UK Advocacy Group Welcomes British Govt Admission That Burma’s Reforms Are Flawed

The advocacy group, Burma Campaign UK released a statement that “welcomed a new report by the British government,” that acknowledged ‘Burma’s reforms process was ‘of significant concern.

The Burma Campaign UK said that the British government’s “admission came in the annual human rights report by the British Foreign Office, following a months’ long campaign by Burma Campaign UK to persuade the British government to admit there are serious problems with Burma’s reforms.”

The Burma Campaign UK claimed, that as the British government had been one of the, “main backers of President Thein Sein and his reform process, it has been reluctant to admit to serious problems with the reform process. The Burma Campaign UK quoted statements made last year by the “UN Special Rapporteur, the US President Obama, and Aung San Suu Kyi, that the reform process was backsliding, backtracking and stalled, the British government conspicuously avoided making similar statements, even when directly questioned in the British Parliament.”

The Burma Campaign UK, during 2013 to early 2015, ran a number of public campaigns “warning that the British government was taking too rosy a view of the reforms in Burma, and basing policy on promises of reform, not reality on the ground.”

The Burma Campaign UK said a number of “human rights reports‎ on Burma by the British government tended to downplay or ignore many problems, whilst talking up positives, so the admission of setbacks by the British government is significant.”

The Burma Campaign UK said that the latest British government’s report found that in, “2014 saw increasing numbers of political prisoners, conflict in Kachin and Shan [States], and repression of the media. The early part of the year saw a sharp increase in inter-communal violence in Rakhine State, and the Rohingya community continues to be subject to discriminatory policies and vulnerable to further violence.”

Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK said that it welcomed that the British government had admitted that there are “serious setbacks with Burma’s reform process.”

Ms Roberts said that the British government had to do more.

‎”They have not announced any change of approach or policy. They are literally doing business as usual. Admitting there is a problem is an essential first step to dealing with a problem, now they need to change their policy, starting with reviewing the assistance they are giving to the authoritarian, military-backed Burmese government.”

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