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Time is right to lift Myanmar sanctions, says UK minister


A senior representative at Britain’s Foreign Office said the UK government welcomes the decision by EU ministers to lift the remaining sanctions on Myanmar while retaining an embargo on weapons sales.

UK Foreign Office Minister for Asia, Hugo SwireSpeaking in the House of Commons on April 23, Minister for Asia Hugo Swire said, “Human rights will always remain at the heart of our policy on Burma [Myanmar]; we will continue to raise our concerns on human rights and ethnic conflict with the Burmese government. We judge that the time is right to lift EU sanctions: this judgment, supported by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, is that the remaining challenges are now better addressed with deeper engagement.

Swire, who visited Myanmar in December, said he also welcomed the presidential amnesty announced that same day.

“We have to recognize the huge progress made in Burma over the past two years: credible by-elections, initial ceasefire agreements with the majority of ethnic groups; enhanced freedom of expression and the release of many political prisoners,” he said. “I was pleased to hear today that more of the remaining political prisoners will be released, but I want to be clear that even one political prisoner is one too many and we will continue to urge the Burmese government to fulfill its promises to deliver human rights to the Burmese people.’

Also on the same day as the release of political prisoners and the lifting of EU sanctions, US-based rights group, HRW, released a report accusing the Myanmar authorities of complicity in a campaign of “ethnic cleansing’ against the Muslim Rohingya minority in the country’s western Rakhine State.

For more background:
  1. EU lifts sanctions on Myanmar
  2. Thein Sein calls for lifting of remaining EU sanctions
  3. E.U. suspends Burmese sanctions
  4. British MP promises to tackle human rights issues while in Burma
Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 April 2013 16:43 )