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.
PHR joined ten other organizations in calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to immediately suspend US military assistance and arms transfers to security force units in Bahrain that are engaging in human rights violations.
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.
At the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on the “Implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report”, Richard Sollom testified about PHR's investigation of Bahrain's use of toxic chemical agents ("tear gas") against civilians.