Rights groups express ‘grave concern’ over US policy on investment in Burma

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Washington, D.C. — In response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement on the lifting of restrictions on US investment in Burma, five human rights groups issued the following statement.

Thousands of refugees have fled to camps along the Thailand-Burma border – Photo courtesy of democracyforburma.wordpress.com ,

We express grave concern regarding the US government’s decision to allow investments into businesses connected to the Burmese regime that are corrupt and help to fuel human rights violations.

As it stands now, investment in many of the most attractive sectors of the Burmese economy is likely to worsen the human rights situation while directly benefiting individuals and entities responsible for rights abuses, who contribute to corruption, or are otherwise acting to obstruct political reform.

The US government has acknowledged that there are many unacceptable business partners in Burma. However, the government has failed in its responsibility to clarify who these actors are, or to prohibit US companies from conducting business with these problematic entities. The Obama administration’s decision-making process has lurched forward without careful thought, strategy or transparency. What little progress has been accomplished in Burma—as well as the prospects for lasting peace, human rights and democracy—is being undermined by failures in US decision-making.”

Groups signing on to the statement include Freedom House, Institute for Asian Democracy, Physicians for Human Rights, US Campaign for Burma and United to End Genocide.

The rights groups have sent

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