Poacher turned gamekeeper? Burma to host ASEAN human rights meeting

BANGKOK—The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) will hold its next meeting in Rangoon this June in another transitional landmark for Burma’s reformist government that nonetheless stands accused of ongoing human rights abuses. Despite conflict between Burmese government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the country’s far north, the AICHR “will resume their discussion at the sixth meeting in [Rangoon], Myanmar on June 3-6, 2012,” after meetings last week in Thailand, according to a press release from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)—the ten-state regional grouping of which Burma assumes the chair in 2014.

Commodity prices, cronyism threaten Burma’s economy: UN – The Irrawaddy/Asia Sentinel

BANGKOK — The United Nations believes that Burma’s economic prospects could be undermined by volatile commodity prices, as the country’s reliance on the the ups and downs of oil and gas revenues could hinder much-needed fiscal modernization The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific predicts 6.2 percent economic growth for Burma in 2012 but warns that the region remains vulnerable to fluctuating prices of commodities such as oil and the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. All the same, Western companies appear eager to tap into Burma’s natural resource bounty, as US and EU sanctions are relaxed or suspended in the wake of a succession of recent reforms such as the freeing of political prisoners and the holding of free and fair by-elections on April 1.