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On 1st April Burma will hold parliamentary elections that are likely to see opposition leader and Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi win a seat. The country is undergoing swift political and societal changes after decades of military rule, and the government says the reforms are ‘irreversible’. Some now argue that the EU needs to lift all its sanctions right away.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s election is a momentous event, yet it risks diverting attention from many unresolved issues. Some political prisoners remain in jail, forced labour is still a serious problem, and fighting continues in several states. The European Union has a unique chance to ensure that Burma’s reforms to take root.
In a new ECFR publication, ‘How the EU can support reform in Burma’, Jonas Parello-Plesner argues that the EU should adopt a coherent approach that involves:
Jonas argues that such measures are necessary to ensure that reform is genuine and has solid foundations. He says there are four reasons to be wary of Burmese government claims that the reforms are irreversible:
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Click here to download a PDF of ‘How the EU can support reform in Burma’
Sanctions: Current EU sanctions against Burma include an arms and military equipment embargo, trade, export and investment sanctions on the extractive and logging industry, suspension of development aid (only humanitarian aid is allowed), a visa ban and an asset freeze on the top military leadership.
Notes for editors:
This paper, like all ECFR publications, represents the views of its author, not the collective position of ECFR or its Council Members.
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