Burmese President Thein Sein is scheduled to meet with President Obama today, marking the first visit to the United States by a Burmese head of state in 47 years. Since that visit in 1966, the people of Burma have endured governmental mismanagement, brutal military rule, and serious human rights violations. Burma became a pariah state, synonymous with its infamous imprisonment of political activists and militarized attacks on civilians.
The cancellation of an international medical ethics conference that had been scheduled for April 10-12 in Bahrain is another sign that the country’s rulers continue a systematic pattern of politicizing medical affairs.
In a recently released bipartisan report on detainee treatment at the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Constitution Project’s Expert Task Force devotes a whole chapter to the spectacular failure of medical professionals in GTMO to protect detainees from harm or injustice.
Stained Glass Transparency: Bahrain’s Latest Obfuscation of International Human Rights Accountability
Bahrain has again indefinitely postponed a visit by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, the latest in a series of attempts to deter human rights observers from scrutinizing the kingdom’s dismal human records record. The government told the rapporteur, Juan Méndez, that his visit could be “immensely damaging” to the Bahrain National Dialogue, an initiative that should welcome such a visit if it truly seeks to promote reform.
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.