Myanmar ranked worst in resource governance

16 May, 2013
Myanmar was ranked the worst country in the world in terms of resource governance, according to a report issued recently by US-based NGO Revenue Watch Institute, lower than countries like Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. The report states: “Almost no information is available on the management of the extractive sector. Myanmar has no freedom of information law, and environmental and social impact assessments are not required … It is unclear which authority receives payments from extractive companies. It is widely assumed that corruption is rampant in the sector.”

Myanmar jails Muslims over religious violence

21 May, 2013
A Myanmar court has sentenced seven Muslims to prison terms in connection with religious violence in March that left at least 44 people dead, a justice official said. The sentences range from two to 28 years, but the defendants were spared the death penalty. So far no Buddhists have been convicted in connection with the unrest in Meiktila, but a government prosecutor insists that there is no religious bias in ruling.

UN praises Myanmar over child soldier issue

21 May, 2013
Foreign Affairs
The United Nations on 20 May praised the Myanmar government and army for its steps made toward ending the recruitment of child soldiers. While the UN noted in this most recent report that recruitment of children to the Myanmar armed forces continued, the number of new cases had decreased and 66 children had been released since the action plan was signed.

President Thein Sein visits the White House, Obama urges for the end of violence against Muslims

20 May, 2013
Foreign Affairs
In a scene that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, President and former general Thein Sein met with US President Barack Obama in the White House on 20 May, in a landmark visit to Washington. The Myanmar government released 23 political prisoners three days ahead of Thein Sein’s visit. President Barack Obama urged Thein Sein to halt violence against a Muslim minority but praised economic and political reforms in the country. “The displacement of people, the violence directed towards them needs to stop,” Obama said. Thein Sein appealed for US “assistance and understanding” as Myanmar attempts difficult reforms.

Chinese Vessel Damages Vietnamese Fishing Boat

27 May, 2013
Political Security

Two months after the incident of a Chinese vessel firing and damaging a Vietnamese boat, Hanoi lodges another formal complaint to its Chinese Embassy. A Vietnamese boat with 15 fishermen on board has been hit by a Chinese vessel from the side on 20 May, while fishing in Vietnam’s “exclusive economic zone”. Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited this as a serious case of violating Vietnamese sovereignty.