Sanctions and Burma

A BLOG POST BY MU SOCHUABurma Daw Aung San Su Kyi wants to modify sanctions and in her own words when members of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats recently met her at her Rangoon residence, she says: " I want to know how and why sanctions are hurting the Burmese people".  Sanctions were imposed on Cambodia from the early to late 1980's, after my country came out of from the "liberation" from the Khmer Rouge regime, with help from Vietnam. I shared with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the Cambodian experience on the lifting of sanctions which allows the West to pour in US$1 billion per year. Much development and progress have been made in infrastructure, health and education, private enterprises and strengthening of state institutions. It has allowed the civil society to pull in roots and take part in all sectors of development. However, the lifting of sanctions does not guaranty freedom, protection of human rights and democratic rules and rule of law. I pointed out the facade of democracy that is taking place in  Cambodia today. I warned of the complecency of the donor community to violations of human rights as the West wants Cambodia to be a success story of a post-conlfict nation.   Daw Aung San Suu Kyi continues to have leverage on the regime in Burma as she has the key to the lifting of sanctions. Like the regime in Cambodia, the Burmese regime may want to build a facade of democracy. Election was just held for the first time in twenty years in Burma. To the Burmese regime, this maybe their gesture towards building democracy. But this is far from being acceptable to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to her National League for Democracy. She is totally right to be cautious.   Throughout our meeting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi spoke of building capacity for the NLD and civil society networks. She appealed for training for the youth, women, farmers and other groups. The NLD will continue to be a political party.   It was a truly inspiring visit. It gave me more strength to work on democracy-building in Cambodia.

Mu Sochua's Visit with Aung San Suu Kyi

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