More on the government of Myanmar

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From the New York Times: (use bug-me-not for a username and login)
Myanmar Faces Pressure to Allow Major Aid Effort
As hungry, shivering survivors waited among the dead for help on Wednesday after a huge cyclone in Myanmar, aid agencies and diplomats said the delivery of relief supplies was being slowed by the reluctance of the country�s secretive military leaders to allow an influx of outsiders.
Despite the emerging scale of the disaster, the Myanmar government has let in little aid and has restricted movement in the delta, aid agencies say. It has not granted visas to aid workers, even though supplies are being marshaled in nearby countries like Thailand.
And the United Nations is being its usual useless self:
�We are seeing at the United Nations if we can�t implement the responsibility to protect, given that food, boats and relief teams are there, and obtain a United Nations resolution which authorizes the delivery and imposes this on the Burmese government,� Mr. Kouchner told reporters in Paris. He is a co-founder of the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

But the United Nations� under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, resisted the idea of taking action to force Myanmar to open its doors, though he noted that 50 to 100 United Nations aid workers were awaiting word on their applications for visas.

In 2005, the United Nations recognized the concept of �responsibility to protect� civilians when their governments could or would not do it, even if this meant intervention that violated national sovereignty. But it has been rarely applied.
And one more:
In Paris, Mr. Kouchner said that the French, British and Indian Navies had ships directly opposite the worst-hit areas of Myanmar and were ready to help.

�It would only take half an hour for the French boats and French helicopters to reach the disaster area, and I imagine it�s the same story for our British friends,� he said. �We are putting constant pressure on the Burmese authorities but we haven�t yet got the go-ahead.�
How could anyone be so craven -- the generals who rule Myanmar are destroying their people. This would be an excellent place for a Democracy. Hat tip to Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution for the link.

1 Comment

A short op-ed by the Vice President of the Asia Society and PSA Co-Chair, Jamie Metzl on the situation in Burma....

"As you all know, the crisis in Burma is transforming from a natural disaster to a humanitarian catastrophe due to the xenophobia, incompetence, and malevolence of the Burmese government. With every day that passes, the situation of the up to tow million Burmese people affected by this crisis, almost three quarters of whom have reportedly not received any assistance, is becoming ever more precarious. It is clear that the time has come for bold international action. My colleague, Brian Vogt, wrote an excellent piece detailing one strategy for getting aid through to those who need it earlier this week. Brian is quite right to warn that we must not to allow our disgust for the Burmese junta lead us to political posturing rather than decisive action.

Although the Chinese government stated last week that they did not think it appropriate for the Burma crisis to be brought to the UN Security Council, it is becoming increasingly clear that stronger action by the UN and the international community will be required to break this deadly impasse. French Prime Minister Bernard Kouchner was among the first to call for aid drops in Burma, even against the wishes of the Burmese regime. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now calling for a UN summit on aid to Burma. The United States must continue to take a lead in these efforts, and to build international consensus around a more aggressive assistance agenda with the greatest amount of international legitimacy possible. Clearly, food and aid drops will not be enough as water-borne diseases begin to take their toll over the coming days, particularly on the young and the elderly. Specifically, the United States can actively support the provision of assistance under chapter 7 of the UN Charter, as was done for Somalia and other recent humanitarian crises."

For more on Burma from PSA, please go to

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 7, 2008 8:29 PM.

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