On April 22, the European Union lifted all sanctions against the Burmese government except for an arms embargo. The international community’s rush to applaud the Burmese government’s nascent reforms will ultimately hamper further improvements.
Thai and Burmese press have reported that the Government of Bangladesh is cracking down on charitable organizations that offer assistance to Rohingya, an ethnic group that has faced endemic persecution and violence in Burma.
The 1982 law authorized 135 enumerated ethnic groups for citizenship, and arbitrarily stripped others of their citizenship. NGOs call for the Citizenship Law to be replaced with a law that reflects basic principles of human rights and demonstrates adherence to international treaties.
Donor countries, including the United States, have supported organizations that provide essential humanitarian services to people along Burma’s borders. Border areas have long been neglected by medical and development programs run by the Burmese government, and this international assistance has helped countless people access medical care and food. Some political reforms have increased opportunities for international donors to directly fund civil society groups within Burma.
This Saturday marks one year of fighting between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Burma.