Burma: Great Powers jockey to betray tribal peoples

Hilary Clinton’s arrival in Burma Nov. 30—the first visit by a US secretary of state since 1955—is being plugged as an historic step towards normalization of relations between the Washington the Southeast Asian nation. But the day before her arrival, Burmese army chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Min Aung Hlaing met in Beijing to sign a major new agreement of military cooperation. (BBC News, LAT, The Irrawady, Nov. 30; Vancouver Sun, Nov. 28)

Human rights group Partners Relief and Development meanwhile said on Nov. 28 that Burmese troops may be committing war crimes in the form of torture and forced labor against ethnic communities in Kachin state. The group issued a report documenting the war crimes which allegedly began on June 9 after a 17-year ceasefire agreement was broken with the Kachin Independence Army. Evidence for the alleged war crimes was gathered from first-hand interviews of witnesses in Burma. The report says the Burmese regime may be subject to charges from the International Criminal Court, and calls on the UN to conduct an investigation. (Jurist, Nov. 28)

See our last posts on Burma and the new Cold War with China.

See also our special report, “Will World Betray Burma’s Pro-Democray Movement?

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