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Summary Some things are getting better. There is electricity in the next village, and we may get electricity here, too. But none of that matters if our land is gone. –Nu Yee, San Klo, Karen State, February 2015 The businessman takes the land from…
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When Aung San Suu Kyi met recently with her long-time nemesis, retired general Than Shwe, after her party’s stunning election victory in November 2015, it was heralded as a harbinger of a smooth democratic transition in Burma. But hundreds of miles north…
Rescue workers look for bodies of miners killed by a landslide in Hpakant jade mine, at Kachin state, Myanmar November 24, 2015.
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Burma’s government just took another step onto an international stage that it was excluded from for years. Today, the governing body of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the international effort to promote transparency in natural…
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Emerging from diplomatic isolation and Western economic sanctions, Myanmar wants to be the “it" destination for foreign investors. Foreign business leaders flocked to the capital, Naypidaw, for the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a regional version of…
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US Reporting Requirements Take Effect, More Needed

(New York) – American companies investing in Burma should not let new US government reporting requirements lull them into complacency on human rights concerns. The US “Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment” in Burma went into effect on May 23,…
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Human Rights and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Update: A response from the EITI Secretariat is available at this link. ContentsSummaryBackground: EITI’s Purpose, Structure, and RulesEITI’s Founding PrinciplesStructure of the InitiativeThe Central Role of Civil Society ParticipationCurrent…
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Incident Tests Government’s Claim to Respect Peaceful Assembly

(Bangkok) – The government of Burma should promptly and impartially investigate alleged excessive force by local authorities against peaceful anti-copper mine protesters. On November 29, 2012, in Monywa, Sagaing Division, local security forces forcibly…
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Business Reporting Requirements Won’t Deter Abuses, Corruption

(Washington DC) – The new United States government policy allowing business activity in Burma’s controversial oil sector with reporting requirements will not adequately prevent new investments from fueling abuses and undermining reform, Human Rights Watch…
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US Measure Tightening Sanctions Has Gone Into Effect

(Washington, DC) - Consumers should support a new US law banning Burmese gems by refusing to buy from jewelers unless they ensure their gems are not from Burma, Human Rights Watch said today. The US government began enforcement on October 27, 2008, of a…
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Question: What is Human Rights Watch's assessment   of the State Peace and Development Council's [SPDC's] response to Cyclone Nargis? Answer: The initial response was disgraceful; it is still shocking to me that the military government obstructed the…
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Profits From Rubies, Jade Finance Repression

(New York) - A new US law that bars gem dealers and jewelry retailers from importing rubies and jade from Burma is a major step in curtailing the unethical international trade in Burmese gems, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 29, 2008, President…
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Updated July 2008

Burma produces a variety of gems but is most famous for its rubies and jade. The vast majority of high-quality rubies on the world market originate from Burma. Burmese rubies are renowned for their dark "pigeon's blood" color, which makes them more…
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(New York) - Consumers and merchants should not buy jade, rubies, and other gems from Burma until the military government ends its repression, which is partly funded by gem sales, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called for a boycott in…
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Business-Related Recommendations on Burma

Human Rights Watch issued a new report in December 2007 documenting the crackdown on popular protests in Burma that began in August. Hundreds of people remain arbitrarily detained. We recommend targeted financial, trade, and investment sanctions, and…