ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Progress in Myanmar continues despite setbacks, says US State Rep
Although the progress of democratic reform continued, some elements of Myanmar society were using race and religion to create division, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor told a media briefing at Yangon’s US Embassy on June 28.
“The question that is very much in our minds is whether one of Burma's greatest strengths; its ethnic and religious diversity…will remain a strength in the years to come,” Mr Malinowski said.
“We are concerned by the manipulation we have seen in racial and religious differences…we see this as a risk moving into the 2015 elections and to the process of reform itself.”
Mr Malinowski said when considering the 2015 elections, the question remained whether there would be a climate before and during the elections that would allow for free and fair elections.
He added that this would require ensuring freedoms of the press and assembly.
Mr Malinowski spoke about his tour, which had included a visit to Rakhine State where he met with key leaders, officials and members of the Rakhine Buddhist and Muslim communities.
Mr Malinowski also spoke about the recent appointment of Major General Maung Maung Ohn as Rakhine State’s Chief Minister.
“We hope to see that in coming days, with the new leadership in Rakhine, a resolution to some of the problems that are preventing organisations such as [Médecins Sans Frontières]and others delivering assistance to the people to stay alive,” Mr Malinowski said.
“In the longer term, we hope that there will be process of dialogue between the two communities and the government,” he said. “There is no solution other than that to find a way to live together, we hope to see that.”
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