Foreign Minister Bob Carr's enthusiasm for making Burma ‘open for business' will undermine the movement for further reform, the Australian Greens warned today.
Greens spokesperson for Burma Senator Scott Ludlam said "Minister Carr's lobbying of European politicians to permanently lift sanctions on Burma is hazardous in its haste".
"The European Union suspended, rather than abolished, sanctions on Burma because there is still much work to be done on human rights and political freedom in the country.
"The by-elections that brought Aung San Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy members into parliament elected just 45 of the 664 seats in Burma's parliament. One quarter of the seats are automatically held by the military, the rest of the legislature is dominated by pro-junta candidates elected in the notoriously defective general poll of 2010.
"In November 2012 alone tens of thousands of Rohingya people were driven from their homes by violence in the state of Rakhine. The Burmese regime treats the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and subjects them to severe repression. The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma said late last year that the Rohingya face ‘endemic discrimination'.
"Throughout December and January the Burmese military used artillery, fighter jets and helicopter gunships against the Kachin Independence Organisation and the 60,000 Kachin civilians taking refuge under the protection of the KIO. Kachin spokespeople have asserted that Burmese forces deliberately block aid efforts from reaching internally displaced Kachin civilians.
"Burma's next general election is due in 2015. Until then the military will continue to dominate the country. Unless the persecution of ethnic minorities ceases, and until there is a free and fair general election in Burma, the indecent rush to squeeze profit out of the country will serve to actively encourage repression and the abuse of power."