Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Monks, students criticise efforts to have Western countries lift sanctions

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A group of Burmese monks and students who secretly oppose the Burmese junta have criticised Burmese political parties, Asean countries and various Western countries that advocate lifting economic sanctions against Burma.

A joint statement released by the All Burma Monks’ Alliance (ABMA), the 88-Generation Students and All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) said that the idea of trying to promote democracy and development through the Burmese Parliament was not possible.

U Dhamma Siri of the ABMA said that without pressing the junta to stop violations of human rights in Burma, urging the US and European countries to lift sanctions against Burma was meaningless.

‘The countries imposed sanctions against Burma because of the violations of human rights in Burma. If Asean countries and political parties in Burma really want the US and European countries to lift the sanctions, they need to press the junta to stop the violations of human rights in Burma. Otherwise, they are just doing it for their own sakes. Their attitude is unacceptable’, Dhamma Siri said.

In mid-March, political party representatives gave an EU delegation a letter calling for an end to sanctions. The letter was signed by the Democracy and Peace Party (Myanmar), the Union Democratic Party, the White Tiger Party, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the Wunthanu NLD, the Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics and the National Democratic Force.

The parties said that although the sanctions have focused on the junta, they can also harm he people of Burma and if  countries lift sanctions and invest in Burma, workers will have more job opportunities and perhaps earn higher salaries.

The groups noted that although many countries imposed sanctions against the junta, the top military generals and their cronies are still rich and largely unaffected by sanctions.

In mid-January, Asean called for the lifting of sanctions on Burma at its foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia.

Kyi Tha Tint, a spokeswoman for the ABFSU, told Mizzima: ‘The people have been oppressed by the military dictatorship for more than 20 years. The best way to make the Western countries lift the sanctions against Burma is to stop violating human rights in Burma and to build a free society’.

Tun Myint Aung of the 88-Generation Students Group said, ‘The reason Burma can’t attract foreign investment is because of not only sanctions but also Burma’s chaotic and complex economic policies. Corruption is rife. That’s why foreign countries did not want to invest in Burma’. 


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