House, Agency for International Development and Department of Homeland Security, to address different aspects of how our government addresses human rights.

Long ruled by an authoritarian military junta, Burma has made progress since the formation of its new government in the spring of 2011. The beginning of a transition to civilian rule from a military-dominated system, holding of a more inclusive and credible Parliamentary by-election this April, the easing of some media restrictions and the freeing of more than 500 imprisoned political activists were important steps in the nation’s democratic transformation, and a sign that Burmese leaders have embarked on a path of greater openness, transparency and reform.

Over this period, the United States has continued and strengthened its policy of principled engagement with the Southeast Asian nation, taking positive actions to benefit the Burmese people when government reforms are made and encouraging leaders to press ahead with further reforms.

U.S. officials participating in the talks reported that Burmese officials were responsive, the tone was good and it is hoped that many more such meetings will be held, said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State.

“We are confident that we have now 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.”

Our country conducts human rights dialogues with many nations around the world, and we look forward to continuing these discussions with Burmese authorities in the months to come.
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