Five nongovernmental organizations called on the United States Friday to establish a strong regulatory framework to monitor American companies investing in Burma following the lifting of economic sanctions on the once-pariah nation.
In a letter to the State Department, organizations including Earth Rights International, Freedom House, Physicians for Human Rights, US Campaign for Burma, and United to End Genocide said that they continue to be deeply concerned by the US government’s decision to lift all remaining sanctions, and allow corporations unrestricted investment access to Burma despite widespread corruption, ongoing human rights violations, and a total lack of rule of law.
Niemat Ahmadi, director of Global Partnerships at United to End Genocide and a rally participant, said part of their message was to call on the international community to fulfill its commitment to bring peace between the two countries.
On July 11, 2012, the US government opened the door for American companies to invest in Burma for the first time in 15 years. This move came despite the absence of effective or functional systems to ensure that new investment — even from those intent on doing business responsibly — will not exacerbate rights abuses in ethnic minority states or undermine prospects for democratic transformation.
A U.S.-based group, United to End Genocide, said "President Obama's premature action to remove the investment ban on Burma is overly optimistic.
"It ignores the reality of the situation on the ground, including ongoing atrocities," the group's president, Tom Andrews, said in a prepared statement. "This is a dangerous decision that is likely to further exacerbate human rights abuses and has left the U.S. government without any leverage in the future."