The relationship between the
These are Myanmar's well-deserved rewards for embarking on a program of liberalization and democracy — moving away from absolute military rule, holding credible elections and freeing many political prisoners.
And yet for the 1 million Rohingya Muslims in the country, life is only getting worse. The Rohingya are an ethnic minority considered to be intruders by the government of Myanmar and by much of the country's majority Buddhist population. Thousands have been displaced from their homes in the western state of Rakhine by mob violence and are now relegated to camps for displaced persons. The
Last November, Sein said he would allow the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up an office in the country, in part to monitor the plight of the Rohingya. But human rights advocates say the government has dragged its feet and the office has not yet been established, although a U.N independent investigator, or special rapporteur, has been allowed to make several trips through Myanmar recently.
It's appropriate for the U.S. to recognize and reward the advances that Myanmar has made. But it should not turn a blind eye to the country's continuing problems, including religious and ethnic tension. It should exercise what clout it has to help the U.N. set up the human rights office, and should push strenuously for authorities to dismantle repressive policies against the Rohingya, such as limiting families to two children.