The state-sponsored violence that took place against student demonstrators in Burma this month is a shocking reminder that the country is just beginning its transition to democracy and still has a very long way to go.
While investment in Burma’s infrastructure is welcome, support for development without also addressing accountability and reconciliation perpetuates impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has released its 2014 Annual Report, which highlights state-sponsored violations of religious freedom around the world. To note most severe cases, the report designates eight nations as Countries of Particular Concern, and – for the fifteenth year in a row – Burma is part of this notorious group.
Last week, Radio Dabanga, an independent radio station in Darfur, reported the expulsion of Merlin, a British humanitarian organization working in Sudan.
While the news that Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) will be allowed to continue their work in most of Burma is certainly welcome, the decision by the Burmese government to shut down the MSF’s operations in Rakhine state continues a trend of denying rights to the Muslim population who lives there.