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Posts Tagged ‘Union of Myanmar’

22nd August 2013

In what could be described as a watershed moment for United States-Myanmar relations, these two countries held their first joint human trafficking discussions officially dubbed the U.S.-Myanmar Trafficking in Persons dialogue. The discussions were held on August 1, 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Myanmar Police Chief Major General Zaw Win and United States Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca headed the Myanmar and United States’ delegations. These events were reported in an August 19th Press Release from the American State Department. To quote from the recent State Department Press Release:

In-depth discussions covered a variety of human trafficking issues, including forced labor, sex trafficking, and the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, with particular focus on the importance of employing a victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking, the need to show concrete results in holding to account perpetrators of all forms of trafficking, and the benefits of robust government-civil society partnerships. Both governments agreed the dialogue was very productive and pledged their continued commitment to enhanced cooperation in addressing this serious crime and human rights issue under the auspices of the United States-Myanmar Joint Plan on Trafficking in Persons.

Human trafficking is a serious issue to American policymakers as well as their counterparts in the various nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Many of the ASEAN members states (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) have struggled with human trafficking and have promulgated policies to thwart would-be traffickers and provide assistance to the victims of this insidious international scourge. It is promising to see the United States engaging Myanmar on this issue as recent history has seen Myanmar maintaining a rather aloof stance towards both the United  States and the international community as a whole. Hopefully, this recent meeting will garner further cooperation between the United States and the Union of Myanmar on this issue as the eradication of human trafficking would prove to be not only a benefit to the people of each of these countries, but also to the region and the world. It could be argued that by engaging Myanmar in a discussion of this issue the United States is not only highlighting Myanmar’s importance geopolitically, but also that country’s potential to curtail human trafficking on a regional scale. Should this meeting result in any decrease (whether large or small) in human trafficking, then this initial dialogue must be viewed as a success. Hopefully the day will come when human trafficking is no longer the problem that it is at this time.

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16th September 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that leaders from the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar (sometimes colloquially referred to as Burma) are set to travel to the United States of America. In fact, popular pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi appears poised to make a sojourn to the US, her first in some time. To quote directly from the official website of Voice of America, voanews.com:

BANGKOK, THAILAND — Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is set to embark on a visit to the United States, highlighted by awards and meetings with senior U.S. government leaders and the Burmese community… In her first trip to the United States in two decades, Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will be given awards for her long struggle for political reform in Burma and will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama…

Readers are encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full.

For those unfamiliar with the efforts of Aung San Suu Kyi it should be noted that notwithstanding overwhelming adversity she has remained a staunch supporter of democracy for citizens of Myanmar and was recently elected to that nation’s lower house of parliament. However, she is not the only official from Myanmar who appears set to make a notable trip to the United States. It would appear that the current President of Myanmar, Thein Sein, is also slated to make a US voyage. In order to provide further elucidation regarding these events it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Jakarta Globe, TheJakartaGlobe.com:

Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Myanmar leader Thein Sein is to visit the United States for the first time as president of the fast-reforming nation, officials said Wednesday, after Washington waived visa restrictions…“The president will visit the UN and US for three days,” a Myanmar official told AFP, adding that the Myanmar leader is set to leave for the US on September 24. US President Barack Obama last month ordered an exception to a visa ban on Myanmar’s leaders to let Thein Sein travel freely during the UN summit…

The administration of this web log asks that readers click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this story in detail.

Those unfamiliar with current US-Myanmar relations should note that there are a number of restrictions placed upon Burmese leaders when it comes to US travel. Some could speculate that the exception granted to the President of Myanmar in the form of a visa waiver could be a sign of an increased desire to normalize relations between the somewhat reclusive member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the USA. That said, the future status of relations between the US and Myanmar remains to be seen.

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22nd May 2011

Don’t Call It Burma

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It recently came to this blogger’s attention that officials within the government of Myanmar have asked representatives from the United States of America to discontinue calling the Union of Myanmar “Burma”. In order to provide more perspective it may be best to quote directly from a recent posting on MonstersandCritics.com:

Yangon – A senior US diplomat who visited Myanmar last week was asked to stop calling the country Burma if Washington wishes to promote bilateral relations with the new government, media reports said Sunday. The suggestion was made in the course of talks between US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun and Myanmar Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin on Wednesday, according to a transcript of the meeting made available to the Myanmar Times newspaper…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this developing story.

Those who follow relations between the United States of America and the Union of Myanmar may be interested to note that Myanmar’s foreign Minister recently noted the need for “Goodwill” between the two nations. To quote directly from a story recently published on the official website of The Straits Times, StraitsTimes.com:

YANGON – MYANMAR has told the United States it will not accept preconditions to improve relations, saying sanctions imposed by Washington remain the biggest obstacle to better ties, a report said on Sunday. ‘We would like to urge the US to build mutual trust in the first place and only then will we be able to frankly discuss ways of promoting the relationship between the two countries,’ Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin was quoted as saying by the weekly Myanmar Times. The minister was speaking on Wednesday to Joseph Yun, deputy US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, in the highest-level meeting between the two nations since the advent of a nominally civilian government…

Again, the administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about this developing story.

It is this blogger’s personal opinion that relations between the United States of America and the Union of Myanmar are likely to improve in the future, but as meetings have only recently been initiated it seems likely that there may be some diplomatic “hiccups” in the early phases. It should be noted that the mere fact that these two nations are having these discussions is a positive development as US-Myanmar relations have been strained in recent decades. Meanwhile, the Union of Myanmar remains a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an organization which seems to be of increasing importance in economic matters pertaining to Southeast Asia.

How the discussions between Myanmar and the United States will ultimately unfold remains to be seen, but for now it is at least nice to see both sides talking.

For related information please see: US Visa Myanmar.

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