Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights





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January– March 2003 Report Card

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Burma Bulletin
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Amid fading hopes for reconciliation, the deepening economic crisis has spurred the junta to exploit every opportunity to wheedle aid and investment from the rest of the world.

While Burma’s people dealt with tragic consequences of the burgeoning banking crisis, price hikes and ongoing human rights abuses, the first quarter of 2003 had quite a few triumphs for the generals. A flurry of international visits by governments and international organizations ensued, and the EU even lifted its visa ban temporarily to allow the SPDC to attend the EU-ASEAN summit.

While the EU and US appear to be losing patience with the regime’s empty promises, the SPDC has coordinated a series of goodwill visits to shore up support from Asian neighbours. The SPDC clearly hopes that speeches and handshakes with international leaders will distract the world from the ongoing political stalemate.

Despite international political and economic pressure, no readiness for negotiations can be detected. How much more external and internal muscle-flexing is necessary to get the junta to the negotiating table?