Foreign ministers from the 27 nations in the European Union agreed in Luxembourg to lift trade and economic sanctions against Myanmar in recognition of the country's ongoing democratic reforms, but arms embargo would stay in place.
Earlier hundreds of people were targeted by a travel ban and asset freeze, while on the economic front the EU had barred investments and banned imports of the country’s lucrative timber, metals and gems.
Whereas In April last year, the European Union began easing sanctions against Myanmar as the military, in power for decades, progressively ceded power to civilians and implemented reforms of the economy. The Foreign ministers had agreed to a one-year suspension of measures targeting almost 500 individuals and more than 800 firms.
Now after removing the sanctions - the EU will also look at the feasibility of a bilateral investment agreement, as well as more development assistance to assist Myanmar’s economy.
But still there were significant challenges to be addressed,” in particular an end to hostilities in Kachin state and improving the plight of the Rohingya people. HRW has in a new report accused authorities in Myanmar, including Buddhist monks, of fomenting an organised campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority that killed hundreds of people and forced 125,000 from their homes. While state security forces sometimes intervened to protect fleeing Muslims, more often they fuelled the unrest either by standing by idle or directly participating in atrocities.
In western Myanmar, the crisis goes back decades and is rooted in a highly controversial dispute over where the region’s Muslim inhabitants are really from. Although many Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, they are widely denigrated by majority Buddhists as foreign intruders who came from neighbouring Bangladesh to steal scarce land. The U.N. estimates their number at 800,000. The...