Rights Group Says Burma Must Still Address Abuses

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 12:35 am (UTC-5)
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An international human rights group says Burma showed signs of reform in 2011, but has not addressed “serious abuses” in the country.

In a yearly report released Sunday, New York-based Human Rights Watch credited Burma for releasing hundreds of political prisoners, but called for an independent process for assessing the condition and location of others.

The report says Burma has particularly failed to halt abuses relating to long-running civil conflicts in ethnic areas. It also accuses Burma's military of torture, rape, forced labor and the use of landmines.

The Burmese government has struck cease-fire deals with several ethnic groups, including an agreement earlier this month with the Karen rebel group.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Burma last year that such truces would help pave the way for a deal with Washington to ease economic sanctions imposed on Burma during decades of military rule.

Human Rights Watch called on Burma to release all political prisoners, end a “culture of impunity” and show through its actions that it respects human rights.

The nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein has made a series of reforms since coming to power last year, including resuming dialogue with opposition groups.