Blinken in Burma


On a recent trip to Burma, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the Burmese for their recent nationwide parliamentary elections.

“For the first time since 1990,” he said, “the voices of citizens” were heard, “and this time they are being respected. The elections were a significant step forward in the journey to democracy in [Burma] that respects the rights of all.”

Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD, won. The results, said Deputy Secretary Blinken “validate the sacrifices made by many brave Burmese in the years when even dreaming of this day was dangerous.” This is particularly true of the NLD’s long-time leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent many years under house arrest.

But this is only the beginning. As Deputy Secretary Blinken noted, “the coming transition is but one milestone on the road to full democracy. We know there are still many challenges ahead.”

These challenges include encouraging broad-based economic growth, continuing the national reconciliation process, releasing all remaining political prisoners, and protecting human rights.

The U.S. also encourages continued national reconciliation efforts, and urges an end to offensive military operations. The U.S. calls for unrestricted humanitarian access to civilians in need.

The U.S. remains concerned about discrimination and violence against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya population in Rakhine State. The solution is the rule of law, applied equally to all, ensuring protection from violence, freedom of movement, access to livelihoods, education and health, and an equal chance for everyone to participate in the democratic life of their country.

The U.S. is committed to standing with the people of Burma in their pursuit of democracy, development, human rights, and national reconciliation. The U.S. is actively looking to support the new government as the political transition continues. Since 2012, the U.S. has provided more than $500 million in support of Burma’s reform process. The U.S. will continue to be a steadfast partner to Burma in its efforts to build a more democratic and peaceful future.