President Obama is choosing an odd time to make history as the first US president to visit Burma. Ethnic violence continues to devastate Rakhine State in western Burma, conflict rages in northern Kachin State, and military officials responsible for some of the worst violence in the country continue to thrive in a climate of impunity.
PHR is deeply troubled by media reports that members of Burma’s military could be invited to observe an upcoming US-Thai military joint training exercise. The exercise, to be held next year, would bring together participants from the US and the Thai armed forces as well as military representatives from several other Asian nations.
Even as Burma’s central government institutes political reforms, the Burmese army continues to routinely violate the human rights of ethnic minorities in Karen State, PHR reports, citing findings from a field survey conducted in early 2012.
On World Refugee Day, PHR affirms its dedication to ending human rights violations and protecting the rights of refugees and displaced people. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year, adding to a population of 15.2 million refugees worldwide.
PHR condemns the recent ethnic clashes in Arakan State, Western Burma, and urges all parties to end the violence.