Abuses continue across Myanmar, say NGOs

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Human rights abuses have prevailed across all 14 states and regions in Myanmar in 2012, a report released by the Network for Human Rights Documentation - Burma (ND - Burma) on March 1 has claimed.

The brief report entitled “Report on the Human Rights Situation in Burma” said that “despite Burma’s [Myanmar's] incremental steps toward a more democratic government, human rights violations continue to occur largely unabated.”

The crimes listed included “killing, land confiscation, forced labor, child soldiers, forced relocation, torture and ill treatment,” with the highest incidences of abuses occurring in ethnic nationality areas, particularly conflict areas and sites of controversial development projects.

In light of this, Thein Sein's welcome during his recent European visit has received criticism from ethnic and human rights groups.

The European Karen Network (EKN) said in statement released on March 1 that the president's visit undermined the prospects for genuine reform in Myanmar.

The EKN said, “It is too soon to give Thein Sein red-carpet treatment in Europe, as Burma is not yet a democratic country. It remains ruled by a military-backed government, which continues to attack ethnic civilians and refuses to repeal the repressive laws.”

In a letter to the Norwegian government, the group said, “We were deeply disappointed to see the shifting of your [Norway's] government’s policy, from prioritizing the promotion of human rights and democracy to prioritizing the promotion of trade and investment.”